Plentiful power, smooth ride, capable handling, fun to drive.
Bland styling, plasticky interior, buzzy engine note, exaggerated body roll.
The 2008 Subaru WRX left many of us wanting more. Expectations were high for the all-new model, but after experiencing its distinct lack of sportiness, the disappointment from fans was palpable. Unlike the previous-gen WRX, it was an underachiever: underpowered and underwhelming with a lot of understeer.
Thanks to a raid on the parts bin of the higher-performance WRX STI, the WRX sedan is much improved for 2009. Wider and stickier tires, a revised suspension that pilfered components from the STI, along with beefed-up spring rates and stabilizer bars help the 2009 Subaru WRX correct last year's mushy and uninspiring handling. The engine also enjoys an upgrade that includes a larger, STI-based turbocharger, wider-diameter exhaust and less restrictive catalytic converter. These updates contribute to a welcome 18 percent gain in horsepower with a more usable power band.
From behind the wheel, the 2009 Subaru WRX Sedan is deceptively adept. The stiffer-but-still-soft suspension lacks the feel and confidence of other sharp-handling sport compacts, but this four-door WRX is easily tossed into difficult curves, emerging with its composure intact. Even when it's pushed to the limits, there is little drama or protest from the tires.
For 2009, the WRX sedan definitely has its mojo back, slotting in nicely behind its more athletic STI stablemate. Mitsubishi's new Lancer Ralliart is the closest rival to the WRX, and its arrival likely contributed to this 1-year-old's upgrades. Either car could serve as a poster child for the all-wheel-drive sport compact market, and they offer remarkably similar features and content. Yet because of their distinct personalities, we recommend driving both before making a decision.
Our 2009 Subaru WRX Sedan Premium test vehicle came with the standard 2.5-liter intercooled and turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission that drives all the wheels. Thanks to a larger turbo borrowed from the WRX STI, output jumps to 265 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque (up from last year's 224 hp and 224 lb-ft). Even more notable than the bump in peak power is the manner in which it's delivered — there is a decent amount of low and midrange grunt, and power is spread more evenly up to the 6,500-rpm redline. The well-spaced ratios of the manual transmission's five gears capitalize on the power band's large sweet spot, though a 6th gear would probably alleviate some of the engine's highway buzz.
In testing, our WRX four-door accelerated to 60 mph in a brisk 5.2 seconds on its way to a 13.7-second quarter-mile at 98.7 mph — easily outperforming the Subaru's nemesis, the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. Fuel consumption estimates from the EPA are 18/25 mpg (city/highway) and 21 mpg in mixed driving conditions. As entertaining as the new WRX is, under our less-than-conservative right foot it managed only 18.4 mpg, identical to our results with the Mitsubishi.
The suspension changes for 2009 are the most noticeable improvement, creating a chassis that feels far sharper than last year's marshmallow-soft setup. Under heavy cornering the WRX still exhibits a healthy dose of body roll, though from the driver seat, the full extent of the sailboatlike lean isn't nearly as obvious as from the roadside. The new, stiffer suspension creates a far more tossable WRX, but it remains undisturbed over rougher surfaces, displaying an impressive reserve of compliant travel. After a few hours on tight canyon roads, it was hard to fault the new setup, since the WRX sedan willingly tackled every turn without losing its composure.
The 2009 Subaru WRX Sedan's steering, while precise, could stand to gain a bit more resistance and feedback, especially when you're sawing away at the wheel while bounding from turn to turn. The lighter steering feel makes close-quarter city driving and parking a breeze, however. The brakes remain unchanged from last year, which is to say they're on the soft side, but they perform exceptionally when called upon. In testing, we stopped our WRX from 60 mph in an impressive 107 feet with little or no evidence of fade.
Despite the added handling prowess of the 2009 Subaru WRX Sedan, ride quality and comfort do not suffer. At highway speeds, it feels well-planted, with little road noise making its way into the cabin. Front seating is pleasantly comfortable, even during long stints behind the wheel. Additional side bolstering would be a welcome addition for those with sporting intentions, but the grippy surface materials do an admirable job of keeping passengers in place. Though lacking a multitude of adjustments, most drivers will be able to find an optimal seating position. The rear seats provide ample headroom, but lack the contour and sporty nature of the racy front seats. As with the front buckets, the grippy upholstery stations passengers with Velcro-like tenacity.
From behind the wheel, outward visibility in our 2009 Subaru WRX Sedan Premium test car is excellent. Legible gauges remained so in practically any lighting situation, with a simple layout centering the larger tachometer prominently behind the steering wheel. An additional readout mounted atop the center stack displays time, temperature and fuel economy. Simple and intuitive climate control knobs are likewise well-placed, but the same cannot be said for the radio. Miniscule, closely spaced buttons lack tactile references and are barely legible, making glance-free operation difficult at best. Fortunately, the steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control buttons are operated with far more ease.
In terms of cargo space, the WRX comes up short — not just because of the fairly small trunk (10 cubic feet), but due to an uneven and sloped floor. The split-level trunk limits cargo height and makes it difficult to load multiple items such as luggage and golf bags, as larger parcels tend to follow gravity backwards to the lip. The 60/40-split fold-down rear seats allow for more cargo, but at the expense of passenger capacity. Child seats are easily installed on the flat rear bench with a minimum of jostling or reduction in front-seat legroom.
Design/Fit and Finish
The 2009 Subaru WRX Sedan's dowdy styling tends to downplay its acceleration and handling capabilities, though the graceful sloping nose and aggressive hood scoop hint at its performance potential. From the rear doors back, the styling screams econobox, with homely taillights and wheels that look proportionally small compared to the slablike rear quarter panels.
The interior appears handsomely designed, with tasteful matte metallic trim framing the center console. Upon closer inspection, the plastic surfaces (which have the appearance of softer-touch materials) are actually textured hard plastic that seems to amplify the relatively low amount of road noise. Furthermore, the space between the instrument pod and dashboard presents a rather sizable gap, with sharp plastic edges. Though a minor flaw, it blemishes an otherwise successful execution.
Who should consider this vehicle
The 2009 Subaru WRX Sedan Premium is an excellent choice for drivers seeking four-door fun without breaking the bank. The sedan's sedate styling is a plus for those averse to the boy-racer image of the high-performance STI, while the all-wheel drive should appeal to those who live with inclement weather.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2009 Subaru Impreza Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2009 Subaru Impreza and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2009 Impreza featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2009 Subaru Impreza and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2009 Impreza 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2009 Impreza.
Vehicle 2.5i 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
Review I bought this car with 27,000 miles. at around 70,000 miles CEL for misfire in cylinder 4. I couldn't diagnose the problem with hours of testing, part swaps, and research. within 5,000 miles engine blew. The camshaft seals walked themselves out of the block and it dumped all it's oil and blew almost instantly. Called SoA and they claimed that their engine did have a problem with this but because I can't prove I ever changed my oil they wouldn't help me. I, like many other people in this world change my own oil. Never thought about saving receipts, but every 5,000 miles I put mobile 1 full synthetic in. Customer support was terrible, and the dealership actually damaged my car when they diagnosed it. I left it with a cracked bumper and got it back with scratches on the driver side doors, and the bumper was ripped off and laying on the ground. I have never been so disgusted with an automotive manufacturer or a dealership. If you have one of these be sure to document oil changes and get a warranty for it or walk away.
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Available Subaru Impreza 2009 Submodel Types: Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon, WRX STI, WRX STi, WRX STI Limited, Coupe
Available Trims: 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited, 2.0i Sport, 2.0i, 2.0i Premium PZEV, 2.0i PZEV, WRX, 2.5i, Outback Sport, 2.0i Sport Premium PZEV, WRX STI, 2.0i Limited PZEV, 2.5i Premium, 2.5 i, 2.0i Sport Limited PZEV, WRX Limited, 2.0i Sport Premium, Outback Sport Special Edition, WRX Premium, WRX STi, 2.0i Sport Limited, 2.5 RS, Outback, WRX TR, 2.5, 2.5 i Special Edition, WRX STI Limited, L, TS
Exterior Colors: Ice Silver Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Dark Gray Metallic, Lapis Blue Pearl, Satin White Pearl, Island Blue Pearl, Venetian Red Pearl, Magnetite Gray Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, Lithium Red Pearl, Obsidian Black Pearl, Carbide Gray Metallic, Quartz Blue Pearl, Spark Silver Metallic, Marine Blue Pearl, Lightning Red, Jasmine Green Metallic, Steel Silver Metallic/Spark Silver Metallic, Crystal Gray Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl/Dark Gray Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic, Deep Cherry Pearl, Camellia Red Pearl, Plasma Blue Pearl, WR Blue Pearl, Newport Blue Pearl, Sage Green Metallic/Steel Silver Metallic, Paprika Red Pearl, San Remo Red, Sky Blue Metallic, WR Blue Mica, Steel Gray Metallic, Aspen White, Java Black Pearl, Regal Blue Pearl, Regal Blue Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Sage Green Metallic, Sage Green Metallic/Ice Silver Metallic, Sedona Red Pearl, Topaz Gold Metallic, Urban Gray Metallic, Blue Ridge Pearl, Crystal Grey Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl, Newport Blue Pearl/Steel Silver Metallic, Savanna Green Metallic/Graystone Metallic, Urban Gray Metallic/Crystal Gray Metallic, Aqua Blue Metallic/Crystal Gray Metallic, Aspen White/Steel Gray Metallic, Deep Sea Blue Pearl, Evergreen Metallic/Urban Gray Metallic, Gray Metallic/Crystal Gray Metallic, Newport Blue Pearl/Urban Gray Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl/Urban Gray Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, San Remo Red/Steel Gray Metallic, Savanna Green, Sky Blue Metallic/Ice Silver Metallic, Steel Gray Metallic/Crystal Gray Metallic, Sunlight Gold Opal
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Black, Ivory cloth, Black leather, Ivory, Ivory leather, Off Black cloth, Carbon Black cloth, Graphite Gray/Carbon Black leather/sueded microfiber, Off Black, Black Alcantara/Carbon Black leather/sueded microfiber, Black leather/sueded microfiber, Dark Gray Knit, Desert Beige cloth, Gray, Blue Ecsaine/Black, Medium Gray Flat Woven, Beige cloth, Carbon Black leather, Dark Gray Flat Woven, Gray Knit, Off Black/Blue Ecsaine
Popular Features: AWD/4WD, Rear Bench Seats, Alarm, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Stability Control, Aux Audio Inputs, USB Inputs, Bluetooth, Heated seats, Back-up camera, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Post-collision safety system, Keyless Entry/Start, Auto Climate Control, Leather Seats, Sunroof/Moonroof, Upgraded Headlights, Power Driver Seat, Upgraded Stereo, Blind Spot Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Navigation, Pre-collision safety system, Remote Start