ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: This Subaru Impreza Sport is a great package for $24K-$25K. It has a bunch of room, isn’t a slug, and looks cool, too. And I think the Impreza is still one of the cheapest ways to get all-wheel drive.
The 2.0-liter four is a little underpowered, but when you get deep into the gas pedal, it’ll still get up and go. It does take a split second longer with the CVT, but this Subaru unit is better than most. Like all CVTs, it gets loud in the cabin with all that time spent high in the rev range, but again, at this price point, that’s expected. Throttle tip-in is sufficiently sensitive to make this car feel quicker than it is.
It’s not a small car, which is another reason why it’s a good value. With the seats folded down, this almost-wagon would swallow a ton of cargo.
The chassis is relatively compliant, meaning I could just drive over road imperfections instead of avoiding them. Bigger wheels and/or lower-profile tires would make my drive home an exercise in pothole dodging. It looks like it has a decent amount of ground clearance, too, but it’s more rated for a dusty or sandy road than a true 4x4.
The interior looks and feels a little cheap, but it has most of the features you would expect, including a touchscreen, heated seats and USB port. It’s well-equipped for the price.
The 2014 Subaru Impreza Sport Limited is equipped with a 2.0-liter H4.PHOTO BY SUBARU
SENIOR ROAD TEST EDITOR NATALIE NEFF: This 2014 Subaru Impreza Sport Limited has to be one of the chintziest cars I’ve driven in some time, both from a driving and experiential standpoint. Seriously, I don’t know what car Jake drove, but “little underpowered” is not how I would describe it. This thing BARELY moves, no matter how deep you bury your foot in it, the CVT sucking every ounce of energy the feeble little 2.0-liter manages to pump out. And don’t let that tip-in fool you; all that extra-sensitive initial throttle-pedal tuning does is add a layer of coarseness to the whole thing, making pulling away from a stop extra obnoxious by delivering a jerky start followed immediately by…nothing.
OK, chintzy might be too harsh, but the only thing that almost makes this car acceptable in my eyes is the price, but really, knocking another $5K off that sticker would put it more in line with what I think it’s worth. Seeing as I don’t need the extra grip (all-wheel drive on a car of this ilk doesn’t do much for me; its chassis is hardly tuned for the track, and in the worst winter weather, a car of this size fares just fine with front drive), I can’t fathom paying this amount for such a bare-bones car that doesn’t even seem to try and deliver a quality interior, either in the materials or the design. Sure, the wagon packaging is compelling to me, but the entire execution of the car falls short, and that powertrain is an absolute deal breaker.
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