22nd Dec 2002, 14:44

I must take issue with your comment that "nothing is better balanced".

I currently drive a Peugeot 306 GTI-6, which some nice person rear-ended at the lights a few months back. When it was being fixed, I used a work colleague's Impreza Turbo for a fortnight while he was on holiday. I can honestly say I have never been so disappointed in a car.

Yes, it's stupidly quick, and yes that flat four engine is among the finest mass production engines in existence, but the rest of the car is just your typical cheap Japanese tin box. The handling, I'm sorry, is not a patch on the 306's. Granted, the Scooby will corner faster thanks to fatter tyres and 4WD, but the steering is overassisted, the brakes wooden and the on-limit behaviour is highly questionable.

I can't relate the adjective "balanced" to a car which is trying to understeer off the road one minute, then suddenly snapping into power oversteer the next. To my mind, it's wayward and unpredictable. I didn't know this car any better after two weeks and 1,500 miles than I did the day I picked the keys up. Getting back into the 306 was a revelation. Meaty steering, bags more front end grip and poise beyond the limits of grip that the Scooby can only dream of. The Impreza GRIPS better, but I defy anyone to say with any conviction that it HANDLES better. And a cheap French hot hatch will "out-balance" it in any beyond-the-limit handling situation.

It's a fast car, but the hype is better than the reality. As with all rally cars, the motorsport versions are quite different beasts to the road versions, and boy does it show.

22nd Sep 2003, 01:36

Great review I have just got rid of a 1998 UK Turbo and I am so glad to see it go, it financially ruined me (see review only bad review of 1998 car on here). The build quality is terrible, fuel economy a joke! The engine is to soft when given punished and breaks easily, the gearchange is rubbish more so for this type of car, and the servicing costs if you are stupid enough to go to Subaru are just sheer daylight robbery. I looked at a couple of early imports before I bought this car, and the build quality and finish is awful a lot worse than mine which was bad. Get yourself a Civic Type R or an Integra Type R you may have some cash for once! Not much low end torque, but a much better car in every respect, build, reliability, fuel usage, servicing. These cars may have being the ultimate a few years ago, but now they are being suppassed by newer cheaper more economical cars by numerous manufacturers. Get rid before it ruins you!

24th Apr 2005, 02:10

The grey import situation is forcing owners to question the wisdom of warranty and main-dealer servicing. Now Rover has been put down, a lot of belt and braces guys will be left high and dry without a warranty. If changing the alternator, starter motor and a couple of front discs, parts bought trade, were only a Sunday morning operation, you guys wouldn't be talking "four horsemen of the apocalypse", "death of first born", "this car's useless" level disaster. Imagine this, you religiously avoid the slightest modification for fear of invalidating the warranty, and pay those through-the-nose dealer hourly rates and OEM retail parts to get the stamps on the service history, just for a pie-in-the-sky, slightly better trade-in price. Hardly worth it when you could be waiting to turn right and some 80-year-old geriatric with reactions like a dead rat goes up the back of you. If that happens, accept the insurance pay out, buy the wreck from the insurance company for spares and buy an identical replacement assuming you have a rural lifestyle. Tip: Insurance assessors are so slack, two-to-one they will read the odometer as 20,000km instead of 120,000km. So accept the payout for 20,000km and buy the wreck as 120,000km.

15th Nov 2007, 06:10

I recently bought a 98 WRX STI, fresh import from Japan. The car goes like hell and handles as sharp as a blade. Did have some teething problems, split radiator hose, but no issues since. Vitally important to let this car to warm up and cool down if you going to give it some stick. Servicing cost are not bad here in Ireland, but that's when you avoid dealerships where the Mechanics should wear Balaclava's...