I have owned this car for over 13 years and put 270,000 and counting miles on it. The car has held up to everything I throw at it and never left me stranded. It has even held up to numerous exhaust, engine and suspension modifications I have thrown at it during my weekend tinkering since the warranty expired at 50k in early '05. It currently produces about 195hp and 190ft-lb of torque, but it has been higher during past setups. Currently riding on STI suspension for the winter (AGX struts and springs in storage from the summer) Subaru accessories are great, I have the cargo box, the crossbars and the bike rack. With bike rack, there is no noticeable change in noise or drag, minimal changes with the cargo box. I elected to replace the trans at 200k because the syncronizers were failing (I highly suspect it was due to increased power from my mods). People will also tell you about the head gaskets failing, however this isn't as big a deal as it seems. I pull the spark plug boots every once in a while and if I see oil on them I replace the head gaskets for a whopping $20 and an hour of my time every 75-100k. Tires can last 60k or more, just be sure to rotate and cross-rotate them because the stock rear camber is slightly negative so they do wear if you don't rotate. Front brake discs and pads might need more frequent replacement since there is only minimal braking effort from the rear drums, however the original rear drums lasted until 250k. All this service has been performed by me and I can tell you from experience this is one of the easiest cars to work on.
Things I have done with this car:
-Gone out in virtually every snowstorm to hit in Northern Maryland and never gotten stuck. It even pulled a colleague's pickup when it was stuck in a snow drift. All of that with All-season tires. (I like Continental Pro-Contact, but have used Kumhos a few times when funds were low with good results.)
-Driven to Florida and Colorado multiple times (from Maryland)
-Some moderate off-roading (with stock suspension)
-Hauled 1000lbs of wood in the back and on the roof multiple times.
-Towed a loaded U-Haul trailer
-Gotten 27+ mpg on the highway (new, stock rating was 25)
Fun car to drive. The 2.5L is just enough to make it peppy and fun. Good in most conditions, not great in any. Problems start at 140,000 and continue there on in. My advice would be to buy if mileage is low and get rid of if near 140,000.
Plenty of pep. Sporty. Fun to drive. Can hold quite a bit with the back seats folded down.
It's a little too low. The front bumper just pushes in the snow. It needs a bit more clearance.
I have put 150,000 miles on car with no major problems. Changed timing belt at 90,000, as all Subarus are required, which is about a $400 job. The engine is solid and will probably run to 200,000 with very few issues. Great in snow and cold. One of the most fun small cars to drive out there. There are some quirks to the 2002 model. The driver side seat belt squeaks every time you move even an inch. I have talked with other 2002 impreza owners and this appears to be a common problem. Replacing fog lights is $200 per light! The wheels get thrown out of alignment after driving through deep snow. As with all AWD cars, all the tires have to be replaced at the same time. Auto windows both broke.
The AWD is essential in the north country. Fun to drive. Surprisingly roomy interior.
Interior parts seem cheaply made. Cup holder broke, CD player broke, seat belt squeaks, auto windows broke on both doors.
I owned my outback sport for almost 7 years. I bought it brand new. Initially, I though I couldn't get more car for the money. Power everything, cruise control and the AWD Subaru is famous for. All those things I loved and made the car fun to drive. What I didn't like was the engine noise I started hearing about 2 years into ownership. It wasn't strong our pronounced right off the bat, but grew that way over the years. I was under the assumption that changing my oil religiously would preserve my engine. Even that didn't keep it from the engine problems that are common for this model year. I'd be more specific, but I only have 500 characters. I will never buy another Subaru again.
Easy to install DIN stereo enclosure. AWD. Unique body styling. Responsive manual transmission.
Engine quality....which is key to my ownership experience. If I am maintaining my engine properly and it still develops problems of the magnitude that it had, it ruins the reputation of that car brand in my mind. No wonder CR black dotted the engine.
Subarus are awesome vehicles. And while this is the entry level vehicle, it's got the heart and soul of a Subaru! This has a rally inspired boxer 2.5l engine that gets 22-26 mpg (actual, depending on how nice you are to 'er). That's with AWD!! You can't beat having AWD if you like to shred mountains, ride trails, surf breaks, or relax while camping. While this particular model doesn't have a nice trim package nor nice interior, it has the basics you'd need while driving. And a manual is the way to go if you drive highway a lot. Wagons are a bonus for more storage space. I used it to travel back and forth between college with my entire room loaded in it. Nice fold down seats.
1) fun to drive. 2) power when needed. 3) great handling. 4) decent gas mileage. 5) low maintenance.
Bluetooth, MP3/aux, cloth interior, but seats hold you in your seat well!