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Old 10-24-2002, 01:22 PM   #1
S2K
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00 S2000, 98 SVT Contour

Default Good STI long term test in AutoExpress

Auto Express

Subaru Impreza STi

Fortunately, with the expert help of Subaru UK (on a Sunday afternoon) I was able to get going again. Unfortunately, it meant triggering the alarm every time I opened the door. The sight of two people climbing into, then driving off in a shrieking Impreza STi should have aroused far more interest than it did, but no one called the police. The fix got us back to the UK, and then to our local dealer, which sorted the problem quickly and efficiently.

The warranty covered the repair, which took less than an hour and has turned out to be the only fault I've suffered with our Impreza in 15,235 miles of sensational motoring. It's fair to say that after six months of flat-out driving in the 265bhp machine, I am bidding it a fond farewell. Not only is the Impreza reliable, it's also extremely quick.

The four-cylinder Boxer engine has loosened up nicely over the miles. Although turbo lag is a problem at low revs, once above 3,500rpm the car is incredibly fast. Around town it's more difficult to get the best out of the engine, and pulling away from traffic lights needs careful use of the throttle. Too little and the car will go nowhere... too much and you'll look a bit of a fool.

I've warmed to the controversial looks, too. Despite my reservations about the appearance when the car was unveiled, our restyled STi has received plenty of admiring glances and prompted a number of conversations at petrol pumps. The revamped model which we revealed in issue 723 certainly looks more conventional, and is less likely to divide opinion, but there is still a lot to be said for the radical appeal of our bewinged machine.

Fuel consumption is perhaps the biggest issue, as over the total mileage I have averaged around 23.3mpg (which is down slightly from the running-in economy of 24.1mpg). This means that petrol costs have certainly been a problem, particularly when you consider the fact that the Subaru drinks only the more expensive 97 octane fuel.

The car's range has also proved frustratingly short. The fuel tank can hold just enough petrol to push you through 250 miles of mixed driving - but the figure drops towards 200 if you start to push. It was a problem we noted in our first-ever Impreza long-term report in issue 707, and it was not something that was about to go away.

However, despite the costs of the performance, the car has been cheap to service. My first dealer stop came at 1,000 miles and was only 37, while the second at 10,000 miles was 127. The services were speedily carried out, and I never felt I was being charged for attention that wasn't provided. So what would I change? Well, it'd be nice not to attract quite so much attention at times. Plus I'd like a larger fuel tank and longer range. A few dissenting voices in the Auto Express office have mentioned cabin rattles, while others have targeted the boot, which is spacious but poorly trimmed.

Overall, however, the Subaru has proved a capable performance flagship for our fleet. Few cars blend muscle and practicality so well - as was quickly identified when the Impreza made its debut in a sports saloon group test back in issue 704. Make no mistake, it will be sorely missed. Dan Strong

On fleet since: March 2002

Price when new: 27,495

Running costs: 74ppm

Mileage: 15,235/23.3

Costs to date: 164 on servicing

Superb performance, wide dealer network, surprising practicality, low servicing costs

Creaky interior, styling attracts unwanted attention, engine not very economical

S2K
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Old 10-24-2002, 02:13 PM   #2
ewt
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Hmmm... 250 miles, that is really short. How far are most people getting in their North American WRX's?

I read somewhere (I think on Scoobynet) that the PPP would likely improve fuel economy slightly, as less revs would be used at the same speed.

Of course, if size of the fuel tank is the only drawback (that can't be fixed with a PPP) it will certainly not keep me away... :-).

Eric
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Old 10-24-2002, 02:27 PM   #3
rottenspam
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Yeah I didn't get particularily good gas millage or range in my WRX. Even with very conservitive driving as in No wide open throttle, and short shifting, I don't typically manage better than about 17mpg around town which translates intoabout 250miles a tank. On the highway at speeds of 70-80mph I ussually average around 24-25mpg while using the cruise control which means about 300 miles a tank. But if I get agressive around twon gas millage plunges to around 12-14mpg, and I get about 185miles a tank. Not a lot of range, my previous car got better gas millage it was a V6 Mecury Couger with a 2.5 liter 24V V-6 with 5spd. I would say the WRX is very fuel inefficent for a car its size, and power considering a mid-sized SUV will get about 12-14 around town too.
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Old 10-24-2002, 04:57 PM   #4
AVT
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Quote:
Originally posted by ewt
Hmmm... 250 miles, that is really short. How far are most people getting in their North American WRX's?
The same. Usually 250 miles before the gas light comes on. That's the average.
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Old 10-24-2002, 06:04 PM   #5
rotorbaru
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My car only has 1000 miles but so far I have averaged 23 mpg. That is a mostly around town with a little highway. But around town I am usually going really slow because of the traffic, it makes me drive like an old granny.
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Old 10-25-2002, 01:31 AM   #6
toaster
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hrmmmm

To give you something to compare with, I have a 2000 Eclipse GT 5sp 3.0L V6 and get about 23 around town and 30 on the highway. I drvie to Kansas City from San Antonio and can go 400+ miles on a tank of gas. I generally run from San Antonio to just inside the OK boarder before my first fill up, thats about 360 miles on about 12 gal. and the gas light has not even come on yet.

Hope they give the STi a big tank...
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Old 10-25-2002, 09:40 AM   #7
scottjua
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another perspective: my Turbo 4 cyl Passat with ARP chip and other stuff was making a consistant 40 mpg on highway and 30-ish in town. My mornign commute was making about 36-38 mpg too. However, when I got on it...it went WAY down...

The WRX has been getting (only had 2-3 tanks so far) about 30 highway and low 20 city. That's for break in. Since break in, it's been a little worse...must be foot related.

Will a unichip increase fuel efficiency?
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Old 10-25-2002, 10:00 AM   #8
Rich10
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Quote:
Originally posted by scottjua
Will a unichip increase fuel efficiency?
While it could theoretically increase fuel efficiency because it leans the fuel/air mixture, it also tends to run with higher boost and encourage more full throttle excursions
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Old 10-25-2002, 12:08 PM   #9
pakman916
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My fuel economy actually got better the more I drive my car.

When I first bought it, I was averaging right around 300 miles before the light. That's with mixed driving.

Now my car is at 15,000 and I get 330+ on a full tank.
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Old 10-27-2002, 08:20 PM   #10
scott_gunn
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I wish I could find a link to the article, but a study showed that optimal gas mileage was obtained by driving "kind of" hard. People who drive like granny are in lower gears for more of the distance, whereas aggressive drivers are in higher gears for more of the distance. Of course, driving hard uses more gas over time, but not necessarily over distance.

The study concluded that as a general rule, using about 75% throttle and shifting early was the best driving technique to improve gas mileage.
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Old 10-28-2002, 02:49 PM   #11
Oldnslow
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Do people that buy these cars car really about what milage they get? You gotta pay if you wanna play.....
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Old 10-28-2002, 04:38 PM   #12
John C
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Quote:
Originally posted by Oldnslow
Do people that buy these cars car really about what milage they get? You gotta pay if you wanna play.....
To go back to the original article - yes, cause gas in the UK is $6/gallon.....
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Old 10-28-2002, 11:17 PM   #13
sr20det91
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just to add my .02. My gas millage has definitly increased with the miles on my car.I'm at 30k. I never really sit down and figure out the MPG , but I drive a 306 mile trip to my parents house pretty often on one tank of 93 octane, usually keeping it around 75 or 80 MPH.
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Old 10-29-2002, 05:18 PM   #14
allythom
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Mixed driving (highway, town, rush-hour cut-and-thrust): 270 -290 miles before light comes on (about 14 gals to fill up) so about 20mpg.
Extended trips with longer freeway stints @ 75-80mph on cruise control: 330 miles before light comes on, or about 25mpg.

BUT. I have the cross bars on my wagon and normally the bike rack too, which gives extra drag (and noise!). I'm too idle to take it off.

To be honest, the gas mileage isn't great, but I'm British and used to paying 5 bucks a gallon so, in terms of fuel at least, my WRX is cheaper to run than the car I own in the UK (a '96 Nissan Micra with a 75 bhp 1.3 litre engine, it does 40mpg even when thrashed -which is always). Needless to say, it really grates with me when folks complain about gas prices here

Now car insurance, thats a different story...
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Old 12-02-2002, 11:07 PM   #15
SnowbordrWRX
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I average 20 mpg now that my WRX is broken in. At first I was only getting 18-19 mpg...that's even babying it. Maybe I'm also just getting better at driving the car too...

Anyway, at 20 mpg, the range is 272 miles when the gas light comes on, meaning you still have another 40 some miles to go...you should be able to hit 300 miles relatively easy once you properly break in the car

I think I broke it in a little rough though
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Old 12-03-2002, 07:58 PM   #16
Blitzkrieg
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im about a week and an insurance check away from a wrx. I thought it was insane about going from a 27 mpg and 885 bucks a year to a car with an average of 20mpg and 1200 bucks. Then i realised the grin factor and the performance difference from my old tourqless Civic Si. Im not going to look back at all. 285 bucks is worth the grin in my eyes. I wont look back and just enjoy

formula: mpg / 240 miles x 5 fill ups x 1.66 (gas) x 12 yrs.

gass is 1.45 prem. haha 6 bucks in u.k. and we are complaining lol I think im going insane on numbers hadios. haha this issue is way over discused lol.


BlitZ

"Shut up and drive"
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:01 PM   #17
slater
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$1200/year for insurance and $1.45/gallon for gas? must be nice!!

you would think living in vt would yield lower insurance rates... guess again!

peter
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Old 12-04-2002, 12:19 PM   #18
allythom
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One thing that goes (slightly) towards mitigating the high gas prices in the UK is that an imperial gallon is slightly bigger than a US gallon (4.54 litres vs 3.8 litres -about 20% bigger).

This muddies the water somewhat when comparing gas prices and mileages. To further confuse matters, UK petrol stations are required to price gas in litres (yet government fuel economy figures are in miles per gallon -go figure).

Last time I was in the UK, gas was about 85p for a litre of 95RON regular unleaded, or in dollars, around $1.32 per litre (1.56 USD = 1GBP). Which gives a price of about 6 bucks a UK gallon or about $5 a US gallon. At least it keeps most people out of SUVs in the UK -every cloud has a silver lining !

Insurance for me is absurdly high. I live in Hudson county, NJ (apparently one of the highest auto insurance areas in the US). I have held a US licence for less than 3 years, so I'm considered a novice, despite 14yrs spotless driving record in the UK. Total bill for my Civic and WRX comes out at about $2400 /yr. My Nissan Micra in the UK costs me about $300 /yr with fully comprehensive cover.

Alun
EDIT: Just checked my sums, corrected

Last edited by allythom; 12-04-2002 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 12-05-2002, 11:21 AM   #19
scoobi02
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I think we can all agree that a WRX is not a gas meizers friend. Having previously owned a Saturn SL2 I still wouldn't trade back. With that car it seemed like I had better gas mileage after I put on a free-flowing exhast and intake. Any get better mileage out of their WRX with exhast and intake work only? I would guess the three cats has go to be hampering mileage a little.
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Old 12-05-2002, 11:31 AM   #20
slater
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the problem with adding an intake and exhaust is that you usually negate any increase in MPG by keeping your foot deeper in the accelerator pedal.

so, in essence... you get worse MPG afterwards.
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Old 12-05-2002, 03:15 PM   #21
WheelsCSM
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I don't know what I'm doing different than some of you, but I usually get ~23 mpg city, and ~26 hwy. My range has never been below 320 miles/tank, and when I went home for Thanksgiving, I got 390 miles on one tank (wanted to try for 400, but that needle was getting pretty far below the E).
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Old 12-05-2002, 06:32 PM   #22
virpacalis
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Good power and mixed speeds and traffic getting just over 20mpg.
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Old 12-06-2002, 03:47 AM   #23
Javabean2
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Mixed driving gets between 270-320 miles per fill up (13-14 gallons), but I don't gun it as much as most probably do. I basically aim to hit 300 per tank
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Old 12-09-2002, 08:50 PM   #24
WRX 2002
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I got over 400 during the run in period on the highway, now I get about 225 miles to a tank. The worst I got was 85 miles before the car starting surging around left hand corners. It all depends on how much stick you give the car.

Nigel.
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