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2000 Impreza 2.2L
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there -- first post on the site!

I'm considering purchasing a used 2003 Subaru Impreza RS 2.5 sedan for my 3 teenage kids to share. I'd love to get some feedback, pro or con, from users about this vehicle.

Here are the details:

- 2003 Subaru Impreza RS 2.5 Sedan
- 97K miles; timing belt and water pump service has *NOT* been done yet (due at around 105K miles)
- Clean CarFax, 4 prior owners, only 5 service records available
- Blue Ridge Pearl finish, spotless
- Black & blue cloth interior, very clean
- Car has new no-name brand All-Season tires; original alloy rims are in good shape with very little curb rash
- Everything works inside & out (AC, cruise, flog lights, power everything, leather steering wheel & shifter, security system, telescoping/tilting steering wheel)
- Dealer is asking $7,995 but I offered $7K + taxes and licensing, provided I get my wife on board (she wants a car with better mileage)

I know that the 2001-2003 models have had issues with failed head gaskets. It doesn't appear that this car has had any head gasket work done on it.

The Nada, KBB, and Edmunds dealer retail cost for this car all came in around $7,075.

Opinions? This is a slightly quirky-looking but sporty car, and I'd feel comfortable having my kids drive this thing. It doesn't have great gas mileage, but it is AWD, and for a younger driver, there is a ton of visibility out the back. The more I drove it, the more I started to like it. And you're not going to see a zillion of them driving down the road either (like a Honda Civic or Toyota Camry).

 

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2000 Impreza 2.2L
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Here's a photo of the engine bay. I didn't look myself tonight because it was pouring rain. I know that a lot of dealers will steam clean an engine to dress it up, but from the photo below it sure looks like this engine has been well maintained.

 

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'99 Impreza Outback Sport
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378 Posts
Looks pretty good to me. Nothing in the engine bay is rusty so thats a good sign. Your offer seems good to me. As far as MPG is concerned, it won't be terrible. Plus considering its 10 years old, it has pretty low miles.

As for the head gaskets, from my understanding, it was mostly the ej25d and early ej251 engines that had head gasket issues. Oddly enough there were different issue. This one is right about the time that Subaru switched head gaskets I think.

Good luck and welcome
 

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2000 Impreza 2.2L
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback, @crazyskiier3989! I asked about the head gaskets on another site, and there was also some discussion of the EJ25.

According to the reliability index on Edmunds.com, these problems w/ head gaskets were not fixed until the 2004 model year, so presumably the car I'm looking at could still be affected by this issue.

If I do get this car, I'm thinking that I may just have the head gaskets replaced pre-emptively now rather than watch for my oil to turn into a milkshake, indicating that the gaskets have already blown. I'll already be doing the timing belt and water pump replacement, so maybe I should just go nuts and sort out as many potential problem areas as I can.

Here's the quote from Edmunds: (2003 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS 2.5L 4-cyl. AWD 4-speed Automatic Reliability)

"A periodic problem on this vehicle is failure of the Cylinder Head Gaskets.

The cost to repair the Cylinder Head Gaskets is $130.00 for parts and $890.50 (w/turbocharger) or $663.00 (w/o turbocharger) for labor (2.5L engine). All prices are estimates based on $65.00 per flat rate hour and do not include diagnostic time or any applicable sales tax."

What's your recommendation?
 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
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3,749 Posts
Tell the dealer to fix the timing belt and headgaskets. If not, then tell them to drop the price to $6k. That's how I roll. It's not like it's hard to find another beater.

2002 Subaru Impreza RS2.5

You shop around and you can always find something.
 

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2000 Impreza 2.2L
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback. I get the idea, but I wouldn't call either of these cars "beaters". Both of them look like they've been well-cared for during their lives.

I hadn't seen the Vancouver, BC listing you showed because my search radius for CraigsList is only 75 miles from the Seattle area. Also, I don't know how easy it would be to import a Canadian-licensed car back into the US. Still, it was interesting to see another similar car with the same paint scheme no less!

The other issue is comparing a private sale in Canadian dollars ($4,500 CDN) to a retail dealer price is USD ($7,000). The KBB suggested private party sale price for this car in very good condition is just shy of $5,000; an excellent condition car is about $5,250.

The link you provided did help me to see that the prices for this car (2002-2003 in the 100K to 110K mile range) are on par with Internet recommendations. So it all comes down to my own negotiating skills.
 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
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3,749 Posts
Well you shouldn't have a problem with bringing the car over, since it's a US spec, but ya. I don't know how to go about importing a Canadian car over either.

It more than likely would be easier to just buy it in the US and take things nice and slow. Deals are always popping up.
 

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'04 PSM WRX Premium
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8,339 Posts
Head gasket wise, our 2004 Forester has 146k and is still on the originals.

I'd ask the dealer to do the timing belt and water pump though. If they do, I'd pay 6.5-7k. It's clean, it's worth that in my eyes.
 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
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3,749 Posts
At $7k, I'd shoot for a blobeye, instead of a bugeye. Definitely wouldn't get them a high mileage WRX, that's just asking for trouble.
 

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2000 Impreza 2.2L
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
At $7k, I'd shoot for a blobeye, instead of a bugeye. Definitely wouldn't get them a high mileage WRX, that's just asking for trouble.
What's the difference? I thought all 2001-2003 models were the same.

BTW: The headlights (whether blobeye or bugeye) are part of the quirky charm of this car. In 2004, they went back to the more conventional wedge shape, and I understand why.

But the 2003 shape isn't horrid. Looks like there are also funky aftermarket options available for all the lights on this car, front & back:

2003 Subaru Impreza Custom Headlights at CARiD.com

 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
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3,749 Posts
2003 has minor changes from 2002. Mechanically, the same. The 03 gets keyless entry, dual vanity mirrors, trunk light, and some other colors. Now I'm uncertain if they were standard features or optional features.

As for the WRX, that's the turbocharged 2.0L turbo engine. RS has around 165 hp, while the WRX had 227 hp during that time. That's why I said to steer clear of the WRX for teenagers.

As for the bugeye lights, I could deal with it, if it was the STI HIDs. Course you're looking at about $600 to get them. Outside of those, I wouldn't get much else. I'd probably fork out the $1400ish to get an STI bugeye conversion to look more baller, but at the same time. I'd get a WRX instead of an RS.
 

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2000 Impreza 2.2L
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
And, if we get this car, then after upgrading the stereo (the OEM stereo, especially the AM radio, is laughably bad on this car) I suspect the boys will want to save up for one of these -- an OEM correct spoiler with the LED tail light.

 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
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3,749 Posts
Forget that noise. Tell them to search around for someone who wants to trade their winged trunk for a wingless.
 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
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3,749 Posts
There's also the morettes, but those are expensive. Like $800.

 

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I second krotch in shooting for a deal that includes the dealer replacing the timing belt and waterpump along with the headgaskets for $7-7500ish. Or if you're able to do the work yourself then I'd try for something lower than ~$7k. Also, ff you're okay with private party sales and/or the 93-01' body styles I did come across quite a few imprezas and outbacks with similar mileage and overall cleanliness of the vehicle, judging by the pictures at least, on Washingtons CL.
- 2006 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport Wagon
- 2000 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport
- 1999 Subaru Impreza Sport 4D obo
- 2005 Saab Subaru 92x all wheel drive 5sp wagon (Essentially a wrx with a saab badge/styling)
- http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/4245748040.html
- 2001 subaru 2.5rs manual
- http://yakima.craigslist.org/cto/4222826857.html
...definitely linked more than I planned on.
 

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2000 Impreza 2.2L
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the links!

I'm not a shade-tree mechanic, so I'll need to negotiate up-front. Maybe my wife can play "Bad Cop" while I play "Good Cop".

The thing is: I've been at this for a month, and I'm just about ready to be done with the entire process and get something finalized...even if it isn't the be-all-end-all greatest deal in the world. It's a very tiring process doing all the research, driving to the other end of a metropolitan area to kick some tires and do a test drive, and then rinse-and-repeat a dozen times.

Gets old real fast.
 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
Joined
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3,749 Posts
Oh man, that 2000 OBS is nice, except the dent. That 99 OBS white and 99 OBS black is not bad either.

I wouldn't touch that 01 RS, simply cause it sounds like things are starting to break on it. Fine for someone who can work on it themselves, but going to be expensive for someone who can't. Even if you could fix it yourself, still be expensive for the parts. Course a beater car is always a good car for kids to learn to fix. $7k is way too much for that 01 RS though.
 
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