Having received refreshed styling in 2004, the Subaru Impreza 2.5RS and Impreza WRX collect minor changes for 2005: a restyling of the interior, and a new Sport Package on the 2.5RS sedan. The 2.5RS sedan and wagon now share features; the 2004 TS wagon is gone.
Both the 2.5RS and WRX come as a sedan or wagon; the 2.5RS, as the name implies, carries a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, while the WRX contains a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a turbocharger. Both are horizontally-opposed “boxer” engines, and both use Subaru’s famous symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. The WRX also includes a limited-slip rear differential. All share their platforms with the Forester.
The 2.5RS sedan and Sport Wagon both feature a five-speed manual transmission (a four-speed automatic is optional), air conditioning, ABS, CD player with four speakers, heated power mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, cruise control, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, and cloth interior. The wagon adds a 60/40 split folding rear seat, rear washer/wiper with de-icer, and roof rails.
The new 2.5RS sedan Sport Package adds six-CD premium stereo with six speakers, power sunroof, fog light covers, spoiler, ground effects package, rally-style sport seats, leather-wrapped steel and gearshift knob, and on manual-equipped models, aluminum alloy sport pedals.
The wagon can also be upgraded to the Outback Sport – a somewhat confusing name, given that there’s also a larger, Legacy-based Outback wagon. It adds a heavy-duty raised suspension, steel-grey metallic bumpers and body cladding, roof rack with lockable crossbars, exclusive grille, rear bumper step pad, projector beam halogen fog lamps, 16-inch, seven-spoke aluminum wheels, heated seats and cargo cover.
The WRX sedan and Sport Wagon feature the amenities offered on the 2.5RS, along with stainless-steel-tipped exhaust, rear spoiler, ground effects, rally-style sport seats, six-CD premium stereo and leather-wrapped wheel, shifter knob and parking brake. The WRX Sport Wagon adds roof racks with lockable crossbars, cargo tray, cargo cover, and on automatic-equipped models, a power sunroof.
The Impreza is a sturdy machine, with a heavy, solid feel that never hints at cumbersome. It’s a lot of technology for a price tag that starts under $23,000, but the money goes into the drive-train: the lower-line interiors aren’t as nice as some under-$20,000 competitors. Still, put the competition up against the Subaru in nasty weather, and hard plastic suddenly doesn’t look all that bad. The WRX is a moderately-priced adrenalin rush – with cargo capacity, should you opt for the wagon – although it suffers from considerable turbo lag. And if you buy the right aftermarket stick-on accessories, you can make it look like an STi without the $11,500 difference.
The Impreza is built in Yajima, Japan.
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