Second generation A (2000-2002) Edit
Built on a significantly modified version of the first generation platform, the new Impreza followed much the same formula as its predecessor, including a similarly contoured silhouette. Despite this, the front-end styling—distinguished by ovoid headlamps—attracted significant controversy. Body dimensions for the sedan increased by 45 millimetres (1.8 in) in length, 40 millimetres (1.6 in) in width, and 25 millimetres (1.0 in) in height; wheelbase increased by 5 millimetres (0.2 in). To satisfy Japanese vehicle size tax regulations, the width of the hatchback increased by just 5 millimetres (0.2 in) to 1,695 millimetres (66.7 in) and therefore remaining in the limit "5" classification. As Subaru had intended to homologate the sedan chassis for rallying, the decision to increase the width of the sedan—which placed it into the higher taxed number "3" division—brought added stability. Likewise, the 20-millimetre (0.8 in) increase in track for the sedan also worked to aid handling, with the hatchback gaining just 5 millimetres (0.2 in). Other main improvements to the chassis included a 120 percent increase in torsional rigidity; mainly due to revisions in front subframe design. The suspension retained its basic MacPherson strut in the front and rear, although Subaru altered the geometry.
The GD chassis gains nearly 200 kilograms (441 lb) in weight over the GC chassis. Subaru claims that compared to the previous model, the GD chassis is 148 percent and 82 percent stiffer in torsional and beam rigidity, respectively. This stiffness is primarily due to the addition of a steel "ring" which encircles the cabin at the B-pillar. While the stiffness was increased for passenger safety, it has the added benefit of providing more stability for motorsports events. Firehouse magazine notes that the Jaws of Life need to cut the Subaru's B-pillars at certain points in order to cut through the car frame. In terms of safety, the GD chassis scored much higher than the GC chassis and earned a "Good" rating (highest mark) from the IIHS's offset crash test. 4 stars front driver, 5-star front passenger and 4-star side safety ratings from the NHTSA.
In Subaru's home market of Japan, the Impreza range started with the 1.5i—powered by the 1.5-liter EJ15 SOHC engine and paired with a manual transmission or optional automatic. Subaru fitted a DOHC version of the same engine to the automatic-only 1.5R, which also featured an active valve control system. For both models, front- and all-wheel drive versions were available. Starting from 2006, Subaru phased out the EJ15 engine in favour of the new EL15.
Subaru released this generation of Impreza to North America in 2001 for the 2002 model year. The release of the 169 kW (230 PS; 227 bhp) 2.0-liter turbocharged Impreza WRX, did not occur until the 2002 model year, and the Impreza WRX STI was delayed until the 2004 model year. The US version of the STI includes various departures from the Japanese and European counterparts, such as a turbocharged 2.5-liter EJ257 engine, rather than the twin scroll turbo 2.0 L engine sold elsewhere. All 2006 American Imprezas use some form of the 2.5-liter EJ25 engine since naturally aspirated and turbocharged are available.
The Outback Sport was sold in Australia for model years 2001–2007, but it was renamed as the Impreza RV with the same color scheme as the American version. The Australian version had a dual-range manual transmission, not available in the USA. The Impreza was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 2000.
Second generation B (2002-2005) Edit
After mixed reaction to the round headlight design, in 2001 Subaru enlisted the help of Peter Stevens of Prodrive, who updated the car's fascia in 2002 (2003 in the US for the 2004 model year), with more rectangular headlamps. For the US market, the facelifted Impreza was offered as 2.5 RS Sedan and TS Wagon, 2.5 Outback Sport Wagon, WRX Sedan and Wagon, and the new WRX STI Sedan. Sport Package was optional for the RS, and the WRX could be ordered with Premium Package. The RS, TS, Outback Sport, and WRX are available with manual or automatic transmission, while the sole transmission for the STI is 6-speed manual. This version of the Impreza has gained the nickname 'Blob Eye' among Subaru enthusiasts.
Second generation C (2005-2007) Edit
From July 2005 in Japan Imprezas have been redesigned, along with new headlights, taillights, and bumpers. Greek designer Andreas Zapatinas, formerly of Alfa Romeo. The facelift introduced Subaru's new corporate face, including its controversial "jet intake and wings" grille design that first appeared on the Subaru R2 kei car. The new corporate face chose this style to pay homage to their aircraft manufacturing roots, the Nakajima Aircraft Company. This version of the Impreza has gained the nickname 'Hawk Eye' among Subaru enthusiasts.