2005 Subaru WRX AWD Sport Wagon (506)


This week I tested the 2005 Subaru WRX Impreza Sport Wagon. Have you noticed new year models seem to emerge on the scene earlier all the time?

Well, my first impression was that it was a “P-Popper” little car that really suits the very youthful driver. But after driving this car I changed my tune. I found myself singing its praises. This is a very capable performance car of serious proportions. Ok, so I began looking at it differently after my friend Merkel took it for a spin. I respect his opinion a lot for a lot of reasons, including his background as a Chrysler design engineer and recent teaching assignments at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena all the way to his natural love and passion for cars.

I got over my prejudice and began to look at the spectacular performance. The ride didn’t impress my 86-year-old mother-in-law who complained incessantly about the rough ride and wondered why I had to shift all the time. “Ok, mom it IS a little rough”, and the rough surface on the 710 freeway didn’t make matters any better. I proceeded to tell her “that’s the kind of car it is. It has a sport-tuned suspension coupled with all wheel drive for enhanced performance. That’s why it rides rougher than most family sedans.” Well I can’t expect her to understand that when she compares it to cars like the VW Phaeton, Audi A8 and other luxury touring sedans.

General Info:


Assembly – Vancouver, Washington

Class:  – Small Wagon

Cars:  – Baja, Forester, Impreza and Impreza Wagon, Legacy, Legacy Wagon and Outback.

Handling & Performance:

I should have known when I sat down and looked at the gearshift that this was going to be a different ride. And when the Turbo kicked in it became completely clear this was a Contender. Reminder of the difference between a Super Charger and a Turbo Charger. Super chargers are belt driven off the engine. Turbo chargers run off the exhaust. Performance wise, the Turbo Charger kicks in with increased RPM where the Super Charger is instant with little or no delay in the Boost you get.

Sport tuned suspension means Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders tinkered with it. Those were the days when men were men and had saddle sores to prove it. Well these are better days. They are kinder and gentler days. Remember somewhere in between then and now, when Dyna-Glide and other such super soft suspensions were all the rage. And we didn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that the car would oscillate for a mile after going over a dip. Those were the days when your parents owned that Buick. Remember?

As to the AWD – All Wheel Drive – it is spectacular. How can a car lover not love the way these AWD vehicles take the curves? And the WRX is so low to the ground it is even more impressive. You performance lovers will be in heaven on the road with lots of twists and turns in the road.


Not my cup of tea, but I know the younger generation appears very impressed. Not so much with the Wagon model, and they are impressed with the TSI version including a very odd and uncomfortable Titanium Shift Knob.

Fit and Finish:

No complaints.


Not bad for the performance car that it is, but a little pricey for a small car.

Consumer Recommendation:

If it’s performance you are looking for, look no further. If you demand a smooth ride, keep looking. There’s a lot to choose from and they are all nice. Perhaps the PT Cruiser would be better. It has similar seating and even less storage space but it is a smoother ride and mom would appreciate that.

The Competition:

Subaru WRX Impreza Wagon $18-24,000, Pontiac Vibe $17-20,000, Toyota Matrix $15-19,000, Suzuki Aerio SX $15-17,000, Ford Focus Wagon $17-18,000, Volkswagen Jetta Wagon $18-22,000, Mazda 3 $14-17,000, Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback $17-19,000, Chrysler PT Cruiser $18-28,000, Audi A4 Avant $29-35,000, Volvo V50 $26-29,000, Saab 9-2X $23-27,000.

Good News:

Great performance, reasonable seating room and adequate cargo area all packaged in a small wagon, decent fuel economy, all wheel drive stability and fast turbo. A driver’s car.

Bad News:

Rough ride, pricey as a small commuter.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4 cylinder 227 hp turbocharged engine, 5-speed manual trans, all wheel drive, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with brake force distribution, dual front and side air bags, daytime running lights, limited slip rear differential, fog lights, rear gate spoiler, roof rails, sport tuned suspension, climate control, stereo with in dash 6 CD changer, cruise control, tilt steering column with leather wrapped wheel, auto headlights, power door locks and mirrors, windows, split fold down rear seat, remote keyless entry.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 27 Highway MPG.


MSRP $24,295.

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

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