Subaru Impreza WRX (2007-2010) review

We can’t see the Impreza appealing to anyone other than existing WRX owners.

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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Driving
It’s the Impreza WRX’s driving experience that fans of the brand love. And owners of the old car will feel instantly at home. The 2.5-litre engine fires into life with the familiar offbeat noise of Subaru’s horizontally opposed layout. This is carried over from the former car, and shoots today’s hatch to 60mph in 6.5 seconds. However, the unit lacks character, doesn’t have the expected urgency, and makes the car feel nose-heavy. There’s too much movement on the springs, while weight transfer in corners means the Subaru can’t change direction in an instant. Grip is good, but the steering lacks sharpness and accuracy, while the agricultural five-speed gearbox is notchy and imprecise. However, the four-wheel-drive system means traction is excellent, and the Subaru will punch out of corners without scrabbling for grip. The ride is also supple.

Marketplace
Few cars enjoy such a dedicated following as the original Impreza. The current hatchback version is a real departure, yet to us appears simply too anonymous and generic. The WRX does regain some of the styling cues found on the old car: wider arches, deeper bumpers and a bonnet scoop. However, such obvious detailing looks dated. Subaru may struggle to compete against hot hatch rivals such as the Honda Civic Type-R, VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Mazda 3 MPS.

Owning
The conventional hatchback shape ensures the cabin is spacious, with the back seats proving a decent amount of legroom. The 301-litre boot is disappointing, though, with a high floor and sloping tailgate limiting versatility. The cabin is also a let-down; the materials seem cheap, and the grey plastics are unattractive. While build is solid, it feels old-fashioned. The steering column is multi-adjustable, and the sports seats are reasonably comfortable, but these do little to disguise the cabin’s drabness. At least it’s well-equipped, and the list price seems competitive. This is fortunate, though, given the WRX’s thirst; in our hands, it averaged just 23mpg.

Engines, performance and drive

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MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

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Interior, design and technology

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Practicality, comfort and boot space

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Reliability and Safety

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