‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’ could describe the Subaru Impreza, which Gold Rush Subaru’s saleswoman Patti Jensen says has been “redesigned from the ground up”. “It’s built on the Legacy platform now, so it’s a bigger car with a longer wheel base, increasing the quality of the ride,” says Jensen. “It has more interior space for the comfort of the passengers but the basic engine is the same, it’s still the 2.5-liter, fuel injected engine, generates about 170 hp, plenty of power for the size of the car, and coupled with Subaru’s all-wheel drive all of the time, it’s a performance-oriented car.”
Those changes are part of a system with Subaru that re-evaluates and upgrades its vehicles to meet consumer’s wants and needs. “Normally Subaru stays with a body style anywhere from about 4-6 years,” Jensen said, “and so it was time to upgrade that particular model, and they wanted to offer more standard features to the vehicle and more optional features too, which had never been available on the Impreza line before.” Some of those new features include a GPS navigational system and Subaru’s VDC system (Vehicle Dynamics Control), an additional stability traction control feature. “It’s great for our kind of climate, where people are driving in inclement weather,” Jensen said. “It can be very helpful in any kind of slippage situation on road surfaces.”
Passenger comfort was a key to using the Subaru Legacy platform for the newest Impreza. “Creating a longer wheel-base creates a better quality of ride and so, performance-wise, it’s probably a bit more comfortable,” says Jensen. Safety is also an important issue and Subaru is very proud of its 4-star crash safety worthiness rating on the Impreza and a 5-star rating on its Tribeca SUV, according to Jensen. And one added bonus with this year’s Impreza is that its base price dropped almost $1,000 over last year’s models, starting at about $17,000 plus delivery charges.
The 2008 Impreza weighs about the same as its predecessor and the weight-to-horsepower ratio is very similar to what it was before, Jensen said. It is available in three main body styles Ð the 2.5i entry-level (with or without an options package), the Outback Sport and the WRX Ð as a four-door sedan or with a fifth, hatchback-type rear door. The five door model, says Jensen, is “more of a European design, very popular in Europe because of the functionality, the flexibility with the rear seats folding down and more versatility with the cargo space as well.” Jensen says the Impreza is “a sporty-handling car at all levels, even if it’s the entry model.”
The WRX, Subaru’s “bread-and-butter” model according to Jensen, features a turbocharged and intercooled aluminum alloy Boxer 4 engine, a valve train with a double-overhead camshaft (DOHC), active valve-control system (AVCS) and variable valve timing that produces 224 horsepower with its 2.5-liter engine. In comparison, the Outback Sport and the 2.5i models produce 170 horsepower with a naturally-aspirated aluminum alloy Boxer 4 engine and a valve train with a single-overhead camshaft (SOHC) and an i-active valve-lift system with variable valve lift. The Subaru Boxer engine is mounted longitudinally in the chassis, resulting in “better balance, reduced driveline friction and efficient power distribution”.
One Impreza not yet available is the much-anticipated 2008 WRX STI (Subaru Technology Incorporated), a sporty model with the looks of a rally racecar, designed to attract the interest of younger customers, although Jensen said many buyers of the 2007 model are men in their 30s and 40s. “It’s that fun weekend car to have,” she said with a smile. Due out sometime next year, Jensen says there is a lot of speculation online about the 2008 WRX STI because “it truly is a rally-sport technology”. It’s almost too much power for a street-worthy vehicle, according to Jensen; “to have that kind of power, with an all-wheel drive that has the kind of zero-to-sixty performance and still offers the features of all Subarus with the all wheel drive, it’s a really nice combination.”
More information about all Subaru models is available at http://www.subaru.com. Currently available models, including the 2007 WRX STI, can be seen and purchased at Gold Rush Subaru, 670 Grass Valley Highway, in Auburn, California. Patti Jensen and the Gold Rush crew can be reached at 530-885-4095.
NASCAR Notes: A rain-delayed, shortened-by-darkness, wreck-filled race at Kansas Speedway ended early under caution with Greg Biffle and the #16 crew celebrating a controversial win. After three of ten Chase for the Championship races, Jimmie Johnson has regained the driver points lead as the Nextel Cup drivers head to Talladega for the first restrictor-plate race in the COT (Car of Tomorrow).
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