Subaru impreza For:
Handling; engines; Turbo's rally heritageAgainst:
Tacky interiors and fabrics; plain stylingSummary
Before Impreza, Subaru was a rather obscure Japanese manufacturer who made solid four-wheel-drive cars favoured by farmers. But once Impreza started winning rallies (and then rally championships), it became popular with Colin McRae wannabes everywhere – and made it a must have car.Behind The Wheel
Aside from the rather drab interior, the driver has a good view of the road and a excellent driving position that helps the driver to feel 'connected' to the car. 1998 model interior Comfort
The interior is not the most pleasant place to be with cheap plastic, nasty plastics and an unforgivably dull dash for such a seriously exciting car. It is light and airy and passengers have a decent amount of leg and shoulder room. Equipment
LX entry level has power steering, adjustable steering wheel and internal headlamp adjustment. GL adds central locking, electric windows and mirrors, rev counter, driver’s seat height adjustment and radio/cassette. 2.0 Sport has front spoiler with integral fog lamps, electric windows, and mirrors plus ABS brakes. Special editions include: Turbo Series McRae: sunroof, gold alloys, low profile tyres, special cloth interior (June 95). Turbo Catalunya: gold alloys, black mica paint, air conditioning, special interior (March 97). Turbo Terzo: blue mica paint, gold alloy wheels, air conditioning, upgraded remote central locking, alarm and immobiliser system, embossed carpet mats (March 98). Turbo RB5: 218 bhp, blue steel metallic paint, high-intensity driving lamps, 17" six-spoke titanium finish alloy wheels, low-profile tyres. Turbo Prodrive RB5: 240 bhp, unique rear spoiler. Sport Special (June 2000), black or yellow with colour-keyed bodywork and air conditioning.Performance
For most people, there's just one reason to buy an Impreza: even in base-spec it looks like a rally car. The 1.6 and 1.8 offer adequate performance (0-60 in 12.1 and 11.6 seconds) and the 2.0 cracks 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Buyers opting for the 208 bhp 2.0 turbo get a real performance model: 0-60 in 6.4 seconds and a 144 mph top speed. But the short-lived 280 bhp P1 coupe is even better with a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph. There is also a clever gadget that helps those who tow on hill starts. Handling
The non-turbo models are easily, but unfairly, overshadowed by the Turbo models. All are good to drive, offer good roadholding and confident cornering. The Turbo though is in a class of its own, and the four wheel drive system provides brilliant stability combined with a fine ride, but even the old 1.8 can be fun. Practicality
The Impreza is a spacious and very practical car. There is a good sized boot in the saloon and the odd cubby hole.Reliability
Little goes wrong – and then it's usually due to re-chips and sports modifications
. Imprezas have no known weak spots unless turbo drivers get over enthusiastic! Safety
Impreza's design dates from the early nineties, so the chassis design lacks the safety features you'd expect from a modern car. However, top models are better protected with driver (and later passenger) airbags, ABS and side impact protection. Only the 2.0 and Turbo came with an immobiliser until 1996 (the Turbo also came with an alarm from 1998), wiser drivers should have fitted a tracking system (especially on top-end cars). No Euro NCAP result. Cost
Turbo is thirsty; correct servicing is essential; long service intervals. Demand for Turbo keeps prices high but Sport or GL are unsung bargains.Buying Used
Despite its rally-bred image, there's only really one 'hot' Impreza – the 2.0 Turbo – available as a saloon and estate (and for a very limited time as the P1 Coupe). The rest of the range originally consisted of a 1.6 (available with two or four-wheel-drive), a 1.8 and a naturally-aspirated 2.0. Demand for the Turbo keeps prices high (last-of-line models still retail at round £20,000, P1 Coupes usually fetch £21,000). But 1.6 and 1.8 are cheaper and early models can be picked up for around £1,000.Selling
Buyers are wary of the performance models - they are just too many abused cars around. A car with a wad of receipts and a near-perfect service History
will attract top money. Also consider:
* Ford Mondeo Hatchback (1993)
* Volkswagen Passat Saloon (1996)
* Saab 9-3 Hatchback (1998)CarCheck
Body: Tends to get bent by would-be rally drivers, so check carefully.
Engine/Gearbox: Check that any Turbo is original spec - inexpertly 'chipped' cars can give lots of problems.Other:
Every 15,000 miles
Mechanical 3 years, bodywork 6 yearsModel history
4WD saloon and hatchback: 1.6 and 1.8 GL. Central locking, electric windows, height adjustable driver's seat and radio/cassette.
1.6 LX, GL saloon and 1.6 GL hatchback front drive. GL has equipment similar to 4WD models. LX lacks central locking, electric windows and mirrors, headlamp washers. Turbo 2000 saloon and hatch have uprated suspension, variable rate PAS, ABS, alloys, immobiliser, airbag.
Special replica Series McRae Turbo saloon used values 20% higher than standard.
2.0 GL AWD launched with Turbo style grille, body colour bumpers, airbag, immobiliser. 2.0 AWD Sport launched with similar spec to 2.0 GL plus ABS, integral foglamps in front airdam, rear spoiler, alloys. Turbo-style sports seats. Revisions: lower bonnet line, restyled grille and bumpers, improved suspension, better sound insulation, high-level rear brake light, immobiliser.
Auto transmission now available on 2.0 Sport 5-door. Special edition Turbo Catalunya - used values 12% higher than Turbo 2000. Revisions to Turbo: restyled front end, engine mods, high-back sports seats. All models have twin airbags, new console. GL and Sport have dual adjustment on driver's seat, Sport has new 6 spoke alloys, Turbo has 16in 5-spoke alloys and sports steering wheel.
Limited edition Turbo Terzo saloon - used values 20% higher than standard Turbo saloon.
WRX STi introduced (261bhp), bodykit with larger rear spoiler, 17in gold alloys. GX Sport introduced, bodykit and large rear spoiler.Performance
1.6 with 2WD - 88BHP
1.8 with 4WD - 101BHP
2.0 with 4WD - 123BHP 119MPH 0-60 in 9.1 seconds
Turbo 2000 4WD - 4d 214BHP 144MPH 0-60 in 6.1 seconds
2.0 Turbo Catalunya 4WD - As above
Turbo 2000 4WD (SR) - As above
Turbo 2000 Terzo 4WD - As above
Series McRae Turbo 4WD - As above
RB5 Turbo 4WD - As above
RB5 Prodrive Turbo 4WD - As above
P1 4WD 2d 276BHP 155MPH 0-60 in 4.6 seconds