2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5-Door: Long Live the Stick

Like the stripes on your sneakers that you believed made you faster as a seven-year old, there’s something about removing the trunk and sticking a lift gate on the back of a sedan that simply makes a vehicle more fun. The Subaru Impreza is a whack of fun to drive and more than decent value. At least give this waggish wagon hatchback a test drive if you’re in the market.

First, there’s the stick. The night before I was to pick this hatchback up, my wife asked whether I had any vehicles lined up over the next month that featured a manual transmission because we’re travelling to Europe again this summer and she’d like to practice shifting gears. Which only started me complaining about millennials on their damn phones, ruining all the fun left in cars. Translation, no, I don’t think we have any sticks upcoming. So, imagine my delight when I read the (previously unread) window sticker the millennial contact from Subaru had emailed the day before my wife’s request.

The Impreza Sport’s five-speed manual transmission with is remarkably easy to adjust to, the sweet spot wide and dependable. Clutch, hold, clutch, hold. Repeat. Fun!

The two-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine is efficient if a tad weak, achieving 152-horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 145-lb of torque at 4,000. The Energuide consumption stats are an unspectacular 9.0L, combined city and highway.

But those drawbacks pale because, all put together, this is an enjoyable package that rides well and holds well when you’re turning. This is largely a value story so there should be some mention of the extras it includes.

The weather was polar vertical during the week of the loan, so the glass sunroof didn’t see much action. But the full-time all-wheel-drive system pulls away easily on the 17-inch alloy wheels that come as part of the Sport trim — even when your parking pad’s camouflaged with six layers of ice on snow on ice.

Hill-holder technology is hardly new in the world of manual transmissions but always welcome if your commute contains, both, many hills and much stop-and-go traffic. Vehicle detection tech is nearly a decade old too but was the privilege of the wealthy at first. Alerts of incoming idiots are more necessary these days (see above re phones). Speaking of decades, an important Subaru fact: 98.3% of Subarus sold in Canada during the past ten years are still being driven today.

Before taxes, but freight included, this Impreza is just over $27K. At that price, you wouldn’t expect to enjoy the power sunroof and satellite radio included with the infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the 8-inch touch-screen. OK, it was three months’ worth of satellite radio. Just enough to want it for good.

MSRP: $25,395

Freight & PDI $1,625

Total: $27,020

This is a test