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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, Jun 11, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Combine the practicality of a small, four-door sedan with bold styling and a 227-horsepower engine and what will you have? A sporty little Subaru for people who are serious about driving!

I always knew someday I'd road test a new car and wouldn't want to give it back. That's the way I feel about the Subaru Impreza WRX. How do I describe the WRX? Fast, fun to drive, fast, cleverly designed, fast, impressive performance - oh, and did I mention fast? Hey, I'm a traffic school instructor, and even I can get a ticket driving this car. Zero-to-sixty in less than 6 seconds...need I say more? For many years, the Subaru name has been associated with cute little sedans and boxy little SUVs like the Forester. And who doesn't remember the strange looking Subaru Brat of the late '70s and early '80s, with its cross-between-a-car-and-a-truck styling and jump seats welded into the cargo bed? With the WRX, it is clear that Subaru's focus is now on performance. From a turbocharged engine and sport-tuned suspension to a large hood scoop that supplies outside air to an intercooler, the WRX is a vehicle that will get you to your destination with determination!

The WRX handles like performance cars costing much more. Engine speed-sensing rack-and-pinion power steering makes the car quite responsive. A symmetrical all-wheel drive system is designed to send more power to the wheels with better traction. Need to stop quickly? Not a problem with its four-channel and four-sensor anti-lock brake system. The interior features performance-design front bucket seats and an instrument panel with a centrally mounted tachometer. And, at the risk of offending PETA members everywhere, may I mention that the WRX also has a MOMOâ brand leather-wrapped steering wheel and black leather-wrapped shifter knob and handbrake handle.

The car is loaded with standard features, including an 80-watt stereo system with a six-disc CD changer, remote keyless entry system and 24-hour roadside assistance. An available Premium Package includes a power moonroof and a trunk spoiler. Safety has not been overlooked in the design of the WRX. Occupants are protected by a ring-shaped reinforcement frame body structure and the safety brake pedal system is designed to yield during a serious frontal crash to reduce injuries to the driver's lower limbs. Side impact air bags for front seat occupants and three-point seat belts at all seating positions will also help make your ride much safer.

OK, bottom line: It's a four-door sedan, so it doesn't have the sleek, sporty look you expect from a performance car. But overall, I consider the Subaru WRX an exceptional value. And if the WRX isn't fast enough for you, you might want to slip behind the wheel of the WRX STi - Subaru's little 300-horsepower rocket designed to rival Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution. Enjoy the WRX, but drive carefully or you may end up in my traffic school class!

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Name of vehicle: Subaru Impreza WRX Price: $24,795 MSRP Engine type: 2.0-liter DOHC intercooled turbocharged 4-cylinder horizontally opposed Subaru boxer engine Horsepower: 227 hp @ 6,000 rpm Torque: 217 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm Drive configuration: Manual transmission: Continuous All-Wheel Drive. Viscous-coupling locking center differential. Automatic transmission: Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive. Planetary center differential and electronically managed continuous variable transfer clutch. Transmission type: 5-speed manual transmission. Optional 4-speed electronic automatic with lockup torque converter. Front suspension: MacPherson-type struts with lower L-arms, liquid filled L-arm rear bushings, coil springs, stabilizer bar and negative-scrub geometry. Rear suspension: MacPherson-type struts with coil springs, trailing arms, twin parallel links, stabilizer bar and negative-scrub geometry. Wheels: 16 x 6.5JJ aluminum alloy. Tires: 205/55 R16 89V Bridgestone RE92 all-season. Brakes: Power assisted 4-wheel disc with 4-channel, 4-sensor anti-lock brake system (ABS). Overall length: 173.4" Overall width: 68.1" Overall height: 56.7" Curb weight (lbs.): 3,085 lbs. (5-speed manual); 3,140 (4-speed automatic). EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 20/27 mpg (5-speed manual); 19/26 mpg (4-speed automatic) 0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds 0-100 mph: N/A 60-0 mph: N/A

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