The 2008 Subaru Impreza is not the old rally-racing car its forefather was. This is a completely redesigned vehicle with a little less attitude and a lot more mainstream appeal. It is a bigger vehicle than previous incarnations, able to handle larger carloads. The wheelbase is four-inches longer, affording a bit more legroom. The interior is also redesigned with better materials and more standard features than ever before. The 2008 Subaru Impreza is a much better car than it’s ever been. While those who followed the old Impreza for its punk attitude and styling might be agitated with how the vehicle has grown up. A whole new generation of consumers will see this as a practical car with a lot to offer.
Body Styles: sedan, hatchback
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan, Subaru Impreza WRX sedan, Subaru Impreza 2.5i hatchback, Subaru Impreza Outback Sport hatchback, Subaru Impreza WRX hatchback, Subaru Impreza WRX STI
The 2008 Subaru Impreza debuts a completely new design. The exterior and the interior have gone through a major shakeup and are now focused on a mainstream audience. Turbocharged versions of the vehicle are now available along with the sedan and hatchback models of the past.
The 2008 Subaru Impreza is available in a four-door sedan or hatchback model. The vehicle is bigger this year with a wheelbase extended four inches and a wider chassis as well. The change in width is due to the switch to a double wishbone suspension. Base 2.5i models receive 16-inch steel wheels. The Premium Package model upgrades the steel to alloy and adds extra safety equipment. The Outback Sport model is only available as a hatchback. The Outback includes 17-inch wheels, a two-tone exterior paint job, heated outside mirrors, and a windshield deicer. The WRX model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, and a sport-tuned suspension.
The 2008 Subaru Impreza’s interior changes more than any other vehicles in the Subaru lineup. There is a lot more legroom in the back seat due to the extended wheelbase introduced this year. The door openings are also larger, making it easier for passengers to enter and exit the vehicle. The side windows are now framed as well, a first for the Impreza. Framed windows keep the interior very quiet and reduce wind noise during highway driving. The double wishbone suspension widens the cargo area and the 60/40-split back seat increases it even more.
Performance & Handling
The 2008 Subaru Impreza comes with one of two engine types. The 2.5i and Outback Sport models have a horizontally opposed, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower with 170 lb-ft of torque. The WRX models have a turbocharged version of that same engine that produces 224 horsepower with 226 lb-ft of torque. The WRX STI increases the turbocharged output to 305 horsepower with 290 lb-ft of torque. All vehicles are four-wheel drive and are controlled by either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic with manual shift control. Since the 2008 Subaru Impreza is looking to impress a mainstream audience, the ride is a lot less thrilling than before. The steering, braking, and overall feel of the ride is a lot softer than in previous incarnations. The WRX engine gives a lot of power during acceleration but feels a bit weak once going. If consumers want real power, they should opt for the WRX STI model. This trim line gives the driver a real sense of power, and the sportier tuning makes for a much more exciting drive.
All 2008 Subaru Impreza models come with standard anti-lock brakes and side curtain airbags. The base 2.5i models have rear drum brakes instead of discs. Adding the Premium package swaps out the drum brakes for discs makes it a good idea if drivers have a mind for safety. The Premium Package also includes Brake Assist, stability control, and a hill holder function for cars with manual transmission. All these features come standard on the Outback Sport model.
EPA Fuel Economy
Subaru Impreza 2.5i: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza WRX: 20/25 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza Outback Sport: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Impreza WRX STI: 17/23 mpg city/highway
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Turbocharged engine on the WRX and WRX STI
- Lots more room with the longer wheelbase
You Won't Like
- Some standard features missing
- Badly engineered transmissions
- Standard drum brakes on base model
Lost some of its punkish charm but gains a lot of class and drivability.
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