By KBB.com Editors
In 2002, Subaru made the wise decision to expand the U.S. lineup of its runabout Impreza. Despite the addition of hotter, turbocharged variants, the sporty appeal of the standard Impreza remained intact. Six years later, the same formula is still working, and the 2008 Impreza is better in nearly every way. The basic 2.5i trim has a decent, if slightly rough-around-the-edges, 2.5-liter engine that offers more torque than most of the competition. The all-wheel-drive system for which Subaru is renowned is standard on the Impreza 2.5i. As before, the Impreza is available in both sedan and 5-door wagon form.
The Impreza remains a great choice for those looking for a reliable and capable all-arounder. All-wheel-drive provides secure handling in nearly all road conditions, and is a must-have for many in less temperate climates.
If you're looking to stand out, this may not be the car for you, as the new 2008 Subaru Impreza still seems to lack any truly defining visual characteristics. For those used to the overall precision, fit and finish of a Honda or Volkswagen, the Impreza may be slightly sub par.
An entirely redesigned chassis and body set the 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i apart from its predecessor. In sedan form, a dual exhaust helps create a sportier appearance. And, interior design and materials are now clean, well made and solid throughout.
Driving Impressions The relatively rough engine doesn't do the slightly overweight 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i any favors, and is partially responsible for its slow acceleration. The chassis and suspension feel solid and...stable over rough roads, and the car has predictable day-to-day handling. However, it simply doesn't offer the same level of precision and feedback found in much of the competition, including the faithful and simple Honda Civic. The steering is a touch too light for back-road blasts, and limits communication with the pavement. Inside, the dash layout is logical, and all buttons and knobs are well placed for quick reference. The seats are comfortable but lack the side support we'd like for fast curves.
For the money, you can't beat the safety offered by Subaru's all-wheel drive system. Even on dry pavement, this feature offers additional grip around curves and an added sense of security.
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
Capable of reacting and controlling the situation quicker than an unsuspecting driver, Subaru's VDC works by applying the brakes, adjusting the engine output and controlling the all-wheel-drive system as needed to keep the car pointed in the right direction.
Subaru has definitely stepped things up in terms of interior quality. Most materials are high grade to the touch, and the dash layout is simple, logical and borderline stylish. Gone are the gaudy colors and cheap plastic trim, and options now include a touch-screen GPS system, satellite radio and a six-disc, 10-speaker stereo. These accessories work reasonably well, but sometimes lack the refinement and intuitive nature of those offered by others.Exterior
Compared to its predecessor, the redesigned Impreza has much cleaner lines and a more palatable appearance overall. This is not necessarily a good thing, though, as it is now dangerously close to lacking identity. While many may have considered previous generations homely, they were without question recognizably Subaru. At first glance, the vague shape of this new Impreza could be mistaken for a new Saab, Hyundai or a Kia.
The laundry list of standard equipment for this car is, for the most part, par for the course in 2008 vehicles. Of note is standard all-wheel-drive, a feature not found in most of the competition, even optionally. Disappointingly, the 2.5i doesn't offer rear disc brakes as standard equipment – a decision likely necessary to keep the all-wheel drive Impreza price-competitive in the segment.
The 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i is available with Subaru's Premium Package, as well a Satellite Radio and Navigation package. The former adds rear disc brakes, along with the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) found on the higher-end WRX trim, larger alloy wheels, and some interior and exterior goodies. The navigation system does its job without any problems, though it requires getting used to a few quirks.
Subaru's Impreza has featured a segment-defying flat-4 engine since its inception. While still a four-cylinder, the engine generates ample power and substantial torque from its larger-than-average 2.5-liter displacement. Now equipped with electronic throttle control and i-Active variable valve timing, the Impreza engine has done a decent job staying current. The power is sent to all four wheels via Subaru's all-wheel-drive system, which limits the power being sent to wheels with little or no traction and redirects it to those that need it the most.
2.5-liter Boxer 4-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 pound-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27
By Marsha on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, hugs the road"
Cons: "Overdrive kicks in too soon"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The car is still great after 7 years! My dealership is great, the car is as close to maintenance free as possible. All wheel drive wonderful."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Jim in Tulsa on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "4-wheel drive; reliability"
Cons: "Outdated 4-speed transmission."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The Subaru Imprezza has been a reliable car for four people. The seats are comfortable on long trips and the luggage area is spacious with the aspect of a small wagon. I chose the Imprezza because I wanted a four-wheel-drive car, not an SUV, because of better driving dynamics. The design is good with a few quirks: the 4-speed automatic was outdated when the car was new, and the motor sticks out so far ahead of the wheels that the front bumper scrapes parking barriers. Mileage is 20-22 in town and 26-28 on the road. I have no hesitation in recommending this car."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Bilbo Subie on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,080overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "All wheel drive!"
Cons: "Rattles, rattles, rattles"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I drive this car every day as a commuter. I average 26 MPG and travel the majority of the time on the highway. I have had no major mechanical issues since I bought the car in November 2009. The only thing I don't like about this and every other Subaru I own (currently 3), is that it is a noisy car on the highway. After about the first year, the car developed a series of annoying rattles. I have gone to great lengths to identify, locate, and eliminate the noises and have had some success. Even with the noises I have no regrets buying this car. I have definately gotten my money's worth. I am the only person on my block that wasn't stranded during the blizzard we had in 2010! That has to be worth something."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Ant on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fair Price and extremely fun to drive"
Cons: "Cabin quality need improvement, road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"As the title states, this car is a great value for the performance it has to offer. It has great handling capabilities and will not hesitate to reach high speeds. The ride comfort is very smooth, sometimes its hard to know how fast your actually going without looking at the speedometer. Gas mileage could be better but, when you buy a small turbo vehicle I am sure gas mileage is not a concern. interior is comfortable and spacious for a smaller vehicle. Quality of the interior is fair enough. Road noise in the cabin does get to be annoying when driving on the highway. Sound system and radio needs quality and clarity improvement. Overall the car is good enough to handle everyday task and driving, of course improvements can be made. The low price leaves a lot of room for personal customization. Dealer options are very nice but also very pricey. I am satisfied with the car, I am actually looking to trade in for a newer model in the near future."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By x79red on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "all wheel drive and the price"
Cons: "gas mileage, styling, comfort, technology"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"This car is my 2nd Impreza my first being a 2008. I had this car for 3 years now and it has been back for the following repairs: caliper sticking causing the cars brakes on the left front side to jam up causing the car to be pulled toward on coming traffic. A bad wheeling bearing. The car looks generic and can be lost in a parking lot due to it's drab plain looks. The interior is cheaply made compared to other vehicles in it's class.It is behind other car mfg. in technology by at least 5 years or more. It's gas mileage is pathetic compared to other cars of this size. My 2008 had the same engine and got 30 -32 MPG I hardly see 25 MPG in this one. As I stated in the summary the only good part is the all wheel drive feature."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By sterlingcash on Sunday, June 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "acceleration, exterior styling, AWD/traction"
Cons: "no lumbar support"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this car. I am a fairly active person who does a lot of freeway driving and mountain driving. While the impreza won't take you into anything more than gravel, it'll do a whole lot else, and it does it well. The engine is jewel. Great acceleration, torque, and umpff when you want it; so fun to drive. Overall I got 25mpg for my combined and usually hit 30mpg on the highway. The AWD drive system is great. Never have I felt insecure in this car. whether it was snow, hail, LA traffic, twisty mountain roads, mud, or me being a clueless driver, this car never lost traction. The interior is nice; good layout and functionality. I had a leather wrapped steering wheel and controls; which were very handy. The basic sound system isn't great, but works. Seats are alright for comfort, not alright for 3+ hours. I have always been shocked how much I can fit in this car. Although the hatchback would be nice, moving throughout college wasnt an issue. The exterior styling is my favorite. I am constantly asked if I have a beemer due to the pearl paint and aggressive styling. I have never been embarrassed to give my date a ride in this thing. Good reliability. At 83k and going strong!"
13 people out of 19 found this review helpful