This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Subaru Impreza Saloon (05-08) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

For most people, there’s just one reason to buy an Impreza: even in base-spec it looks like a rally car. The 1.6 and 1.8 offer adequate performance (0-60 in 12.1 and 11.6 seconds) and the 2.0 cracks 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Buyers opting for the 208 bhp 2.0 turbo get a real performance model: 0-60 in 6.4 seconds and a 144 mph top speed. But the short-lived 280 bhp P1 coupe is even better with a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph.

There is also a clever gadget that helps those who tow on hill starts.

The non-turbo models are easily, but unfairly, overshadowed by the Turbo models. All are good to drive, offer good roadholding and confident cornering. The Turbo though is in a class of its own, and the four wheel drive system provides brilliant stability combined with a fine ride, but even the old 1.8 can be fun.