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Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
As a small family hauler or for the single, active explorer type, the Subaru WRX Sport Wagon is one of the greatest hopped-up, econo-junk boxes on the used market. It's safe, fun, cheap to insure, and incredibly versatile.
First with the safe. IIHS ranks the 2005 WRX favorably in all tests, including rollover. It has easily-accessible LATCH points and two airbags. But let's not forget about that confidence-inspiring all-wheel drive system, either. With all-season tires, the WRX Sport Wagon grips and brakes on ice like the Matterhorn yeti.
Did I mention fun? At just over 3100 pounds, it doesn't take much power to stalk and blow by lesser traffic on the freeway or local road course. And, well, there's a ton of aftermarket suppliers that can easily and reliably and affordably double the power of the potent 227-hp turbocharged flat-4 engine. I've got an original manufacturer STI turbo, injectors, intercooler, and up-pipe to go along with an aftermarket exhaust system and engine computer flashing. Along with suspension modifications, my stock-looking WRX sport wagon makes more than 70 extra ponies—enough to make some of today's best thoroughbreds blush. And I routinely get 25-100 commuter miles more per tank than the EPA estimate (as high as 28.9 mpg—modified!).
I have the benefit of being older than 25, so my insurance costs have decreased. But, since Subaru classified the WRX Wagon as a run-of-the-mill SUV, despite being virtually identical to the go-fast WRX (and WRX STI) sedan, the WRX Wagon is infinitely cheaper to insure. And since it's a wagon, it has the added benefit of cargo space. For trips to IKEA. Or for camping or who knows what else. But since it's basically a sedan with a cover, it weighs only 100 pounds more than the sedan (for you racer types, that means better weight distribution!).
All of this sounds pretty great, and it is. But there is compromise in every car purchase. If, like me, you favor fun slightly more than fuel mileage, then there are also some not-so-great things to consider. First, accept that the Impreza is essentially a junky econobox and that the Impreza WRX is just an over-engineered version of that, at best. In my mind, this does not detract from its many virtuous attributes. But two, consider the interior. It is clean and well laid out, but that's about it. There's no iPod dock or Bluetooth connection, and no GPS or heated leather seats. The stock stereo is underpowered, the speakers are junk, and though the optional underseat subwoofer helps, you have to crank the volume to insanely high just hear anything on the freeway. Forget about anything mellow. Then there's the seats and dash and the wheel. They say MOMO and RECARO, two well-known racing brands, and though they are soft and well made, they are made for sporty intentions, not luxury or commuting. And while we're trashing comfort, I can't overlook the backseat. Adults need not enter, at least not for long.
Lastly, there is one other thing to consider when buying a Subaru wearing the WRX badge: Attention. You will get it. From other like-minded drivers and their friendly waves and thumbs up, to the not-so wanting kind like the fuzz. Drive like a responsible citizen, keep your ride well-maintained, and enjoy more of the previous than the latter. Watch out for: any sign of youth and modification. The two go hand-in-hand and are notorious for hard use and neglect. And though the stout engine and drivetrain can withstand rally-like levels of abuse, be careful not to buy someone else's soon-to-be-junker.
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