2010 Subaru Impreza Expert Review

You'll Like The 2010 Subaru Impreza If...

The 2010 Impreza is a great choice for those looking for a reliable and capable compact car. The all-wheel-drive drivetrain provides secure handling in nearly all road and weather conditions, potentially a must-have for those living in less temperate climates. The turbocharged engine found in the Impreza 2.5GT offers plenty of passing power and fun.

You May Not Like The 2010 Subaru Impreza If...

If price and fuel economy trounce all-wheel-drive stability and control, you'll probably want to look at the Honda Civic, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Versa or Volkswagen Golf TDI. Like the Impreza, the Suzuki SX4 also offers all-wheel drive plus a lot more features for less money.

What's New

Both the Sedan and Wagon receive minor styling tweaks as well as a new grille. Premium trims can be equipped with the Special Edition Package that adds a power moonroof, fog lights and heated seats, mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer. Subaru's optional navigation system now includes Bluetooth phone connectivity.

Interior Features

Subaru has definitely stepped things up in terms of interior quality. Most materials are high grade to the touch, and the dash layout is simple, logical and borderline stylish. Gone are the gaudy colors and cheap plastic trim, and options now include a touch-screen navigation system (available only on Premium models with the automatic transmission), Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and a 6-disc/10-speaker stereo. A long list of accessories include a powered subwoofer, sliding center armrest, various cargo organizers and nets and a short shift kit for manual transmission models.

Exterior Features

Where the first generation Impreza had a quirky but lovable look, the newest version seems a bit cliche. With more than a passing resemblance to the first generation Mazda MAZDA3, the 2010 Impreza 2.5i wagon is now dangerously close to lacking identity. The Outback Sport and GT trims spice things up considerably, with larger wheels and more body cladding to banish the bland; oddly, Subaru has opted not to offer the Impreza's navigation system on the Outback Sport. On the plus side, the Impreza's all-wheel drive offers year-round security and many trims offer such useful winter necessities as heated side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer.

Driving Impressions

The 2010 Impreza 2.5GT trim offers ample fun from its gutsy turbo engine, and encourages frequent dips into the throttle. The rougher engine of the 2.5i doesn't do the fairly heavy Impreza any favors, however, and is partly responsible for its slow acceleration. While the GTs sport-tuned suspension does make for a more than capable ride through corners, neither trim offers the precision and feedback found in much of the competition, including the faithful and simple Honda Civic. The steering is a touch too light for back-road blasts, limiting communication with the pavement, although the car remains stable and composed under nearly all day-to-day driving conditions. Inside, the dash layout is logical, and all buttons and knobs are well placed for quick reference. The seats are comfortable but lack the side support we'd like for fast curves.

Pricing Notes

The base 2.5i is reasonably priced considering its features, with the sedan's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $18,000 and the wagon selling for about $500 more. The Outback Sport starts just under $21,000 and the 2.5GT pushes the starting price closer to $28,000. Navigation and a power moonroof adds another $3,000. These broad ranging prices put the Impreza squarely in the range of the Volkswagen Golf or Jetta, Honda Accord, and the Acura TSX. The Audi A3 starts at the high-end of the Impreza pricing, and offers all-wheel-drive, significantly better fit, finish and luxury appeal. As for resale, the Impreza is expected to hold its value well, with five-year residual values better than the Suzuki SX4, just below the Volkswagen Golf and well below the Mazda MAZDA3.

Notable Equipment

The laundry list of standard equipment for this car is, for the most part, par for the course in 2010 vehicles. Of note is standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a feature not found in most of the competition, even optionally. Other standard features include an AM/FM stereo with single CD, cruise control and remote keyless entry. The 2.5i Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, 10 speaker audio with six-disc CD/MP3 changer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The Outback Sport adds 17-inch wheels, heated seats and exterior body cladding, while the 2.5GT gains 17-inch sport wheels, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control and a power moonroof. All Imprezas include front side- and front and rear side-impact airbags, Incline Start Assist (manual transmission), traction and stability control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.

Notable Options

The 2.5i Premium offers the Special Edition Package that adds a power moonroof, fog lamps and the All Weather Package featuring heated seats, side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer. Premium models with automatic transmission can be outfitted with Subaru's navigation unit, while all models can be fitted with the Satellite Radio or iPod integration unit. Most options are bundled into dealer installed accessories and include items such as a stereo upgrade (tweeters and a powered subwoofer), additional cup holders, an iPod tray and various cargo and roof rack attachments.

Favorite Features

All-wheel-drive Drivetrain

For many, all-wheel drive is a must to make it through the wet seasons, snowy winters or just loose rural terrain. Even on dry pavement, this feature offers additional grip around curves and an added sense of security.


Turbo Power

The turbocharged and intercooled engine found in the 2.5GT is just what this car needs. The "whoosh" of power that occurs when the turbo begins making boost is addictive, a characteristic that even the most cautious drivers can enjoy tremendously.


Under the Hood

Subaru's Impreza has featured a segment defying flat-4 engine since its inception. While still a four-cylinder, the engine gets ample power and substantial torque from its larger-than-average 2.5-liter displacement (and the sprightly 2.5GT gets some additional help in the form of turbocharging). Now equipped with electronic throttle control and i-Active, Subaru's version of variable valve timing, the Impreza engine has done a decent job staying current, although only the 2.5GT's engine features dual overhead cams. The power is sent to all four wheels via Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, which limits the power being sent to wheels with little or no traction and redirects it to those that need it the most.


2.5-liter flat 4

170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

170 pound-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 (automatic), 20/27 (manual)


2.5-liter flat 4 turbocharged

224 horsepower @ 5200 rpm

226 pound-feet of torque @ 2800 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24

Editors' Notes

In 2002, Subaru made the wise decision to finally bring the WRX version of the run-about Impreza model to the US market. The rally-bred, turbocharged WRX trim breathed new life into the model line, and gave the standard Impreza a newfound sporty appeal. Eight years later, the same formula is still working, and the 2010 Impreza line-up is better in nearly every way. For those who require more power and the convenience of an automatic transmission, Subaru fills the gap between hard core and economy with a milder version of the WRX called the Impreza GT. The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system for which Subaru is renowned is standard on all Imprezas, and is certainly a plus in snow-bound climates.

Road Test Video Reviews

2010 Subaru Impreza Owner Reviews

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Impreza appreciation' painless introduction to a new brand of car.

My 2010 impreza runs smoothly, accelerates evenly, starts readily and as my first subaru has made a convert of me. . I do not like how low the driver sits, having been . Spoiled by a Toyota previa. But the car feels safe, and has come through a few fender-benders(mostly caused by others) with surprisingly little damage. I have had the car for roughly 3 years, and it probably got better gas mileage before it got to me, but it runs so smoothly that I will not complain. . I'm comfortable with the design of the front end and sides, but do not like the back side of the hatch, particularly the lights. The seats are reasonably comfortable and supportive, particularly considering how low they are to the floor assembly. . I'm told the catalytic converter has begun to self-digest and will require replacing sometime this year or next. [they originally said it would happen last year or this, but I stopped traveling to the family place in stowe, vt to keep it going as long as possible. As it will be wise to replace it at the point, and my former husband/still-friend will replace it for me. Likely a much newer, safety-featured-equipped one. Either japanese or chevrolet. I have liked the interior, the appealing curves of the upholstery, organization of the instrument cluster and dashboard. Possible distracting reflections from the dashboard are well prevented. The fabric has held onto its cleanly appearance very well despite challenges from 2 labradoodles.

- Joanne H

Very happy after 8 years!

This car is perfect for 2 or a family, adults can actually ride in the back seat comfortably. The back seats fold down and an amazing amount of cargo can be hauled if needed. It is sporty, looks very nice and corners like a dream! We live in northern California and the roads are two lane winding, curvy hill roads. I cannot imagine going back to what I owned before. This vehicle has the power to climb and takes the corners without squealing tires. Before I retired I drove twenty five miles, over a mountain every day to work. In the winter months when we had heavy rain and snow, I never had one problem with hydroplaning or slipping. The car is steady and reliable. I have owned this vehicle for eight years and have not had one mechanical problem! I would recommend this car to anyone that is looking for a small, cute but powerful and reliable car. In fact I have! After 8 years it still looks like new when it is washed and waxed. . . The seats and trunk area do not seem to wear. The one problem we have experienced is when helping an elderly (90yr old) passenger to appointments the seats are a little too low to comfortably get in and out of the car. But, since that is not an everyday use, it does not seem like a problem, however I couldn't recommend an elderly person for ownership.

- Joyce C

Great first car and overall good buy.

I love how sporty and versatile it is, and I really use it for everything. If I purchased this vehicle over again the only difference is that I would get leather seating because the microfiber is an awful hair magnet and I have 4 dogs and constantly transport other furry pets too. Does awesome on road trips, but my 6'5 boyfriend could do with some more leg room during longer trips. I have roof racks for hauling outdoor equipment like kayaks or camping gear. The seats fold down and I have actually used this to move some small furniture items and much more. The AWD is perfect for off-roading and inclement weather and I have never been stranded in this vehicle. I am only 5' and this vehicle has the best visibility for me because of it is large windows and highly adjustable seat. Very low maintenance until around 100,000 miles which will take quite a while if you buy it new. I have had mine for 3 years and put over 50,000 miles on it because I love to travel and commute 20 min each way to work. Overall a great buy, especially for a first vehicle because of it is reliability and safety features.

- Car C

Subaru Impreza - probably better to buy new than used.

Purchased our 2010 Subaru Impreza as a used vehicle in 2011. We went with Subaru for their reliability. Someone we know had over 200,000 miles on their Subaru legacy. We also wanted a hatchback. We went with the Impreza since it was on the lower end of pricing. Since then we've had to replace quite a few parts. Power steering pump (2 in the same year), sway bars, and front axle to name a few. We also continually get water in the rear tail lights. We would probably stick with Subaru for our next car but we would buy new and maybe a higher end model. Comfort wise the car is great. The only thing I wish is that the front passenger seat would adjust up and down like the driver side. This is an older car so it does not have a ton of modern features. Though we really love the sports package that has defrosters almost everywhere. The car has been pretty reliable. We've never been stranded before. Even when major things go wrong we can usually get the car to the shop before anything major happens.

- Michelle M

Best car to have. Reliable, safe, durable.

I've had my car for 8 years now. I live in an area that gets hit with rough snow storms, ice and persistent road construction. I work in the medical field so I have to drive and get to places. This car has gotten me to and from work without injury or accident. It's easy to control in snow or on slippery roads. It withstood a rear collision . I was able to drive home while the other car was totaled. I have the " base " model, so an update would be great. My love with thE cars safety, reliability, great gas miles lead to 4 other family members getting a Subaru, with one going repeat leases. I'll never switch brands

- Nicole J

If you value reliability, get a Subaru Impreza.

The all wheel drive is really helpful when you live in the snow. It is always been reliable and never had any expensive issues for the 5 years I have owned it. One thing that is a bit concerning is that there was a safety recall on the passenger airbag for my make and model, but it was repaired at a Subaru dealership at no cost to me. It gets really good gas mileage for an all wheel drive car, too. I get about 28 mpg in town and up to 40 mpg on the highway. I have driven it for road trips over several states, down uneven dirt roads to camp, and up snowy, icy roads to ski, and I have never had an issue with it.

- Ray I

Subaru = Love Great car for the city and the outdoors

I have the impreza outback sport. I like the size for city driving and parking, but I miss having the full-size station wagon. I previously had an '85 Subaru GL wagon and then a '98 Subaru outback, both of which I liked better than my current Outback Sport. I wish my current car was longer and had more ground clearance. I also hate that all the new cars have so much plastic. I get that it's safer, but my car has been rattling since the second year I had it. However, I like that it's still a Subaru, all-wheel drive, hatchback, manual transmission, etc.

- Meredith B

It's a compact car which is safe and easy to drive.

My car is a fairly small size so it fits easily in parking spaces. Despite being compact it is heavy for the size which makes it a safer vehicle to drive in certain weather conditions. The seats are decently comfortable and it has the usual basic amenities such as power steering, power windows, heat and air conditioning, daytime running lights, etc. It is not a sexy or flashy vehicle but it has been reliable and hasn't had many problems.

- Eliza P

A worthy investment. I realize I paid a little more than I should have but this car has a good reputation and is very dependable and ultimately if you take care of it at trade in time you can get up to 80% of its resale value.

My car has 4 wheel drive as Anamnese am/fm Stereo Radio. It also has power windows and power door locks.it is also equipped with a 6 cylinder engine. It comes in handy especially in the passing lane and if you're lucky enough to be a passenger in this vehicle you will love the comfortable seating. The only major repair Work that I have done to the car are new tires for 600.00 and fix the air conditioning unit for 1500.00.

- Guadalupe G

It is a great car and completely reliable.

I love my car. I will always buy from Subaru. I have had no major mechanical issues ever. Just routine maintenance to keep up with like oil changes and filters. I have driven my car halfway across the country and back multiple times with no issues at all. I am confident in all kinds of weather. My car is one of the smaller makes, but the cargo area holds so much. It is also really comfortable especially on long trips.

- Danielle L

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