Pros: "Very quick for price. Good features. Reliable, AWD"
Cons: "Not for everyone, turbo lag, not a STI"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Let's get one thing clear right off: I love my 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX 5 door. Just about every day when I walk towards it, two years after purchase, I still say, "I love this car." So if you're looking for a completely objective review, move on. But for those still interested in clumsy metaphor and semi-critical analysis, here it is.
The dog comparison fits to a T. Comes with plenty of useful features (standard ABS, traction control, CD/MP3 stereo, full diameter spare, climate control, steering wheel tilt and, obviously, Subaru's AWD system. With the traction control off, it can be a hoot in the corners, and at the limit it even skitters across the ground like a sprinting terrier trying to change direction at full sprint. Enough gas and maybe some well-timed braking will allow you to break the rear end free - you have to push HARD to do this - and the acceleration once the turbo kicks in is monumental.
Subaru even provides one spare clutch during the bumper to bumper in the regular warranty. How cool is that?
The 2010 is a unique beast because it was the last year that the WRX 5 door did not have a widened stance, fatter tires or quad exhaust tips. This however makes it more stealthy than a 2011 WRX, and less likely to tip off the cops. "A sensible wagon driver? He can't possibly be speeding!" is what the cops say in my imagination. Because of this some of the SPT parts that they make for WRXes won't be available for the 2010. Also some of the parts that came standard for 2011 is missing - Bluetooth and USB support are the major ones, although SPT parts are availble for these things.
The climate control has pretty strong A/C and Heating, having tested both in AZ heat and around ~40 F in the winter with the windows down. It does take about 2 minutes or so to actually get started with the business from ignition start, but there's remote start options available too (for more money of course.)
The backseats fold down (not possible in a 2007!) so you can stuff all manner of things in there - the best I did was when I got a folded up full size treadmill in there. I drove home extremely pleased with myself!
The driver and front passenger seats are comfortable and keep you still in passionate driving. Extra perk: passenger side has a automatically defeatable airbag system for when you put a child seat in the front. Speaking of airbags, it's got a crazy amount. There's one in the steering wheel, one in the passenger side, and built into the A pillars and probably more I haven't found yet.
I got this thing new at $24,500 and I think it's an extremely good value. The stock tires are sticky, the traction control is defeatable, and if you want to drive it like an old lady you can still get 30mpg. You do pay for premium gas but I think we all probably could do without one Starbucks mocha latte a week.
However, just like a good dog, it's got its share of quirks, most of which are minor. A mild trim rattle has emerged at highway speeds which I can't seem to quell. The CD player won't play CD-Rs with mp3s on them before the AZ heat ruins them. Regular CDs work all day long and AUX port connectivity is there, so I don't care, but for those of you who like burned CDs that could be a sticking point. The interior, while better than the last generation, still feels slightly cheap but will do the job. Like I said, the 2011 will give you Bluetooth and USB for free, and the parts catalog will give you more freedom than a 2010 as 2011 is the most recent revision. There isn't a whole lot of space in the trunk itself - more vertical space than horizontal, but the backseats sit big people pretty comfortably and fold down almost a flat 90 degrees. Roof racks are extra, the clutch won't take a lot of high RPM takeoffs, the steering is pretty heavy but still dull, and even with the short shifter the shifting is vague and the throw is long. You have to defeat the traction control every time you turn on the car and the main odometer won't give you a MPG reading - only the user set odometer readings do. The clutch is long and extremely heavy for a consumer clutch, but my legs are short so I'm sure some of it is my fault. Only the driver's chair adjusts in height, and telescoping steering column is optional, not standard.
The car, like a typical AWD car with too much power to the front (I think it's 45/55 front/rear distribution) will understeer at the traction limit with oversteer if you brake hard while turning. The turbo also limits the great boxer engine noise but in turn makes your car sound like a jet fighter. The basic base model stereo woofers and tweeters are sub-par, and the subwoofer add on is curiously small but expensive.
Most of these sticking issues are extremely minor - almost nitpicky. Even with sticky summer tires it handles well in the rain and I've been stomping on the brakes hard for the last 20,000 miles and they show only mild signs of wear. I've even driven it in flat dirt fields and dry lake beds and it handled it like a champ. The trip to the bed was a little dicey, however. Treat this car right, keep it well maintained, and like a dog it'll reward you with loyalty, reliability, and even though it shows signs of being driven hard for 35k miles, I'm still in love with it.
Keeping with the dog analogy, imagine it to be a frisky terrier who's extremely clever and quick - and he'll only really go on the carpet if you leave him inside for way too long. He's no rottweiler or labrador, but he's loving, faithful, and will always be there for you.
I intend on keeping this car for way after I pay it off. Even though it's not as good as the 2011, and yes you can get way more features and doodads and cupholders from a well equipped Toyota Camry or whatever beigebox you can think of. But it's faster than all of those types of cars (could run with an old Ferrari or two in the right situation) and it's just got that certain charm that keeps me coming back.
If nothing else has convinced you to get one, I completely embarrassed a backwards hat wearing Scion Tc driver that was going full throttle from a light. With my Subie. Starting from BEHIND HIM.
Like I said, I love this car."
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