Subaru’s improved hatchback

Posted on 18 Dec 2008 at 11:25am
By Casey Williams Auto Reviewer

New 5-door Impreza adds style and turbocharged horsepower

 

Athletically styled: The Impreza avoides the bulbous look that plagues some hatchbacks.

2009 Impreza 2.5 GT
What could demonstrate your gayness more than listening to a Lesley Gore CD while driving a Subaru? I’m guilty, but have no apologies — for doing either. I jammed to "It’s My Party" while tooling around in the Impreza 2.5 GT five-door, which bridges power between 2.5i models and the heavy-breathing WRX editions. It was definitely a party, but no crying.

Subaru deep-sixed the Impreza wagon and replaced it with a sleeker five-door. But sedans remain for those of you who aren’t man (or woman) enough to drive something with a hatchback. Styling is shaped a little like Leslie Gore’s bouffant — if her hairdo had a rear hatchback to access large amounts of luggage space and an air scoop to feed its turbocharger. Like the WRX, the Impreza 2.5GT starts with a European rally car as its inspiration. Front views are dominated by sculpted clear lens headlamps, separated by a grinning chrome-ringed grille and a monstrous air inlet through the hood. Foglamps and LED distinctive taillamps wake up the night.

Interior space is sporty with seats that grip spirited drivers. The gated shifter easily slides into gear, and the three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel demands to be gripped. Heated bun warmers, power moonroof, automatic climate control and an MP3/CD audio system provide background for a rompin’ ride or soothing commute. Proper for an enthusiast’s driving machine, the tachometer is large and placed dead center in the instrument cluster. When we picked up our kitchen flooring, my partner and I discovered that the car is like a little SUV when the split rear-seats are folded.

As part of a Subaru, the Impreza’s powertrain is all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. It won’t toss muscle cars like the 265-horsepower WRX or 305-horsepower STi rally car, but clawing down the road with 224 thoroughbreds might be the most fun since Dick Clark kicked it up on American Bandstand. Best of all, the "Boxer" (horizontally-opposed) four-cylinder engine rides low and flat in the chassis to improve handling. Symmetrical all-wheel-drive shifts power from wheels that slip to ones with grip while Vehicle Stability Control stands by to straighten things out if all else fails.

Besides the WRX-wannabe 2.5 GT, Subaru builds a couple of other version of the Impreza. For a price of $17,485, the 2.5i comes with a 170-horsepower engine, all-wheel-drive, 16" wheels, CD player and fuel economy ratings of 20/27-MPG city/hwy —  good for an all-wheel-drive model. If playing rally boy isn’t your thing, and you worship Crocodile Dundee, choose the Impreza-based Outback Sport. Costing only a couple of Gs more than the 2.5i, it comes with heated seats, roof rack and alloy wheels. No matter which Impreza you choose, you’ll feel the built-in engineering and go-anywhere spirit that attracts customers as diverse as its line-up.

I always thought Subaru would make a great entry-level brand for Porsche. Besides a similar engine design, Subarus feel more in touch with the road than most cars. There is a mechanical feel in the steering and suspension that others can’t match. You can almost wish the all-wheel-drive system to move around power so you can throw it into corners or down the Interstate without blinking twice. In snow, sleet, rain or sunshine, I would love it to be mine. Subaru’s renowned homo-friendliness is but one more reason to buy.



GAYBORHOOD HYBRID RENTALS
 

Hoping to impress your eco-dyke girlfriend? This week, Enterprise Rent-A-Car designated four rental locations in the North Texas as "hybrid branches." One of the locations is in Oak Lawn, just across the street from the U.S. Post Office.

Just in time for holiday travel, Enterprise’s fleet will include new gas-electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, pictured, as well as hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry and Ford Escape.

Local rental rates start at $49.99 per day.

Enterprise, 2820 Oak Lawn Ave. To reserve, call 800-736-8222 or visit Enterprise.com.


 

DRIVER’S SEAT

Who: Gregg Asher

Occupation
: Stylist and philanthropist.

Why are you famous in the gay community?
Infamous, perhaps. But never famous.

Current car: Porsche 2007 Cayman, titanium.

 

Purchased from which dealer? Park Place Motors on Lemmon Avenue.

Were you a tough negotiator?
We bought two cars in one night. I have an impulsive personality.

How much did you settle on? Who cares?

Insurance agent: I’m not sure if I am insured.

Monthly insurance rate? I don’t make out my bills.

Why this car? It’s my 30s mid-life-crisis car. A Bentley will be my 40s.

Favorite feature: It gets me from A to B without stalling near C.
Keep anything interesting in your glove box? A Patti LaBelle CD and a good luck charm for safety. (I’m slightly superstitious).

Car nicknames: None.

Previous vehicles: Trans-Am, Geo Metro, Kia Sportage, Honda Civic, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes Kompressor.

Average weekly fuel expenses: I never fill up.

Favorite Dallas gas station and location of gas station: The one at Lemmon and Wycliff Avenues. I don’t know the name of it, but they know mine.

Do you merge well with other drivers? I shouldn’t have a license. I wish I could afford a driver.

Ever been naked in your car? Never in my car.

How often do you wash your car? My roommate washes it every Saturday at Vintage Car Wash on Preston Road.

When was the last time you rode public transportation in Dallas? Does an airplane count?

Worst intersection in Dallas: Northwest Highway at Preston Road.

Most ridiculous car repair: Eight flat tires in one year. I should have got tire insurance when it was offered.

Thought that races through my head when I’m going through a yellow light: They should be paying me for my picture.

Best car memory: In Los Angeles on vacation: We hit a pole in a rental car. I had the car detailed. It was so spotless they never saw the dent.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 19, 2008.

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