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Old 11-26-2012, 10:54 AM   #1
laxaholic
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Default Used Subaru WRX Help

Hello everyone,

This is my first post here. I am a university student in Georgia, and I currently own a 2001 Toyota Land Cruiser; slow, gas-guzzling (10-12mpg in town, 13-15mpg on the road), BUT it is as reliable as can be and rides smooth. Has 167,000 miles on it, have replaced nothing but the oil and a fuel pump. With that being said, I have been looking in to other options that would be more efficient and a little less bland.

I used to be into the 4x4 stuff, but it just gets expensive and just plain stupid after a while. I could understand spending that kind of money building up a 4x4 if you were going to drive it across Africa, or start driving around the globe...but rock climbing on the weekends? No way.

Anyway, I have narrowed down a few options regarding a new (to me) vehicle, and a Subaru is one of them. (I also like Toyota Tacoma's) I am fairly active, snowboarding, outdoors stuff, diving, that kind of thing; so I think that the room of the older WRX wagon is needed, I am just not into the sedans at this point. If I'm going to get a car, I'd like to get something that I would enjoy driving. I'd like to spend around $10k, but if the right car came along, then I would adjust accordingly. Also, if you guys think of any other suggestions for different vehicles to look at, please throw them my way.

Here are my questions: How reliable are the older WRX wagons? Any common problems to watch for? I'm not one to drive the hell out of a car, and at this point, I'm not interested in doing any upgrades. Just put my stereo in and drive. What years should I look out for? Any signs of abuse to keep my eye out for in a used one? How can I trust a used WRX wagon, with the reputation for being ridden hard and put up wet? What kind of real world MPG is possible with these wagons? I've read, 26 on the highway? Most of my highway driving is between 55-75mph, and again, I don't drive the crap out of my vehicles constantly. Premium fuel, correct? How many miles is too many, especially when buying used? I'm used to Toyotas that just seem to run forever.

I really appreciate your time, and thanks in advance for any help. This seems to be a great forum, and I look forward to reading more.

Cheers,
Jack
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
rkramer
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As with any performance vehicle, there is always going to be a risk of some expensive repairs coming down. Subaru's in general are very reliable, but they don't deal well with abuse like some other brands might. Abuse can get expensive very quickly!

In general, a wrx with an AUTO trans is going to be your best bet as far as reliability and a clean history. The auto trans will also stand up better than a manual, and statistically speaking, it probably wasn't driven by an enthusiast. Once you are into a manual trans, there really is no difference between the sedan and wagon in regards to potential past abuse.

The two major problems that you are likely to encounter aren't things you can really test for. Spun bearings basically just happen with very little warning, and once there are any symptoms, (knocking noise, gold flakes in oil, etc...) its already happened and is too late. Same goes for sheared gear teeth. The damage needed to cause that is cumulative, and when they do let go, it is often under very mild driving conditions.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:05 AM   #3
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As with any of the older vehicles, maintanence is required. There's the old "glass tranny" stigma that earlier WRX models have, but that shouldn't be a problem since you aren't planning to mod. Most WRX owners have modified their cars and switch back to stock before selling it and this is especially true for manual transmission models. There's too many variables to suggest things like how many miles are too much or how much xxx car would cost, so I suggest looking at the classified section to see what cars usually go for.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:07 AM   #4
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Why not get a different Subaru, like a non-turbo Impreza wagon, Outback, or Legacy wagon? It will be cheaper to buy and insure, get better mpgs, and I'd imagine less likely to have been beat-on by the previous owner.

As an example, the Atlanta Craigslist has a 2009 Legacy with 58K miles for the same price as a 2004 WRX with 105K miles. Both are sedans, so not what you want, but just an example of the price difference. There is also a 2009 Forester for slightly more: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/3424152104.html

Last edited by leecea; 11-26-2012 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:03 PM   #5
laxaholic
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If i was going to get a car, I would just prefer to get something that is fun to drive, I think the older WRX wagons are plenty fun.

Just concerned with reliability, mpg, and finding a decent used one.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laxaholic View Post
If i was going to get a car, I would just prefer to get something that is fun to drive, I think the older WRX wagons are plenty fun.

Just concerned with reliability, mpg, and finding a decent used one.
Foresters and Legacys can be just as fun to drive. If you're concerned with reliability, I'd opt for the other Subaru models and not the WRX. It can be a crap shoot with used WRX's.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:11 PM   #7
laxaholic
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any other vehicles that you could think of that are comparable to the WRX wagon?
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:18 PM   #8
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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Outbacks tend to be less beat. They did make manual ones back in the early 90's. They also have tons more room and more ground clearance as well. I've found that they handle in snow better than any vehicle I've ever driven (and I've owned plenty of awd cars, trucks and suvs)
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:50 PM   #10
laxaholic
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For some reason, I've always had my eye on the WRX wagons. Just think they're great.

Do you guys really think I'd have to worry about reliability with my driving style, I really don't dog my vehicles.


I just wish it were possible to find a WRX wagon that was granny driven and in good shape.

What kind of real world MPG do most of you guys see? It says up to 26 on the road, but it seems most people hover around 20-21mpg. Which, even then, is still a great improvement on my current MPG.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:18 PM   #11
Mr Wrex
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It's really hard to find someone who didn't drive their WRX like the sports car that it is... like I had previously stated, reliability is always an issue with older cars, so there will always be a lot more maintanence required.

On my '12 WRX, I was getting 24mpg driving slow and 19mpg when driving a bit more aggresively on the stock tune. Now I am stage II plus a few other mods and I get 29mpg driving like a granmda and 17mpg when I drive it like I stole it. These are 90% highway figures fyi.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:30 PM   #12
laxaholic
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I think the claim that older cars require more maintenace isn't completely true. My 2001 land cruiser has 167,000 miles and never changed anything more than a fuel pump, tail light, and the oil.

So a 2005 subaru shouldnt be much worse, and if it is, it isn't the year that causes that level of unreliability.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:37 PM   #13
rkramer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laxaholic View Post
I think the claim that older cars require more maintenace isn't completely true. My 2001 land cruiser has 167,000 miles and never changed anything more than a fuel pump, tail light, and the oil.

So a 2005 subaru shouldnt be much worse, and if it is, it isn't the year that causes that level of unreliability.
statistically, yes its true... Just for the simple fact that oxygen oxidizes rubber parts, every one of your belts and hoses has a clock on it that is ticking. Doesn't matter if you are even driving it or not, the clock keeps ticking. yes, you made it to 167k, but at some point, you are going to have a lot of maintenance to do that a new car will not.

Also, the 105k maintenance tends to be more expensive than any other single maintenance to date, so that by itself validates the fact that older vehicles cost more in maintenance.
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