2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon 2.0 turbo from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Looks like a fridge, goes like stink!

Faults:

Had to change the clutch to a sports clutch, as the car is running bigger power, and the original clutch started slipping.

Apart from that, it's been fine for the six months that I've owned it.

General Comments:

The performance on this car is blistering, even if it is a wagon!

The car is very rare for the UK, as it's a white Newage wagon, and according to Subaru UK there isn't another one over here.

Brakes are pretty rubbish and fade very quickly.

The interior is a bit bland, but nothing a few quid can't sort out, gear knob, gauges etc.

The car is a 2002 JDM WRX and has had a fair few modification to the engine, VF34 Turbo, uprated fuel pump, ECUTEK 3 Remap, K+N induction kit, straight through exhaust (no cats), Exedy organic clutch, and it's running 312.9hp and 300lb/ft, and can be a bit of a handful in the wet!

It is by far the most fun I've ever had in a car, it gets all the looks, ridiculously fast and extremely reliable... why buy anything else!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th November, 2007

2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan 2.0 Liter turbo from North America

Summary:

By far, the best sports sedan available for under $30K

Faults:

Only one minor problem in 96K miles. At 43K miles a pin in the turbo wastegate linkage fell out. The car was able to run in this condition, but the turbocharger would not actuate. I diagnosed this problem myself and the next day my Subaru dealer replaced the 25-cent pin free of charge and under the 50K Subaru of America powertrain warranty.

General Comments:

A superb sports sedan at a bargain price. Zero to sixty MPH in 5.2 seconds places this car in the performance class. All wheel drive (AWD) and handling is awesome on twisty roads and a breeze on the freeways.

The creature comforts are... spartan. The car is built to be as light as possible, and this value affects everything on the vehicle. Take special care with the paint: it's thin and water-based, and doesn't like abrasion or bird droppings. The interior materials are very lightweight, but sufficiently durable to hold up well with reasonable care.

The WRX is a car built for drivers who value performance over creature luxuries. The 2003 is the last of the so-called "bug-eye" WRXs. I like the no-nonsense look of the WRX, especially the bug-eyes with their excellent supplementary driving lights. Be advised that the car will not win admiring glances from those who are easily seduced by the way a car looks.

The driver's position is well laid out. Visibility is very good and all controls within easy reach. The back seats were not designed to accommodate passengers comfortably on long trips, but will get the kids to school and back just fine. The WRX Sedan is an extremely comfortable sports car during long trips for two. Out here in the American West, I have taken many 8-13 hour long trips in the WRX and loved every minute of them.

The WRX is designed to be customized. I greatly improved the handling of my WRX by upgrading the standard wheels and tires to 17 X 7.5 SSR Competition forged aluminum wheels (weighing 12 lbs. apiece) and sticky 25/45/17 Kumho Ecsta MX "summer" tires. This wheel/tire combination gave my WRX improved dry and wet performance, and dogged durability on a wide variety of road and street conditions.

I provide impeccable maintenance for the WRX, including replacing the conventional oil and filter between 3-4K miles. The 2.0 liter turbo flat-4 is a high performance 230 HP engine and the base engine for the famous Subaru WRC rally car. Later models of the WRX use the 2.5 liter engine that provides a modest 10 HP gain.

I do not recommend the Subaru WRX for young drivers. The car is a small, light and very powerful performer that can run away from unwary drivers.

I've owned small sports cars for 35 years. The WRX is my favorite so far.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th August, 2007

27th Aug 2007, 12:01

Corrections/additions for my review of the 2003 WRX Sedan with SSR wheels and Kumho MX tires:

The car is a MY 2003 WRX built in September of 2002 and purchased new in January of 2003. It is equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission and the factory option short-throw shifter (highly recommended). It also has the factory option turbo gauge.

The US production 2003 WRX features two major improvements not found on the US MY 2002 cars. 2003 models include the RA gearset (gears are heavier and 1 mm wider) providing a gearbox with improved durability. As well, clutch chatter issues with the 2002 were eliminated for the 2003 WRX.