Well Bryan, my 99 RS hasn't been stock in quite some time and I didn't flog the daylights out of the 02 RS I drove... but here's my take.
The 02 honestly does not feel heavier to my uncalibrated butt-dyno and certainly the chassis feels more responsive than my 99 did stock-- this is probably due to the improved chassis rigidity and revised rear suspension (it's the same as a 95-99 Legacy AFAIK). It still understeers, which isn't surprising considering it still has a 13mm rear bar and the sorry RE92s.
It's still dead in the pants above 5k and still has a really quiet muffler. And those wheelwells are fricken HUGE!
Would I buy one? Nah, I'd scrape together another few thou for a WRX. In a few years though, I bet a MY02+ RS considerably lower than WRX price will be chosen by many for turbocharging projects.
Either that or WRX owners will upgrade to 2.5L... anyhoo...
The interior definitely looks better than the MY01 RS' standard carbon fiber. Materials are a bit better. I wonder if they'll develop interior squeaks like all too many 93-01 Imprezas have?