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2010 Subaru Impreza Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Subaru Impreza was new.


Performance: 8.0

Although there are a few complaints about the 2010 Subaru Impreza’s cabin being noisy, most reviewers agree that it’s an excellent performer. It comes with standard all-wheel drive and offers powerful engines. Beware, all wheel drive comes taxes fuel economy.

  • "The base 2010 Subaru Impreza rides and handles satisfactorily for a compact car, and its tenacious all-wheel-drive grip is a boon for wet-weather driving. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer has more aural character than your typical economy-grade four-cylinder, and it delivers adequate punch when called on." -- Edmunds
  • "The Impreza also has a handling advantage versus several competitors. Advanced suspension geometry, a platform built to host the high-performance WRX models, and a low center of gravity thanks to the boxer engine all add up to crisp handling with little body lean in corners. And yet, the Impreza also offers a comfortable ride." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The 2.5GT's engine has less turbo noise, but its overall sound is not as refined as class pacesetters. The hatchback is particularly susceptible to wind, road, and bump noise." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The Impreza offers two engines. The first is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that puts out 170 horsepower and is standard on the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium and Outback Sport models. The second, which is available on the 2.5GT, is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that offers an impressive 224 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium and Outback Sport. A four-speed automatic is standard on the 2.5GT and available on the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium and Outback Sport.

The base Impreza offers more than enough punch to handle highway passing maneuvers with ease and reviewers say that it is genuinely fun to drive. For true performance enthusiasts, however, the 2.5GT model is the one you’ve been waiting for. It offers enough power to put far more upscale cars (like the Volkswagen GTI) in its sights -- quite possibly from its rearview mirror.

Still, where the Impreza falls short is in its fuel economy. According to the EPA, the base 2.5i Impreza is rated at 20/27 mpg city/highway, which is one of the worst fuel economies in the class. If you upgrade to the 2.5i Premium model, it drops even lower to 18/25 mpg, which is officially lower than any car in the class. This is, in part, due to the Impreza's all-wheel drive.

  • "2.5GT is a bit sluggish from a stop, but speed picks up nicely at higher rpm. The transition where the turbo kicks in is smooth and linear, so we're hesitant to call it 'turbo lag.' Despite having only four speeds, the automatic transmission is a good match for the engine." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 2.5GT provides considerably more punch than the base car, thanks to a turbocharged engine, but with its automatic transmission and moderate suspension tuning, it's designed for those who desire speed without any compromises in comfort." -- Edmunds
  • "The engine produces 170-horspower, enough power for everyday needs and enough oomph for good passing punch." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Power for passing and hill-climbing is fantastic, but there's little advantage around town. The GT not only uses more gas than the 2.5i -- I averaged around 20 MPG, compared to 24.6 in the last 2.5i I tested -- but it requires premium fuel. And the GT's old-fashioned 4-speed automatic doesn't help matters, either." -- About.com

Handling and Braking

With standard all-wheel drive, the Impreza’s handling dynamics definitely have an edge over competitors. Test drivers say the Imprezagrips the road well in harsh conditions and offers a smooth, pleasant ride.

  • "Steering feel is responsive, if not as razor sharp as would be expected in a sporty car. Body lean in turns is moderate, and dry-pavement grip is excellent." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A phrase like 'sport tuned suspension' might make your rear end run for the nearest pillow, but Subaru has gone far enough to satisfy stiction junkies with a tenacious chassis that doesn't bash occupants into renal failure. Impacts are absorbed without a visit to bump-stopville, and higher frequency pavement irregularities are mostly filtered thanks in part to a new multilink rear suspension." -- Autoblog
  • "The ride [on the 2.5GT] is soft and compliant, just like the 2.5i, which makes it comfortable for cruising or commuting but problematic in the curves -- if a series of bumps sets the Impreza's suspension rocking, it makes it difficult to keep all four wheels planted firmly on the pavement." -- About.com

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