Owning a Subaru WRX – money pit of epic proportions?…

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  • Owning a Subaru WRX – money pit of epic proportions?…
  • I have an itch I’d like to scratch and its Subaru WRX shaped! Probably 5dr as I need to get the dog in!

    I’ve owned 4 Subaru’s in the past (Justy (I know – it was cheap and 4WD!), 2x Impreza and a Forester) and they’ve all been really reliable and OK with running costs. But the time was never quite right to step up to a WRX.

    I’d be looking in the 5 to 6k mark so something like this…
    https://www.canwellcars.co.uk/used-cars/subaru-impreza-sutton-coldfield-201711221487348?at_source=autotrader&at_medium=desktop&at_campaign=website-visit

    …so would any current or previous WRX owners like to offer an opinion? I’d guess 5dr versions are less likely to have been tampered with.

    Cheers

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    My friend has an 05 plate he’s owned pretty much from new. Never given him any grief albeit he’s anal about having it serviced to the dot as per Subaru specs.

    The SiL had an old 5dr that never got serviced, don’t think it even had an oil change – it also ran without any grief for years before finally conking out.

    My friend’s drove nicer and has kept its oomph more but considering the neglect my SiL’s suffered it held up surprisingly well.

    Usual rules apply – just make sure it has a very decent (if not necessarily full) service history, that it hasn’t been planted in a hedge and that it hasn’t been unduly molested and you’ll be right.

    jamesfts
    Member

    I’ve a similar itch, I know they’re not particularly quick and don’t have the best image but I do quite fancy one for bikes/dog duties.

    From what I’ve read and friends who have had them, if you buy a sensibly and keep them standard they’re quite good on everything apart form fuel. If you start modifying them they can become very expensive very quickly and reliability suffers.

    allthegear
    Member

    Back in the day, when I was trying to deny reality, I had one. A Subaru WRX PPP. To be honest, it wasn’t all that terrible to run! Petrol wasn’t awful and I had to spend nothing else – it just worked.

    Servicing wasn’t cheap I guess. But then, it’s not cheap for any car now.

    I do remember going up to Scotland in it a few times. Mountain bike would fit in a bag behind the front seats, just. Filling up in North Cambridge and thriving like Miss Daisy meant getting into Carlisle Tescos on fumes, filling up and then enjoying the law-free roads of Scotland…

    Rachel

    Jakester
    Member

    Hopefully not as I have recently bought a Forester with the Prodrive Performance pack – as I had to scratch the Scooby itch as well! Costs so far have been 4 new tyres (damn that AWD system) and petrol – lots of it…

    First service under my watch is due in Feb, so we’ll see then, but my understanding is that they’re okay unless they’re not, if you see what I mean. I was told when looking that the 2.0T is more reliable than the 2.5T, but whether or not that was just sales guff I don’t know.

    allthegear
    Member

    Just looked at the advert. Looks very similar to mine (except mine was red and had the Prodrive Performance Pack). Seriously, I’d happily buy that – looks great!

    2.0T > 2.5T

    Rachel

    Jakester
    Member

    allthegear – Member
    2.0T > 2.5T

    Phew! 😉

    jimjam
    Member

    For that money I’d rather have this.

    Much nicer place to be than the Impreza and considerably faster. And more space. And less chavy looking. Fun cars but I’ll never have another.

    NZCol
    Member

    ^ agree with that. Had WRXs and Legacys. Would take a legacy anytime again. And they do tend to just work.

    wrightyson
    Member

    I had two, a 52 plate bugeye at 2 years old then straight in to an 18 month old ppp limited 300 run blob on a 55 plate. 0-60 in under 5 and chav tastic. I kept that for 5 years, had big service clutch and cambelt done at a specialist which cost me 1200 quid. That was the only hurty moment but I wanted them done as the rebuild costs are frightening. Finding a good one is hard now, hence the 6k price of that one which in my book is a bit steep. I so wish I’d kept it and garaged it as its now worth over double the amount i chopped it in at. Many many happy miles and it also got taken to Scotland which was the highlight of it’s ownership. Real world actual worked out on paper figure was 30 mpg on a cornwall run. I once did 20 quids worth in under 50 miles…
    And as I’ve just realised who the op is you may have heard me scoot up Newbridge and along crich lane a few times 😳

    wrightyson
    Member

     and considerably faster. 

    No it isn’t.

    mrmoofo
    Member

    I had one as a company car for about 3 months … MPG was around 23 on a good day …
    19 if driven spiritedly …

    crankrider
    Member

    Had one a few years ago for 3 years, was completely reliable until the gearbox started making a ‘whine’, I got shut of it then as I needed to change car anyway but even advertising it with a gearbox fault still didnt lose much money.

    Why did the gearbox get noisy? – It had a gearbox oil change but turns out the oil was cheap crap, the worst bit was I had £90 worth of decent stuff a year before but didnt get round to having it changed.

    So my experience of them is at WRX level they are a decently reliable car just keep up with regular oil changes with decent oil and good box / diff oil – They are really very simple cars indeed compared do modern stuff.

    I used to get low 20’s on a mixed commute, partly beacuse it wasnt hot until 3/4 of the way to work but did get 30mpg out of it bumbling along at 70, will happily get into the teens if you have a heavy right foot though.

    2.0 is considered the most reliable choice and also much cheaper to tax too though mine was a 2.5 and was just fine and didnt use any oil.

    As for the ‘chavvy’ / not the best image – are they really seen like that nowdays? Mine was an estate so no big spoiler etc but I see a lot of ‘older’ people using them in the sticks due to the 4wd and being pretty hardy – I dont see that many impreza’s on the road anymore and a lot of the tat is probably rusted into the scrapyard – I would class some modern mercedes etc as more chavvy realisticaly.

    Only thing to expect is that they are just not ‘fast’ anymore – A modern diesel repmobile will keep up in a straight line and anything like a modern hatchback will be much faster – if that kind of thing bothers you.

    submarined
    Member

    and considerably faster.

    ^^^No

    No it isn’t.

    ^^^Indeed.

    Nah, it won’t be a moneypit if you buy one that’s not overly modified. Get one that is highly tuned or poorly modified and, like most japanese turbo cars, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

    As above, expect low 20’s at best for mixed driving.

    They may not be as fast in a straight line as some modern hatches, but they are great things when on a charge on a back road. Sure footed, easy to drive quick, and a lot of fun. I’ve still got a hankering for an early wagon at some point.

    Disclaimer: Everything is relative. I own an RX7 so my outlook is a little skewed.

    You’ll probably save money on depreciation though! I used to have one and judging from a quick browse it wouldn’t have lost any money had I kept it (possibly even made a bit!).

    Mine was pretty reliable though had some piston slap noise when cold. Listen for any big end bearing problems too! Best I could get MPG wise was 27mpg on a 150 mile motorway journey at 70mph.

    jimjam
    Member

    submarined – Member

    and considerably faster.

    ^^^No

    No it isn’t.

    Indeed.[/quote]

    You’ve got an extra 56bhp and 30lbsft of torque moving maybe 50kg. But that doesn’t take into consideration the variable geometry turbo in the Legacy which spools up faster and gives better throttle response than the basic td04.

    Anyway, having driven them both, and owned several subarus my opinion is that the Legacy is faster and the WRX is hugely underwhelming. The STI is another matter.

    LS
    Member

    For me now I’d also have a spec B Legacy but it’d have to be the manual box.
    I had a 54 plate Wagon with the PPP pack, ‘not that fast’ isn’t something that could ever have been levelled at it, sub 5-sec to 60 isn’t slow in my book! 😆
    Very reliable, handled perfectly for local roads and with winter tyres on it went anywhere (Peaks dweller here), servicing was ok if you kept on top of it. I only got rid in the end when my mileage doubled and the fuel costs got silly.
    People complain about the interiors on Imprezas but it’s there to be driven, not stroked.

    burchill
    Member

    Got a v1 WRX. It’s great fun, even if I have a cambelt + water pump bill coming up very soon.

    My advice would be to do frequent oil changes with decent oil and add a thicker rear ARB.

    wiggles
    Member

    I own an RX7 so my outlook is a little skewed.

    As a fellow rotary owneri agree (only a rx8 though) 27mpg sounds pretty good…

    I did £65 of fuel in 150 miles recently 😳

    Premier Icon alanw2007
    Subscriber

    I’ve had various flavours of WRX…agree with most of the above. They are thirsty and if driven hard or on the track will eat tyres and brake pads. Having said that, of my four, the only non-consumable I had to buy was a water temperature transmitter and even that didn’t prevent the car running; it just went into limp-home mode.
    Had a Legacy Spec B as well; the later single-turbo model which was fast and more refined but lacked the intensity of the WRXs.

    Premier Icon andybrad
    Subscriber

    wiggles – Member
    I own an RX7 so my outlook is a little skewed.
    As a fellow rotary owneri agree (only a rx8 though) 27mpg sounds pretty good…

    I did £65 of fuel in 150 miles recently

    lol amateurs (fellow rx r3 owner) 🙂

    125 to a £79 tank fill (super though)

    Premier Icon monkeysfeet
    Subscriber

    Had a 2002 WRX, again big exhaust, chipped etc. Lovely car to drive and just wanted to be thrashed everywhere.
    Managed about 21 mpg and the cambelt change bill was eyewatering.
    Mine was bought and serviced from here..
    https://www.grahamwalkerltd.co.uk

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    wiggles – Member

    As a fellow rotary owneri agree (only a rx8 though) 27mpg sounds pretty good…

    They were taling about petrol, not engine oil.

    I had an 03 WRX Sportwagon and it ran like a dream until I had to sell it to buy a bloody van.
    I still get sad when I see them around.
    It really did feel quick, and I actually didn’t mind putting (quite a lot of) petrol in it because you knew you were going to have fun out of every last drop.
    Just buy one…what’s the worst that could happen?

    sprootlet
    Member

    We bought an 03 2litre wrx sportswagon when it was 18 months old. We kept it until it was written off last yr by a 17yr old who’d been driving less than 1 week. I cried….and we weren’t planning on get rid of it even though it was 13yrs old.
    In that time we flattened a battery by leaving a light on and new break calipers were need once. It was fun, reliable and it always made me smile when I drove it. It went to the alps in the winter and it just worked with no dramas.

    The replacement wrx-has been modded and neither of us like it as much.I think it will be getting changed

    Overall, if it feels a good one on the test drive I’d buy it 😀

    Jason
    Member

    I used to have an S Reg one in reddish blue with a large spoiler on the back and a few minor modifications, basic inside but a great car to drive and probably the best car I have driven on wet roads. I think I had it 2 or 3 years and no problems at all in that time. Unfortunately it was stolen by our house being broken into, then a few weeks later used in an armed robbery, that sort of put me off getting another one!

    acjim
    Member

    I’ve got an ’05 2.0 wrx wagon & I had a Legacy Spec B (’97) for a while and they are very different cars,

    The Impreza is rapid on back roads, but a bit painful on the motorway. I don’t tend to use it for that, much more fun on the B road!

    Bought mine for about 6k from a trader in Rotherham, https://www.jctcars.co.uk

    Tempted to get it mapped though!

    Whilst living in NZ had an Impreza WRX sport wagon and then a Spec B Legacy. Both amazing on their gravel B roads, Legacy faster, Impreza more nimble. Would love one now but that would mean getting rid of the Defender 🙄

    vongassit
    Member

    I would seriously like one of these, apparently the 2.0 legacy engine is a fairly straight forward swap. They are sooooooo cool.

    Just the thing for carrying a bike.

    Had a WRX wagon. Didn’t like it as the steering has no feel, so it’s hard to get the best out of the undoubtedly good handling. Can get a bike in the back though, and great in the snow!

    You know when someone starts a thread, and it’s exactly the same thread you were about to post?

    I’ve been looking at WRX wagons for months. I’ve got a VW T5 that I’m just not using as a van anymore and it’s no fun unless you’re out doing vanny things. I don’t have a daily commute, just fancy something fun for carrying bikes about on a Sunday. Maybe, popping my trackday cherry an joining mates on a ‘ring trip.

    Anyway, this thread needs pictures.

    EDIT: I quite like this one…EBAY LINK
    Pricey but cleaner than average with good history.

    jamesfts
    Member

    I keep looking at the wagons and wishing they put the wide arches off the saloons on them – guess the fronts would be a straight swap but the rears would take some work… got to be doable though.

    I guess the mutts could always go in the boot – they’ve a ski hatch haven’t they? 😆

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    I guess the mutts could always go in the boot – they’ve a ski hatch haven’t they?

    The wagon does, the seats on the 4Dr don’t even fold down – something to bear in mind.

    Note my friend has had his converted to LPG and he gets very nearly the same performance but has nearly halved his fuel bill.

    I would try and steer clear of the 2.5 – head gaskets, piston ring lands, dodgy standard ECU map leading to hesitation. Oh and stupid expensive road tax 06 07 ish.
    I know a lot more now than I did before I bought one!
    Shame because I really liked it but start digging deeper into problems and the 2.5 seemed to have some issues.

    Well this thread has died on it’s arse so I’ll just dump these here…



    Obviously I don’t live anywhere that I could ever slide around in gravel or snow but I still want one.

    Is that a real STi? Very cheap if it is. Most are around the 10k mark. I’m no Subaru expert though.

    wrightyson
    Member

    Not original wheels, does have 18s and brembos on, morette head light conversion as well. Sti alacantra seats and on the interior of the doors, also has the i/c spray gimmick switch so it certainly ticks a fair few sti boxes.

    Nice one, I don’t know enough about them to spot all the differences. I’d love the capability of an STi but for me it has to be a wagon.

    After loads of Ford Capri’s, Opel Manta’s, RWD Volvo’s then 5 years in the van a WRX will feel supersonic anyway. Plus they don’t make cars like that anymore. All mechanical everything and easily fixable DIY.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    If you’ve not had a proper poke at one, do be aware the wagon boot is pretty small, it’s about as close to a big hatchback as it is to an estate…

    This thread is getting my Legacy Urges going again. There’s a JDM twinscroll 100 miles away from me for £2750… Ignore the 140000 miles and the whiny gearbox, I’m sure they’re nothing to worry about…

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