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 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."
5 people out of 8 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."
4 people out of 6 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."
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."
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!"
11 people out of 17 found this review helpful