2003 Subaru Impreza Sedan (Natl) Review

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High Gear Media Staff High Gear Media Staff  
April 23, 2001

 The Soviets were famous for tough and durable, if not especially flashy, military equipment. Stuff that really worked, no matter the conditions. The AK-47 assault rifle was not as pretty as the M-16 rifle used by our side, but it got the job done — and then some.

You could say the same things about Subaru's pugnacious 2002 WRX Impreza sport sedan. This car is the pumped-up descendant of the previous 165-hp 2.5 RS Impreza, formerly Subaru's hottest compact road rocket in the U.S. market.

It’s not much to look at from the outside: only the bulging hood scoop and 747-sized driving lights suggest anything out of the ordinary. But it’s priced far below similarly-equipped and similarly capable "status" sports sedans, such as the BMW 3-Series, Lexus IS 300 and Audi A4. The WRX has the goods where it counts to clean their clocks.

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How about a high-boost (14.2 psi) intercooled, 2.0-liter engine pushing out an astounding 227 hp? That's 113.5 horsepower-per-liter of piston displacement, enough to whump the 225-hp BMW 330, the IS 300 and both versions of the Audi A4 (the 170-hp 1.8T and 190-hp 2.8 V-6, respectively).

And you can get your claws on this potent little beast in either sedan or wagon form for all of $24,995, about what you'd pay for a well-equipped (and utterly ordinary) Taurus or Accord.

Rally standard

2002 Subaru Impreza WRX

2002 Subaru Impreza WRX

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The WRX also comes with a very capable viscous-coupled, full-time all-wheel-drive system standard. Similar gear is available on the A4 and the BMW 3-Series (the Lexus IS 300 is rear-drive only), but you've gotta open your wallet. And open wide, too. A comparably equipped all-wheel-drive BMW 330Xi sedan carries the formidable MSRP of $35,740; even the non-AWD BMW 330i will set you back $33,990.
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