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Avg. Price Paid:$8,482 - $10,594
Original MSRP: $16,995 - $21,495
MPG: 20 City / 27 Hwy
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2008 Subaru Impreza Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Subaru Impreza was new.

The 2008 Subaru Impreza's redesign didn't spill over into performance features, and the car ranks in the middle of the class. But the Impreza's standard all-wheel drive is well liked. About.com says: "I'd still recommend this car -- very highly, I might add. Why? Because of the way it drives -- or more specifically, the way it drives when something goes terribly wrong right in your path."

Acceleration and Power

The Impreza has no significant powertrain changes, and most say none were necessary for the base engine. Both the Impreza four-door and five-door have a standard 2.5-liter aluminum alloy 16-valve boxer engine that makes 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, "big numbers for a compact sedan," About.com writes. Kelley Blue Book finds that the boxer engine "performs as smoothly as any in-line four-cylinder mode," and Automobile.com, "I love the sound of the boxer engine. It's kind of like a muted VW bug."

However, most did wish the Impreza transmissions had been updated. Edmunds describes both the standard five-speed manual and the optional four-speed electronic direct-control automatic with SPORTSHIFT manual controls transmissions as "behind the times." BusinessWeek says the automatic "hunts around a lot for the right gear on hilly, curvy roads and runs out to high revs when you accelerate, both at highway and lower speeds."

According to the EPA, the Impreza should achieve 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highways with either transmission, figures that don't compare well to other small cars. "I averaged 24.6 MPG," the About.com reviewer notes, "rather unimpressive compared to the low 30s … I have seen in the Civic and the Sentra."

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are split on the 2008 Impreza's soft ride quality. Road and Track says the four-wheel independent suspension's "compliance and good travel are plusses for light off-road or harsh on-road conditions -- notwithstanding plenty of body roll when driven with any sporting intent." About.com also finds "a soft, comfortable, compliant ride, and yet should you find yourself with an immediate need to twist the wheel, it's all-wheel drive system hangs on to the pavement for dear life." But Edmunds notes "the feel of the car through the steering and the way the car responds during cornering is noticeably less inspiring."

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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