RexSeven SuperDork
10/3/12 8:03 p.m.

I'm looking for a winter beater below $3000. When I'm not being tempted by slapping snow tires on cheap RWD sports cars I find on Craigslist (MR2, S13, Fiero, Lancia Scorpion[!]) or AWD unicorns that get sold out from under me (90 Audi Coupe Quattro, Corolla All-Trac, 323 GTX), I'm looking at the usual suspects- Subarus.

I wasn't enthralled with the '98 Impreza 2.2L coupe I used to own. My plans to drop a WRX or STi motor into it were thwarted by severe undercarriage rust. Older Subarus in New England have undercarriages that look like they spent a few decades on the Atlantic floor. 2.5RS models are out of my price range.

However, I found a 2002 Impreza Outback wagon with the N/A 2.5L. One color, too, which I prefer over the two-tone jobs. Here's the listing:

What do you guys think? I've heard the 2.5L head gaskets were a problem area but should have been fixed by now. Any other problems to look for at 200k+ mileage? Are the GD/GG-chassis Imprezas any more entertaining than my old coupe?

SlickDizzy UltraDork
10/3/12 8:59 p.m.

Looks nice. That 2.5 is new enough to not have most of the issues they were known for. I've driven Subies to 400k+, if it were me I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Whatever you do, don't buy a Coupe Quattro. They are berkeleying terrible cars, and you WILL be pissed when the OEM plastic distributor gear breaks in rush hour traffic...on your way to work. Ask me how I know.

10/3/12 10:05 p.m.

If a 02 2.5L HG leaks they are normally an external leak, not internal like the DOHC motors.

That is a clean looking car for having 200k miles on it.

Ojala Reader
10/3/12 11:22 p.m.

I thought the Outbacks were two tone green/tan(grey?) and the solid color green was for the TS. Just something to look out for if you were checking for overspray and other evidence of damage.

Check the front LCAs for rust. If it has rear damage I would (of course) look very closely for more extensive wreck damage. I would especially make sure that the evap lines and such are not damaged on the back pass corner behind and under the filler. If the engine has been maintained then I wouldnt worry about it any more than I would any other 200k plus appliance.

I wouldnt characterize a stock GG as necessarily entertaining, but its not really bad at any one thing. It is easy to make it pretty fun to drive.

sachilles SuperDork
10/4/12 8:17 a.m.

I bet that is a ts wagon not an outback. Look at the rust underneath. My 02 wrx was rotted to nothing at 160k, yet the TS wagon I got from value pack was gorgeous underneath at 221k. Both new england cars. Head gaskets are obvious on this generation of 2.5, get underneath and have a look, you'll have to look at the suspension anyway to evaluate rust. This car is subject to the control arm recall as well.

10/4/12 8:35 a.m.

my sis has an outback sport (impreza outback) it has served her and her no maintentence style of owning a car well for 10 years now.

Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/12 8:53 a.m.

You can see in the photos that the rear hatch is smashed in, right? I missed that the first time.

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