As with any entry-level vehicle in the $20,000 price range, expectations should be kept in check—so don’t expect a high-powered rally Subie here. Do expect, however, an AWD sedan with respectable handling and power, nice styling, and decent cargo at a suitable price. Minimalism is tough to pull off properly, and Subaru has done a great job here.

Impreza overview

The Impreza is available in the 4-door or 5-door version, with either manual or auto transmission. Various trims begin with the entry-level 2.5i base (as tested), Sport Package, Limited Package, and the WRX or WRX Limited Package with manual tranny only. This base tester, a 2.5i 4-door automatic, starts at $22,095 MSRP ($20,995 for manual) and can reach the $36,395 MSRP price-point for the awe-inspiring WRX Limited Package 5-door version.

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i review2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i review

A 2.5-litre Subaru Boxer engine

This Impreza comes with the 4-cylinder, 2.5-litre Subaru Boxer engine with I-Active Valve Lift System making 170-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque—just enough to get you out of trouble. The 5-speed (5MT) transmission is standard with the Hill Holder system or opt for the 4-speed Electronic Direct Control Automatic transmission with SportShift (4EAT-SS). At 1420kg curb weight and the 170-hp, coupled with Subaru’s renowned AWD system and handling, the Impreza performs brilliantly, feeling nimble and tight in the corners rolling on 16-inch steel wheels with Bridgstone Potenza all-season tires, standard. Also standard: Anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist, and traction control system, to name a few.

Exterior Styling

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i review

The exterior styling is overall long and sleek with clean lines stretched along the sedan’s 4580mm (approx. 15-feet) length. The elongated hood sweeps down towards a revised front grill, giving the front a dynamic appearance contoured to the projector beam hawk-eye headlights. Along the sides, side sill extensions have been modified for improved appearance while providing better durability to road debris and chipping. All Impreza models include roof-integrated crossbar mounts for improved versatility and easier crossbar installation. Contrast to the front-end, the rear is truncated but looks appropriate and works with the overall design—the decklid is super-short with the large taillights wrapping around to the sides, balancing the backend with shape and length.

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i review

Inside the 2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i

The cabin feels compact yet comfortably spacious (yes, that’s possible)—a Subaru rally-inspired trait indeed. Design themes from the outside carry through inside with the clean, contoured lines. The analog gauges are easy to read. The centre console is very straightforward and streamlined; controls are logically placed and easy to navigate—no bells and whistles here, just the basics. You’ll also find a couple cup holders (plus bottle holder in each of the 4 doors), with a little, deep cargo spot under the controls, good for wallet, phone, etc., thought the armrest cargo housing the oversized auxiliary and 12volt outlets hog much of the already limited space. The steering wheel finds standard cruise-control functions though the wheel itself isn’t very comfortable, especially when hot. The rear seats (as with the front seats) are wrapped in Ebony cloth upholstery, feel comfortable, and fold flat 60/40 providing extra cargo, though the centre console rear on the floor could use some utility function, either a 12volt, small cargo space, or a cup holder for sure.

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i review

Safety and Subaru are synonymous, and the base Impreza is no exception. Dual front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags, whiplash-reducing front-seat head restraints and front seatbelt pretensioners are standard on all Subaru vehicles.

For more info on the 2010 Subrau Impreza 2.5i, visit here

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i vs Impreza WRX

Fair enough, it’s tough discussing the Impreza without pondering the potential of the WRX, despite not having officially tested it, thus not really warranted here, but lets get to it anyway (Sorry Subaru!). The highest spec WRX Limited Package, 5-door 2.5-litre DOHC Turbo sells for $36,395, propelled by a high-pressure turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine, unleashing 265-hp and 244 lb-ft of torque with the Performance-tuned suspension next to 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels with gun-metal coating wrapped in Dunlop SP Sport performance rubber. Aesthetics are obviously enhanced, including a low-profile rear spoiler with brake light; a large roofline spoiler also with brake light; the classic Subaru black stainless steel and mesh-type front grill; body-coloured rear liftgate trim; and aerodynamic side ground effects, to name just a few.

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i review

Managing Editor and founder of TL. Also a photographer since 2000 shooting for corporate and editorial. Member of AJAC. More at ameereehal.com and tractionmedia.ca.