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By Katrina Ramser


The Impreza – and Subaru, for that matter – focus on impressing the consumer with vehicle performance. The company has achieved just that as the Impreza is 2008 Consumer Report's recommendation and Subaru is ranked just behind Toyota in all-over manufacturer satisfaction.

I drove the 5-door hatchback 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX, with a 224-horespower 2.5-liter DOCH intercooled turbo engine and a fully independent suspension. Total vehicle cost is $29,758.

What sets Subaru and the Impreza apart is the turbo power combined with the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The Subaru Boxer Engine is mounted within the chassis is such a way it results in a lower center of gravity for better balance and reduced friction. The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive sends power from the engine to each wheel for improved driving performance and enhanced traction. It is set apart from its competitors like the Nissan Sentra and Honda Civic because it offers all-wheel drive.

The Impreza looks and acts quite racy (it is actually raced in the World Rally Championships). Subaru's style caters to more of an adventurous or practical woman – but it's the reliability and safety on a vehicle like the Impreza that should speak to all women.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The exterior nose looks slightly elongated, which is what turns this little economy car into more of a sedan. The hatchback (with n attractive rear spoiler) is very tightly shaped, which I was drawn to more than the front design. Once inside it felt a little tight inside, but the Impreza did get bigger than last year's model. The airflow or temperature controls could improve. I almost missed the seat heating controls, located in the back of the center console. For some reason, I noticed and loved the shape and feel of the steering wheel, which served as an indication how much I was going to like the handling.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Impreza is a 2008 Consumer Reports recommended vehicle. It has been noted by the magazine for its standard, all-wheel drive traction; short braking; low beam headlights; handling on corners. The best part about all these important accolades is the Impreza has an expected above average reliability. The Impreza delivers a great warranty, which includes 3 years or 36-months of 24-hour a day roadside assistance.

Cost Issues: Subaru vehicles are moderately priced; the Impreza I drove costing $29,758. It's a refreshing approach to find a car company also doesn't nickel and dime you for every little extra. Included in that price is the GPS navigation system, leather steering wheel, heated mirrors, and heated seats.

Activity & Performance Ability: Subaru garners a lot of respect for handling and all-wheel drive components. The 2.5-liter engine was extremely sporty – combined with the electronic stability control, I felt secure and free to have total confidence when accelerating at corners.

The Green Concern: Fuel economy is a bummer at 19-mpg city and 25-mpg highway driving. It's the all-wheel drive that sucks up the gas. You'll probably get about 22-mg average if you obey speed limits, which is better than most averages.

FINAL PARTING WORDS The Impreza is not the most feminine nor flashest cars a female can drive, but it is one of the most reliable and with a racy attitude. It's more for the outdoor type seeking modest piazza not found in the Subaru wagons.


New Car Buyers Guide
The Auto Channel
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  Green Vehicle Guide
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
U.S. Census Bureau 
Bureau of Labor Statistics 
Consumer Reports
J.D. Power and Associates
R.L & Polk Co. 
U.S. News & World Reports

2008 Katrina Ramser

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