Featured User Review: 2006 Subaru Impreza
3 years, 50k miles, and stealthier than a ninja warrior
by Martin Swig
Price Paid: $17000.00 from Ann-Arbor dealer
Review Date: July 1, 2010
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5
Used product for: 3+ years
In late 2006, my son entered his freshman year at the University of Michigan. He went there carless, but we decided he should have wheels after his first semester. We set a price limit of $15000, decided to buy new rather than used, and narrowed our choice to three vehicles: a VW Rabbit, Suzuki SX-4 or a Subaru Impreza (which broke the price barrier by $2000) We easily eliminated the Rabbit; no all-wheel drive for Michigan snow. We bypassed the SX-4, though not so easily. In fact I later bought one of those for myself.
The Impreza was delivered through the Ann Arbor dealer. Now, at three and one-half years and 50,000 miles, I think we’re in a good position to assess the car.
Nearly half the miles have been accumulated on Ann Arbor-Sausalito road trips, most of which I’ve accompanied my son on. We typically seek out an interesting route with a good proportion of two-laners, seeing the real America. We always carry a Valentine One radar detector. It is as dependable as the Subaru.
I should mention that my everyday car is an Audi S5, a car that I think is damn near perfect. So the Subaru doesn’t get a free ride in this assessment.
The Audi is obviously a much more attractive car, and the interior looks miles better. But after a 900 mile day, the Subaru is just as comfortable.
It is also, effectively, just as fast. What I mean by this is that there are speeds you don’t want to exceed because if you get caught, there’s the threat of being jailed. Even with the Valentine, the maximum effective speed on Interstates is around 100 mph. On remote two-laners, the 122 mph Subaru can happily maintain 110-115. In each case you have to be plenty alert to avoid trouble. For example, when you crest a rise, it’s wise to be under 100, so that if you spot something, you can scrub off enough speed to avoid trouble, legal or otherwise.
The Subaru’s brakes, suspension, and steering, along with good acoustics combine to make it a subtlety extraordinary car.
We’ve covered 301 miles in three hours, 109 miles in one hour, 500 miles in six hours. Hard to better those figures no matter what you’re driving.
We’ve also crossed Nebraska in blizzard conditions, when the locals were sliding into the Armco, or spinning out into the median.
This has been a zero defect car; not one problem during all these adventures.
I’ve owned and driven lots of more costly cars, but never a better one.
Incredible value, autobahn performance and comfort without the European price tag, zero defects, AWD
Cars similar to the Subaru Impreza:
Suzuki SX-4 Crossover
A huge thank-you to Martin Swig for contributing his review of the Subaru Impreza. Martin Swig has his own column in the San Francisco Nob Hill Gazette called “Wheels” and writes articles for the Southern California Automotive Calendar of Events magazine. Martin also presents the internationally-celebrated California Mille and other historic car events.
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