I purchased the car from an importer-dealer with a few very minor problems. I knew what the problems were so it was not a concern for me. The spark plugs were old and worn to a point where the engine was misfiring under very heavy load. Replacing them with OEM units fixed it and is something that was due to be done anyway. There was also a clunking sound in the front suspension which was the main lower control arm pivot bush. These cars being an extreme performance vehicle, use a pillow-ball bush for superb steering response so there is no rubber to flex. The trade-off is that they will need replacing a little more often than normal rubber. This is not really a reliability problem, it is just normal maintenance.
So far there have been no engine mechanical failures, no transmission problems, no interior breakages and no electrical problems. For a car with over 100,000km it is still in almost new condition. Even the original brake rotors are still well within spec.
This car is the 5-speed automatic version of the Evo 7. If you always wanted an Evo or an STI, but wanted something more suitable for sitting in daily traffic then this is the car for you! The gearbox is very smooth shifting, and you can always slide the gearstick across to the left and manually shift gears either from the stick itself or from the steering wheel buttons.
Handling is sublime. You can get away with murder on the streets, with this car giving you amazing levels of confidence. When you think you have reached the limit, there is always a little extra you can find in it. Turn in, go full throttle, and point where you want to go.
Power is great for a 2.0L auto. With a little practice sub-5.0 sec 0-100km/h times are possible, with a 13 second 1/4 time also a very easy thing to reach. Just a small prod of the throttle is all that is needed to have the gearbox smoothly kick back a gear and off you go.
Economy is not great, averaging around 330km for 37L. The car has a ridiculously small fuel tank, so expect to fill up often. Considering the car is permanent AWD, is not that light, and is a pure performance focused car, the below average economy has to be expected.
The transmission is also very well setup. The car pulls strongly off the traffic lights and is so much better than the WRX automatics that they should never be compared.
Brakes are awesome and fade-free, with a great feel and feedback. Not much more can be said.
Suspension is fractionally softer than the normal Evo, but for a road car this is much more preferred. It is firm but not rock hard, and generally will take potholes without causing a loss of teeth.
Interior-wise the car is no luxury machine. It is not bad, and is a little more upmarket than the normal Evo 7, but it is not great either. I replaced the seats with Evo 9 units I found second hand, and it has made the interior a much nicer place. Everything does wear well, with no visible signs of scuffs anywhere.
This vehicle comes highly recommended. I can cruise in heavy traffic without stressing, it is just as fast (if not faster) in a straight-line as the normal Evo 7. Even in auto-form it can out-corner just about everything on the road, and still stay compliant in the rough stuff. It has been rock-solid reliable too with nothing really wearing out even with high kms.