The Inside

While it's possible to get fairly comfortable in many cars, it's not every day that you feel like everything is right in terms of your driving position, and that's how I felt in the Impreza 2.5GT. Even though the driver's seat has only manual controls, it's adjustable for height, which is one of the more important ones, and I was able to raise the seat to a point where I had great forward views that weren't obstructed Ч much thanks to thin roof pillars.

The 2.5GT also has a tilt/telescoping steering wheel (some trims only offer tilt) that I was able to pull closer for a relaxed arm position (some telescoping wheels don't telescope enough). I could also push the wheel down fairly low, which is where I prefer it. Once I'd adjusted everything, all of the controls Ч the steering wheel, pedals, console shifter and buttons for the air conditioning and audio system Ч could still be operated naturally.

While the driving position is good, materials quality could be better. The fit and finish in the 2.5GT is acceptable, but the trim pieces themselves aren't the most modern-looking; their surfaces are hard, and many have a shiny appearance. While this may have cut it a few years ago, it doesn't today. Some details are also overlooked. The vanity mirrors in the sun visors aren't illuminated, and a small storage bin under the center console armrest has exposed screw heads. You only have to look to the GTI to see how good interior quality in this segment can be.

Backseat passengers enjoy comfortable cushions. The backrest doesn't recline, but at least it's not overly upright, which can be uncomfortable. There's headroom to spare, but taller passengers may not have enough legroom if another tall person is sitting in front of them.

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