Weighing in, here...
First off, after looking at that SOA global link above, I could not see a towing capacity mentioned. It does claim you can pack five people in the Impreza. Have you seen five Americans (hell, Aussies, too, for that matter) crammed into an Impreza? Boy, what a load of lard that would be! And we're being warned not to tow anything?
I want to tow a 130 pound Sunfish or laser hull, with a 150-200 pound trailer, and I guess another 25 pounds of mast and sail kit. I want to do this so bad! It weighs as much as my mom and my sister...(sorry), and I think if the international set can do it, we can too. If your diff blows (I have the 100k warranty, too), just pull the hitch, and know-nothing
So far, in my less than two months with the car, and 4k miles, I've not experienced low mileage, oil burn, squeaky seats, or overly sporty driving characteristics. I think we're worrying too much. They're restricting the US market, perhaps, because we buy more Scoobies than Australia, Japan, Europe and South America combined, and they are worried about the warranty costs of 200,000 North American New Imprezas burning up their trannies...They're worried we'll start towing a yard of mulch (1000 pounds) from the garden center, or the family's Camper! They're covering themselves needlessly, at the expense of our sailing/quadding/etc pleasure...I want to go sailing! I want to hear more testimonials like the folks above who tow a couple motorbikes. Don't let SOA SOB's tell you how to enjoy your car!! In a couple years, after all the dents, the scrapes, and the general diminishment of the honeymoon glow, you'll care less and less about what you are told not to do in your "active lifestyle" car: hook that damn hitch up and be an American (or an Aussie) for God's sake!!
(At least that's what I'm saying to myself...I want to f'in' sail, and I'll be damned if my car can't handle less than 500 pounds to the Columbia for five miles...pshaww, I say!!)
PS. The car's too gutless to get too screwed up towing a small racing hull, a bike, a kayak, or a fat mother....Tell me more about that 30+ mpg towing a load, please. We can do it!!