Wednesday, December 07, 2005

2006 Subaru Impreza Wagon - 24hr Test Drive

I completed a 24hr test drive with a 2006 Subaru Impreza Wagon and the whole experience was very pleasant. Arrangements were very easy to make at the dealership and after signing in a couple spots and giving a copy of my driver's license I was able to drive away with a car that had only 1420 km on it. The new front nose design is controversial, but I like it. I think it makes the car look more sporty and aggressive, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I found the wagon quite handsome.

The 2006 Subaru Impreza has a 2.5L Single Overhead Cam (SOHC), 16-valve, horizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder engine with 173 hp and a 5-speed manual transmission. I was impressed with how peppy it was especially in 1st and 2nd gear. Maybe the "wagon" appearance caught people by surpirse, but each time I shifted into 3rd and looked in my rearview mirror, everyone had fallen far behind. Third gear was where it didn't feel as strong. Going uphill, the engine started to feel as if it were running out of breath--like a short-distance sprinter on a long-distance run. If I were a normal person, this probably wouldn't bother me. But I'm not normal so that's why I lust over the STI. I drove mostly in city traffic so I didn't get much of a chance to get into 5th gear. Everytime I did, I had to downshift to do any passing.

The all-wheel drive traction was excellent. It was very stable and confident over a variety of slushy, gravel surfaces even when one side of the car was on clear pavement. The Impreza comes standard with 16" alloy wheels on all-season tires. At first the the 4-wheel ABS brakes felt very touchy, but once I got used to it, I liked how responsive they were. Handling was very nice, with the car reacting quickly and turning precisely in the direction that I asked. Remember, I'm coming from the other end of the spectrum driving an 8-passenger SUV, so this was nirvana. Manouvering in Christmas shoppng traffic was simple and stress-free. Parking spots that I gave up on in the Sequoia because they were too small, were gargantuan with the Impreza swallowed inside. The side mirrors however, seemed too small and the view out the back for parallel parking wasn't the best.

The main goal of my test drive was to fit 3 child seats into the back and I'm glad to say that I was able to get them in without too much trouble :0) At least that's no longer a worry. After returning the car, I'm reminded again at how aptly named the Sequoia is. Sitting in the driver's seat I feel like I'm sitting on a comfy arm chair that would fit in my living room. In comparison the Subaru is very cozy and intimate. Driving a stick is definitely more work, but the performance and handling can be so gratifying. So, what's the next step? Should I trade in the Sequoia and get the STI?

4 comments:

  1. Wow, sounds like you had fun. How did it compare to the R32? ;o) I guess you'd save a lot on gas if you traded in the Sequoia for an STi. You'd be sacrificing a lot of storage space, though, especially for any long road-trips. Do you know if there's any difference in insurance premiums?

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  2. The STI isn't really a gas sipper and it definitely won't be the way that I drive. The biggest problem is that there isn't one "all-purpose" vehicle that will suit all my wants. I desire performance but there will also be times when I want the comfort and off-roading capabilities of the Sequoia. There's no logical reason for me to make the change. My dilemma is that it's not about needs, but wants. I've tried justifying my wants to show that they will suit my needs, but my wants may change with the next 30-sec commercial!

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  3. Hmm, I'd probably wait a while then before trading the Sequoia for something smaller. Even though a STI is okay space-wise right now, you're going to need more and more space in the back as the kids grow and get older. Then you would be stuck with a too-small sedan and have to look for a bigger vehicle all over again.

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  4. Well, I've come to the decision that I cannot form a long term relationship with any car that I have. The itch for me comes every 2 or 3 years--an expensive itch it is, too. Or maybe it's just the cars that I've had so far. The thinking with the STI is when the girls out grow their car seats (another 5 years or so) I'll want another car anyway. Perhaps down the road, we can become a two-car family.

    BTW, have you watched Top Gear lately? I've been getting episodes of Fifth Gear. Every time I watch those kinds of shows and I see them drifing on the track with a Ferrari, the urge to get the STI grows because I definitely don't see myself getting a Ferrari.

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