mattbatson New Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 7:20 a.m.

I was able to talk the wife out of a tundra due to probability of gas prices climbing very quickly...

I was just about to pull the trigger on a mazdaspeed3 when i read a comparison article with both the wrx and mazdaspeed in road and track. They really like the wrx, with it's newfound 265hp, fastest autox time (cobalt ss was also in there), yet compliant ride... I was surprised when I went to and saw the subie gets about the same mpg as the mazdaspeed and civic si, even with awd.

I like everything about the subie, but here is my one concern...reliability.

Consumer reports doesnt give it high marks, and said it was below average reliability? I worry about the awd complexity and the fact that it isnt a japanese car...which i trust more so than anything else.

the honda is still in the mix with it's excellent reliability record, excellent shifter, handling, etc...

I do prefer the hatch's as I have a 20 month old with stroller that it will transporting ALL the time.

Oh, and there is a 2010 mazdaspeed on a lot nearby that i can get for 21K, as opposed to 25K for the subie or 23 for the honda thoughts?

z31maniac SuperDork
Jan. 4, 2011 8:10 a.m.

Subaru is a Japanese company, a division of Fuji Heavy Industries.

That said, I went through the same process in June and ended up with the Speed3. I figured long term maintenance would be cheaper without AWD, guess ill see.

ShadowSix New Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 8:24 a.m.

I think that OP was referring to the fact that many Subies are made in their plant in Indiana now, I'm pretty sure that they don't make any Imprezas there though.

Javelin SuperDork
Jan. 4, 2011 8:25 a.m.

Uh, Subaru is Japanese... Also you can get the WRX as a hatch, it's $3000 extra last time I did the "build your own" on

But, the Speed3 is the winner here, and one of us can provide you with a Mazda Motorsports S-Plan PIN to get it even cheaper.

mndsm Dork
Jan. 4, 2011 8:39 a.m.

Been through the exact same process, and ended up with an MS3 as well. Friend of mine did it about a month ago, and came to the same conclusion. Ms3 is a hard to beat package when you factor in things like quality of materials, seat comfort, actual hauling room etc.

sachilles Dork
Jan. 4, 2011 8:42 a.m.

Subie reliability is pretty damn good. I'm happy with the three I have. The awd complexity has not added anything to the expense side of things in terms of repairs. Ok that isn't entirely true, my RS with 258k miles, I had to replace a rear axle, because a cv boot ripped, and I left it like that for 6 months. I don't really think subaru is to blame on that. I've beat the tar out of my three subies and they just ask for more.

That being said, I don't think any of your 3 choices are bad. Drive them all, and see which one you like better. I think reliability will largely be equal between the three, and an equal chance to get a lemon.

Look for the price of a basic maint items, like brake rotors and pads, tire price for the given size, if you are looking for something to break a tie.

mattbatson New Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 9:23 a.m.

thanks for the insight... I guess regardless of what the subies country of origin is...I was really surprised when I saw a below average reliability rating on consumer reports.

I think the MS3 is probably the best choice at this point.

How do I go about getting an S plan pin number?

mattbatson New Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 9:26 a.m.

i understand the s plan is extended to friends now...not just family?

bequietanddrive New Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 9:42 a.m.

Have you also considered the VW GTI? Another great car. Less muscle than the WRX and MS3 but plenty enough to get you into trouble.

Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
Jan. 4, 2011 9:43 a.m.

I'm surprised to hear about a below average reliability rating as well... my '02 wrx is the best car I have owned. I bought it new, and can't seem to find a reason to sell. Dead nuts reliable, cheap parts, fun to drive, and very practical. It replaced a truck, as I put a hitch on it and tow an HF utility trailer when heavy lifting is needed. As an example for parts- a front axle cv boot ripped, so I went to the autozone to check on how much a boot would cost- the guy first quoted me for the axle: $60 without a core charge. Yep, it's a rebuilt axle, but for the money, and how stinking easy they are to replace, I'll just swap 'em out. The only mods I've done are a set of struts, sways, primitive skid plates and a free stage zero flash from XPT tuning. I'm looking for a second car so I can go fully rallycross with this one.

mattbatson New Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 10:43 a.m.

Okay, I've checked daytona mazda and they have a few mazdaspeeds on their lot for 20.5K. This is far cheaper than either a subie or honda. also, the guy said they are having a special now where the dealer fee is only 200 dollars.

So, I think based on the fact that these are all pretty equal cars, we are going to go with the mazda just based on price.

So here is the deal, I have an appointment at 6pm to go buy this car. Is there anyone with an s-plan pin number who can help me out here? It would be phenomenal if we could get another thou or so off the price.
I'll be happy to get whoever a gift certificate to their local kart track or whatever in exchange


snipes Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 11:04 a.m.

Subaru makes great cars. 2005 legacy 78,000 miles and the only problem so far was the clutch/throwout bearing. The car has been great! and the clutch I blame on the two girls I taught to drive stick and the AWD playing in the rain.

mattbatson New Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 11:25 a.m.

ok, I figured out the s plan and got a number. Was pretty easy to do, and if anyone else needs info on it just ask thx

DaveEstey Reader
Jan. 4, 2011 12:12 p.m.

I've seen more than one MS3 go up in smoke when the turbo let go.

Then again I had to replace the short block on my Subaru.

Hondas however have never let me down, though they were never the fastest cars.

SilverFleet HalfDork
Jan. 4, 2011 12:13 p.m.

Those are three good cars to choose from. I've driven some sort of version of each of those, so I can give you some insight.


I have a 2009 WRX which is mechanically the same as the '11, save for the wheels, wide body, and control arms. It's got 40,000+ miles on it now, and it's been a good car. I haven't had any issues outside of one of the heat shields for the exhaust rattling. The biggest complaint I have is that the interior is pretty rattly. Everything seems like it's cheap, hard plastic, and it all rattles. Most cars in this class are the same though, including the MS3 and the Si. It has it where it counts, though. The gauges are great, the seats are decent, the shifter is perfectly placed, and the dash layout is dead simple. Mine's a hatch, and it has a good amount of space in the back and the seats fold down. It's definitely harder to work on than the 02-07 models, but it's not all that bad. I'd rather work on this car than my 1979 Trans Am. It's definitely fun to drive, and you can't beat it in inclement weather. If it snows near you, you'll love it in the winter. I get around 24mpg with mostly highway driving on bad winter gas. In the summer, it goes up to 25-26mpg.


My experience is with a 2008 model. Great car, nice interior, handles very well, and FAST. They do have their issues, though. I'm not sure if they have alleviated the turbo issues they were having, but that's something to watch out for. The PCV system was also a problem. To be honest, I can't stand the looks of the new one. It looks like it has a goofy buck toothed smile with a front license plate on it. They are also heavier than the outgoing model, so they are probably a tick slower. Mileage was worse than my WRX as well.

Civic Si:

Nice, comfortable car. Definitely down on power when compared to the WRX and MS3 though, but it will return better mileage. Interior is strange with the two-tiered dash, but it works. Again, everything is plastic, and there's lots of it. Rides and handles very nice. The stock exhaust note sounds great, and not at all flatulent. The Vtec goes BWWAAAAAAAH! It's hilarious when it kicks in.

I would go and test drive them all. There's much to like in all of those cars.

mndsm Dork
Jan. 4, 2011 12:37 p.m.
DaveEstey wrote: I've seen more than one MS3 go up in smoke when the turbo let go. Then again I had to replace the short block on my Subaru. Hondas however have never let me down, though they were never the fastest cars.

In all fairness, the turbos eating seals are almost 100% operator stupidity. The cars are NOTORIOUS for spiking boost without proper control and after the installation of a down pipe. So you got these kids following the Fast and the Furious mod plan, and cooking turbos w/o proper tuning.

irish44j Dork
Jan. 5, 2011 9:16 p.m.

I think enough has been said by me in past versions of this question and by others here, so I'll only add one little fact:

Based on several dozen baseline dynos of multiple 09-10 wrx's, the 09-10 wrx actually is somewhere around 280-290hp (depending on what you estimate drivetrain loss at) at the crank bone stock, not 265 as advertised. Which explains why they consistently put up comparable times to the 300hp STi in 1/4 mile runs.

Yeah, I know it doesn't matter, but when people are comparing using specs, it's good to have accurate ones :)


I looked at the MS3 and WRX and others in late '08, and ended up getting the 09 wrx. I've been nothing but happy with it and have never regretted the decision.

irish44j Dork
Jan. 5, 2011 9:21 p.m.
SilverFleet wrote: The biggest complaint I have is that the interior is pretty rattly. Everything seems like it's cheap, hard plastic, and it all rattles.

True. Mine just turned 40k miles. But I have actually located all the rattles (there are actually only 3 notable rattles in the sedan) and fixed them all for under $5 in materials. I haven't heard a rattle in the car for 6 months now, even with it being very cold out now, roads here being lousy, and me autocrossing and driving the hell out of the car with 330# RCE yellow springs. I'll say it again - not a single rattle now.

The dash and rear deck rattles are VERY easy to get rid of. Shoot me an email if you want more info. Can't help you with hatchback rattles since mine is a sedan.

MA$$hole New Reader
Jan. 6, 2011 7:01 a.m.

/\ The MS3 has plenty of it's own creaks & rattles ranging anywhere from the windshield to the parking brake assemebly.

I recently traded my 08 MS3 for an 08 Civic Si. They are two completely different cars. I've been happy so far with the Si, much better mpg & comfort. I got 29mpg on the first tank with that car, the MS3 will never see that. My daily commute which is a lot of stop & go saw 24mpg with the Si vs 20mpg with the MS3.

The MS3 will run circles around the Si hands down in the power contest. However, the Civic still is quick enough to have a fun drive through the twisties, it is also a much more civilized car. That & the shifter is 80x better stock than the MS3 with an upgraded motor mount, short throw & bushings.

iceracer Dork
Jan. 6, 2011 9:51 a.m.

One thing to take into consideration, since you will be spending a lot of time in it, is the driving position. If you are uncomfortable, you will not like the car. Regardless.

speedblind Reader
Jan. 6, 2011 9:52 a.m.

All three are great cars, you'll have to drive them all to figure out what you want.

For me, the FWD is the deal breaker for the higher-hp economy cars. The AWD on the Subarus doesn't really add any maintenance, and I've had good luck with Subarus.

All that said, it's a great time to be alive as a car lover with $25k in your pocket. So many good options.

Strizzo SuperDork
Jan. 6, 2011 10:17 a.m.

all three are good choices. when i was looking (late 07 at new 08's, as they only made 7500 07s, used 06-07 WRX wagons with the premium packages and MS3 were around the same price, with some WRX being a bit less. what made my decision was that i could get an MS3 GT with leather, HID, 6 cd bose stereo, climate control, auto wipers, etc. for around the same price as a WRX wagon that had cloth seats, regular halogen headlights, basic stereo and manual climate control.

i really liked the way the ms3 drove, and the wagon interiors are nearly identical, to the point that a harness bar for a wrx wagon will fit the MS3 with no modifications, so really if you're sold on a wagon in that size, drive both and pick the one you like the best.

forzav12 Reader
Jan. 6, 2011 10:21 a.m.

I like the Sube in this group, although it just got its azz handed to it by a six clyinder Mustang in Car & Driver's latest Lightning Lap comparo. So did the STI version. I'd also take the Cobalt SS over the Civic and the mazda-faster, reliable, low key and available in different configurations.

mattbatson New Reader
Jan. 6, 2011 10:35 a.m.
mattbatson wrote: ok, I figured out the s plan and got a number. Was pretty easy to do, and if anyone else needs info on it just ask thx

ok, so few have pm'd me about the s plan...

It is a crock of crap o la. No reduction in price. salesmen...all said that the price they were selling the car was the lowest they could go, and that it already incorporated the s plan...yada yada...more sales b.s....yada yada.

here is the number if anyone wants it...


Tell you the truth, I dont think they even run the number to check...they just go into another room, wait a few minutes, and come out with a non-reduced price.

I'm now seriously considering just buying a used car from a private seller. I'm just so fed up with car salesmen. I feel like I'm rewarding their behavior if I were to buy a car from them.

mattbatson New Reader
Jan. 6, 2011 10:36 a.m.

so i go to the dealer tonight after work to buy me some mazdaspeed3...

here is the link to the dealer website inventory with prices...

as you can see there are several for under 21K.

So, I call ahead and talk to the head of internet sales. I ask him if there are any weird qualifications for this internet price or any other suprises that I might get and he said no. He says they are desperate to unload these MS3's due to them sitting on the lot... Heck, they even still have a 2010 fer cryin out loud

So we load up the 20 month old and head up to daytona.

As soon as we get there I tell the salesman and the head of internet sales that we are in a hurry cause of the babies bedtime coming up and we dont need to test drive the car. I ask that we do the credit check and get financing going right away...we are there to buy a car.

So, we do the credit thing and we are golden...then we get ready to start financing and the sales guy comes up with some papers and starts talking about the price. Well, we already know the price, and i give him the printout from thier very own website. He says that the price for the car is 21,056. I show him his website where it says 20, 400. He says there has been a mistake that it is last months inventory or some crap. He does the age old bs of going in to talk with the head of sales in another room and makes us wait.

So, now i'm getting pissed. Here we are, ready to buy a car, and they are berkeleying with us on the price they have on their f'ing internet site.

Long story short, after several "talks" with his boss, they arent budging.

We walk. And they sit there and watch us walk out and drive away. I honestly think they didnt think we would leave for a 600 dollar discrepancy.

So, we are now going to find a private seller somewhere and buy used. That dealer just let a sale walk out their door. No more dealers for us...ever again

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