2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart vs. 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX Comparison Test

2009 Subaru Impreza Sedan

(2.5L 4-cyl. Turbo AWD 5-speed Manual w/Premium Package)
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Track Video

    Watch the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Track Video on Edmunds’ Inside Line | September 25, 2009

3 Videos , 32 Photos

  • Comparison Test
  • Second Opinions
  • Top 5 Features
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2009 Subaru Impreza Specs and Performance
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Specs and Performance

Stuff the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX into a corner, and you know it deserves a rematch with the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.

It's no less refined than the 2008 WRX, but it goes in without paralyzing understeer and doesn't keel over as soon as you load the outside tires. Provoke it and you'll get some attitude. When you're back on the throttle hard at the exit, there's no rush to grab 3rd gear. Rescued from last year's rev-starved funk, the 2.5-liter boxer-4 engine wants to see its 6,500-rpm redline again.

Most important, the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX isn't trying so hard to distance you from the drive. It rewards your efforts in the cockpit — one of the things that made the previous-generation WRX so likable.

Probably this is also why the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart is so involving to drive. Introduced last summer, this Lancer Ralliart is the long-awaited head-on challenge to the WRX dynasty and it kicked the 2008 WRX while it was down. Even compared to the 2009 WRX, Mitsubishi's Ralliart is a flashier package. It has mechanical limited-slip differentials both front and rear, a very neat automated dual-clutch gearbox, Recaro seats and the schnoz of a tiger shark. Evo Jr. has a nice stiff chassis, too.

If the homely gray Subaru has any shot at winning here, it will have to do more with less.

How Much?
A relatively low $28,160 price tag is a good start for our 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX sedan.

This figure includes our test car's Premium package ($2,500), which provides passable but unbranded audio, a sunroof, foglights and heated seats and mirrors. It's really too much money for a not very useful kit, so we'd cheap out here. Notably, the WRX sedan costs $500 less than the hatchback. Take a long look at our tester's tail and you'll understand why.

Mitsubishi's Lancer Ralliart undercuts the Premium package-equipped WRX sedan with a $27,185 base price — but only if you don't mind sitting high on pedestrian GTS seats.

To smoosh your glutes into Recaros, you'll have to spend another $2,750 for an option group that also includes HID headlights, hearty Rockford Fosgate sound, a CD changer and satellite radio. Add $150 for Rotor Glow paint, and this 2009 Lancer Ralliart lands at $30,065.

The Money's in the Drivetrains
So the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart costs $1,900 more, but remember that it comes with what amounts to an automatic transmission. Mitsu's six-speed Twin-Clutch Sequential Sportshift Transmission (TC-SST) is flexible enough to handle both commuter traffic and back-road work with minimal compromise.

And whether you use the paddles or cede all control to the computer, the Ralliart's dual-clutch gearbox is invariably smoother and more expedient with gearchanges than you are when working the WRX's conventional five-speed manual.

Both cars have permanent all-wheel drive as standard, but the Lancer Ralliart goes higher-tech here as well, borrowing from the Evolution IX its Active Center Differential (ACD) hardware, which features driver-selectable pavement, gravel and snow settings. Subaru offers a similar clutch-type limited-slip differential on the STI, but the 2009 WRX has a less costly viscous-coupling unit.

These Numbers Matter
Getting Evo-grade hardware in a Lancer Ralliart is cool. But when your budget is limited (and it is, or else you'd be reading some Evo vs. STI test), whatever car you buy should be putting up numbers that justify its go-faster extras.

Accordingly, we're weighting our instrumented testing results a hefty 30 percent in this comparison.

In acceleration testing, this approach favors the WRX. The 2008 model was already quicker than the Lancer Ralliart. With the Subie's turbocharged, 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder making 265 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 244 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm in 2009, the gap widens.

It's Really This Quick?
The 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX is quicker than you can fully appreciate from the driver seat. The car doesn't like to be launched hard, and although the shifter is smoother through the gates than other Subies we've sampled, it's still notchy.

You get used to it. Especially when you realize your car hits 60 mph in 5.2 seconds (5.0 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). The WRX also runs a sub-14 quarter-mile — 13.7 seconds at 98.7 mph.

Some suggest that the 2009 WRX will out-drag an STI, but the quickest STI we've tested ran a 4.5-second 0-60 time and a 13.3-second quarter at 100.3 mph. Still, there's no denying that the Everyman's 'Rex has moved closer to the STI.

And, says our resident Evo expert, Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh, that's no bad thing: "The 2009 WRX is going to make the Evo better."

Harder Launch for the Ralliart
Since the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart lacks launch control, we brake-torque it and manage a few runs before the twin-clutch box delivers the fateful "slow down" message and decouples its clutches until everything cools off.

Our footwork shaves almost a second off the Ralliart's times, but it still runs a half-second behind the WRX with a 5.8-second 0-60 time (5.5 seconds with 1 foot of rollout) and a 14.2-second quarter-mile at 94.9 mph.

Evo Jr.'s turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline-4 develops 253 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm — enough to get the Ralliart sideways if you want. But 237 hp at 6,000 rpm doesn't go that far in a 3,500-pound car.

On public roads, the 2009 Lancer Ralliart feels a touch sluggish off the line, and it's weaker through the midrange than the WRX. Drive it hard, though, and the dual-clutch transmission largely masks these vulnerabilities by delivering rapid-fire shifts.

Tires Revive the WRX
Once we get a taste of the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX's newfound speed and renewed appetite for cornering, we don't want to stop driving it on Malibu roads like Piuma and Yerba Buena.

Our feelings are backed up by hard data from the test track, as the 2009 WRX averages 68.5 mph through the slalom and 0.87g on the skid pad — both good numbers for this class. Still, this isn't quite a night-and-day improvement through the cones, as even with its soggier suspension setup, the 2008 WRX ran a respectable 67.7 mph. We suspect the 2009 WRX is benefiting most from its superior tires. Instead of last year's 205/50R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE92 all-season rubber, the '09 Subie wears wider, stickier 225/45R17 Dunlop SP Sport 01 summer tires.

How good are these Dunlops? The 2009 Subaru WRX stops from 60 mph in 107 feet. Last year's car had the same brakes but stopped in 121 feet. Our long-term STI stopped in 109 feet.

Tires Ruin the Ralliart
Driven on the same roads, the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart corners with less body roll than Subaru's WRX. Its steering is also better weighted and richer in feedback. And with all those limited-slip differentials helping to adjust its cornering attitude, we expect to get on the throttle earlier and harder.

But we can't, because the Lancer Ralliart wears 215/45R18 Yokohama Advan A10s, which are optimistically classified as summer tires. These Yokohamas push so severely that all you can do is slow way down for tight corners and squeeze back on the gas, anticipating a tail-out exit. It's a terrible waste of Evo IX kit.

At the track, the Ralliart goes through the slalom at 65.6 mph. That's 3 mph slower than the WRX — an eternity in our world. The Mitsu manages only 0.80g on the skid pad.

Braking is the bigger worry on public roads. More than once we find ourselves hurtling down a hill into a tight turn and really hoping the tires will eventually dig in to slow the car down. Through it all, brake pedal feel is solid and reassuring, so our brain is telling us the Lancer should have stopped 10 feet ago.

During testing, the 2009 Lancer Ralliart stops from 60 mph in 127 feet on the first run. All subsequent stops are in the 130s.

We Take a Time Out
We're sure a stickier set of tires is all the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart needs.

But we don't want to speculate. Conveniently, our friends at Mitsubishi have a set of 215/45R18 93Y Bridgestone Potenza RE050As they're willing to swap onto the Lancer Ralliart. These are the same tires the Mazdaspeed 3 wears. New ones go for $215 apiece on Tire Rack.

So we run our braking and handling tests again. (Take note, Subie fans: These test results do not count toward the final score.) It turns out these RE050As are very worn, so we don't see much improvement on the skid pad with a performance of 0.82g, but the difference in the slalom is huge, as the Ralliart now goes through at 69.3 mph.

"The Bridgestones give the Ralliart a far more neutral cornering attitude," Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton says. "Turn-in is far more trustworthy, and when the tires let go at the limit, they do so in unison, so the car drifts as a whole rather than one end or the other."

The Lancer Ralliart's 60-mph-to-zero braking distance improves to 120 feet. Hard brake pads and/or non-ideal ABS tuning are likely why we're not seeing a more dramatic drop.

But there's more to better tires than better numbers. During a quick run up Glendora Mountain Road, the 2009 Lancer Ralliart on RE050As stops more predictably and emboldens us to try faster cornering speeds. It's no Evo, but Junior is more fun now.

WRX Wins by 4.9 Points
Although it doesn't turn into a corner like an old-gen WRX, the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX is the better of these two sport compacts. It doesn't matter that the 2009 WRX lacks fancy differentials and a twin-clutch gearbox. It's quicker, lighter and cheaper than the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.

Still, had our instrumented tests with the Lancer Ralliart on RE050As counted, the Subie's lead would narrow to 1.8 points. Factor in the higher evaluation scores a Ralliart with stickier rubber would likely get and the Mitsu might squeeze out a victory. The fact that tires matter so much says a lot about this rivalry. In spite of their different hardware, the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX and 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart are so closely matched that it doesn't take much to tip the scales.

There's also a lot of emotion that we can't measure. Although the 2009 WRX is the winner here, we can't agree on which one feels better on our favorite roads.

This happens when we test Evos and STIs, too. The 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX might be lesser heroes, but they want to be driven just as hard. If that's your thing, neither one's going to let you down.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton says:
Since these two cars first went to fisticuffs about six years ago (has it been that long already?), picking a favorite since then has largely been a matter of deciding which driving dynamic (Mitsu or Subie) better suited the driver. On paper, they were always in a dead heat. Historically, I've enjoyed Subaru's more chuckable personality, but I'm jumping ship this time.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evos of the past have been typically set up for high cornering limits, yet with a chassis balance that's stubbornly neutral. The Subaru Impreza WRXs usually have had slightly lower handling limits, but were also predisposed to changing cornering attitude with throttle position and steering input. The WRXs simply had a couple more tools in their toolboxes. More tools; more better.

This time around, it's the Ralliart. And if Mitsu has learned anything, it would appear to be that lively is better than stubborn. It's more alive and more dexterous.

On paper, the Ralliart might look like it's at a disadvantage (the WRX wipes it clean, really), but I'd still rather drive the Mitsubishi because it's more engaging. And I'll forgive Subaru for the misstep it took on the 2008 model and the doughy suspension on the 2009 model, but even with its recently recovered slalom and skid-pad performances, this WRX just doesn't blip my fun meter like previous generations did.

It feels as if Subaru — and the WRX in particular — has lost its edge in the attempt to appeal to a wider range of potential buyers, while Mitsubishi seems to have focused more on the enthusiast driver and provided the Ralliart for those who can't justify the $40K for an Evo. It was only icing on the cake that the "what if" tire swap made the Ralliart more competitive with the WRX, because the Mitsubishi is really the better car here.

Vehicle Testing Assistant Mike Magrath says:
They say you can't put lipstick on a pig. More specifically, Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt says this about the mid-model refresh of the 2009 Subaru WRX that's supposed to keep pace with the newest variant of the Mitsubishi Lancer, the half-Evo Ralliart.

In a way, he's right. If you choose any other iteration of this comparison between the Subie and the Mitsu, the Lancer wins. Step down to the entry-level Impreza and the battle is easily lost to the taut, rewarding and attractive Lancer GTS. Climb up the ladder to STI and the sharply focused Evo walks away with a decisive victory over the pudgy hatch from Subaru. But it's here in the middle between the extremes of affordability and performance that the WRX walks away with a very important victory over its Mitsubishi counterpart.

The WRX doesn't have the nimble feel of the Ralliart, and its manual transmission is positively manual compared to the twin-clutch automatic in the Mitsu. But it's faster. It's lighter. It has more cornering grip. It has incredible brakes. And it mercifully has too much tire for the chassis (you can see the consequences of the reverse in the Ralliart, which has tires apparently chosen by accountants who ride the bus). Besides that, the WRX is more functional, comfortable and capable.

How is the final verdict here even debatable? The 20-foot difference in braking distance between the WRX and the Ralliart is the difference between nailing an apex and nailing a pine tree. Subaru invented this market segment with the WRX and it knows where to spend on the package and where not to. So what if it's a little ugly?

Schmidt says you can't put lipstick on a pig. I say it depends on what your other options are. Pucker up, Subie.

We're keeping it simple with top features in this comparison test. The way we see it, if you have enough money to fritter away on extravagances like a factory navigation system, you'd just go ahead and get a full-on Evolution X or WRX STI. Granted, there are a few choice add-ons we'd get on a 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart or 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX. Otherwise, though, we'd save our money for tires and coil-overs.

Features

Features
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX
Bluetooth S N/A
HID headlights with manual leveling O N/A
Performance seats O N/A
Satellite radio O O*
Telescoping steering wheel N/A S

    *option available but not present on test car

Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional
N/A: Not Available

Bluetooth: Perfect drivers don't talk on the phone when they drive, but none of us is perfect and an increasing number of states have hands-free laws. Though road noise levels in the Lancer Ralliart might force you to shout at your callers, we like the fact that you can pair your phone to the car and listen through its speakers — rather than sit there with an aftermarket Bluetooth headset precariously clipped to your ear.

HID headlights with manual leveling: You never know what time the urge to drive your favorite back road will strike. You also never know when you'll find yourself on a dirt road, trying to turn it into some kind of rally stage. And when visibility is poor, a basic set of high-intensity-discharge xenon headlights with manual level adjustment is a nice option to have.

Performance seats: You're going to do some hard cornering in either of these cars, so you need seats that keep any loose, dangly bits from flying about. The Mitsu's optional Recaros do an excellent job here, as the cloth upholstery is grippy and the lateral bolsters are large and sturdy. In contrast, the Subie's front seats have small, flimsy side bolsters, and their slippery upholstery makes it easy to slide out of your preferred position.

Satellite radio: Satellite radio has yet to reach necessity status, but should you forget to pack your iPod and your aux cable and your recharger cord, you will never be without decent music and game-day play-by-play as you drive to faraway racetracks. A Sirius receiver is included as part of the Recaro Sport Package on the Lancer Ralliart, and you get a six-month trial subscription. On the WRX, you can choose between XM and Sirius (a $453 upgrade bundled with a subwoofer on cars without the nav system), and you get a three-month trial subscription. In reality, the programming differences between Sirius and XM have begun to blur since the former acquired the latter earlier this year.

Telescoping steering wheel: Feeling comfortable and relaxed behind the wheel means everything when you're driving with intent. As such, we're prepared to give up a lot in the way of luxuries to get a steering wheel with telescopic adjustment. The 2009 WRX has it as standard, but you can't get one at all in the 2009 Ralliart. The upshot is that no matter how good those Recaro seats might seem, the Mitsu's driving position never feels quite right.

Final Rankings

Final Rankings
Item Weight 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
Personal Rating 2.5% 75.0 75.0
Recommended Rating 2.5% 75.0 75.0
Evaluation Score 15% 73.8 74.4
Feature Content 15% 26.7 60.0
Performance 30% 100.0 72.4
Fuel Consumption 10% 100.0 95.0
Price 25% 100.0 93.2
Total Score 100.0% 83.8 78.4
Final Ranking 1 2
$28,160 $30,065

Scoring Explanation

Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor ranked the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX in order of preference based on which he or she would buy if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): Also purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor ranked the cars in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be better for the average person shopping for a scrappy compact sedan with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine.

Evaluation Score (15%): Each participating editor ranked each vehicle based on a comprehensive 28-point evaluation. The evaluation covered everything from handling to exterior design. Scoring was calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (15%): For this category, the editors picked the top five features they thought would be most beneficial to those of you shopping for a (relatively) affordable AWD performance car. Scores are based on the number of actual features each test car has versus the total possible (five). Standard and optional equipment were taken into consideration.

Performance (30%): Both cars were put through a comprehensive battery of instrumented tests, including 0-60-mph acceleration, quarter-mile runs and panic stops from 60 mph. They were also run through a 600-foot slalom course to test transitional handling, and around a skid pad to determine ultimate grip. Each car was awarded points based on how close it came to the better performing vehicle's score in each category.

Fuel Consumption (10%): The scores listed are the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the car with the highest EPA combined fuel economy rating (55 percent city plus 45 percent highway). The slightly more efficient WRX (21 mpg combined rating) received a score of 100, with the Lancer Ralliart (20 mpg combined) receiving a lesser score based on the fact that its combined mileage rating is 5 percent lower.

Price (25%): The scores listed are the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the less expensive of the two cars in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the cheaper WRX ($28,160) received a score of 100, with the more expensive Lancer Ralliart ($30,065) receiving a lesser score based on how much it costs in relation.

Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeSubaru
ModelImpreza
StyleWRX 4dr Sedan AWD w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
Base MSRP$28,160
Options on test vehicleNone
As-tested MSRP$28,160
Drivetrain
Drive typeAll-wheel drive
Engine typeTurbocharged horizontally-opposed four-cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2457cc (150cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)8.4:1
Redline (rpm)6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)265 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)244 @ 4,000
Transmission type5-speed manual
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 3.166, II = 1.882, III = 1.296, IV = 0.972, V = 0.738, R = 3.333, Final Drive = 3.90
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent double wishbone, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Steering typeEngine speed-sensitive, hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)15.0:1
Tire brandDunlop
Tire modelSP Sport 01
Tire typeSummer
Tire size, front225/45R17 91W
Tire size, rear225/45R17 91W
Wheel size17-by-7.0-inch front and rear
Wheel materialAluminum alloy
Brakes, front11.6-inch ventilated disc with two-piston floating caliper
Brakes, rear11.3-inch solid disc with single-piston floating caliper
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.5
0-60 mph (sec.)5.2
0-75 mph (sec.)7.9
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)13.7 @ 98.7
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)5
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)27
60-0 mph (ft.)107
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)68.5
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.87
Sound level @ idle (dB)46
@ Full throttle (dB)77
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)67.5
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsIt has been years since we've enjoyed an aggressive launch with at least some wheelspin from a WRX, and this year is no different. The best launch was a bit of a bogger with an aggressive clutch drop, but it didn't feel good. Attempts at slipping the clutch were not rewarded. Shifter feels far more positive and smoother than before, and power delivery feels broader.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsDespite a little wiggle in the rear of the car, brakes felt powerful and trustworthy. No ABS flutter and little evidence of fade. Pedal feel, though, was a little mushy -- otherwise, excellent brakes.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsSlalom: Mediocre turn-in and slightly "doughy" feel to the steering is obviously due to long-travel suspension, but there's plenty of compliance and grip, too. Though not as sharp as it could be, there's an ability to rotate off-throttle and leap for the exit on-throttle with the front tires grabbing/pulling the nose where it's pointed. Whatever "it" was, Subaru put "it" back this time around.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1121
Temperature (°F)61.9
Wind (mph, direction)7 mph from the southwest
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)18 City / 25 Highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)18.4
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)16.9
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,229
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,232
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)57/43
Length (in.)180
Width (in.)68.5
Height (in.)58.1
Wheelbase (in.)103.1
Track, front (in.)58.9
Track, rear (in.)59.3
Turning circle (ft.)35.4
Legroom, front (in.)43.5
Legroom, rear (in.)33.5
Headroom, front (in.)39.3
Headroom, rear (in.)37.5
Shoulder room, front (in.)54.8
Shoulder room, rear (in.)53.2
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)11.3
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 years / 36,000 miles
Powertrain5 years / 60,000 miles
Corrosion5 years / Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance3 years / 36,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist, electronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionNot available
Tire-pressure monitoring systemTire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemNot available
NHTSA crash test, driver5 stars
NHTSA crash test, passenger5 stars
NHTSA crash test, side front5 stars
NHTSA crash test, side rear4 stars
NHTSA rollover resistance4 stars
Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeMitsubishi
ModelLancer
StyleRalliart 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
Base MSRP$27,185
Options on test vehicleRecaro Sport Package ($2,750 -- includes Recaro front seats, HID headlights, Rockford-Fosgate sound, in-dash CD changer and Sirius Satellite Radio), Premium Paint Charge ($150).
As-tested MSRP$30,065
Drivetrain
Drive typeAll-wheel drive
Engine typeTurbocharged inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in)1,998cc (122cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake and exhaust valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)9
Redline (rpm)6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)237 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)253 @ 3,000
Transmission type6-speed dual-clutch automated manual
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 3.655, II = 2.368, III = 1.754, IV = 1.322, V = 0.983, VI = 0.731, R = 4.011, Final Drive = 4.062
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil springs, semi-trailing arms, and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-sensitive, hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)15.2:1
Tire brandYokohama
Tire modelAdvan A10
Tire typeSummer
Tire size, frontP215/45R18 89W
Tire size, rearP215/45R18 89W
Wheel size18 X 7.5 front and rear
Wheel materialAluminum alloy
Brakes, front11.6-inch ventilated disc with two-piston floating caliper
Brakes, rear11.9-inch solid disc with single-piston floating caliper
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.6
0-60 mph (sec.)5.8
0-75 mph (sec.)8.7
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)14.2 @ 94.9
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)5.5
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)31
60-0 mph (ft.)127
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)65.6
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.8
Sound level @ idle (dB)47.1
@ Full throttle (dB)75.7
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)69.4
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsUnlike our previous Ralliart test, we whacked both the brake and the throttle pedals, and the results were dramatically faster (and more abusive). Doing so provides a decent launch, and the transmission's Sport Drive mode takes care of the rest with quick, crisp shifts at redline. Too many brake-torque launches will cause the clutches to overheat and triggers a "Slow Down" on the display and simultaneously decouple the clutch.
Braking ratingAverage
Braking commentsWhile pedal feel is excellent, offering good feedback and resistance, there is simply not enough tire grip to slow the car. No bite, no ABS pulse, no slowing when you stand on the pedal. I'd almost give this a "Poor" rating had it not been for the excellent pedal feel.
Handling ratingGood
Handling commentsSlalom: There's only one way to make a fast pass here, and the choreography that's required is difficult to repeat: Enter with "maintenance throttle," wait for understeer to set in by the 4th-5th cone, then lift to rotate, then go to wide-open throttle to regain control at the exit. Steering feels great, but the throttle response lags and the tires give up way before the chassis does. Skid pad: Easy to find the tires' limits here with screaming understeer on the limit. The Ralliart is reluctant to tuck the nose in when the throttle is closed, too.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (°F)62.3
Wind (mph, direction)4.0 from the south
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)17 City / 25 Highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)18.4
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)14.5
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,462
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,508
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)60/40
Length (in.)180
Width (in.)69.4
Height (in.)58.7
Wheelbase (in.)103.7
Track, front (in.)60.2
Track, rear (in.)60.2
Turning circle (ft.)32.8
Legroom, front (in.)42.2
Legroom, rear (in.)36.1
Headroom, front (in.)39.6
Headroom, rear (in.)36.9
Shoulder room, front (in.)54.7
Shoulder room, rear (in.)54.3
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)10
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper5 years / 60,000 miles
Powertrain10 years / 100,000 miles
Corrosion7 years / 100,000 miles
Roadside assistance5 years / Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsDriver only
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsElectronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionNot available
Tire-pressure monitoring systemTire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemNot available
NHTSA crash test, driverNot tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot tested
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Subaru Impreza in VA is:

$137 per month*
* Explanation
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