2002 Subaru WRX (392)


This week I tested the all wheel drive (AWD) Subaru WRX Impreza Wagon. I don’t like to start off on a negative note but rattles bug me as they probably do you. Well there was an annoying rattle under the dash. Remember the good old days when rattles were almost expected or at least not so big a deal in early cars.

Considering the horse and buggies they replaced not so many years before, a rattle here and there was no big deal. But after a hundred years of trial and error cars simply don’t usually have rattles any longer. When a car does have a rattle, squeak or groan, they are very noticeable.

The Vue from here looks smaller than it feels when you get in. It’s amazing that this “P’ Popper is a rather comfortable 5-seater. I’m in a Saturn AWD SUV as I write this and for the same money. The Saturn is not noted here as competition because it is classed as an SUV, but in my mind it is a real option. Both are AWD vehicles and the Saturn is one of the new generation SUV’s that are getting more car-like, and that’s the real draw of cars like this WRX.

General Info:

Parts –  no data.

Assembly –   Japan

Class:  –  Small Wagon

Subaru Cars: – Forester, Impreza, and Legacy.

Handling & Performance:

It is slow off the line but really fast when the turbo kicks in. But when you get in the power curve of 3000-3500 rpm it is impressive indeed.


It is sporty for a utility wagon.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.


Decent for the dough.


When it comes to transportation, you get the most for your money when you buy in this category and price range car, in my opinion. It will take you there in relative comfort and return you home no worse for wear. Subaru has a good name, but owning one means you will live without the prestige of nameplates like Toyota, Lexus and the like. Obviously this car is priced at the upper range of its competition. Granted you get AWD but you also don’t have the option not to have All Wheel Drive.

Consumer Recommendation:

This car is best suited for the mature youthful buyer. It is especially good for those who are interested in a reliable, safe, all-wheel drive car for a young family. You will want to take a look at the Mazda Protégé 5 as well in this class and price range. The parenthetical notation below is the ranking by average price.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

The AWD feature may be good in snow and mud conditions but in mild climate weather conditions the cost can’t be justified.

The Competition:

1) Saturn SW $14,000, (2) Suzuki Esteem Wagon $14-17,000, (3) Ford Focus Wagon $17-18,000, (4) Impreza Wagon $17-23,000, (5) Audi A4 Avant $28-34,000.

Others to look at in this price range.

Mazda Protégé 5 at $18,500.


Saturn Vue at $22,575.

Good News:

Good gas efficiency, fast, fun to drive, sporty.

Bad News:

Small, annoying rattle under the dash.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine, turbo, 5-speed manual trans, all wheel drive, limited slip rear differential, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, front and side air bags, power assist steering, air conditioning, child safety locks, sound system with cassette and 6 CD changer, keyless entry, power windows and door locks, heated dual power mirrors, heated front seats, cruise control, fog lights, auto headlights.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 27 Highway MPG.


MSRP $24,020.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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