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The Subaru Impreza is a compact car that was first introduced for the 1994 model year. The Impreza is currently in its third-generation body style, which debuted for the 2008 model year. The vehicle competes directly with other sporty compacts, including the Honda Civic, Scion xB and Mazda MAZDA3. A high-performance version of the car is also available, known as the Subaru Impreza WRX.

The current-generation Subaru Impreza is available as either a 4-door sedan or hatchback. Design updates include a more conservative styling meant to deliver a uniform exterior look to Subaru's line of sedans. Some of the Subaru Impreza WRX exterior features have also been added to the base models, including halogen headlights, integrated front spoiler, corner spoilers and aluminum alloy hood. The new design is slightly shorter than the previous generation, but features a wider stance and longer wheel base. Dimensions for the sedan version include a length of 180.3 inches, height of 58.1 inches and width of 68.5 inches.

Inside, the Impreza's dashboard has been redesigned to facilitate ease of use. Deep bucket seats are intended to be comfortable and sporty. The vehicle accommodates up to five passengers. Cargo volume for the sedan model is a meager 11.3 cubic feet, while the hatchback provides a roomier 44.4 cubic feet of storage space.

Subaru Impreza Trim Levels

The Subaru Impreza comes in either a 2.5i or Outback Sport trim level. A Subaru Impreza WRX is also available. The base 2.5i trim is available in both the sedan and hatchback design, while the Outback Sport is only available in the latter. The base Subaru Impreza comes standard with air conditioning, cruise control, power accessories, tilt steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat, split folding rear seat, stereo system with CD/MP3 player, remote keyless entry and rear defogger. The hatchback also includes a rear wiper blade, cargo cover and rear spoiler.

The Outback Sport adds leather wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, heated front seats and mirrors, 6-disc in-dash CD changer, MP3 connectivity, fog lights, alloy wheels and wiper de-icer. Notable optional equipment includes GPS navigation, satellite radio, remote engine start, unique grille, roof rack and upgraded stereo system.

Subaru Impreza Performance

The base engine for the Impreza is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that delivers 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque. The Outback Sport trim keeps the same engine, but adds a hill-hold clutch and traction control. Both models come equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. An optional 4-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is also available. Other notable performance upgrades on the Subaru Impreza Outback Sport include high-performance tires and a raised heavy-duty suspension.

Subaru Impreza Safety

The Subaru Impreza 2.5i comes standard with safety features such as dual front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints, antilock brakes and daytime running lights. The Outback Sport adds brake assist and an antiskid system. In NHTSA crash tests, both the sedan and hatchback models received a perfect 5-star rating in the categories of driver front impact, passenger front impact and driver side impact. Four stars were awarded for the categories of 4WD rollover and rear passenger side impact.

The 2009 Subaru Impreza is a carryover from 2008. The 2009 Impreza is available as both a sedan and a hatchback, with three trim levels available for each: The 2.5i, ,2.5i premium, and 2.5GT. The hatchback edition also features an exclusive trim known as the Outback Sport. Each version of the Impreza is sold with standard all-wheel drive.

The 2.5i, 2.5i Premium and Outback Sport feature the same 2.5 liter, horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engine, which is capable of producing 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic round out the gearbox options, and fuel mileage is a healthy 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.

The 2.5GT takes things to a much more performance-oriented level through the addition of a 2.0 liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that churns out 224 ponies and 226 lb-ft of torque. A 4-speed automatic with manual shift controls is the only transmission choice, and fuel economy checks in at 19 miles per gallon city driving and 24 miles per gallon during highway cruising.