The role of the station wagon has always been more utilitarian than sporty during the long history of this automotive staple. But in recent years, sport wagons have given the family workhorse a much racier image and the 2006 Subaru Impreza wagon may be one of the best examples of that trend. But the new Impreza is much more than an image-enhancement. It's a car that can back up its recreational intentions with real performance when ordered appropriately equipped.
The Impreza offers a host of trim levels from the base 2.5i to the muscular WRX limited, which borrows its turbo powertrain from the hot rod WRX STi sedan. In between, you'll find two versions of the ever-popular Subaru outback model and two other levels of the WRX line.
All Imprezas are powered by Subaru's 2.5 liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine that measures 173 horsepower in non-turbo models and a whopping 230 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque with the turbocharged option. There's a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission to choose from and as always, the Impreza has full-time all wheel drive.
Inside, the Impreza wagon has top-notch build quality and excellent fit and finish. There's 27.9 cubic feet of cargo space on tap with the rear seat in place and 61.6 cubic feet with the seat folded flat.
Plan on spending plenty of time reviewing the numerous options available on the new Impreza wagon that go along with a generous helping of standard features. Depending on which of the six trim levels you like, there are such extras as two-tone paint, heavy duty suspension, fog lamps, premium sound system, in-dash cd changer, leather upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, rear spolier, heated seats and mirrors, or a moon roof.
All Imprezas have 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and side airbags, which helped the Impreza wagon earn high marks in government-conducted crash testing, including a "best pick" rating in frontal offset testing.
The suggested base price of the 2006 Subaru Impreza wagon in 2.5 trim and five-speed manual transmission is $18,245. Choose a higher trim level and check off enough option boxes and you'll work your way into the low $30,000 range when you're done.
The 2006 Subaru Impreza wagon has added a full measure of fun and enjoyment to the station wagon concept with a tasty combination of horsepower and handling. Add in the benefits of outstanding safety features and solid build quality, and you've got a sport wagon that delivers all the goods.