Boxing Clever (Subaru Impreza 2007-present day)

ENGINES – Subaru’s trademark Boxer engine range is present here in petrol and also diesel form. Traditionalists will like the former and anyone seeking lower running costs should warm to the latter as it’s a good all-rounder.

EXTERIOR – The switch from four to five doors was a controversial one, but you can understand Subaru’s logic for wanting to broaden the car’s appeal and boost practicality. The overall look might be a little generic but you can still tell that this Impreza is a Subaru.

INTERIOR – Subaru’s policy of building conservatively styled and durable interiors remains strong with this Impreza. It’s a little more workmanlike than some rivals, but you know it’s going to last. There’s also enough space for a growing family fore and aft.

DRIVING – All wheel drive has its pluses but it can also impact fuel economy. For changeable British weather it’s nice to have, and in combination with the diesel option it makes the Impreza a more appealing and relevant choice. Don’t expect rally-bred handling here though, as this ‘cooking’ Impreza is in reality a safe, neutral choice.

OWNERSHIP – Diesel is the smart choice given the increasing running costs of all-wheel drive petrol-powered cars these days. The good news is that there’s no obvious compromise in performance and usability for the regular models. As a five-door hatch the car behaves a lot like its rivals, with the added advantage of above average durability.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – Pampered private examples with low miles showing might be more trouble than they’re worth due to long periods of inaction or regular, short shopping trips. The flipside is the high mileage used and abused example that’s towed more than its limit or been off-road when it shouldn’t have. A thorough visual and physical inspection plus test drive and comprehensive service history is the absolute minimum standard here.

MODEL HISTORY

2007: Subaru launches all-new Impreza, replacing long running four-door saloon with a five-door hatchback model. Regular Boxer petrol engines in 1.5, 2.0 and hot 2.5-litre capacities joined by a 2.0-litre Boxer diesel unit. Good levels of standard equipment across the range, with the emphasis on convenience and cold weather kit.

REASONS TO BUY – all-wheel drive, diesel versatility, hatchback practicality

REASONS TO BEWARE – limited numbers to choose from, CO2 and economy could be more competitive, unflattering styling

PICK OF THE RANGE – Impreza 2.0D RC

WHAT TO PAY

2009 09 13,775

2009 59 14,190

2010 10 15,635

2010 60 16,070

2011 11 17,765

Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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