I'm in my late 20s and I wanted a car that would last me for the next 10+ years, and after shopping around Subaru seemed to be the best bet. There are some features that could be improved upon, but all-in-all this was the best car for my purposes! I was also looking at both the VW Golf and Mazda 3 and while they were comparable (and even better in a few circumstances) I figured the Subaru would last longer, be more reliable, and could handle camping in rugged terrain while also looking good in a city.
-Handles great in rain and sand and have yet to drive it during winter but I can't wait!
-Awesome cargo space: well worth it to get the rubberized cargo mats so I can fold the seat down and increase trunk space. Can fit my bike in the back no problem, and am working on adding a bike roof rack as well!
-Visibility: I am short (5'4) and can see out of all windows and rear easily (compared with when I test-drove the Mazda 3 which I felt like I could barely see anything - main reason for not buying)
-Backup Camera: perfect, clear and detailed
-Comfortable seats and ease of use of controls (Again, compared with Mazda 3, which I couldn't really figure out)
-I average 35mpg for city and 37.5 for highway, true to estimated fuel usage. This is even better than my 2005 Honda Civic.
-Driving: Drives great, albeit not as zippy as a VW Golf (which I also test drove) It gets you there and has plenty of pickup for highway speeds (which I drive about 50% of the time). This was something that reviewers panned the car for, although in day-to-day driving how often are you really going from 0 to 60?
-Bluetooth: This is kinda in-between a pro and a con - I love that the car has it, but my listeners complain that it sounds like I'm yelling into a tunnel. All-in-all it is a pro considering I never miss a phone call and can answer the phone without searching through my bag. I have never had bluetooth in a car before so I don't really have anything else to compare it to.
Cons: Yes there are a few....
-CVT Engine: My only complaint with the CVT is when you are going from Reverse or Park to Drive - There is a significant lag time of 1-2 seconds for the gears to catch. This might not seem like a lot, but if you're not used to it and you're backing up onto a road you have to take it into account. This has definitely altered my way of driving so I don't end up straining the transmission by pressing on the accelerator too soon. When test driving, make sure to try this out.
-Cloth seats stain easily - My interior is Tan and already have a stain on the passenger side seat from (of all things) a bouquet of flowers that decided to pollinate in my car. This has yet to come out :-(
-Speakers/radio - The radio is constantly trying to find an HD radio station, when it does it will increase the bass and sound amazing. When it can't find an HD Station (which isn't often because I don't live near a city) the radio sounds tinny and slightly muffled. Luckily I enjoy books on tape (Mazda 3 didn't have CD Player)
Final Notes: I researched the heck out of VW golf and Mazda 3 (among many others) and my reasons for choosing the Subaru included: My roommate had a 2007 VW GTI that had a major transmission failure that would have cost over $4000 to repair, which is kind of ridiculous seeing as my 2005 Honda had never had any repair that cost over $500. I also know that VWs have a sketchy track record in terms of easy and cost-efficient maintenance and repairs. Unfortunate because the Golf was my first choice. As for the Mazda3, when the Mazda salesman asked how long I planned on keeping my next car I responded "at least 10 years" to which he laughed and said "why would I want to sell you a car that you'd have for that long? I want you back here in 5 years!". Nuff said.
I have been a big fan of Mazda 3 and for the sake of All Wheel Drive due to heavy snow in North east, I changed to Subaru Impreza Manual transmission. Very happy that I bought this. No regrets for leaving Mazda 3 (except of road noise which is more in subaru, but the driving stability of Subaru Impreza is incomparable). I used to be very scared of snow driving and now I enjoy driving when its snowing. Subaru Impreza is the best All Wheel drive system and the car is absolutely stable and has the best traction. I can change lanes in highways when snowing without a bit of shaking even when there is slurry. I enjoy the worst snow by driving. Unbelievable.
2.0i Sport Premium PZEV 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
I have a 2015 Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium hatchback with CVT. It had to be safe, reliable, fuel efficient and accommodate my son's ¾ size bass (double-bass). Engine has enough guts and will launch the car from a stop, but it is no WRX. For me, engine noise is not an issue. Transmission is as quiet as the 5 speed auto in my Honda. Gone is the wind noise that afflicted our old outback. The sound system is great, no need to upgrade speakers. However, I don't plan to use the car as a P.A. system.
This car is not going to "wow" you with fast acceleration, its 4 cylinder engine, or flashy interior/exterior looks. That is not what Subaru is about, so if that is what you are looking for, move elsewhere.
This car is made for the outdoorsman, the adventurer, the nasty weather, and terrain. This car is super reliable and they last for forever, It has everything you need plus a little more (rearview cam, touch screen). Its very comfortable, and very safe in all weather conditions. Gas mileage is amazing for an AWD vehicle... Tons of space for your adventure gear, or groceries. Perfect car for the person who needs more storage than a typical sedan, but does not want the SUV bulk.
Traded in my '03 Passat V6 for the Impreza Sport. Will teach my daughter to drive it and give it to her when she leaves for college.
The driving position reminds me of my '91 Integra - low with good vision. However the Subie is much more planted to the ground and only the deranged will be able to detach it. Steering has good road feedback and while braking might seem soft it isn't. The engine w/CVT is peppy but better for our curvy NH backroads than a 0-to-60 competition.
Excellent fit/finish with goodies like heated seats, upgraded BT stereo, heated wipers and mirrors. Solid feel to the doors and sheet metal.
In short, a great commuting car that you can also toss around.