Thanks to a long history in motorsports, a community of passionate and loyal owners, and tremendous popularity on YouTube videos, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI is quickly becoming one of the used car market’s most sought-after sports sedans.
The last-generation STI came just one way: as a sedan with a turbocharged 2.5-litre boxer four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission.
A Driver Controlled Centre Differential (DCCD) allowed for fine-tuning of power delivery through the STI’s All Wheel Drive (AWD) system, and horsepower was rated somewhere between 293 and 300, depending on the year in question.
What Owners Like
Performance superiority, styling and reputation are all cited as key reasons why Impeza WRX?STI owners chose their rides.
With a four-door body and decently-sized trunk, it’s a performance car with the sensibility of a compact sedan — and the standard AWD system means year-round enjoyment is part of the package, too.
What Owners Hate
Standard sports car complaints apply for the model, including fuel mileage, a rough ride and high insurance and maintenance costs.
Subaru has a reputation for building some solid and reliable cars, and the STI should prove no exception. The thing is, the STI isn’t invincible or idiot-proof. Like all cars, it’s made of parts and components that will eventually wear out and break.
Careful shopping and patience are key in finding a used STI model that wasn’t given as a birthday present to someone’s aspiring teenaged drifter. Also, don’t waste time on an STI model that the owner isn’t willing to let you drive yourself.
Bear in mind that clunking or grinding noises from the suspension or steering typically indicate a problem. Be sure there are no check-engine lights, no grinding sensations during gear shifting, and that there’s no smoke coming from the tailpipe during hot or cold idle — or during hard acceleration.
Finally, avoid models with modified turbocharger or fuel injection systems unless you’re knowledgeable about STI tuning and customization.