I've had to change spark plug wires, and I have a bad wheel bearing... other than that I have had nothing needing to be replaced for the 13000 miles I've driven on it for the past 9 months.
I average around 27 mpg with 90% highway driving.
The car is definantly not the fastest highway driver, first through third gear are pretty quick. But after third the RS feels like a slug trying to pass people on the highway. Still faster then most of your everyday imports though.
I've driven the car through a rough Michigan winter, and the AWD has never let me down. I've seen SUVs slide off the road in front of me and I just kept on going. A good set of tires is necessary for winter driving though, AWD doesn't work miracles.
The car looks amazing, but I think you can tell from pictures online just how beautifull these cars are. The Blue Ridge Pearl looking awesome in that is seems a brighter blue in direct sunlight, but at night the car looks way darker.
I can't help but reccommend you buy an RS if you are contemplating it, but if you are looking for a fast car I would suggest a stock WRX. I love my car to death, but swapping it would take too much time/money that could've been better spent on a car with a turbo already on it that has a stiffer chassis.
That's not to say I don't want to swap it..... I do.
I feel this way sometimes as well. Buying a cheap L and upgrading it is a better performance per dollar solution.
If I could do it all over again I would buy an L, buy a wrecked WRX.... then swap the drivetrain, suspension, and dash/interior over. Add a Version 1-4 lightweight bumper beam with bumper cover and I'd be set.
I own 2 imprezas right now and I've owned one other in the past. I love them and I wouldn't trade my car for anything else on the road in the same price range. As long as you dont get one thats been beaten on, and you don't beat on it yourself, the car will be very dependable and economical... with good looks to boot.