David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/6/20 8:58 a.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally ran in the November 2015 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

North America never officially received the first-generation Impreza WRX. Instead, we got the second generation model as our first chance to experience the performance of a souped-up Impreza.

Available as both a sedan and a wagon, here's everything you need to know if you are in …

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trigun7469 SuperDork
8/6/20 9:37 a.m.

Great article, I have been looking for one for the past 10 years that is reasonable priced and not ratted out. Locally to me they typically have body damage, which can include accident and rust. The drivetrain are usually shot and the modifications are questionable. On top of that they are asking a ridiculous price. Regardless I still can't get the memory out of my head as a young college kid going to the dealership and them throwing the keys to me and let me take it with my friend. We were ripping around the streets and even found a dirt road. It became a fun hobby on the weekends to go on test drivers, back then they would just throw us the keys and we would throw the car around complete a couple J-turns and throw the keys back to the dealership and leave. I guess somethings are fun when they are free to us lolz.

shelbyz Reader
8/6/20 1:55 p.m.

I absolutely loved my 2002 WRX Wagon. Despite driving it like I stole it and owning it from around 145k to 185k, it was one of the more reliable cars I've owned. Probably helped that I didn't mod it past what the article calls "Stage 2". Only I did it super budget with a free canned tune from a buddy with the same year car and a Tactrix cable/adapter, $200 shipped eBay turbo back, a panel filter and a name brand catless up-pipe that cost more than everything else combined. Ran low 14's at my local drag strip with awful 2.5 second 60' foot times from a bad driver mod.

IIRC, at the time I bought it, it was generally thought that for non-STi WRX's you weren't looking to do more than basic bolt ons to, the 2002-04 EJ20 cars were more reliable than the 05-07 cars that jumped up to the EJ25. Also IIRC, the insurance rates for a WRX wagon were a lot cheaper than the sedan.

FWIW, I cross shopped my 2002 against a 2006 WRX Wagon (both bone stock 5-speeds) that had half as many miles and found the 2002 to be more fun to drive. Although I can't remember specifically why that was.

What killed it for me was the city MPG's when 93 octane went over $4/gallon and the corrosion. The fender/quarter rust didn't bother me much, it was stuff like the axles fusing to the hubs and every single part that attaches to the rear knuckle fusing to it or the one huge long bolt that attaches everything to the bottom of it.

If I had to do it again, I'd get one from somewhere that doesn't use salt in the winter.

Fitzauto Dork
8/6/20 2:56 p.m.

My 02 wagon has been a blast. Owned it since 155k and now its on 200k. 

I got lucky in that mine was a one-owner un-modded example. besides the usual high mileage stuff (worn bushings mostly) its never let me down. Only running a "Stage 1" tune with the mentioned airbor silencer delete and a home-brew muffler delete.

Great cars if you want something fun and practical, and insurance is cheap for the wagons.

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