I got the manual, I'm really happy with it. I'm a taller guy and usually hit my head on the roof of most small cars when I sit straight up or lean forward, not the impreza, plenty of room. After test driving a Mazda3, Elantra, Civic, and Toyota Matrix, and renting all sorts of economy cars all summer, I was surprised at how much more powerful it felt, how much better it handled and how much nicer the interior looked than most of the other cars in this price range. It feels great on the highway and the steering feels tight, handles nice around corners, the other cars I test drove felt sloppy. The seats and seating position are more comfortable than most small cars which tend to feel awkward.
It drives really good, is comfortable, and has more than enough power to feel fun (at least with the manual). Even without the all wheel drive it would be better than most similarly priced cars, and if you want the AWD, nothing else even comes close. Everything but the stereo system is pretty solid.
One of the first things you notice when you first get in the car is WOW this "premium" stereo sounds like junk! No Bluetooth. $400 to enable sat radio. It would be nice if it had automatic climate control instead of the hi/low hot/cold so I wouldn't have to be fiddling with it all the time.