My first time was in 1996, in a Subaru Impreza 2.5RS Coupe, the one with the basket-handle spoiler and the hood scoop and the oversize fog lights. It was a stick, it was wintertime in Denver, Colorado, and I had a great time.
C’mon, that’s not what I’m referencing here. I’m talking about my first time driving a Subaru Impreza, a viscerally sophisticated little compact car that has, traditionally, easily been forgiven its homely styling and premium price tag for its standard all-wheel drive and entertaining driving experience. The non-WRX versions of the Impreza have never been fast, but they’ve always been fun. Especially when the weather is awful.
Fast-forward 17 years, and now I’m a family man living in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I took this 2013 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium out for a drive on my usual test loop across the Santa Monica Mountains and up the coastline, where I happened upon Chevrolet filming its redesigned 2014 Impala at Point Mugu, which is seemingly where every car company films its commercials.
Anyway, when I returned home, my wife asked: “So, how was the Impreza?” I had trouble remembering, because the Impreza has evidently sacrificed its soul at the altar of fuel economy.