1999 Subaru Impreza V5 STi Type RA Ltd 2.0 turbo from Japan

Summary:

Absolutely fantastic with mind blowing performance

Faults:

Worn near side wiper linkage.

Dash has very small grey patch where it has rubbed away for some reason.

General Comments:

I have now owned this car for 2 years and it has been a dream to own. Has had no major mechanical issues with the car and it is massive fun to drive. I can honestly say that for the money you will be very hard pushed to find anything this quick.

The performance of the car is something else. The acceleration from the 280 Bhp 2.0 liter turbo engine is really quite astonishing, with mid-high 4 second 0-60 times quoted, which is largely thanks to the close ratio Group N gearbox. The downside of this though is that top speed is limited to 118 Mph (de-restricted) but since I don't really get close to that on the mountain roads of Japan, where handling and acceleration are more important, that is not really an issue.

The Type RA's are also lighter than the standard STi's which does aid handling and acceleration, though the Ltd version that I own does come with all the electric goodies found on the normal STi so the weight gains are compromised a little, but the car still comes in with a weight saving over the V5/6 STi.

This car is also equipped with the DCCD which is a controllable center differential that allows you to control the torque split between the front and rear wheels to an extent. With more power sent to the rear in fully open mode, the car can be a lot of fun, especially in the wet.

The handling generally feels a lot more dynamic than my previous car (WRX wagon with Tein Super Street coil overs, uprated ARB's and front/rear strut braces) and the grip is astonishing. However the understeer, common to all Impreza's, is still present on this model, but can be dialed out to a large extent by using the DCCD and adjusting your driving style to suit.

Downsides with this car are mainly the noise and the harsh ride. The car has less sound proofing than standard models, so the engine, road noise and rattles and squeaks are much more noticeable. The ride is necessarily harsh as the STi suspension is quite stiff, but on long drives it can become quite uncomfortable, and as this is my daily driver, I do occasionally do long stretches on the highway.

Also of course, running costs are high. Servicing is every 3 months when I do a full engine oil and filter change. All other fluids, fuel filter, plugs and leads are changed once a year. This is purely down to me, but it is worth it in the long run as the car has been trouble free since I have owned it. Oh, and insurance costs can also be very high.

Finally, as an indication of how good this car is, I was intending to get an Evo 6 as a replacement for the WRX and on a whim test drove an RA, and in my opinion it was simply a better, more involved driving experience and felt quicker. The cars were about the same price to buy (about 1.5 million yen on average for a good example) but for me there was no contest. The car really is that good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 30th October, 2009

1999 Subaru Impreza L 2.2 from North America

Summary:

Avoid all Imprezas!!!

Faults:

Engine head gasket leaked at 95,000 miles.

Engine developed a bad rod knock at 100,000 miles (replaced engine).

CV boots have torn repeatedly.

Window regulator failed at 80,000 miles.

Struts began leaking at 60,000 miles.

Steering column coupler failed at 50,000 miles.

Makes a loud grinding noise from engine that no one can diagnose at 102,000 miles.

Alternator failed at 90,000 miles.

Knock sensor failed at 75,000 miles.

Oxygen sensor failed repeatedly.

Etc.

General Comments:

Very poor build quality-something is always breaking down. If you must have a Subaru, avoid Imprezas and buy a Legacy ($).

Fair fuel economy.

Engine performance is pretty good for a 2.2L (when it runs), and the AWD system is great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th April, 2009

12th Nov 2009, 11:17

Hey! Look at the mileage breakdowns. Some of these items should have gone a lot sooner. For the most part these are service items that need to be replaced at regular intervals... they do not last the entire life of the car. I can only imagine from these comments why you had engine problems... LACK OF MAINTENANCE!

12th Nov 2009, 15:13

Actually most of these failures did happen quite early in the car's life. I wouldn't expect to have these problems until about 130,000 miles or so.

5th Feb 2010, 17:33

My wife drives a 1999 Impreza Brighton Wagon that has 277,000 kilometers on the first power train, including clutch!!!

If I was any shorter - I am 6'6" - I would have another Impreza in the driveway! They did have trouble with wheelbearings, but they were re-designed and are no more trouble at all. Sometimes they fail emission testing due too bad PCV valves; that creates a $25.00 replacement bill.

The only other car that can compete with our Impreza is my 1993 Lexus LS400 that has now 418,000 kilometers and is in the garage at this moment to get the ORIGINAL UPPER CONTROL ARMS replaced.