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2007 Subaru Impreza

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San Francisco: Subaru has learned how to make a lot from what they have. Their intercooled, turbocharged WRX turns the Impreza compact sedan into a powerhouse in the world rally scene and in your neighborhood.

A Garnet Red Pearl test WRX followed weekly tests of two large SUVs, so I welcomed a chance to drive a taut, manual transmission-equipped ride. The Imprezaís stubby body sat poised, ready to run, its squinting headlight pods staring into the distance and its 17-inch, 7-inch-wide alloys glinting like a new pair of Jordanís.

Subaru sells only all-wheel-drive cars in America. Even the plainest Impreza has the Symmetrical AWD system, which takes advantage of Subaruís flat, horizontally opposed engine to deliver superior grip and balance when you need it.

The biggest draw of the WRX over the standard Impreza is its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which pumps out 224 horsepower, thanks to intercooled turbocharging, dual overhead cams and high tech engine management. The WRX also features a sport-tuned front suspension and four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution.

The hood gets an intrusive, extra-sporty working hood scoop to feed air to the intercooler. My wife didnít care for the scoop, but if you want intercooling and turbocharging, youíre getting it, like it or not!

Owners will enjoy quick bursts of speed. Road & Track magazine, in its December 2006 issue, got a WRX Limited from zero to 60 in just 5.6 seconds. Thatís the same as the magazine recorded for the 300-horsepower 350 Z, and .6 seconds faster than a straight-six equipped, 255-horsepower BMW 330i. The stability and control the WRX delivers every day belies the modest, upright proportions of its form. Itís really the affordable sport sedan of today, now that the original, the BMW 3 series, starts in the low $30,000ís.

With its four-cylinder engine, the WRXís fuel economy isnít too bad, considering the carís fun potential. Ratings are 20 City, 27 Highway, although itís questionable if anyone ever achieves those numbers. As far as the environment goes, the EPAís 2007 Green Vehicle Guide give the WRX a 6 (out of 10) for air pollution and a 6 for greenhouse gases - about in the middle of the pack. Thatís not bad, considering the vehicleís performance.

It would be easy to make this a highly loaded, premium offering and price it out of the range of a working young adult. Subaru, being an intelligent company, has created the TR (Tuner Ready) version, which gives you the performance goodies but only the essential comfort and convenience features.

For example, you get an 80-watt AM/FM stereo audio system with a single-disc CD player, but if you step up to the regular model, that gets bumped to 120 watts with a six-disc in-dash changer with MP3 capability. You get air conditioning, but the regular model upgrades that to automatic climate control.

Tuner Ready is a great idea, because when you build your customized model, you want to add the aftermarket features you choose. The TR gives you all the things you need to drive your WRX while you add the pieces slowly, paycheck by paycheck. Smart.

With the Limited model, you get leather seats, a power glass moonroof, heated front seats and outside mirrors, a windshield de-icer (handy in California this winter), and a rear trunk spoiler.

You can even buy the WRX as a wagon! So, if you have to schlep your music or sports equipment around you can still enjoy the power and performance of a WRX.

Prices start at $23,995 for the WRX TR, with an extra $1,000 for the standard WRX. Add another $2,500 for the Limited package. My TR tester came to only $24,620, including shipping, with no options. Thatís a real performance bargain. The Impreza 2.5i sedan offers 173 horsepower for just $17,995.

If you crave more power and eye-popping attention, order up the STI version. It boasts 293 horsepower and 290 lb.-ft. of torque, with a prices starting at $33,495. You get the giant rear wing, too. Back in June of 2003, Road and Track got an STI from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. Thatís Porsche territory, for half the price.

Thereís something refreshing about a car that does its high performance job without unnecessary flash or equipment. The WRX TR has things like power locks, windows, and mirrors, as well as keyless entry and cruise control. But it left the canvas half empty, for young artists to make their own WRX.  By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

 

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  The WRX is a real performance bargain
Topic: The 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX TR
Word Count:  817
Photo Caption:  The 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX
Photo Credits:  Subaru Impreza Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 24
 

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2007 Subaru Impreza WRX

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