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.
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