2008 Subaru Impreza | AmaZinG VehicLeS

2008 Subaru Impreza

Review: 2008 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport :
2008 Subaru Impreza
2008 Subaru Impreza

The standard new generation evolution usually goes like this: bigger, roomier, longer, wider. For some models, it's not such a big deal to go fiddling with the specs, on certain cars it's even a welcome improvement. Subaru, however, has a conundrum on their hands when they go messing with the Impreza formulation. There's a loveable quirkiness to the recipe; start tinkering too much, though, and you'll end up with New Coke.

Thus, it's with trepidation that we sampled the 2008 Impreza. It certainly looks different than those which came before. New duds don't mean an expanded waistline here, the 2008 model actually twirls out considerably less measuring tape in several dimensions than its forebear, while gaining inches and tenths where they make the most difference. Better doesn't have enough depth to fully convey the marked improvements Subaru has made in their entry-level model for 2008. Even stretching to "a lot better" leaves more to be said.

Something that will not pass without controversy is the new styling direction the Impreza has taken. The bug-eyed, ugly to the point of cute previous version is replaced by sheetmetal that follows Subaru's new styling playbook. The Impreza and the revised Tribeca have both shed their off-center exteriors for less outré designs. While we weren't in love with the new look when we first saw it, we've come to appreciate how the clean flanks and crisp surfacing are handsome without being overwrought. The Impreza Outback Sport 5-door carries a stylish hatch profile on its tight dimensions.

The design might be viewed as bland by some, but there are hints of adventure. The hood has a couple of quick, gestural creases, and the C-Pillar has the reverse-kick that's become universally popular as a way to suggest you're an iconoclast. The angle of the backlight and shoulder line converge at the rear light clusters, seemingly the point where the sheetmetal was drawn tight at the factory. It's a nice effect, and the way reflections take on an arrow shape when you're taking in the rear three-quarter view is entertaining. The five-door's rump is far more successful than the sedan, which has a trunk awkwardly tacked on.

The Impreza's length is down, but width and wheelbase have both increased, changing the Impreza's demeanor and environment for the better. Weight is within the same range as before, topping out a little heftier depending on equipment levels. The bodyshell has seen rigidity improvements which lets the suspension perform its duties better, since the structure's not acting as a fifth spring. Subaru has drawn fire for the softer suspension calibration of this time around. The ride is everyday comfortable, soaking up impacts without any residual quivers from the body or wasted motion as the dampers smoothly cycle from jounce to rebound. The body rolls when you bite into a highway ramp or round a corner with some enthusiasm, but the Bridgestone tires are the strong, silent type. The rubber doesn't complain audibly, but once you pass 7/10s it lets its displeasure be known by going squirmy. Cornering and braking are among this car's favorite pastimes, though.

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