Colorado has always had something of a love affair going with their Subarus, but for years it relied heavily on the Outback. A co-worker once told me that it could almost be named the Official Car of Colorado.
But times are changing. Folks in the Rocky Mountains are finding that they can get the same reliability - and, importantly, the same all-wheel-drive functionality - from an Outback sibling. In this case, the Impreza.
Look, you have to keep in mind that not everyone can drop fifty grand on an SUV. Subaru has raised their hand, saying “Um, we’ve got what you need for less than HALF that.” And they do.
From the outside, the Impreza won’t stun you with drop-dead-gorgeous looks, but it’s a handsome machine. Both the sedan and hatchback versions (with their various trim levels) are built for convenience and safety - check out the five-star crash ratings, and the “good” tag from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Climb behind the wheel, and you’ll be happy with the feel. The seats are comfortable, and the rear seats provide more space than you’ll normally find in this particular segment. (A woman next to me at the gas pump had the hatchback Impreza, too, and said that it worked well with her two kids. “I can stuff all of their crap back there,” she said before driving away.)
The controls are easy, visibility is quite good, and there’s sufficient storage up front to go along with the more than 50-cubic-feet in the rear of the hatchback with the seats folded down. Even the sedans, however, have decent trunk storage.
I’ve held off on the biggest knock on the Impreza, because it may not matter to you whatsoever. But we have to talk about acceleration. Or lack thereof.
The four-cylinder engine fails to produce 150 horses, which is fine when you’re just puttering around town. But if you ever feel the need for speed (I actually hate myself for saying that), it ain’t gonna happen. I tried to pass someone on the highway and began to wonder if the little engine was going to give itself a hernia.
It doesn’t help that the strain can sometimes cause a little more engine noise than you’re used to.
I’ll reiterate that this isn’t a major issue for a lot of people. If you’re that person who lives life in the slow lane, and all you want is a reliable, all-wheel-drive form of transportation that’s roomy enough, then the Impreza is your baby.
Fuel consumption is modest, with a combined EPA average of 30mpg on the 2.0i Sport Limited hatchback that I drove. And the total price tag, including an optional power moon roof, came in at $24,990. That immediately makes this Subaru a viable player in the small-car market.
So, nothing flashy and a less-than-dynamic engine . . . but affordable, practical, reliable, and extremely family-friendly. Those trade-offs seem to work just fine for plenty of people in Colorado.
Reviewed by Dom
Vehicle provided by manufacturer