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Used Subaru Impreza review: 2000-2015

EXPERT RATING
7
Ewan Kennedy reviews the Subaru Impreza from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 as a used buy.

Subaru Impreza is a tough Japanese car that has gained a well-deserved reputation for long life and high resale values in Australia. It is a no-nonsense machine that appeals to Australians with a sensible nature who are more interested I function that fashion.

However, the latest Impreza, the gen-four, launched here in February 2012 is less conservative in its styling than its honourable ancestors and is proving a winner in the used-car market. Having said that, there’s still plenty of interest in older models.

Subaru’s biggest claim to fame is the added traction its all-wheel-drive (AWD) system provides on slippery surfaces. Wet roads can be travelled in greater security, but all-wheel-drive is particularly appreciated by owners in the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania who have bought Imprezas in large number for many years. 

Impreza sedan is relatively conventional in its looks, but the hatchback variant of the initial model took a path of its own, falling somewhere between a conventional wagon and a hatchback.

Impreza interior space is good and the seats are comfortable. You can carry four adults without too much in the way of compromise. As a parents-and-three-children transporter it works nicely. Again, the gen-four is the one to opt for if you’re planning to use an Impreza as a family car, its longer wheelbase provides extra rear legroom.

Most Imprezas use a 2.0-litre flat-four ‘boxer’ engine. A 2.5-litre Impreza unit was introduced in 2001. However the 2.5 was discontinued for the 2006 model year with the introduction of a new design twin-cam 2.0-litre. The latter is an impressive powerplant that provides good power and torque. This new 2.0 is almost indistinguishable from the larger older engine in performance, and uses significantly less fuel.

There are quite a few dealers outside the major metropolitan areas, something that can’t be said about all Japanese cars

The 2.0-litre was further improved with the all-new Impreza of 2012, providing an even wider spread yet having lower fuel consumption and emissions.

Quite a few Imprezas have manual gearboxes, these have five speeds in the first three generations, six in the latest model from 2012. Automatics had only four forward ratios until the introduction of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with the 2012 gen-four model. Subaru’s is one of the best of its type and has manual overrides if you think you know better than the transmission’s computer.

Subaru's popularity in country regions means that there are quite a few dealers outside the major metropolitan areas, something that can’t be said about all Japanese cars. Spare parts prices are about average for a Japanese car in this class.

Access to most mechanical components is reasonably good and the home mechanic can do a fair bit of their own work. Please leave safety related items to the experts. Having a workshop manual on hand makes life a lot easier.

Insurance premiums are usually moderate. As always, it’s worth shopping around. Be sure you’re making an exact comparison company to company.

If you want an Impreza station wagon you may care to check out the Subaru Forester, which shares many out of sight components with Impreza but is fitted with an SUV body. Another option is the XV. First sold in 2010, the XV sits roughly midway between the standard Impreza and Forester in its shape and versatility.

What to look for

Look for previous crash repairs: the simplest signs are uneven paint matching, paint overspray on glass and other non-painted surfaces, and slight ripples in the panels.

Be sure the engine starts easily and idles reasonably smoothly even when cold. 

Check for oily fumes from the oil filler hole when the cap is removed.

Look for exhaust smoke when accelerating hard after the engine has been idling for a while.

Feel and listen for an automatic transmission that is slow to go into gear from Neutral or Park. Or that hunts between ratios when it's not necessary. If you've never driven at car with a CVT it may feel odd at first, if you do suspect problems, which are unlikely, have an expert check it out.

Make sure the manual gearbox changes gears smoothly and quietly.

Drive the car with the steering on full lock in one direction, then the other at slow speed and listen for creaks or clunks from the transmission that indicate wear.

Subaru interiors are hard wearing, but bored kids riding in the back can damage things without mum and dad noticing.

Check the condition of the boot for signs of damage caused by things sliding about.

Examine the top of the rear bumper while you’re there as people often rest things on during the loading procedure.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2015 $11,660 $41,470
2014 $10,340 $42,460
2013 $8,690 $36,740
2012 $7,700 $34,320
2011 $6,160 $28,820
2010 $5,500 $25,630
2009 $4,510 $18,700
2008 $3,300 $15,730
2007 $2,860 $15,730
2006 $3,850 $14,520
2005 $3,080 $13,860
2004 $2,860 $13,090
2003 $2,640 $11,110
2002 $2,420 $7,920
2001 $2,530 $7,370
2000 $2,640 $8,250

View all Subaru Impreza pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$5,000
Based on 7 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$3,490
Highest Price
$8,500

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GX (AWD) 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,640 – 4,070 2000 Subaru Impreza 2000 GX (AWD) Pricing and Specs
LX (AWD) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,190 – 4,950 2000 Subaru Impreza 2000 LX (AWD) Pricing and Specs
RX (AWD) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,860 – 4,510 2000 Subaru Impreza 2000 RX (AWD) Pricing and Specs
RX SPECIAL ED 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,290 – 6,270 2000 Subaru Impreza 2000 RX SPECIAL ED Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7

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