2008 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Subaru Impreza Hatchback

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Subaru Impreza Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 224 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Subaru Impreza

  • Apart from the boisterous WRX STI, the finger-in-the-air attitude is gone, replaced by a 2008 Subaru Impreza trying to put its finger on the pulse of the mainstream market.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Standard all-wheel drive, WRX and WRX STI's punchy turbocharged engines, roomy seating in front and rear.

  • Cons

    Missing some higher-end convenience features, behind-the-times transmissions, below-average fuel economy, sleepy styling except for extroverted STI.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Subaru Impreza has been completely redesigned. Roomier and more refined on the inside, the restyled Impreza is meant to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Sedan and hatchback body styles are again available, as are the turbocharged WRX and ultra-high-performance WRX STI.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


The ugliest of the ugly

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

For a WRX fan, the 08 is the one to stay away from. I am now at 41k miles and cannot hand this lease back in fast enough. The suspension is too soft with an intense amount of body roll, though the ride comfort is much improved (IMO leave that for the Impreza owners, not the WRX). The interior is clean but uninspiring with hard plastic everywhere. Throttle response is slow and the traction/abs systems are intrusive. Exterior styling speaks for itself. The sound system is close to the quality of a cell phone speaker in a tin can. Hatch boom is very prevalent. The AWD system in the snow is the only reason I gave FtD category an 8 but the OE RE050's leave a lot to be desired in all conditions.




It's a great car.

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I've had my WRX 5 dr for 2 years now; 22k miles @ 24.5 avg mileage. I wrote a review on 11/23/07 and what I wrote then still holds. On top of that, I believe that the Subaru AWD system is superior to my Audi's, even w the performance tires on it. I've been the only one to make it up our hill several times over the past two winters (on ice), passing sport utes of all types splayed across lawns and shoulders. I've also had no problem following large Mercs at high speed on interstates - slowing only when my senses returned and the realization that a large fine would be very painful to me. It's a great car.




Paint issues

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I have recently purchased an 08 wrx 5- door back in September of 08. Since then I have had issues with the paint. With only having 7000 miles my wrx, my old 2006 impreza wagon with 20000 miles still looked brand new compared to my 08 wrx now. I am getting rust on my rear hatch and really bad road abrasion on the fronts of both rear passenger doors and both rear quarter panels. I am very disappointed that this is happening to a $25000 car!!!!!! The dealership has told me that SOA is not going to take action and fix my vehicle because it is normal "wear and tear" when it is clearly a warranty issue in the first place. Pretty much I have a great platform with a Hyundai shell. THE PAINT STINKS!!!



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2008 wrx wagon 5 spd

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I love this car!! I am a sales rep and drive it a lot, and extremely hard. I actually got 38.5 MPG at 60 mph on the freeway during break in. But after break in I began to drive it like I stole it and still avg 22.5 mpg with 50/50 miles around town and highway, and hitting 6000 rpm all the time. The 09 has stiffer springs and 40 more BHP. I think with the 09, there's no reason to buy an STI unless you want to go to jail. The best bang for the buck out there!




Impreza wrx rocks!

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I've driven moderately sporty cars for a few years (Legacy GT Ltd, MG-ZTT), but this new Impreza leaves them all standing. Very fast (but not *crazy* fast), surprisingly refined (even over eye-watering Ohio roads) and - get this - I'm leasing it for less than $250/month....unbelievable. I can't tell you how good I feel about this car, and how little it's costing me. If you're after speed and good looks - without busting your wallet - you would be insane to get anything else.




What they say is true

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I took delivery of a plain, no-frills, 5 door, 5 sp 08 WRX this past Monday. It isn't as "solid" (heavy) or quiet or plush as my old car. In fact, I have a strong sense of deja-vu with a '78 Corolla we once owned. It isn't a hard riding racer. It is a simple car that is very comfortable, quicker than most and a whole lot of FUN. The more I drive it, the more I like it. I was shocked by my first tank's mileage, then I realized that if I got off the boost once in a while, I really could get 22.5 mpg in town.



Full 2008 Subaru Impreza Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Subaru Impreza has been completely redesigned. Roomier and more refined on the inside, the restyled Impreza is meant to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Sedan and hatchback body styles are again available, as are the turbocharged WRX and ultra-high-performance WRX STI.

Introduction

In the 1990s, not too many Americans paid attention to the Subaru Impreza unless they followed the World Rally Championship or had Gran Turismo loaded in their Sony PlayStations. But that all changed with the release of the U.S.-spec 2002 WRX. Here was an all-wheel-drive sedan or wagon with sport coupe-slaying performance, a budget-friendly price and plenty of aftermarket tuning potential. Japanese performance car enthusiasts rejoiced.

Now, six years later, the fully redesigned 2008 Subaru Impreza has arrived. One would think it's time for those Subie fans to hire a DJ, blow up "Rex!" balloons and get out the chips and dip. But one might be wrong. For the third-generation North American Impreza, Subaru corporate has a slightly different plan -- an Impreza for the masses.

Not surprisingly, the 2008 Impreza is bigger. The wheelbase has been extended almost 4 inches for both the sedan and hatchback body styles to increase rear seat legroom. There's also more interior width for passengers and, thanks to a switch to a compact double-wishbone rear suspension design, a wider cargo space.

Subaru has also upped the quality of the interior design and materials, made changes to reduce wind noise, improved the ride quality and added new features like a navigation system. All well and good, we say. A more controversial aspect, however, is the car's exterior styling. Not because the new Impreza looks bad in a Pontiac Aztek sort of way, but because it doesn't look like, well, a Subaru. The slightly goofy but possibly endearing style of the previous Impreza (including all three of its fascias) has been replaced by a sanitized-for-your-protection front end and an uninspiring profile.

Underneath the new skin is some familiar hardware. Once again, the all-wheel-drive Impreza has a horizontally opposed 2.5-liter engine that's normally aspirated in 2.5i trim levels and turbocharged in WRX and WRX STI models. Slight adjustments were made to improve power delivery, but apart from the STI (which gained 12 horsepower) overall horsepower and torque specs are pretty much the same. Subaru has also largely carried over the previous six-speed manual, five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions. With just four cogs to work with, the automatic tranny lags behind a few rivals that offer five or even six speeds.

In most respects, the 2008 Subaru Impreza is a better car. It's more accessible, refined and comfortable, just like Subaru wanted. But except for the brash STI version, lost in the transformation was the Impreza's spunky personality. And without personality, the Impreza must fight fair against cars like the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Mitsubishi Lancer and Volkswagen Jetta, as well as against their associated performance variants. And in this situation -- again with the exception of the WRX STI -- the sleepy styling, behind-the-times automatic transmission and lack of high-tech features (such as Bluetooth, keyless ignition and a hard-drive-based navigation system) are significant detriments, especially for a redesigned model.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Subaru Impreza is available as a compact sedan or four-door hatchback. There are four main trim levels: 2.5i, Outback Sport, WRX and WRX STI.

Base 2.5i models come with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a CD/MP3 player, cruise control, tilt steering and full power accessories. Opting for a 2.5i model fitted with the Premium Package is a good idea. This gets you alloy wheels, an upgraded audio system with an auxiliary jack and steering-wheel-mounted controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and extra safety equipment. It's also the only way to get the optional satellite radio and navigation system. The specialized Subaru Impreza Outback Sport comes in the hatchback body style only. It features much of the 2.5i Premium package model's equipment, plus a raised suspension for extra ground clearance, 17-inch wheels, a two-tone exterior, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, unique cloth upholstery and a windshield de-icer.

The Impreza WRX has the 2.5i's equipment plus a more powerful engine, 17-inch alloys, a sport-tuned suspension, sport front seats, automatic climate control, electroluminescent gauges and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

There's also a premium package for the WRX. It adds exterior aero trim pieces, the upgraded audio system and the Outback Sport's cold-weather-beating features. Satellite radio and the navigation system are also available on the WRX, but not on the Outback Sport.

The WRX STI ups the ante with even more power, unique body styling, upgraded suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, a CD changer, aggressive sport seats and Alcantara upholstery. The STI also includes SI-drive, a three-mode setup for the engine and electronic throttle maps. Optional for the WRX STI is a pair of packages. The BBS Package adds BBS wheels and foglights while the BBS and Navigation Package includes the former items plus a navigation system (which replaces the CD changer with a single-CD player), a trip computer and Bluetooth connectivity.

Powertrains and Performance

Impreza 2.5i and Outback Sport models have a horizontally opposed 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It's rated at 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Impreza WRX models receive a turbocharged version of that engine, which produces 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. The WRX STI ups output to 305 hp and 290 lb-ft. All engines send their power to all four wheels. Transmission choices for all but the STI are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic with manual shift control. The STI comes with a six-speed manual only.

In testing, we timed a five-speed WRX hatchback at 5.9 seconds to 60 mph and 14.5 seconds in the quarter-mile. The WRX STI is quicker still, hitting 60 in just 4.8 seconds and breaking through the quarter in 13.3 ticks.

EPA fuel economy for 2008 is 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway for 2.5i and Outback Sport models, 20/25 mpg for the WRX and 17/23 for the WRX STI. These ratings are below average for the compact class.

Safety

Standard safety features on the Impreza include antilock brakes and side curtain airbags. Base 2.5i models have rear drum brakes. Getting a 2.5i with the Premium package is a wise idea as it adds rear disc brakes, the Brake Assist (BA) feature for the antilock brakes, stability control and a hill-holder function for manual transmission-equipped cars. These upgrades come standard on the Outback Sport, WRX and WRX STI. The 2.5i models also have active front head restraints to help reduce crash-induced whiplash.

Interior Design and Special Features

The most obvious changes for the 2008 Subaru Impreza can be found here. The big payoff for the longer wheelbase comes in the rear seat, where legroom is improved. Larger door openings and rear doors that open to 75 degrees also add to the new Subie's usability. The doors also have framed side windows -- a first for the Impreza and a rarity among Subarus -- that help quiet the interior. A new double-wishbone suspension affords a wider cargo area; a 60/40-split-folding rear seat comes in both the sedan and four-door hatch. Overall interior material quality is a big improvement over the previous car, and as such the Impreza looks and feels more grown-up than ever before.

Driving Impressions

The previous Impreza made up for much of its faults by being quite fun to drive, especially in WRX form. But where the old car was tossable, the new Impreza WRX feels soft. Standard skid pad, slalom and braking measurements are about the same, but the feel of the car through the steering and the way the car responds during cornering is noticeably less inspiring. When accelerating, the WRX's engine has impressive boost response and midrange punch, but it runs out of steam fairly early. We recommend that enthusiast-oriented drivers choose the manual transmission -- acceleration is sluggish with the four-speed automatic.

The WRX STI, on the other hand, gives enthusiasts exactly what they want -- a firm, communicative suspension, quick steering response, powerful brakes and a potent rush of acceleration whenever the throttle is tickled. Though the standard WRX may have gotten too mainstream for its hard-core fans, those Subie zealots would be hard-pressed to find fault with the new STI.

Talk About The 2008 Impreza

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs