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2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Sport Wagon

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Dec 27, 2002

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

SUBARU IMPREZA WRX SPORTS WAGON: Race Inspired Fun With Added Functionality

By HARVEY SCHWARTZ All Photos & © by Harvey Schwartz

Subtle, but not sedate.  Showing the race-proven design of the WRX sedan that has won three world rally title championships, the new Subaru Impeza WRX Sport Wagon offers style all it's own.  Combine the pure performance of all-wheel drive (AWD), a 227hp turbocharged boxer engine, a fully independent suspension and the flexibility of a vehicle with impressive cargo space, and you have a true performance wagon that can haul in every sense of the word.  Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?

I was very impressed with the new Impreza WRX Sport Wagon as soon as I put my foot down on the throttle and felt the exhilaration of being pushed hard against the seat back. The WRX Sport Wagon is a dual-personality vehicle.  You can use it for everyday driving and personal/family chores, but when the time is right, you can let your hair down and get your heart pumping fast as you take on the sharpest curves with the assurance of AWD and an independent suspension keeping you on track.

The exterior styling hints at both personalities - an aggressive front end with big, halogen headlamps, and big round fog lamps; the front bumper has a big center air intake and there is a large working hood scoop channeling air directly into the intercooler.  From the front door back, it looks like any other station wagon.  From the side, you see flared fenders and ground hugging rocker panel inserts. The rear gives a hint of performance with dual exhaust pipes peering under the bumper and large, wraparound tail, brake and backup lamps. You can have your cake and eat it too!

Under the skin lies the heart of a true performance car. The 2.0 liter horizontally opposed DOHC, 16-valve high-output, four-cylinder intercooled turbocharged engine pumps out 227 hp at 6000 rpm and a matching 217 lbs. ft. of torque at 4000 rpm.  Mated to a 5-speed manual, or 4-speed automatic OD transmission, this missile hits 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.8 sec., the quarter mile comes in just 14.3 seconds at 95 mph, and top speed is 140 mph.  The full-time AWD system automatically distributes power between front and rear wheels based on traction needs.  Manual transmission models have a viscous-coupling locking center differential.  WRX automatic transmission models have variable torque distribution (VTD).  VTD utilizes a planetary center differential in conjunction with an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch.  All WRX models come with a viscous limited-slip rear differential.  Acceleration is fantastic and exciting.  Even more exciting is when you add into the mixture a fully independent suspension with coil springs and struts.  Up front are lower L-arms with liquid-filled rear bushing and stabilizer bar, while the rear has parallel links and stabilizer bar.  The entire setup is sport-tuned for maximum fun and excitement.  On the 600ft. slalom the WRX gets through at a very respectable speed of 61.4 seconds.

The power assisted, engine-speed sensing rack & pinion steering system is right on par with the powertrain and suspension in giving you precise control with excellent turn-in, feel for the road and great on-center feel.  The driving sensation is enhanced with big, P205/55R16in. all-season radial tires that are wrapped around 16X7in. aluminum alloy sport wheels.

Safely and quickly slowing the WRX down from speed are great brakes-power-assisted with dual diagonal hydraulic circuits and four-channel/four-sensor ABS-up front are 11.4-inch ventilated discs with twin-piston calipers. In the rear are10.3-inch solid discs with a single piston caliper.  Braking distance from 60 mph-to-0 is only 125 feet.

On the inside is a race-inspired cockpit with deep-cut and supportive high-backed bucket seats, a tilting and leather wrapped, four-spoke MOMO steering wheel that feels just perfect in your hands, machined brake/clutch/throttle pedals, a slick shifting, leather topped stick with a firm feeling clutch, rally inspired instrument panel with big 140 mph speedo, 9000 rpm tach and fuel/temperature gauges that are easy to see and understand.  The center stack is easy to reach to operate the great sounding stereo and powerful AC/heater.  All buttons, switches and levers are also within easy reach.  The rear seats have a 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback and opens up the back wagon for optimum cargo storage space for groceries, outdoor/recreation items, camping gear, etc. The Subaru WRX Sport Wagon can do it all!

Other interior features include a center console storage tray/storage box and locking, illuminated glove box, two front cup holders, a cargo area cover with a grocery bag hook, cargo tie-down hooks, power windows/door locks, cruise-control, keyless entry, off-delay dome light, full perimeter carpeting, dual power, fold-away mirrors, variable intermittent windshield wipers/washers, rear window wiper/washer, rear window wiper de-icer, rear window defogger with timer, and roof rails.

For safety the Subaru WRX Sport Wagon comes standard with dual front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, height-adjustable 3-point front safety belts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, 3-point rear seatbelts for all 3-seating positions, uniform child safety seat anchorage system, energy-absorbing front and rear crumple zones, side-impact door beams and child safety rear door locks.  And the best part of the equation is the price-a very reasonable $23,600.00 for a car for all seasons and uses-be it family or personal.   That is many thousands of dollars less than other AWD models from Europe .

If you and your family are on a tight budget and need a car that can take care of all the needs that a growing family will encounter in the ensuing years, plus a car that can relieve the stresses of day to day living, this is the car.  Like I said before, the Subaru WRX Sport Wagon is a very impressive and well thought-out automobile of many uses and functions.

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