The Subaru Impreza was originally designed to appeal to younger drivers and compete against old favorites like the Ford Escort and Toyota Corolla. However, it’s the Impreza’s standard all-wheel drive that has ended up being the car’s main selling point, as its underpowered engines don’t quite stand up to the competition. The Impreza also benefits from the versatility of three available body types: the coupe, sedan, and wagon. Each model comes with its own list of pros and cons, but it's fun to drive and the standard AWD alone makes this car worth considering. Consumers will have to weigh their preferences carefully, however; most other luxuries and additional equipment will cost extra. For budget shoppers looking to get the absolute most for their dollar, the 1997 Impreza probably isn’t the best option on the market.
Body Styles: coupe, sedan, wagon
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 2.2-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Subaru Impreza Brighton, Subaru Impreza L, Subaru Impreza Outback Sport
The 1997 Subaru Impreza sees the introduction of the Outback Sport Wagon, which boasts six inches of ground clearance with fog lights and a slightly higher roof. Meanwhile, the LX is discontinued, which makes the Outback the only Impreza to have ABS. Moreover, all models have a redesigned front end with a new hood scoop, new colors are available, and both engines receive a boost in power and torque.
The 1997 Subaru Impreza’s facelift includes a new grille design and a large hood scoop designed to suck in air for cooling the engine bay. Other exterior equipment is at a minimum. A rear window defogger is standard on all models, while power windows are only provided on the L coupe and L sedan.
The 1997 Subaru Impreza’s rear seat is a bit cramped, and the wagon has a particularly small cargo area when the rear seat is up; although a full 62 cubic feet are available with the seat dropped. Standard interior features include air-conditioning, a cassette player, and tilt steering. A tachometer is included on the L coupe and L sedan but not on the Brighton.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Subaru Impreza is a fun car to drive; both the 1.8-liter and the 2.2-liter engines benefit from a boost in horsepower and torque this year. Although it isn't particularly powerful when compared to the competition, plenty of oomph is used for good daily driving. Steering and braking are also both responsive and reliable.
The 1997 Subaru Impreza is equipped with front airbags, which is included for both the driver and front passenger, though no side airbags are provided. Power door locks and child safety door locks are included on the L coupe and L sedan. However, a particular frustration is the fact that anti-lock brakes are only available on the Outback Sport.
EPA Fuel Economy
Subaru Impreza: 21/27 mpg city/highway
- Great handling
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Comfy seats
- Stylish appearance
You Won't Like
Versatile fun for youngsters.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Volkswagen Golf
- Ford Escort
- Hyundai Elantra
- Toyota Paseo