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2008 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD w/Premium Package, VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A)
I bought this car in February of 2008. I'm not a big fan of the 4dr, but I do love my 5dr wagon. I had a great buying experience and I got a great deal. I love the way the car drives. Great all-around ride and suspension. Lots of power. It has very little turbo lag. It's great on hills. With the seats folded down, there is a lot of space. The car is very practical, reliable, and mostly importantly fun.
The turbo engine. The 5dr wagon design. Friendly ergonomics.
2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD w/Premium Package, VDC (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
This is my first Subaru, and I'm impressed so far. The ride is a near perfect blend of road feel and impact isolation. Not even major potholes transfer into the car as harsh impacts. The steering and brakes are almost perfectly weighted, though I had hoped for more road feel and feedback from a Subaru. They got most of the interior details right (the steering wheel buttons light up!), but some cost cutting is definitely visible. I think they did it in the right places, it's certainly forgivable in exchange for AWD and an engine that makes 30 more HP than competitors do. Overall it drives very nicely for a sub-20K car is getting 5-6 MPG more than my CR-V that had the same MPG rating.
Class leading power from the unique and fun boxer engine, comfortable and well balanced ride, nicely weighted and accurate steering and brakes, seats fit my back perfectly, airy and open feeling light colored interior, audio system uses quality speakers and sounds nicely balanced.
HVAC controls feel cheap and clunky like the kind you see in Fords from the 80's, shift linkage is quite notchy during the first 2000 miles (but smooths out a lot over time thankfully), AWD makes quick launches and fast 1-2 upshifts tricky if they're needed, some obvious interior cost cutting.
2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
New 2008 STi is unquestionably a blast to drive, and I actually prefer the new, toned-down body style. That said, I'm finding it a difficult daily driver. Not because of the transmission (clunky) or the gas mileage (mediocre), but because the car rattles so, so, so much. I've only owned it for a few months, and it is barely out of its break-in period. But it seems like every time I get in the car, it has developed a new interior rattle. No use turning to dealerships for help, in my experience, as they either fail to fix the problem, or claim to be unable to replicate it. Just how high do you have to turn the stereo and a/c to drown out all those rattles, boys?
Sweet new looks, hatchback utility, great seats.
Interior build quality is a step back from previous Subarus. Car rattles incessantly. Sad to say this may be my last STi.
2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD w/Premium Package, VDC (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
Subaru makes great cars. This is my third. After having owned 2 used Legacys, over the last 10 years, I decided to spring for a brand new Impreza. For a small car the larger than normal 170 HP really gives it some kick and the AWD and stability control make it do amazing things. Best car in its class. In fact it outclasses everything else which is why it is so under reviewed. It must just confuse auto reporters about how this car fits in with everything else.
Solid, spritely, road hungry feel. I'm 186 cm tall, and I have enough room, even in such a small car.
Subaru's interiors have always been dull. The finishings feel cheap. The only annoying design problem is the door window frame, it is somewhat sharp, so it feels uncomfortable to rest your arm on when you have the window rolled down.
2008 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
I searched for the most fuel economic (freeway), AWD (for frequent dirt-roading/all weather) on the market with good interior loading capacity. This car blew the SX4 Crossover AWD (which I test drove) out of the water, especially in loading capacity, and was ~$10k cheaper than the Ford Escape Hybrid (which was great to drive but had about the same fuel economy as the Impreza 180hp). I've already driven through fields with my Outback Sport in wet weather and it plowed through it like a champion - I can't wait for snow to come this season! This car has already been superior on road trips. I've noticed the gear ratio used makes for a slight lack of power switching from 4th to 5th. @ ~50-55 mph
25/29 cty/hwy fuel economy, AWD excellence, awesome safety features including surrounding airbag protection, 6' length capacity in the back with seats down (they lay flat! :)), e.g. you likely wont need to use the roof rack, and can remove it for better MPG. Aux plug for MP3!
The mentioned slight lack of power when switching from 4th to 5th gear at ~50-55mph (the manual suggested switch speed for 5th gear). 4th gear obtains excellent torque in which waiting till ~55+mph to switch to 5th fixes this problem. (Also, problem disappears with 226hp models or automatic).