Subaru Impreza GT (1998)
When this car showed up in my driveway, my first thought was that Subaru ispicking up the AMC mantle. What do we have here? Practical, but ugly.Hey, at least it's practical...some of my ex-wives didn't score in either area.
Not only is this little Impreza less than pretty, but to try to improve itslooks, they did the same thing AMC used to do--they slapped on a bunch ofplastic add-ons designed to appeal to the teenage-kid-with-acne crowd. Imean, an air dam? On the hood of a Subaru? What were you guys thinking?
Having said that, I have to say that I did like the car. The Impreza GT wasfun! It does not have the refinement or perfection of a Honda or a Toyota,but because of that, it has personality. It's funkier than a Toyota--so youtrade some reliability for some personality...like my brother's wife did.
The all-wheel drive also gives it a very heavy, solid feel for a small car,and the advantages in the snow and slush are well documented.
We did have some ergonomic problems with this car. The radio and heatingcontrols, in particular, are a problem. You need a pair of tweezers tooperate some of the radio controls. The rear-window defogger control, forexample, is nowhere in sight. It's an afterthought. It should be logicallylocated, next to the other heat controls.
I have to say, I continue to be baffled by everything Subaru makes. Peoplelove Subarus. They rank very high in consumer satisfaction. They're fun todrive, but I always hear a little voice talking to me when I sit in aSubaru. You know what it's saying? It's saying, "I'm a piece ofjunk--can't you hear me rattling already?" But Subaru owners don't care,they love these cars. And despite a somewhat tinny feel, they're veryruggedly built cars with pretty substantial underpinnings. And theycontinue to be the only really affordable cars with all-wheel drive.
View cars.com model report on this vehicle.