While it has endured for a good few years now, the Subaru Impreza fanboy worship on PH continues unabated. And for good reason. Obviously there's the romanticism associated with Colin and WRC triumphs, but there's also the fact that this unassuming rally car for the road just worked so well as a fast car in Britain. Even at the end its dimensions were compact enough, its performance punchy enough, and its ride accommodating enough to make a good B-road genuinely good fun. That there were a ton of tuning possibilities, as well as an assortment of JDM nutter specials for the committed, only further cemented the legend.
So much so, in fact, that the Impreza has accrued classic status. That's in both the literal sense of the word, given the first Turbos arrived more than 25 years ago, and also given the rising values of the really special ones. You know, RB5s, 22Bs, P1s and the like. The success of the motorsport cars and the decades of fondness for the road cars, plus the move away from rally reps over the years, kind of guaranteed that. But there are still ways to get all the joy of an Impreza for not much money.
Just look at this one. As a collector's piece, there's not much going for it: it's a WRX rather than the most powerful STI, it has a six-figure mileage and it's an estate, rather than the more famous saloon. But for someone who wants to use it and drive it, to find out what the Subaru thing is about or just for a cheap winter wagon, this Impreza looks spot on. Especially given the last turbocharged, four-wheel drive estate we featured at this money was so popular...
For £3,250, there's a lot on offer. Estates might be less desirable to the purists but there's the added practicality of an easier access boot. It's the 'Blobeye' era car, too, meaning it avoids both the earlier (and still much derided) Bugeye look as well as the later and less desirable 2.5-litre engine. With 225hp, four-wheel and a kerbweight that would surely make anything from 2019 blush, it should still be capable of 62mph in little more than six seconds and more than 140mph. Blue with gold will always work on these cars and, despite an admission of some imperfections in the ad, the old girl seems to scrub up pretty well. Plus the fact that a perfect one would be too good to use properly...
Now, obviously, a 16-year-old performance car with 120,000 miles, part service history and a few fails in its MOT history is not to be taken on lightly. Especially so given that Subarus are known to prefer the more expensive consumable liquids and parts. And one or two costly repairs. But the wealth of knowledge built up around these cars in the UK over the past years is huge, with specialists on hand who will know just how to help.
Moreover, there really is nothing like the Subaru experience, from the way it goes and looks to the way it handles and sounds. There's a reason why they were so popular for so long! Attempt to find any similar cars at similar money - fast, fun, four-wheel drive - and all that's turned up are scabby old Volvos, various TTs and V6 Golfs or.. more Subarus. As an estate there really is nothing like an old Impreza wagon; never the most practical, the most fun or the fastest, but more than good enough across the board to appeal really quite a lot. Especially at just £3k.
SPECIFICATION - SUBARU IMPREZA WRX
Engine: 1,994cc, flat-four turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 225@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 221@3,600rpm
First registered: 2003
Recorded mileage: 119,000
Price new: c. £25k
Yours for: £3,250