2008 Subaru Impreza Interior Up Close

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A little earlier, we dispensed full details on the redesigned Subaru Impreza 2.5i and its turbocharged WRX twin. Both cars were on display last night at a Subaru reception a few blocks from the auto show, and I had a chance to poke around inside.

The seats are a big step forward. I only wish there were a way to get the sporty seats in the WRX with the fabric from the 2.5i. The latter model has rich, well-cushioned upholstery that could satisfy me for the long haul. Not the case with the WRX; its high bolsters are sure to keep drivers fastened in tight corners, but the woven texture isn’t the sort of stuff I’d escape to the parking garage to take a lunchtime snooze on. (Not that I’ve ever done that…)

Impreza Impreza Impreza

The last Impreza’s dash was purposeful but utterly simplistic. This one adds some interesting color contrasts and metallic inlays, but it’s hardly crossed the divide to warm and inviting. There seems to be more open space between the windshield and the front seats than before – a good thing – but the cabin still feels austere. The doors are trimmed mostly in a single sheet of molded plastic, and the dashboard is hard to the touch. The ceiling is all mouse fur — and a feeble, balding rodent at that. It has a hollow echo when you knock on it, and I can’t imagine it provides a great deal of insulation.

Design aspects aside, the interior seems to be well-executed. The dash panels fit together without any noticeable gaps, even in tricky areas like the steering-wheel hub. The wheel itself has a chunky feel, and the gearshift knob, though tall, falls readily to hand. The throws feel like they did in the previous generation — long but reasonably direct.

Impreza Impreza Impreza

Impreza Impreza Impreza Impreza Impreza Impreza

All told, the Impreza feels distinctly Japanese. Part of that is because of its outside look — stylish in a Mitsubishi or Suzuki way, not so much Chevy or Dodge — but the other part stems from the characteristically small controls. The steering-wheel crowds audio and cruise buttons precariously onto each spoke – six on the left, four on the right. The air conditioning dials get the job done in as little space as possible, and the buttons for the optional navigation system are similarly tiny.

Call it a hunch, but I don’t think this car will broaden Subaru’s appeal, as the company said it wanted to do at a press conference yesterday. Subaru fans will feel at home, but domestic shoppers, and maybe even a Honda or Toyota owner, might need some time to acquire the Impreza’s particular taste.

-By Kelsey Mays

Comments 

Jake

I am not sure you're right about the appeal. Subaru fans have been panning the new design to no end, I see a shift away from the enthusiasts to the mainstream public as the customer base. I can't see myself buying one of those models, maybe if it had a hybrid powerplant and if it came as a higher clearance Sport version with cladding, but still, I am not impressed.

Graham

As an Impreza owner I agree with Jake, I'm not impressed. The outside looks worse the more I see it, and I'm going off the interior too, which initially I liked (mainly disklike the ungainly lump housing the sat/nav).

One thing we've not heard anything about yet is price. Has anyone asked Subaru this question? If not, please do so!

Bruzer

With its subdued looks and mainstream interior I bet fleets and rental companies will love the base models, especially the hatch.

It looks like Subaru really flubbed the styling on this. In an attempt to get away from the quirky, Zapatinas-designed grille, Subaru has gone too far the other way into classical Japanese conservative. This design conservatisim becomes all the more apparent when one compares this vehicle to the new Mitsubishi Lancer/Evo, or any Honda product.

Jake

True, price not mentioned anywhere. Subaru claims to have refined the interior - at an additional expense? Or will they pull a stunt similar to 2007 model year price reductions for Outbacks? And again, what versions of the Impreza will be offered for 2008?

I don't see what the problem is with these. I liked them in person. The WRX sedan actually has some innovative lines. the rear is boring though.

J

I am seeing the dash has 3 dial analog gauges only. Where are the engine coolant temperature gauge and oil pressure gauge and things of that nature? This is a performance vehicle, right?

Dave,
The size of the Navigation's switches are just like the ones on the Civics.

Wren Mast-Ingle

Most of the comments have obviously been written by non-Subaru owners.

Perhaps it does look like a Toyota but take the fact that this is what the public has voted for in terms of purchase.

Without doubt the quality of engineering and high safety standards put the vehicle in a class of its own...drive one and you will understand

J,
Didn't say otherwise. also Kelsey penned this one, I just posted it for time reasons.

Subaru is expected to follow the successful footsteps of Impreza. Impreza today is getting brisk sales in the market because of its newly equipped high quality parts like Subaru cold air intake that will deemed as one of the best buy vehicles available today.

Kris Noffke

Subaru enthusiasts are always criticle of the new models. The front end on the 06' wasn't recieved too well at first. But now they are popular. This new style will eventually become accepted also. It may take some time though. Those of you that bought the 06's lucked out and got the last WRX that still looks like a WRX. Remember its all about what's under the hood.

Kristin

i have seen the new impreza up close and personal. i have sat in it. its beautiful. its design is perfect. it is very grasfull looking but powerful. oh yeah, and the buttons are not too small, they are fine. this model looks good. and by the way, there is nothing wrong with japanees style-ing. they have the best looking cars i have ever seen. (been living in japan now for a month)

Carlos

I too was a little turned away. I was going to get '07 or something older then they showed me the '08 and was really impressed with the interior and the hatchback really grew on me.
I have a lot of use for something like that. I took them both for a test drive and that '08 was a dream. I should be picking one up within 2 weeks.

Lorraine

I test-drove an 2008, yesterday. The head rest is very uncomfortable.

Lorraine

I test-drove an 2008, yesterday. The head rest is very uncomfortable.

Lorraine

I test-drove an 2008, yesterday. The head rest is very uncomfortable.

Vky

I agree with Lorraine...what's with the head rest? It seems to be pushing my head forward. No matter how much I adjust it's still very uncomfortable.

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