In 2001, I flew from Jacksonville to Los Angeles to spend a week with my younger brother. A few years earlier, he had packed everything he owned into a 1990 AWD Subaru Legacy Wagon and drove from Boston to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and music.
My brother flourished in L.A., but his Subaru had not fared so well. Mechanically it was fine, but the body was rusty. A combination of living near the ocean and the harsh New England winters had caused holes in the floor pans, rocker panels and doorsills. I can only imagine what his neighbors would say when the rotted-out wagon was parked in front of his upscale Beverly Hills apartment building.
While I was visiting, my brother decided to buy a queen-sized mattress. We drove the Subaru to a local furniture store and settled on a price. The salesperson asked when we wanted to set up the $75 delivery; we opted to tie the thing to the roof.
Apparently, no customer had ever taken a mattress home on the roof of a car before. So unprecedented was our request that the Beverly Hills boutique didn’t have any rope or twine. As we considered running to Home Depot, one of the sales people thought aloud, “Why not plastic wrap the mattress to the roof?”
We began our journey home. The two of us held tightly to what looked like a giant burrito-mobile as we inched our way down Rodeo Drive.
Halfway to the apartment, my brother slammed on the brakes, stretching the plastic wrap enough to force the mattress to come crashing back down on the roof with a deep thud. Regaining composure, I looked through the windshield to discover a confused Sylvester Stallone standing inches from the front bumper.
We had almost run over Rambo.
The actor did not say a word, but stood there motionless, jaw dropped. He was dressed to kill in a sport coat, expensive jeans and an amazing pair of snakeskin cowboy boots. I am fairly convinced he was wearing makeup.
Without hesitation, my brother sticks his head out the window, and in his best Rocky Balboa says, “Hey, nice boots!”
Since that amazing day, my brother’s Subaru has had a special place in my heart.
I have always respected Subaru for building good looking rugged cars that were affordable and excellent in bad weather. My week with the symmetrical all-wheel-drive 2014 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited reminded me of Subaru’s excellent handling capabilities and brought back fond memories of my brother’s dependable, albeit rusty, Legacy wagon.
The 2014 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited is powered by Subaru’s 2.0 liter DOHC aluminum-alloy 16-valve horizontally-opposed boxer engine with dual active valve control system. Power is sent to all four wheels using Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT with six-speed manual mode, Incline Start Assist and paddle shifters, resulting in 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The car is efficient, rated at 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. During my week-long review, I averaged 27.9 mpg.
The 2014 Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited shines when cornering and braking. The symmetrical all-wheel-drive and Vehicle Dynamics Control work together to bring a level of driver confidence under hard cornering that is usually not available in a car of this price range.
I may be a bit biased, but I really like the styling of the 2014 Impreza. The lines are recognizably Subaru with a modern flair.
The large roof rails and front fog lights add to the rough-and-tumble, do-anything, go-anywhere image that the Subaru exudes.
The Quartz Blue Pearl paint job and ivory leather-trimmed upholstery brought a richness to the car that my brother’s Legacy didn’t have. The Impreza Sport’s standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels complemented the car nicely, bringing a rally inspired look to the vehicle.
The interior of the 2014 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport gives the impression of being in a much bigger vehicle. Not only is seating space excellent in the front, as it is in many compact hatchbacks, but my back seat passengers continually praised the Subaru’s leg and headroom.
Sitting in the comfortable, yet supportive, heated and height-adjustable driver’s seat provides the operator with excellent visibility.
The massive windshield, optional power moonroof, and oversized wraparound windows allow plenty of light into the car, affording everyone unobstructed views of the passing scenery.
Adding to the excellent visibility is the Impreza’s now standard rear-vision camera that takes advantage of the audio system’s 4.3-inch LCD screen.
The 2014 Subaru Impreza’s AM/FM/HD/CD audio system with aux input is quite functional and certainly adequate for casual music listening. However, to my ears the sound is a bit thin, even when adjusted for maximum bass. The Bluetooth hands-free connectivity worked well with my iPhone 5 and I was able to set up and start making phone calls and accessing my iTunes collection in minutes. The premium model gains navigation and an interactive phone service, but I wonder if the 4.3 inch LCD screen would limit real world use?
The 2014 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited retails for $23,195. The review car, with $1,000 moonroof and $795 destination and delivery charge cost $24,990.
Chris Brewer is the academic dean of The Kaleo Institute (kaleoinstitute.org) and the senior editor of AutomotiveAddicts.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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