This is a long term rental replacing a Mazda 3. First the Impreza feels more like a Buick, it floats. Im used a hard suspension with precise steering, I dont have it here. The car floats over the road, which is nice for long trips, but no fun on twisty roads. The suspension in turns feels every bump and skips instead of holding the car in place. OEM tyres are crap for handling. The Auto tranny doesnt hold a gear or downshifts on its own going down the hill. The manual shift also does hold the gear (yes it shifts down even though 2 is shown on the dash). Engine has good power, but tranny reduces it. Comfy inside, good layout, nice equipment.
Brakes, they are solid, nice power from stand still or passing, great dash layout and controls, good support in seats front & back. The MPG puter is cool, avg 26 in the city, which is good but I have light foot. Impreza was on my short list to buy, no more, it doesn't feel like driver's car.
If you want to please the 65+ Buick crowd, keep the suspension as is. The rear view mirror in the middle of windshield needs to be moved up. Tranny - go talk with Mazda and put a 5 or 6 speed. Looks are horrible but 2011 will address it.