2005 Subaru Impreza WRX Sport Wagon 2.0 H4 turbo from North America

Summary:

When you find yourself driving for no apparent reason, you have chosen wisely

Faults:

Current issues are valve cover leak, transmission leak, both of which are on the driver's side. This may be due to a previous minor accident.

Valve cover gaskets are prone to leaking and are a pain to change out, but this car is worth it.

I do know that the driver's side front drive axle was replaced as the previous one exploded; you can see the grease slung all over the underside in a circular pattern. This also may be why the transmission may be leaking/weeping oil from the side of the front differential, as they did not replace that gasket, which they should have. May be burning some oil at the moment; I expect the stealership I bought it from (not Subaru, which is why I gave Dealer Service mark N/A) gave it a cheapo oil change and filter, one of the first things I plan to take care of, other than doing the service they promised.

The 6 disc head units are pieces of crap. I tried to fix it to make it work and it was like brain surgery. I did, however, score 6 CDs from the previous owner. If you have one that works, just do one CD at a time. Mine was jammed, as two CDs were placed into one slot.

Rear dome light not functional... need to fix that.

It is a low mileage car, but that is not a guarantee of a well taken care of car. Once these minor issues are fixed, it should be ready to go. I plan to update this post as time continues. I wish you luck, future me.

General Comments:

I know I have not had much time behind the wheel of my car yet, but I have driven a good bit of my friends' Imprezas, which include a 2005 STI, a 2003 WRX, and a 2.5RS wagon with JDM ej20g, totaling about 1000 miles across all three.

I actually purchased this car to replace my 2003 Tacoma regular cab with 2WD, which I still have as backup and moving vehicle. The fact of it being almost a 10 year old car and only 54k on it, means it's pretty rare, less 6k a year.

The stealership I found my WRX at had purchased the car from a private owner and then marked it up 2000 before I could get the bank in order. Slimy, but everyone has to make a buck. Independent stealership tried 2 times to fix the oil leak, but it is still leaking. People, take a car you are interested in to a private mechanic and put it on a lift; had I done that, I would have seen the transmission leak and gotten a better deal.

First impressions:

I love the wagon and the fact that it is a blob eye or peanut eye. It's my favorite of the WRX STi generations, and I'm betting this and the bug eye are going to be classics. I like the wagons for their proportions and the hatch; sedans are fine, but I like the extra space for the 80 more lbs it weighs over the sedan. This year also had the head lights blacked out, which I would have done anyway.

This car is strong, I wouldn't say fast, quick maybe. It does have turbo lag, but I like it, as I can get decent fuel economy or stomp on it and feel it wind up. 100% highway driving I average 32 MPG, mixed between 50/50 highway city is 25-26; you just have to stay out of the boost, which is hard for me. I'm able to monitor this via an UltraGauge, which plugs into your OBDII port; there's several makers of these.

One of the best things is the way this thing handles stock. Bumps are very subtle and not over dramatic; it takes them and keeps going and casually mentions it was a bump. My Tacoma did not take bumps well at all, and was very reactive to bumps. Granted this is 132k with stock shocks that probably needed to be replaced, and made me feel like I was rally crossing. I have already scared my girlfriend (soon to be fiance) taking turns at 30mph, that's a plus or minus on how you take it. This thing begs to take curves stock. Sure, I know there are much better handling cars, but this thing out of the box feels confident and inspires confidence. I constantly find myself getting frustrated on long sweeping turns on the highway when slower people constantly brake and slow down. Turn that 45 suggested speed to 60 please. Again, I know there are better handling cars and that's OK, but at this price range it's extremely hard to beat.

The interior is OK, but it is certainly no Volkswagen, BMW, or even Honda. Better than Toyota though, well, my Tacoma. I would say it's a little spartan, but not utilitarian. The 6 disc head unit looks good, but it sucks when they break. Another thing I plan on replacing. One thing I am shocked about is the lack of squeaks and squeals that I thought this thing would have; no bumps/rattles or groans yet. Seats are OK to me. I'm 6'2" and 340, I know I'm a big guy, but it's comfortable. Great head room, have to steal some of the rear passenger's leg room. Seats grab you and hold you in, and constantly remind me to not eat that cheese burger. These also are all black interior seats; I don't like the blue inserts the older models had.

Plenty of space for groceries, and you can fold down the rear seats in this one. I wouldn't call the interior materials high quality by any means; if you are into that, go get an R32 or Audi.

Engine:

One of my reasons for choosing the WRX is due to the flat 4 engine design. I also own older VW's, which have a flat four, but are also air cooled; I favor the design and layout of it. While this engine may not be as fun and wild as the 2.5t engine the STi has, with some mods this is a great engine with a lot of performance potential. I plan to keep the engine stock and add cat back, drop in K&N filter. You can get an access port for these and tune them in 2 seconds, but I'm a fan of leaving it stock for now. For a stock exhaust, it's pretty quiet and subdued. It does hint at the boxer wobble at 2500 RPM. The exhaust note is another reason I love these cars, I turn my head every time I hear it. It is intoxicating.

Transmission. This to me is the least impressive part of the car, but I wouldn't call it bad. It shifts well, but is known for being weak, another reason I plan to not mod the engine. Took some getting used to.

Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase. I've heard good things about these cars and experienced them. It was either this or a VW GTI, but GTIs are a premium car. I guess we will have to see how this one turns out. It's got some big shoes to fill in terms of reliability from my Tacoma.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th February, 2014

20th Jun 2014, 14:40

Just an update.

Still love this car, but it has not been worry free.

Pro tips to buyers, make sure that it's not a valve cover leak and is a cam seal leak. The cost to fix these are very different in terms of cost and time to do them.

My car has a cam seal leak after re-sealing the driver's side valve cover. The cam seal is some 7 bucks from a local Subaru dealership; one issue though, it takes a shop some 4-8 hours of work to get to the blasted thing. Then there is the issue of all the stuff one should replace while you are down there. So a 7 dollar part that takes half a day, and makes you feel reckless by not replacing the water pump, oil pump, timing belt, rollers, and belt tensioner, 4 cam seals, crank seal (all these parts in a kit with OEM suppliers is somewhere between 350-550 bucks) kinda blows. The oil dripping on the timing belt from this leak can cause: the belt to slip on the water pump, leading to potential over heating, belt failure, which = new engine due to the interference design of the pistons and valves, so it's one of those things that certainly maybe can always happen if you have this leak.

Subaru also insisted on putting a pre-catalytic converter before the turbo. The placement of the cat so close to the engine causes it to warm up quickly to meet cold start idle emissions standards; what this also does is place a potentially dangerous part right in front of the turbo, so that if it fails, you get to buy a new turbo. Subaru fixed this on the 2006 model.

Mine consumes a pretty good amount of oil. I have had to top it off 5 times per oil change. This is due to my cam seal leak and the design of the ej20 PCV system. I'm hoping to correct this with an air oil separator, and trying to find one that doesn't cost $400.

The paint is absolutely crap on these cars. I took the car to a DIY place and peeled a good 1" tall by 3" wide section off.

I don't like the frameless windows.

The 6 disk CD player broke, which I replaced with the same unit off eBay for 26 bucks, so that wasn't horrible.

Still have the leaking transmission.

The car is still a blast to drive and I love it. Still handles well. I have also open source tuned it to stage 1 and it made quite the difference.

Good fuel economy is possible on long trips. In town it suffers quite a bit. Get on the highway and cruise, and you can get 32-36 MPG.

I wish I had been more aggressive at the stealership, but this car is very much worth the effort.

2005 Subaru Impreza WRX PPP 2.0 turbo petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

With this car, you get everything...

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

What can I say, other than this is a great car!

This car really does tick all the right boxes. It's fast, can seat 5, has 4 doors for easy access, a big boot, reliable, has all the mod cons (air con, electric windows/mirrors, isofix etc) and has 4 wheel drive, so can pretty much get past most things that mother nature can throw at it.

The fact remains that this is a performance car, and it does excel at that. Handling is predictable, grip is immense, performance is right up there, and reliability is better than what you would expect for a 260 BHP car.

Granted MPG is not the best, but even then I average 28-30 MPG, which isn't bad for a car that has a turbo and drives 4 wheels. The car itself is easy to drive; even my mother in law could drive this to the shops and back without any problems.

It's pretty comfortable too; the only issue is that the thigh supports could be ever so slightly further apart, but we're talking only a few cm here!

With the Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP), this boosts BHP up to 262 BHP (the same as an STi) from 225 BHP, and the torque is very slightly higher than the STI, and comes in slightly earlier in the rev range. It's said that for the track the STI is better (bigger brakes, firmer suspension, adjustable differential), but for the Joe Public on the roads, the WRX is the best version to have.

The 2.5 version that came afterwards has slightly higher torque and perhaps slightly better looks (opinion is divided here), but with it came reliability issues with the head gasket (see other reviews on here), whereas the 2.0 unit is well proven, super reliable and (in my opinion) the better option.

Cabin quality is good, the doors shut with a nice clunk and servicing is every 10k miles for the turbo model, so running costs (bearing in mind its level of performance) are more than reasonable. Beware examples that have been modified though.

I've owned all sort of cars and makes (from Peugeots, to Nissans, to BMWs). Would I recommend a Subaru - yes, without hesitation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2013