Wow, my colleagues Joe and David have pretty harsh critiques of the Impreza's interior. I beg to disagree - at least partly. To me, the dash is well-designed and very clean, with controls that are simple to decipher. The fit and finish is quite good, if not of luxury-car quality, and the dash is definitely not one-tone, with two complementary shades of plastic and a pretty nicely finished brushed metal trim piece separating the two. I agree with Joe that, other than the dash, there seem to be acres of beige on the interior. I don't mind the seat fabric, but the seats themselves are hard and not particularly supportive. The most egregious use of beige plastic is on the manual shift lever. The knob is a molded piece of plastic that simply looks cheap. If Subaru were to install a metal knob on the shift lever, I'd be willing to bet that any impressions of the interior being cheap would change immediately. After all, that's the one piece of trim in the cabin (other than the steering wheel) that your hands are going to be in almost constant contact with.
As far as driving dynamics go, the 170-hp flat-four produces sufficient, if not an overabundance of, power. For those who want performance, there are plenty of other Impreza models to choose from, starting with the new-for-2009 224-hp 2.5GT, the uprated 265-hp WRX, and the top-of-the-line 305-hp STI. Buyers of the base Impreza are likely looking at the car as a way to get four-wheel-drive capability in an economy car, and to my mind, $17,737 is a pretty fair price.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor