By KBB.com Editors
If you live in an area that sees more snow than sun, you probably already know about the Subaru Impreza. It's the only compact car to offer Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, making it ideal for traversing deep snow or mud-covered roads, because all four wheels are constantly engaged. Available in both sedan and wagon forms, the Impreza offers about the same interior space as a Honda Civic or Mazda 3, although it does not offer as many high-tech options, such as heated leather seats or DVD navigation. Last year's major makeover improved the Impreza's sporty appearance, helping strengthen its appeal to younger drivers who crave, but cannot afford, the Impreza's speedy WRX sibling.You'll Like This Car If... You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a roomier rear seat in this size car, the Ford Focus or Mitsubishi Lancer should be first on your list. If budget is a factor in your buying decision, you won't find much to like about the Impreza's $19,000 base price.What's Significant About This Car?
No major changes for 2007.Driving It Driving Impressions
At the heart of the Impreza is a strong four-cylinder boxer engine with a permanently engaged all-wheel-drive system. The boxer engine is so named because its cylinders and pistons are horizontal and opposed to each other, not in a V or in-line configuration. This design has allowed Subaru to lower the car's center of gravity, thus improving the way the Impreza handles by keeping its weight close to the road.
A quick trip into snow country is all you need to understand the appeal of owning a Subaru. The minute the road conditions get slick, the all-wheel-drive system comes immediately into play, and you can feel the extra traction as the vehicle muscles its way through the ever-deepening drifts.
Additional 12-Volt Outlet
The additional 12-volt outlet in the rear cargo area comes in handy when camping or tailgating.
The low center of gravity of the Impreza's boxer engine is one reason for the car's exceptional stability.
The Impreza's dash design is fresh and modern, with pleasingly soft surfaces on both the dash face and door panels. The instrument gauges are easy to read and attractively packaged, showing the same attention to detail as found in much more expensive vehicles. Cargo room is acceptable in the sedan and better-than-average in the wagon. Impreza sedans feature a folding rear center armrest with a small pass-through for skis or poles, but a folding rear seatback is not available.Exterior
The Impreza's exterior received a complete makeover last year, with tinted headlamps flanking a three-piece mesh grille. A new hood, wider fender flares and new wheels completed the transformation. The Impreza Outback Sport wagon also received a remake and now touts a steel-gray front bumper, lower side moldings and some new color choices.Notable Standard Equipment
The Impreza 2.5i sedan includes a 2.5-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), locking center differential, air conditioning, illuminated remote keyless entry, dual power mirrors, power windows, power locks, AM/FM stereo with CD, rear-seat pass-through, tilt steering wheel, alarm system, outside temperature gauge and 16-inch aluminum wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include the Outback Sport upgrade (wagon only), four-speed automatic transmission, short-shift kit, premium audio upgrade with tweeters and subwoofer, auto-dimming rearview mirror, in-dash six-disc CD changer, fog lights, rear spoiler and titanium shift knob.Under the Hood
The newly-improved 2.5-liter boxer engine receives a new intake manifold, variable valve lift and a higher compression ratio, resulting in more horsepower and better fuel economy. This engine performs as smoothly as any in-line four-cylinder model, and provides plenty of mid-range power to operate the all-wheel-drive system without getting bogged down.
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 23/28 (automatic)
The 2.5i sedan and wagon have a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $18,620, while the Outback Sport wagon is $19,820. Be sure to look at the Fair Purchase Price page to see what others are currently paying for their new Imprezas. Fair Purchase Prices change with market conditions, so be sure to check back before you buy. The Impreza may cost more than similarly-equipped front-wheel-drive competitors, but both the wagon and sedan hold excellent five-year resale values. The Impreza is expected to retain a higher resale value than the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Mitsubishi Lancer, while falling just a few percentage points shy of the resale values held by the Toyota Matrix and Honda Civic.