2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5GT Road Test Review

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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Subaru's Impreza family lineup for 2009 consisted of the Impreza 2.5i, Impreza WRX, Impreza WRX STI, and in the US, at least, the all-new Impreza 2.5GT.  Ya, it's ironic that the Japanese brand chose to launch the new 2.5GT on Vancouver Island, but won't be bringing it north of the 49th for 2010 or the near future unless a press release is forthcoming, but such is life. 

In Canada, therefore, horsepower continues to range from 170 (2.5i) on the low end to 305 horses on the high end (WRX STI).  Also available is an Outback Sport version in five-door guise only. Minor styling freshening and additional amenities appear, along with a new grille in all models.  Unlike the US, there's no navigation system available, but Bluetooth audio, an iPod and USB connection comes as part of the MediaHub accessory kit. 

The Impreza 2.5GT falls into the mid-range power wise, with a 224-horsepower version of the 2.5-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder "Boxer" engine.  If you're up on Impreza lore you'll notice that this output is similar to the old WRX.  The 2.5GT comes in two models: four-door and five-door.  The GT combines the high-torque turbocharged, intercooled four banger with a standard four-speed SPORTSHIFT automatic transmission and Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. 

Vehicle Dynamics Control and Brake Assist are now standard on all Impreza models.
The new GT model provides the Impreza Premium Package equipment, not available here, with a new power glass moonroof.

Other major standard features include 60/40 split fold down rear seatbacks; the All-Weather Package, including dual-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer (unique to the US as this all comes standard here); an AM/FM stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, 10 speakers, SRS Circle Surround system and auxiliary audio input jack; automatic climate control system; carpeted floor mats; cruise control; digital clock and outside temperature gauge, electroluminescent instrument panel gauges, engine immobilizer and fog lights; 24-hour roadside assistance for the limited warranty period is standard too. 

Additional standard features include a leather-wrapped steering wheel with switches for cruise control and the audio system; power windows and door locks; pre-wiring for XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio; remote keyless entry; rear seat center armrest; tilt and telescoping steering wheel; variable intermittent windshield wipers; and Vehicle Dynamics Control.  Five-door models add a cargo area cover, light and tie-down hooks; clear tail light lenses; rear window wiper with washer; and rear gate spoiler. 
The 2010 Impreza 2.5GT utilizes the new-generation Impreza platform (introduced in 2008), which is based on a longer wheelbase, resulting in improved roominess and ride quality.  The new chassis improves crashworthiness too, while the increased stiffness and reworked rear suspension allows for crisper, more agile handling characteristics. 

The GT strikes a seemingly happy medium between the base Impreza and the upgraded WRX, but more importantly outperforms many of its rival sport compacts at a lower price than what Subaru has been able to offer thus far.  Both the 4-door sedan and the 5-door liftback styling display more modern, contemporary treatments in their design execution, with softer, more rounded corners and edges.  The new GT's grille was inspired by the grille found on the WRX STI, which translates into a much sportier overall image. 

My longer-term test Subaru Impreza 2.5GT 4-door was sprayed a Dark Grey metallic, while the interior was done in a Charcoal cloth with Silver painted trim accents.  The base price was set at $26,995 USD, while the final sticker came to $27,690 USD.  To put thing into perspective, a 170-hp 5-door 2.5i Limited model starts at $27,595 in Canada while the 265-hp WRX Limited will set you back $36,395.  If performance is more important than luxury features, you can even get a WRX at $33,395.  That would probably put the 2.5GT at about $30k if offered in Canada. 

I was afforded the opportunity to experience both the 2.5i and the 2.5GT Impreza models in on and off road driving experiences in a rallye scenario, which was done in specially prepped cars with professional instruction.  Obviously the 2.5GT is superior with its higher horsepower and torque ratings.  Acceleration in the GT model is certainly more than adequate, particularly with the SPORTSHIFT automatic providing smooth gear changes. 

The ride quality is on the firm side, but not to the point of being objectionable.  The interior is ergonomically friendly, even if somewhat spartan, and the handling characteristics reach a sporty level. 

In terms of its appearance, the 2010 Impreza 2.5GT continues to hint at its sporting nature, beginning with the functional hood scoop.  The lines are clean and the form is easy on the eyes, certainly more emotional and a far cry from the boxiness of yore – the WRX STI claims the "Best Looking" award in its new 5-door persona, although new for 2010 it can be had in four-door guise too.  It also garners the performance title in the Impreza stable.  The price gets the consumer a lot for their money in the 2.5GT, but for not too much more, the WRX wraps considerably more into the equation. 

The question remains why Subaru Canada has not followed the US lead in incorporating the 2.5GT into its lineup, and it likely falls into the realm of a smaller market not being able to make a business case for such a niche vehicle.  This type of thing happens all the time in Canada, although since harmonization of bumper codes we had hoped it would happen less often.  Nevertheless, Subaru offers Canada a significant Impreza lineup.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Subaru, 2010, Impreza, $20,000 - $29,999,

Organizations: Subaru

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