If you need telling why an Impreza is worthy of your money then you’re reading the wrong website. To recap: four-wheel drive, all weather performance, stunning boxer engine with low centre of gravity, immensely tuneable… and then there’s that noise! While that noise and Imprezas in general are now something of a Marmite car, there’s a good reason for people to love them.
With the new age Imprezas the raw driving experience was toned down a little and the first ‘bugeye’ model wasn’t exactly a looker, but with the ‘blob-eye’ facelift in 2003 Subaru really had created an everyday super saloon that most people liked. Prices vary according to spec and tune, but we’ve seen WRX Wagons selling for not a lot. These are fine if you just want the Impreza experience and with tuning like uprated suspension, ECU remap and exhaust it’s certainly a car with enough poke for most.
Paying extra for the STi though is worth doing if you’re planning on more significant power increases. They come with a stronger 6-speed gearbox, numerous engine enhancements including stronger internals and the Driver Controlled Centre Differential, plus the styling is slightly more impressive. Basically the STI has in place much of what you’d need to spend money on if you bought a WRX and planned big power, so paying a little more in the first place can save cash over time.
Whichever you chose though, with just a few enhancements the Subaru Impreza will more than satisfy your fast driving needs and make for a great, fast road daily driver.
Subaru Impreza WRX (2003 – 2005) Stats
Engine: 2ltr, 4-cylinder, turbocharged
Top speed: 148mph (UK STi)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Obviously accident damage is the first thing to check for as plenty of Imprezas have been driven hard. Engines are generally strong, but service history is advisable. If you’re buying an STi check for nasty noises as the DCCD can be damaged in manual mode. In fact, it’s probably worth probing the owner to find out if he ever puts it in manual mode as many owners don’t really bother as it’s only there for extreme conditions.
TUNING AN IMPREZA
For big power an STi is the way forward, but an exhaust system is the first thing to do on either car, replacing the whole thing including up-pipe and binning any catalytic converters if you can. This alone will see decent power gains, especially when mated to a remap, plus it will unleash the boxer noise beautifully. Aside from the limitless engine work, you may want to tighten up the steering with anti-roll bars and coilovers in order to get back some of that pin-sharp handling the Classic Imprezas had.
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