2006 Subaru Impreza WRX 2.5 turbo from Australia and New Zealand


VERY FAST, but not fun as a drivers car


The key barrel failed to recognise the key at 20,000km. This caused the siren to go off and treat me as an intruder. The barrel was replaced under warranty. The problem started off as intermittent, but in less than 2 weeks was 100% faulty, meaning the car could not be moved.

Since new, the car alarm would re-arm after 2-3 minutes if I forgot to get into the car, but the door's central locking remain unlocked. It's very embarrassing after having chatted with a friend, stepped into the car and the alarm goes off. The Subaru dealer said it's not a design defect as it is a bonus feature of the alarm to protect the car. My work around is to re-arm the car, then dis-arm it whenever I'm in a potentially embarrassing situation.

At 30,000km I started to notice a loud metallic rattling noise, which would occur after 4200 RPM, under hard acceleration whilst on long mountain journeys. I reported it to the Subaru dealership at the next service, and the mechanics were not able to find or replicate it. The rattling noise continued until about 65,000km, and went away by itself. I don't know what happened to the rattle.

The air-conditioner made a long creaking noise inside the dash whenever the recirculation button was pressed (ie. the vents switching between OPEN and CLOSED). This occurred after 2.5 years at 40,000km. The Subaru dealership re-lubricated and it's now working silently. The car was always parked out the sun.

Dangerous understeer and a ride that was back breaking until the suspension was worn in about 22,000km (country kilometres). I once ran wide whilst negotiating a right angled corner and went up over the gutter onto the pedestrian island (the car had done 15,000km). This was the first time I had overshot a 90 degree corner. I've been driving front wheel drive cars for the last 15 years and am very experienced with understeer. I promptly booked the WRX for a professional wheel alignment, and even asked for maximum negative camber on the front wheels to help counter the understeer (originally -0.5 degrees, after equalled -1.0 degrees). After the enhanced wheel alignment, the understeer was still troubling enough that I had to remain conscious to hold back on throttle usage on 90 degree corners.

Another friend had an even scarier off road excursion due to the understeer on his new 2010 WRX hatchback. So much so that he immediately went out and bought several aftermarket suspension modifications.

Short tyre life. The OEM tyres were bald at 40,000km (Bridgestone Potenza RE050A) with normal driving. The WRX was mainly a daily commuter driven mostly on perfect expressways. I think my wheel alignment with negative camber was necessary in the early days, but I switched back to the manufacturer's wheel alignment settings on the second set of tires. The tires wear very terribly with the slightly modified wheel alignments, and it's not worth it once the WRX suspension was worn in and working safely.

Front brake rotors were permanently warped from hot spots at 28,000km, whilst the brake pads had 50% remaining thickness. The Subaru dealer inspected the front rotors and blames the specific coastal/mountain route. The WRX is fully loaded with 4 passengers and full boot on snow and camping trips involving very steep hill descents.

Am surprised that WRX brakes and tyre life are so short, as I previously owned an economical Hyundai Excel/Accent where the OEM from brake rotor lasted 240,000km and OEM tyres lasted 160,000km with identical driving conditions. Even performed more laps at track days.

General Comments:

I'm more of a sporty driver who learned to drive around mountainous roads, enjoys corners and even tried a few track days.

Before I owned a WRX, I would often hear the saying: "WRXs make bad drivers look good".

I definitely think that sums this car up.

It's easy to drive fast. Has tonnes of traction and is very forgiving regardless of how awful the mistakes or punishment. It will increase your confidence regardless of who you are.

It has no obvious weaknesses in the performance department. All round great performer, excellent bang for buck, especially for what it is. Can keep up reasonably well with cars twice its price.

The biggest negative for me is that it lacks driver involvement. I'm used to a lot of steering feel, my 1996 Hyundai Excel/Accent (with no power steering) provided more steering feel.

The WRX's throttle response is a little slow, like it's designed for improving fuel economy in erratic city driving. Double de-clutching in this car is an annoying affair for advanced drivers. My father's 2000 Toyota Corolla has a hair trigger accelerator compared to the WRX.

The standard WRX is a great compromise as a daily driver that's fast, but without any horrible sacrifices.

The cabin and tyre noise is right at the limits of still being practical. I can hold a conversation with passengers without asking them to repeat themselves. I can just hear the car stereo at a safe listening volume.

Ride firmness is right at the limit of being practical for my level of tolerance. In mid conversation, I will stutter or pause due to an EXTREMELY bad pot hole. Though this is ultra rare, and the suspension will soak up the bumps 98% of the time.

In terms of running costs, treat the WRX as if it is a sports car. It attracts the insurance premiums of a sports car and has high pricing for warranty servicing and replacement parts. (eg. a replacement brake rotor will cost at least double and last half as long).

I agree with an earlier reviewer who said it's comfy, and recommends to own one for understanding the cult.

It's a fast car, but not a drivers car. Buy it if you're an easy driver or want to blitz the V8's on legal roads. For track days choose the STI.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th April, 2011

30th Apr 2011, 16:01

Are you serious about tyre wear being a problem???

Bridgestone re050's are a soft compound tyre with a high wear rate due to increased grip when gotten up to the right temperature, which is why they are bad when cold.

I drive a Honda Integra Type R dc2, and a front set of re050's lasts about 6000 miles until they are finished.

Think all tyre manufacturers use a different compound over here in Europe, because we have corners, and need grip rather than a tyre that lasts as long as the car!

On average I replace a complete set of tyres after rotating fronts to back about once every 12-18 months, depending on the tyre choice. A track tyre like r888's lasts about 2000 miles.

21st May 2011, 21:06

What do you mean the WRX isn't a drivers car? The WRX is one of the rawest drivers cars out on the market... You also said that the throttle response is better in a Hyundai Excel... How did you come to this conclusion? My 06 WRX has a very fierce throttle response...

As for the understeer, this can be taken care of by a set of sway bars and end links, and the throttle response is an easy fix with an ECU re-flash with a stage 1 map...

The brakes are very good IMO, my old Pontiac went through a set of brakes every 9 months, and the WRX has had the same brakes on it since I bought it 2 years ago, and I do drive mine as it was designed to be...

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr sedan 2.5 turbo Flat-4 from North America


The only issue I've had was the secondary air pump went out at 58K. I took it to the dealer and they gave me a lot of problems about the factory emissions warranty. I even called Subaru of America and they told me "the coverage is limited by different states laws". I researched online and found a solution, I learned that you can just remove the system and install blocking plates on the heads. I did this and deleted the DTC codes off the ECU map and saved $1200.

The only other issue is there is a worn center carrier bushing on the rear driveline that will need to be replaced, but, it's a non serviceable item and I have to get the whole driveline... arrgh.

General Comments:

This car is amazing, it gets pretty good gas mileage, has the best AWD system made, and accelerates like a V8. It's a blast to drive, I've added engine management, done an intake silencer removal, added a catback exhaust kit, tinted the windows, put in an aftermarket stereo. I still plan on doing more with it, but lack the funds at the moment. I love driving around and hearing the boxer motor purr and the turbo spool up. It's very intoxicating...

This car will put a smile on your face every time you drive it and it gets hard to remove it.

The only things I would change are the body materials and the paint. Both are made very cheaply and the simple clunk you don't hear/feel when you shut the door that an American car has. I would also change the back seats in the sedan to fold down. Yes it has a pass through, but that's blocked off by my son's car seat.

So bottom line, if you are looking for an all weather performance rally car inspired for a fair price, then you won't be disappointed. Also, if you plan on buying a used WRX/STi have it inspected by a mechanic. Make sure they do a compression and leakdown test to see how it's holding up. People have a tendency to beat these cars to death...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2010

16th Nov 2010, 13:32

Very good review.

I agree, be very, very, very careful when buying one of these used, as they are often owned by younger people who like street racing, etc... or middle aged people who like to go fast and beat on their cars.

Maintenance is very important, make sure it has been well maintained by the owner and get a full history on the car.

I would never buy one of these from let's say, a high school student.

17th Nov 2010, 01:56

Thank you...

From my experiences, the vast majority of the Subaru enthusiasts community frowns upon street racing... but there are always the bad apples in the group... people don't realize that pretty much every single mod for these cars requires a custom tune for it, and people will slap on a bunch of parts and go out and blow it up... then you have the kids who go out drag racing and drop the clutch at 5K RPM's, and wonder why their transmission blew up... LOL this is where the "glass transmission" reputation came from on the 5speeds... and the 02 recall of course... people don't realize the amount of grip these AWD systems have, and dropping the clutch at 5K RPM's just grenades the tranny as it would in any other transmission... Mitsubishi started putting rev limiters on the EVO's for this reason, limiting the launch rpm's to about 4500 rpm's to prevent warranty claims, and Subaru went with the former...

17th Nov 2010, 10:08

I would never even buy one of these used. So many of them have been modded and raced. When they are sold, the mods are removed, making the car appear stock when in actuality it has been heavily abused. This is really hard to tell by just looking at the car.

I bought a 2005 brand new and sold it at 51K miles. Fortunately for the second owner, I never modded it or raced it. It was a commuter car that was fun to own.

I would love another one... especially since they now put out 265 HP. They seem to be so rare nowadays and are much harder to find at dealers. I guess putting super unleaded in as a requirement has caught up to these cars.