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Published on Sun, Nov 28, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright The Swedish language has a word that sums up the Subaru Impreza quite nicely: “lagom”. Lagom is a combination of “just right” and “just enough”, and legend has it that it originates from men sitting around a campfire drinking beer from one jar. “Lag” is team, and “om” is around; so literally translated; team-around, meaning that one should only drink so much as to allow for everybody else to have an equal sip. Enough of the language lesson, but in a lack of another word, lagom will have to sum up what the Impreza is.
The Impreza is Subaru’s entry-level car, and it does a great job at that. It is not the coolest, most fun car one can drive, nor is it boring. It is not a super-fast car, but neither is it slow. You see, the Impreza, in my mind, doesn’t stand out too much at all. Lagom. In fact, while writing this article I am having difficulties to express how I feel driving it. This is a problem if the Impreza is supposed to impress and create hype. But it’s not, there is a special car for that; it’s called the Impreza WRX STI. Having that said, there is one nit to pick: The GPS system. I had a hard time figuring out how to work the GPS and where to find the different options I knew must exist. A good example is the fact that the GPS wanted to guide me towards a destination I had entered (but never driven to) every time the car was started for a couple of days until I finally found the “cancel guidance” option. But other than that, I won’t be able to negatively comment on anything. This is a good little car.
Even if the Impreza is a little lagom, it does have Subaru’s well-known Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) to enhance the driving experience. On- and off-ramps are more fun knowing that there are four tires doing the work instead of having two just rolling along. Even with Subaru’s impressive four-wheel drive system, however, the Impreza is not built for racing. While it may feel safe to accelerate through the windy ramps of the LA freeway system, but as soon as you stop accelerating (and maybe start braking because you caught up to another car) the rear end will want to come around. It gets a little scary when it goes from complete smoothness to rock and roll in a hurry. The Impreza comes standard with Vehicle Dynamics Control, but it does show some room for improvement. While the Impreza might not turn heads, it’s still attractive. The car exudes a look of a sane, small, people-moving automobile, if not with a great deal of excitement. Notwithstanding the exterior, the Impreza provides a comfortable cabin inside. Not Mercedes-comfy, but lagom comfy. You sit pretty low, which I assume helps keep down the center of gravity, but this is only noticeable when getting into or out of the car.
The front seats are snug, but not too snug, and the back has ample legroom and lagom-comfortable seating. The perceived roominess can be compared to the previous generation Passat, which is pretty good for a 'compact' car. Based on Subaru’s consistently great reliability record, the Impreza should prove to be rock steady in the maintenance department. It may not be the flashiest car on the street, but it will definitely get the job done. Driving the Impreza can be fun on curvy roads and the four-wheel drive will help you get where you are going. Just make sure to share the driving experience with your whole team; lagom.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT Just right, just enough, just imprezzive. For more information about Subaru products, go to subaru.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium / AJD Price: $18,495 (base) $23,190 (and as tested with option package 12 including Navigation and XM radio, and 4-speed auto transmission with Sportshift) EPA fuel economy rating: 20 (city) 26 (highway) Engine size and type: 2.5L Horizontally-opposed SOHC Horsepower: 170 hp @ 5600 rpm Torque: 170 pound-feet @ 4000 rpm Transmission type: 4-Speed shiftable automatic Drive configuration: All-wheel drive Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion Suspension (front and rear): MacPherson strut front suspension Double wishbone rear suspension Brakes and tires: Ventilated from disc /solid rear disc brakes Alloy wheels 205/55R16 tires Dimensions: Length: 180.3 in Width: 68.5 in Height: 58.1 in Curb weight: 3,119 lbs