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Old 09-18-2007, 01:00 PM
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Arrow Subaru's Impreza blossoms from wallflower to looker for 2008

Subaru's Impreza blossoms from wallflower to looker for 2008

A Subaru Impreza with a sense of style!

You wouldn't have expected it even a year ago, but here's the 2008 Impreza that actually stands out from the crowd instead of trying to blend in with it.

Sure, Subaru brands itself as selling nothing but all-wheel-drive cars, but AWD is now not just readily available from its competitors but approaching commonplace. Even the segment below the Impreza has more and more people discovering that having four wheels gripping the ground is always better than just two, especially in this country.

Available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatch, the 2008 Impreza pair can attract a crowd even when parked.

The Imprezas now have character lines with real character. On the hatchback in particular, there is high beltline crease that makes it look a lot like flagship Tribeca. Gone is the sour lemon oval grille replaced by an egg crate style. From the rear the jewelled look of the LCD lighting actually sparkles in the sun.

On the turbocharged WRX, the hood scoop that feeds the engine intercooler is now broad and low with a grafted-in look that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Much wind tunnel testing resulted in the new scoop design that has the added benefit of not jutting up in the forward vision of the driver.

The 2008 Impreza is offered in naturally aspired form as the entry-level 2.5i and the up-trimmed 2.5i Sport Package and also as the turbocharged WRX with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and an optional four-speed automatic with Sportshift. It allows the driver to select one of three modes: Drive for economy; Sport for quicker response and Sport Shift that allows sequential manual shifting.

Pricing with manual shift is: Impreza 2.5i sedan, $20,695; Impreza 2.5i five-door, $21,595; Impreza 2.5i Sport Package sedan, $23,195; Impreza 2.5i Sport Package five-door, $24,895, Impreza WRX sedan, $32,995; Impreza WRX five-door, $33,895.

The price point is another point in Subaru's "conquest" buyer strategy.

The Canadian compact car segment makes up 25 per cent of all cars sold here. Most buyers are looking in the $18-$22,000 range with the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic (that don't offer AWD) smack dab in the centre. The 2007 Impreza, with AWD as standard, was just above the radar at about $23,000. With the 2008 model, its $20,695 base price puts Subaru squarely in the game.

The Impreza is a totally different car from the previous model; the only thing being shared is the name and some of the drivetrain. The new platform is what Subaru calls the Dynamic Chassis Control Concept or DC-Cubed. Not only is it separate from other models, it features a new suspension front and rear using subframe to further distance passengers from noise, vibration and harshness, or NVH.

And wonder of wonders; the doors now have frames, the first that I can ever remember on a Subaru. Frames not only seal better, they permit wider opening angles and also cut way back on wind boom at speed.

The entire AWD driveline sits 10 mm lower. Already set low to the ground, that furthers adds to stability and is complimented by a longer wheelbase than the 2007 version.

There are two power plants. On the 2.5i and Sport, the classic "flat" or "boxer" four-cylinder engine is used, this time displacing 2.5-litres, with a single overhead cam producing 170 hp and 170 lb/ft of torque. In the WRX, the 2.5-litre gets double overhead cams and a turbo making 224 hp and 226 lb/ft of torque. While power is the same as the previous WRX, Subaru pointed out peak torque is now achieved at 2,800 rpm instead of 3,600 rpm, making for sooner passing.

The concept of the interior is the double wave first seen on the topline Tribeca. It gives a kind of twin cockpit feel that works so well in the Subaru's flagship.

The Impreza now has the looks to make it much more of a complete package and should do a lot to find those conquest buyers Subaru is looking for.

Source: [url=http://www.stoneycreeknews.com/scn/news/news_877005.html]Stoney Creek News[/url]
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