I've put just over 10K miles on my WRX & I have a smile pasted on my face every time I drive it. It's extremely safe, capable, and fun-to-drive. To enhance performance I added a Cobb downpipe, a (second-hand) SPT exhaust, and a "street" ECU tune from a local Subie tuning guru. I also added slightly thicker sway bars & replaced a few suspension & chassis bushings for a tauter ride (I suggest Whiteline products - they're top-notch). Now the car is nearing it's performance potential, but it still delivers a very comfortable ride on Oklahoma's junky roads. I looked at cars in the same category (turbo & 4-doors), but the AWD & hatchback sealed the deal for me.
Fun to drive, AWD, 265+ HP, agile handling with a few minor upgrades, easily modified, great performance vs. price, 5-door styling is growing on me.
Stereo is garbage, climate control temp modulation doesn't work well (2 temps - Cold or Hot), carpet is cheap & holds grass & debris, paint is very fragile, body panels extremely thin & dentable.
This car is fast!!! This car is also a gas sipper. In the fast department I ran a 14.3 @ 94.4 mph with a 2.0 sixty foot. Mind you, this was at 5,300 Feet!! I am just shy of 8,000 miles on the clock and am averaging 26.1 mpg and 29 - 31 on the highway. I live in Thornton CO so the all wheel drive is a must. No other car at this price point offers all that this car can deliver!
265 HP and all wheel drive.
Should come with a short throw shifter and lose the hill hold feature.
I just love how practical this car is for its performance. It's a complete blast to drive, but offers excellent utility. It handles great (I added a rear STI sway bar). With a few parts & some tuning, this thing will embarrass cars costing twice as much! As the engine breaks in, my hwy mileage has increased to around 26 mpg. And this is one of the few small cars that's comfortable for me to drive (I'm 6' 5"). I'm extremely pleased with my WRX!
This is my second Subie, also have an '08 OBS. This gets about as good mpg as the 173 hp auto in the OBS. I've gotten as high as 29.4 on the road and generally get over 27 even with occasional passing bursts. Town seems to be in the 23 range. Very happy about this. I've owned most everything performance wise, Vettes (2), BMW, Porsche, Audi's (3), Mercedes (4), Lexus. This is my 63rd car and it is a real winner for a fraction of what I've paid for some other iron. No it doesn't have Porsche precision or BMW steering, or the finesse of an Audi, but it gets the job done on par with any of them and it's loads of fun I'm sold on Subaru. Car and Driver article sold me on the WRX over the STI.
SPT, Catback exhaust... delicious sound, short shifter, light years improvement over the '08, great power and torque, good handling in the twisties in spite of soft and compliant ride.
Xenon light option, 6 speed standard on WRX, more accurate steering, better interior plastics. 18" wheel/tire option for WRX, a tad more suspension stiffening... this thing rides as smooth as my '08 OBS and doesn't need to; that's why I have two Subies.
Coming from an 04 Acura TSX, I was looking for something a little sportier and this fit the bill perfectly. 24k for a car that'll run mid 13s in the quarter, mid 20s for mpg, and have the utility of an AWD wagon (I live in New England) is unbeatable. I considered the MS3 and even the Cobalt SS but FWD on those was a major drawback. Plus the Cobalt looks like a Cobalt. The 08/09 MY Impreza wagons are the first Imprezas I've cared for stylistically (the rear of the sedan version is hideous IMO). I just broke the 1k mark but I've opened it up a few times already and man, the power is a huge improvement over my Acura. Averaged 25.5 mpg in single digit temps on a recent road trip too.
Power, AWD, color (Blue Mica), MP3 capability on the head unit (probably not a big thing these days but it's new to me), um... 0 - 60 in 4.7 seconds
6-speed, shorter shifts (that will be remedied by a kartboy setup as soon as warm weather returns though), better stereo options (though that's easy enough to remedy too).