By KBB.com Editors
In 2002, Subaru made the wise decision to finally bring the WRX version of the run-about Impreza model to the US market. The rally-bred, turbocharged WRX trim breathed new life into the model line, and gave the standard Impreza a newfound sporty appeal. Seven years later, the same formula is still working, and the 2009 Impreza line-up is better in nearly every way. With a new, more powerful WRX on the showroom floor, last years WRX gets a new lease on life, reborn as the Impreza GT. The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system for which Subaru is renowned is standard on all Imprezas, and is certainly a plus in snow bound climates.
The 2009 Impreza is a great choice for those looking for a reliable and capable compact car. The all-wheel-drive drivetrain provides secure handling in nearly all road conditions, potentially a must-have for those living in less temperate climates. The turbocharged engine found in the Impreza 2.5GT offers plenty of passing power and fun.
If price and fuel economy trounce all-wheel-drive stability and control, you'll probably want to look at the Honda Civic, Mazda MAZDA3, Saturn Astra or Volkswagen Rabbit. Like the Impreza, the Suzuki SX4 also offers all-wheel drive plus a lot more features for less money.
A new trim, the 2.5GT, is added to the Impreza lineup. Although it is powered by a 224 horsepower turbocharged engine, the only transmission available is Subaru's four-speed SPORTSHIFT automatic. The 2.5i premium gains a power sunroof, while all Imprezas now come equipped with four wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction and stability control.
Driving Impressions The 2009 Impreza 2.5GT trim offers ample fun from its gutsy turbo engine, and encourages frequent dips into the throttle. The rougher engine of the 2.5i doesn't do the fairly...heavy Impreza any favors, however, and is partly responsible for its slow acceleration. While the GTs sport-tuned suspension does make for a more than capable ride through corners, neither trim offers the 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, limiting communication with the pavement, although the car remains stable and composed under nearly all day-to-day driving conditions. 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 many, all-wheel drive is a must to make it through the wet seasons, snowy winters or just loose rural terrain. Even on dry pavement, this feature offers additional grip around curves and an added sense of security.
The turbocharged and intercooled engine found in the 2.5GT is just what this car needs. The "whoosh" of power that occurs when the turbo begins making boost is addictive, a characteristic that even the most cautious drivers can enjoy tremendously.
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 navigation system (available only with the automatic transmission), Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and a 6-disc/10-speaker stereo. A long list of accessories include a powered subwoofer, sliding center armrest, various cargo organizers and nets and a short shift kit for manual transmission models.Exterior
Where the first generation Impreza had a quirky but lovable look, the newest version seems a bit cliche. With more than a passing resemblance to the 2004-2009 Mazda MAZDA3, the 2009 Impreza 2.5i five door is now dangerously close to lacking identity. The Outback and GT trims spice things up considerably, with larger wheels and more body cladding to banish the bland. And, while many may have considered previous generations homely, they were without question recognizably Subaru. On the plus side, the Impreza's all-wheel drive offers year-round security and many trims feature such useful winter necessities as heated side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers.
The laundry list of standard equipment for this car is, for the most part, par for the course in 2009 vehicles. Of note is standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a feature not found in most of the competition, even optionally. Other standard features include an AM/FM/CD audio system, cruise control and remote keyless entry. The 2.5i Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a power moonroof, 10 speaker audio with six-disc CD/MP3 changer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The Outback Sport adds 17-inch wheels, heated seats and exterior body cladding, while the 2.5GT gains 17-inch sport wheels, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control and a power glass moonroof. All Imprezas include front side- and front and rear side-impact airbags, Incline Start Assist (manual transmission), traction and stability control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.
The 2.5i is available with Subaru's Premium Package, while all models can be fitted with the Satellite Radio and Navigation package. Most options are bundled into dealer installed accessories and include items such as a stereo upgrade (tweeters and a powered subwoofer), additional cup holders, an iPod tray and various cargo and roof rack attachments.
Subaru's Impreza has featured a segment-defying flat-4 engine since its inception. While still a four-cylinder, the engine gets ample power and substantial torque from its larger-than-average 2.5-liter displacement (and the sprightly 2.5GT gets some additional help in the form of turbocharging). Now equipped with electronic throttle control and i-Active, Subaru's version of variable valve timing, the Impreza engine has done a decent job staying current, although only the 2.5GT's engine features dual overhead cams. The power is sent to all four wheels via Subaru's Symmetrical 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.
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 20/26 (automatic)
2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
224 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24
By Rally4fun (NY) on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun daily driver"
Cons: "Rocket panels need better design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"On the overall the car was good. Unfortunately, I didn't read the review on the 2009 WRX until after I bought it. I found out this particular year and model had engine quirks that were not quite worked out. Said possible engine failure could happen. I ended up having two engine failures within 2 years! But Subaru did the right thing and replaced it without too much hassle."
By Stephen (CA) on Monday, May 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car for the price. Fun to drive"
Cons: "Doesn't shift as smooth as an STI"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Value: Like every other review, professional or by owners, you get the most bang for your buck with this car. This car is just awesome. Reliablilty: Car is 100% made and assembled in Japan. This car has a great track record (in regards to quality). You abuse it, expect a shorter life span. This car is meant to last and will last as long as you take care of it. Quality: Nice leather seats and the steering wheel is solid. Clean lines and the car has a nice flow to it. Driving Dynamics and Comfort: I NEVER GET TIRED OF DRIVING THIS CAR!!! Very comfortable I've taken the car on 2 hour trips and through windy roads and it handles great and still is comfortable to be in. The car handles great and the power is good. There are so many mods out there you can tune this car to your own liking so I say have at it. Just be responsible and smart about the mods. Do your research and tune the car right. Why I bought my car. The reason why I purchased this car is because my family has turned into subaru fans. It started when my brother bought an 07 STI then 2011 outback for my sister inlaw. I purchased the 2011 wrx limited brand new. I couldn't help but tweak the car a little bit to meet my WANTS. I upgraded the clutch to a Stage 1 Exedy and flywheel, along with Cobb Accessport and SF intake. Now my car is tuned to my liking. The car handles great and the power output is excellent. I like the leather seats compliment the car really well and is very comfortable. I do not use the seat warmers I live in california, no need for it really. I get a lot of compliments so I'm going to say the car stands out and of course, the friendly waves from fellow subaru owners. To this day we all still have our cars inluding the sti. They all run great and have no issues with the cars."
By Dave (NH) on Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very dependable"
Cons: "Hard to get in and out of vehicle"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded in my new 2011 Honda CRV for this 2008 Subaru Impreza sedan. I did not need a new vehicle with high payments. I lowered my payments $170.00 per month and took $7000.00 off of term of loan. I get 26 mpg in winter and 29 mpg in summer. Have had Subaru for 7 months now with no problems. Great in snow just like CRV was. A little harder to get in and out of vehicle than CRV. I have undercoated Subaru with Fluid film to protect from New England winters.I feel very safe in this Subaru and would buy again."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Da BULL (MO) on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,880overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, Tuff, and Economical"
Cons: "Not enough Dealerships in the Rural areas."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought this car brand New. NEVER had a squeek, beltch, or burp out of it! Handles like a sports car on any road surface, wet, snow, ice, dry, or dirt. I've driven and owned a lot of cars in my 66 years old, and this one tops them all! Maybe because its ALL WHEEL DRIVE and a Quality Subaru vehicle?"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Chuckmiv (CA) on Monday, April 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great in any weather. Fun. Sunroof, Hot Seats"
Cons: "Poor MPG for size. Uncomfortable seats."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I like the sound system. It's fun to drive in the mountains. If you take care of regular maintenance I'm sure it would be great, & I have never missed an oil change, but some other thing slipped. However, despite my lack of care the car have given me few mechanical problems. Also If you have halfway decent tires you'll never loose control. I think the car is uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. I don't like the mpg (avg. 24-25 city/hwy, but on open highways like from LA to Vegas you can get 28 mpg). At the end of the day. If you're looking for a fun, rugged car & you don't live in a city. this car is for you. As for me my next car will be electric."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Leclerc (NY) on Tuesday, March 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Exhilarating to drive."
Cons: "Fuel economy, radio, cheap interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Blast to drive, expected Subaru reliability. Extremely dissapointed in interior fit and finish. Too many rattles when cold and even worse is this god awful stock radio...I have had better sound coming from and old transitor. Come on Subaru, put a few extra bucks into a "decent" stock radio...Toyota does, even Honda."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful