2004 Subaru Impreza RS Hatch 2.5 litre petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Not a bad car, but look around at others


Vibration from front speaker at moderate volume when playing music with certain bass frequencies. Dealer tried to fix, but the problem persists.

Rattles in the dashboard which are very hard to locate.

General Comments:

The RS is a solid feeling car compared to a lot of others in its price range. One stand out feature is the handling. It feels safely stuck to the road and the brakes come on strong when you need them. Having four wheels driving is a big advantage here. The steering feels a bit vague in a straight line, but it isn't a problem.

Although this version of the RS gets a 2.5 litre motor, I wouldn't call it exciting. Its adequate and has reasonable torque, but that's all. I runs on standard fuel, but I think it's a bit thirsty. I get about 11.5 litres per 100 Ks around town. Other cars of similar weight and performance would do better.

My RS is an automatic and it is quite annoying when driving in dense traffic as you seem to be constantly having to touch the brakes because the motor braking effect just isn't there. A sequential shift would be a big improvment here. In addition to the transmission problem the brakes get quite sharp at low speeds and make it even more tiring when trying to control slow speeds.

My biggest gripe with the car is that I have never found a comfortable driving position. The seats are the same 'racing style' as those in the WRX version and seem OK when you try them out at the dealers. But when you've been in them for an hour or so you just want to stop and stretch your legs. Because the steering wheel has no telescoping adjustment and the front leg room is quite restricted I can never quite feel comfortable.

Although Subaru boast about the good visibility in their Impreza I find it has some annoying blind spots. The 'B' pillar seems right in your way as you check for traffic coming from the driver's side and you have to crane your neck forward for safe visibility.

Apart from the excellent handling the Impreza doesn't really shine anywhere else. It gives me the impression that it was rushed into production too soon. Maybe they'll get the next one right.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th August, 2005

2004 Subaru Impreza RS 2.5 litre from North America


A WRX without the engine


The handle to lower/raise the seat bottom keeps getting caught on my pant leg. I had it fixed and it got caught again the same day. Poor design. Will not fix it again until I sell the car.

WIndows sometime act weird going down (power windows), like they are getting caught on something. Not up to the standards set by other Japanese cars, not to mention German ones.

A few squeaks which seem to be weather dependent.

General Comments:

I got a great deal on the car and it is the same suspension, etc. as the WRX minus the engine. The car is not as crisp as my previous BMWs, but AWD is fun. The stock tires are a real embarassment, so I upgraded to Yokohamas and now the car drives like it was made to. Why Subaru puts these silly tires on a sports car is beyond me (other than cost).

Cabin quality is okay, better than American cars, but certainly no Honda or even an entry level German model. The money was obvious spent on the stuff you don't see.

The locking system is stupid. You have to push the key fob at least three times to open every door, there is no remote for the trunk, and the radio won't turn on for a few seconds after the car is started, all of which lead me to believe the electrics are sub par.

The engine, while no WRX obviously, is adequate for this car. It is not exciting by any means, but gets you to the speed you want in time. And it does take regular gas to that is a savings in itself. If asked, I would substitute a base engine that has more torque, a more "German" feel.

Overall, however, the car has been reliable. It will take anything I throw at it and not complain.

Insurance is actually very high for this car, probably because of the type of buyer - I am paying almost as much as my previous 5 series which cost 2 1/2 times more.

Do NOT put an aftermarket sunroof on this car. I did (a flip up one) and it creaks and groans. The car is very very "torqued" as far as design and therefore any such modifications should come from the factory (I wanted the power sunroof offered by Subaru, but it took too much headroom). This alone speaks volumes of what a true sports car this car really is.

The dealership experience has been great. I even had the car detailed by them and it came back flawless.

I assume when I sell this car it will go to some kid who wants to modify it as the car screams for upgrades of all types. But as is the car is pretty near perfect except for the somewhat boring engine (and I'm not talking horsepower, but "feel").

I don't think I would buy another RS only because the engine is not exciting (again, not horsepower, but "feel"). I may consider a WRX next, although I'm not sure if I'm going to like the new design (2006).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th July, 2005

4th Aug 2005, 15:46

You should move up your trade in time and get a Saab 92X Aero. It is basically a WRX with a nicer front end and a better interior. I got mine with the GM discount for less than $20K (msrp $28,250) and I love it. I traded a Subie with a 2.5 for it because I hated the performance as well. The Saab is really quick and a blast to drive! The GM deal is going 'til 9-2-05...