Last year when the 2008 Subaru Imprezadebuted at the New York Auto Show, many fans of the road-going rally car were taken aback. The older, aggressively styled four-door sedan now had a decidedly pedestrian look to it. Worse still, the cool looking mini station wagon of the previous generation had been dumped in favor of an oddly proportioned five-door hatchback. We only got to see the base and WRX versions in New York and had to wait until the Tokyo Motor Show in the fall for the hard-core STI variant. When the STI did finally appear, it had shifted from the four-door to the hatch body style. Fortunately for Subie fans, the aggressive bulging fenders and super-sized rear spoiler remained from the previous car, although the proportions still look a might peculiar.
The countdown to the inevitable EVO-STI showdown had begun. Unfortunately, you won't be seeing that battle here just yet. We did, however, have the opportunity to review a new WRX and spend a few days with an STI model only a week apart. Since we'll soon publish a solo In the Autoblog Garage review of the STI, we want to focus here on the two rally-inspired Imprezas and how they compare in day to day use.