I bought my wife a WRX wagon in May of '02, with 6 miles on the clock. It's now January of '03 and I'm very unhappy with this car. I honestly believe it's not merchantable in an area such as the one in which we live. (Wyoming)
It's advertised as an all-weather car, and shown thrashing about on dirt roads. It looked great for us, as we live in Wyoming on 8 miles of dirt. I read every magazine and E-zine review I could find on the WRX before buying one, and all reviews sounded really favorable.
That said, our WRX wagon is a total let-down, ESPECIALLY considering how it's billed! Why do I say that? Here you go...
1) All door seals leak dirt. We have just 4300 miles on our car, and the sides of all the black seats are red with dust from our road. We only drive on the dirt road to get to pavement, so in reality, only 10% of those miles are on dirt.
2) Front door glass rattles TERRIBLY if not fully up, when driving on the slightest washboard, or hitting a tiny bump.
3) Windshield wipers can't deal with ANY snow at all. Because they "park" below the windshield defrost ducts, they almost instantly freeze over with ice when the car is driven in snowy weather.
4) Windshield defogger can't keep just one occupant's breath from condensing and freezing on the inside of the windshield in temperatures below 25ºF. To keep the windshield only SOMEWHAT clean, you must run the defroster on HIGH FAN, HIGH HEAT, and it literally bakes your eyeballs out of your head with the dry, high-velocity air slamming you in the face.
5) The 4-wheel ABS is worthless on dirt. Considering Subaru's ad campaign showing a WRX sliding around on a dirt road, they should have included a "kill" switch. I have an old Chevy pick-up with NO front brakes, and I can stop it on a dirt road quicker than the WRX. It's like having no brakes at all. And in snow, FORGET IT, don't even go for the brake pedal, because it isn't going to do anything for you. Sure ABS helps you steer better, but sometimes we ALL need to just STOP!
6) We've been to the dealer THREE TIMES to get the marker lights to work properly. They quit working on the way home from the dealer when we bought it, and it's been a hassle ever since.
7) Our WRX has required both toe-in and caster adjustments after just 4300 miles of driving. (About 430 miles of dirt road.) Remember, this is my WIFE'S car, and she doesn't know the meaning of "spirited driving." She goes PAINFULLY slow on our road.
If you're thinking of getting a WRX, please consider that there is MORE to a car than the engine, hoodscoop, and boost gauge.
Subaru has taken an interesting drivetrain and installed it in a nicely-displayed, but VERY cheesy automobile which may leave buyers unsatisfied.
If you want a multi-purpose car that can be a grocery-getter for the wife, and a fun car for the husband, look elsewhere. (Especially if you live or drive on dirt roads or in a snowy climate.)
I regret spending every one of my 24,000 dollars on this car. I'll NEVER own another Subaru in my life.