2009 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Subaru Impreza

  • Although the Impreza lost some of its quirky Subaru personality during last year's "we're going mainstream" redesign, the 2009 WRX model has happily been restored to its former high-performance glory.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Standard all-wheel drive, roomy seating front and rear, punchy turbocharged engines, highly capable handling in WRX and WRX STI trim.

  • Cons

    Some increasingly common high-tech features are unavailable, outdated four-speed automatic transmission, below-average fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2009

    After a full redesign last year, the 2009 Subaru Impreza receives a number of significant changes to the high-performance WRX model. Responding to complaints that the WRX had become too soft, Subaru firmed up the suspension for '09, and there's 41 extra horsepower for good measure. Also, the '09 WRX is only available with a manual transmission, as last year's WRX automatic is now known as the Impreza 2.5 GT. As for base Imprezas, they pick up standard four-wheel disc brakes, stability control and Subaru's incline start assist or "hill-holder" feature for the manual transmission.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Impreza outback sport 2009 manual

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

I've owned a Toyota Camry, Avalon, VW Passat, BMW 328xi, and Honda Civic Si. I enjoy the Impreza better than any for several reasons. Manual transmission is fun. Just under optimal power at 170 hp (basic model) but more than enough for 95% of needs. Can drive it anywhere, anytime, any weather virtually without worry (like a mountain goat). Better than rated milage (avg 27 mpg). Very practical for dragging around stuff for kids at college. Highly rated safety pick. The BMW is twice the price and not as much fun to drive. Will probably buy another in the future when needed. Luv it.




Disappointed

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

traded my awesomely outstanding 2001 2.5rs coupe, for a 4door outback sport. have been driving it for about 15 months/10,000 miles. handles great, esp. in snow. power is subdued. mpg 22- 25 vs my 4runner 21-24. problems shifting into reverse. noisy esp. with roof racks in cold weather. nice weather package. battery issues, car would not crank a couple of times, had to charge battery. worry about not starting.




Great so far

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

I purchased the car with my work discount, plus end of the year 0.0% financing, so it turned out to be a great deal. I wasn't sure that I was going to like the car at first, because I switched over from a SUV. But I realized quick that I made a good decision. Comparing to my old truck, mpg is not bad, mainly city driving I get almost 25 average. Being 6'2 the car is pretty comfortable with the help of the adjusting seat. I definitely recommend the 5spd instead of the automatic, which is kinda sluggish.




First time owner

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

This is my very first Subaru car (2009 Impreza Outback Sports), and I'm loving every minute of it. I've test drove the base model version, and I'll tell you that the Impreza Outback Sports was a very good choice. Also, I've driven the Outback Legacy as a loaner car, and I'm not very impress by the way it drives. Impreza Outback Sports is very fun to drive, very smooth on bumps and pot holes, and hugs the road very well. Although the gas mileage is under subpar, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. Furthermore, what I really like about the vehicle is the interior room, and the seats are very comfortable.




Love the newer model

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

I just traded in my 2004 Outback Sport for the 2009 because I loved my 2004 so much but it was beginning to cost too much to maintain after 135,000 miles. I thought I was getting a new version of my old car, but this one is like driving a different car and I LOVE it. It's got lots of spunk, gas mileage is decent so far, and just overall fun to drive because it holds the road and doesn't let go, even through rough roads under construction. She feels solid and well-built, and am once again so glad I chose this Subaru model. I've driven Foresters as loaner cars that didn't feel quite as solid with the same level of quick response, and this car is a few thousand $$ less expensive.




First time subaru owner

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Wanted AW drive but didn't want to break the bank (again). Got the 5 speed and it is so much fun to drive. Really hugs the road in turns and is fabulous in the Maine Snowy winters!! Added XM, Subwoofer so the stereo is fine. Gas mileage is 30-33 in mixed driving. Traded in an '04 Murano AWD and the Impreza is much better in the snow.



Full 2009 Subaru Impreza Review

What's New for 2009

After a full redesign last year, the 2009 Subaru Impreza receives a number of significant changes to the high-performance WRX model. Responding to complaints that the WRX had become too soft, Subaru firmed up the suspension for '09, and there's 41 extra horsepower for good measure. Also, the '09 WRX is only available with a manual transmission, as last year's WRX automatic is now known as the Impreza 2.5 GT. As for base Imprezas, they pick up standard four-wheel disc brakes, stability control and Subaru's incline start assist or "hill-holder" feature for the manual transmission.

Introduction

Since the 1990s, the Subaru Impreza -- particularly the hopped-up WRX version -- has enjoyed a cultlike following, initially fueled by its success in both real (World Rally Championship) and make-believe ("Gran Turismo") racing. Earlier this decade, the WRX finally made it stateside, giving both Speed Channel and PlayStation junkies something a little more satisfying to manipulate with their hands besides a TV remote or video game controller. However, last year's complete redesign of the Impreza lineup left those die-hard fans angry at the Japanese performance car gods for softening the WRX virtually beyond recognition. The 2009 Subaru Impreza should assuage their concerns, as the WRX model is back to its rip-snorting self, and the base Impreza continues to be an intriguing alternative to the compact-car status quo.

Last year's WRX was indeed a head-scratcher. On top of the bland exterior styling endemic to all new Imprezas, Subaru thought it would be a good idea to soften the suspension of this edgy turbocharged model. Like the tepid styling, the latter "improvement" was ostensibly intended to imbue the Impreza with broader appeal to the masses. The car's ride quality was no doubt improved, but it gave this former street thug all the attitude of a Corolla, albeit one with a turbocharged engine.

Fortunately, the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX got its mojo back, thanks to a firmer suspension and 41 more hp. As if to emphasize its rediscovered high-performance identity, the WRX is now only available with a manual transmission. However, last year's version of the softer, gentler, less-powerful WRX with an automatic transmission actually continues on, rechristened as the Impreza 2.5 GT.

As for the regular 2009 Subaru Impreza, it's a midpacker in the highly competitive compact segment. Strong engines, standard all-wheel drive and solid crash test scores are certainly points in its favor. However, compared with rivals such as the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mitsubishi Lancer and Volkswagen Jetta, those assets are offset by subpar fuel economy, an outdated automatic transmission and the lack of a few high-tech features such as fully integrated Bluetooth (you must buy the microphone separately), keyless entry and ignition and a hard-drive-based navigation system. As a high-performance street rod, the WRX (or the even more capable WRX STI) is a top choice. As a compact sedan or hatchback, the regular Impreza holds its own, but we'd recommend taking a close look at its many appealing rivals as well.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Subaru Impreza is available as a compact sedan or a four-door hatchback. There are five main trim levels: 2.5 i, Outback Sport, 2.5 GT, WRX and WRX STI.

Base 2.5 i models come with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a CD/MP3 player, cruise control, tilt steering and full power accessories. A touch of luxury is available via the premium package, which adds foglights, alloy wheels, a power sunroof, an upgraded 10-speaker audio system (with a CD changer, an auxiliary input jack and steering-wheel-mounted controls) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The premium package is also the only way to get the optional satellite radio and navigation system.

The Outback Sport comes in the hatchback body style only and features much of the 2.5 i premium package's equipment as standard along with a raised suspension for extra ground clearance, 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille, a two-tone exterior color scheme, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, unique cloth upholstery and a windshield wiper de-icer. The 2.5 GT is essentially last year's WRX with an automatic transmission, and it comes with a 224-hp turbocharged engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a power sunroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control and electroluminescent gauges.

The Impreza WRX features a 265-hp turbocharged engine, an aero body kit (including front and rear spoilers and side ground effects), 17-inch alloy wheels fitted with high-performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, sport front seats and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls. As with the 2.5 i, there's a premium package for the WRX that adds a power sunroof, the upgraded audio system, heated front seats and side-view mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.

The WRX STI ups the ante with even more power, front and rear limited-slip differentials, unique body styling, an upgraded suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, aggressive sport seats with Alcantara upholstery and a CD changer. The STI also includes SI-Drive, a three-mode system that allows the driver to modulate throttle response. The BBS package adds BBS wheels and foglights; 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 2.5 i and Outback Sport models are powered by a horizontally opposed 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 170 hp and 170 pound-feet of torque. The Impreza 2.5 GT receives a turbocharged version of that engine that produces 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. The WRX has a higher-output 2.5-liter turbo rated at 265 hp and 244 lb-ft. The WRX STI is more potent still, with 305 hp and 290 lb-ft. All engines send their power to all four wheels. Transmission choices for the 2.5 i and Outback Sport are a five-speed manual with incline start assist (which holds brake pressure for about a second when the clutch is depressed to simplify uphill starts) or a four-speed automatic with manual shift control. The 2.5 GT comes only with the automatic, and the WRX is five-speed manual only. The WRX STI comes with an exclusive six-speed manual transmission.

Performance of the non-turbocharged Impreza models is adequate, accompanied by Subaru's distinctive boxer grumble, but the turbocharged 2.5 GT and WRX provide more thrilling performance. The WRX STI is quicker still; in performance testing, we hustled this top-dog Impreza to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and flew through the quarter-mile in 13.3 ticks.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2009 Subaru Impreza start at 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for non-turbocharged manual-shift Imprezas, and they go down from there. The automatic transmission exacts a 1-mpg penalty on the highway in base models, and the 2.5 GT model clocks in at 19/24/21 mpg. The WRX is rated at 18/25/21 mpg, and the STI predictably brings up the rear at 17/23/19 mpg. These ratings are generally below average, particularly for the base Impreza.

Safety

Standard on all Impreza models are antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints to help mitigate crash-induced whiplash.

In government crash testing, the Impreza scored a perfect five stars across the board for driver and passenger frontal and front side impacts and four stars for rear side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Impreza earned the top ratings of "Good" for frontal offset and side impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Larger door openings and rear doors that open to 75 degrees allow easy access to the 2009 Subaru Impreza's cabin. The doors have framed side windows -- a first for the Impreza and a rarity among Subarus -- that help quiet the interior. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat comes in the sedan and four-door hatch. Overall interior materials quality is solid, and the gauges and the center stack are attractively designed. As such, the Impreza's interior looks and feels a cut above that of many rivals.

Driving Impressions

The base Impreza handles satisfactorily for a compact car, and its tenacious all-wheel-drive grip is a boon in both spirited cornering and cold-weather driving. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer has more aural character than that of your typical economy car four-cylinder, and it delivers adequate punch when called on. The "new" 2.5 GT is essentially last year's WRX with the automatic transmission, which means it's decently fast in a straight line, but its performance is perceptibly blunted by the lazy four-speed auto. Moreover, the GT (like the previous WRX) is uninspiring when the road gets twisty, owing to its incongruously soft suspension. The reborn WRX, however, is back with a vengeance, featuring upgraded power (not that it was exactly slow in the first place) and considerably more athletic and confidence-inspiring moves through the corners, thanks to its firmer suspension and dedicated (summer only) performance tires. The WRX STI kicks it up a few more notches via its twin limited-slip differentials, powerful Brembo brakes, short-throw six-speed manual shifter and potent rush of acceleration whenever the throttle is tickled.

Talk About The 2009 Impreza

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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