When it comes to finding a good, well-priced, small car for everyday driving, there’s a wealth of worthy options on the market today. For over a decade, the Subaru Impreza has been just another member of the pack; but thanks to a number of upgrades in recent years, this ultimately practical vehicle gained a level of quality and luxury that makes it much more appealing.
Last made over in 2002, the Impreza benefits from a fresh restyling in 2006 while also gaining a list of new features and options. The updated high-performance WRX model boasts a turbocharged engine and a sporty suspension that stands up well against much more expensive cars. With both a wagon and sedan body available and an impressive lineup of trim packages, almost any buyer will find a combination to fit their needs and their personal driving style.
As with all Subaru vehicles, the Impreza’s standard all-wheel drive proves to be a strong selling point, along with the car’s overall sturdy build. A significant price cut on 2006 base models is another great reason to consider the Subaru Impreza. The field of mid-range sedans and wagons isn’t known for its excitement or luxury. And while the Impreza does sit pretty comfortably in the middle of the crowd, it offers just enough fun with all its practicality to make it an option worth considering.
Body Styles: sedan, wagon
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Subaru Impreza 2.5i, Subaru Impreza WRX TR, Subaru Impreza WRX, Subaru Impreza WRX Limited, Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, Subaru Impreza Outback Sport Special Edition, Subaru Impreza STi
2006 brings a new makeover to the Subaru Impreza, along with refreshed trim packages and a handful of small mechanical improvements. The base 2.5i replaces the former 2.5 RS. The WRX sedan is now offered at a lower price, while a more high-end WRX Limited wagon and sedan are also available. All models’ engines receive a boost in both horsepower and torque. The WRX trims now boast 17-inch wheels, upgraded brakes and improved suspension, and a tighter steering ratio. All Impreza models benefit from a redesigned grille, fenders, headlights, and taillights.
Both the wagon and the sedan bodies of the 2006 Impreza carry a pretty traditional appearance; this isn’t a car designed to stand out or show off. But it is attractive and has plenty to offer in the way of quality. Standard exterior equipment includes alloy wheels, a front air dam, and powered exterior mirrors. Further options range from fog lights and mud guards to a rear spoiler and underbody protection. A powered sunroof is offered only with the WRX Limited trim.
The standard interior offerings for the 2006 Impreza are fairly minimal, although the materials are high quality and the dashboard is modern and easy to navigate. The base 2.5i wagon and sedan come with a CD player, power windows, locks, and mirrors, and a leather steering wheel. The Outback Sport Special Edition has the most to offer, with an in-dash CD changer, premium audio system, leather steering wheel and shifter, and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Performance & Handling
All Impreza 2.5i and Outback Sport models are powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, rated at 173 horsepower. The WRX trims have much more to offer in the way of power and performance, with a turbocharged engine pulling an admirable 230 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. As with all Subarus, all-wheel drive comes standard on the Impreza.
Even with the lower-horsepower engine in the 2.5i and Outback Sport models, the Impreza has plenty of fun to offer on the road. However, the 2.5i wagon handles much better than the Outback Sport. More aggressive or performance-minded drivers will prefer the sportier WRX or even the super-athletic STi.
The 2006 Impreza includes the normal list of Subaru safety equipment. All Impreza models come standard with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Electronic Brake force Distribution, side curtain airbags, front and rear headrests, front passenger and driver head restraints with whiplash protection, front seatbelt pretensioners, rear center three-point seatbelt, child seat anchors, and rear door child safety locks. The WRX trim also includes an emergency interior trunk release.
The 2006 Subaru Impreza is an IIHS ?Best Pick? in frontal-offset crash testing. The car has earned four out of five stars on government crash tests for driver safety in front impacts, and five stars for front-passenger safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
Subaru Impreza 2.5i: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza WRX TR: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza WRX: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza WRX Limited: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza Outback Sport: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza Outback Sport Special Edition: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza STi: 16/22 mpg city/highway
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Variety of bodies and models available
- High-quality construction
You Won't Like
- Limited room in the rear
- Slow downshifting with automatic transmission
A fun and practical vehicle with lots of options and broad appeal.
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