Viewed logically, this is a belting car. It's fast, has probably the best sounding four cylinder engine ever designed, looks good, grips well and is as reliable as every motoring survey suggests.
But like most things which have been hyped to ridiculous levels, the overall package somehow fell short of my expectations, particularly once you become accustomed to its truly spectacular performance. This is probably the fault of the hype, and many of my other criticisms the fault of British society, but there you go. As ownership experiences, they count. And besides, since when were performance cars about logic? They're about passion.
After a year and 14,000 miles of ownership, I concluded that the Impreza Turbo is actually a very average car fitted with a storming engine. The interior is the definition of naff, and the 4wd gives great grip, but actually very little adjustability to the handling. The steering is probably the worst thing about it, being like virtually every other Japanese car - light and easy to use, but without much in the way of feel.
I actually thought my old 306 Rallye was more engaging and entertaining in the twisties, if nowhere near as quick.
The important thing to consider before buying an Impreza, paying through the nose for insurance, and putting up with every scrote in a 20 mile radius trying to rip it off at every opportunity (and they will - even if you garage it!) is to take a drive in one, and ask yourself the following question.
"If this car didn't do 0-60 in 5.something seconds, what else would make it in any way interesting?". Then ask "are these things worth the insurance costs equal to the GDP of a small country, and the sub-20 mpg fuel returns?"
I decided they weren't and chopped it in for another Rallye (insurance dropped by 65%, fuel bills by a third) and nobody has tried to stove my garage door in to remove it without asking me). I'm also reminded what decent steering and throttle adjustability feel like. Haven't looked back.