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1996 Subaru Impreza Review
The start of a legend.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1996 Subaru Impreza is a compact car manufactured by a division of Fuji Heavy Industries. It was introduced in 1992 as a replacement for the Leone, which was extremely popular during its heyday. In order to replicate the Leone's success, the Impreza comes with the popular EJ series engine that's also used in the Legacy. The Impreza was launched as a direct competitor to the popular Mitsubishi Lancer, which is why it is only available with all-wheel drive.
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 2.2-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Subaru Impreza L, Subaru Impreza LX, Subaru Impreza Brighton, Subaru Impreza Outback
The 1996 Subaru Impreza introduces a new, low-cost model, the Brighton, which has a five-speed manual gearbox and the 1.8-liter engine. All other models get the 2.2-liter engine as standard. This year also sees the discontinuation of the base model, and the L coupe is now the only front-wheel-drive model.
The 1996 Subaru Impreza sedan, coupe, and wagon models have the same wheelbase of 99.2 inches and overall length of 172.2 inches. All models also carry the same width of 67.1 inches and an overall height of 55.5 inches.
The 1996 Subaru Impreza is as spacious as a Geo Prizm, Toyota Corolla, or Honda Civic. There is enough headroom and legroom for four adults of average stature to sit comfortably. The front seats are undoubtedly more spacious than the rear bench; in fact, legroom at the rear can reduce considerably when the front seats are pushed back. The cargo space for all models, including the station wagon, is only considered average. On a positive note, the driver can enjoy great visibility all around.
The 1996 Subaru Impreza's narrow doors and low opening angles can make entry and exit difficult in the rear. The controls on the dash are laid out logically and intuitively. Most controls are located around the instrument panel, making them very easy for the driver to use. But pulling the retractable cup holders out can obstruct access to some stereo system controls.
Performance & Handling
The 1996 Subaru Impreza is available with a 1.8-liter, horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder engine that delivers 110 horsepower and 110 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, it lacks power to pass cars on the highway or merge with expressway traffic. The larger, 2.2-liter four-cylinder borrowed from the Legacy delivers 135 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. It also offers more than enough acceleration for an all-wheel drive with manual transmission. With automatic transmission installed, acceleration is just about adequate. Both engines are loud and gruff and feel especially rough with the manual gearbox. Pickup from standstill is not that great for either engine because of the lack of low-end torque.
The 1996 Subaru Impreza doesn't have any crash test data available.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Well-laid out instrument panel and controls
- Good performance with 2.2-liter engine and manual shift
You Won't Like
- Difficult entry/exit in the rear
- Lack of cargo space
The start of a legend.
If You Like This Vehicle
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- Mitsubishi Lancer