Used Subaru Impreza Sports Wagon 1993 - 2003 review

Category: Estate car

The range-topper steals the limelight, but rest are grippy, fun and practical

Subaru Impreza Sports Wagon (93 - 03)
  • Subaru Impreza Sports Wagon (93 - 03)
  • Subaru Impreza Sports Wagon (93 - 03)
Used Subaru Impreza Sports Wagon 1993 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Subaru Impreza estate like?

Because the Impreza estate - or Wagon as it's better known - lacks the saloon bodyshell of the rally cars, it's viewed by many as the poor relation. However, if you want practicality with your incredible handling and eye-watering acceleration, it's the pick of the pair. The range-topping Turbo/WRX models (badging depends on what age of car you buy) are sensational, but the rest are all quick, fun to drive and stick to the Tarmac like glue.

Clearly all the development budget went to the engineers because the interior is very poor. There are acres of unappealing plastic, and switchgear from another era. If you can ignore that, though, the build quality is good, the layout logical and the driving position comfortable.


The range-topper steals the limelight, but rest are grippy, fun and practical

  • Practical bodystyle means this motorsport-inspired estate appeals to families
  • Running costs are high, and the Impreza's interior looks and feels cheap

The hatchback-style rear door has a wide opening with plenty of space for pets or luggage. The downside is that room in the rear seats isn't great, and your head, shoulders and knees will feel cramped.

Ownership cost

What used Subaru Impreza estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Subaru Impreza estate?

Insurance starts at group 10 for the basic non-turbocharged 1.6-litre car, but buy almost any of the others, and you'll be looking at pricy premiums. Imprezas are rated right up to group 20, depending on which model you're considering.

In common with most other performance machines, the Impreza needs plenty of TLC, and this isn't cheap. Make sure the servicing schedule has been followed. There are plenty of enthusiast groups on the internet that offer a mine of great tips and information.

Fuel bills will be high, with fuel consumption figures usually somewhere in the 20-30mpg bracket, depending on which car you get. More mainstream models are less expensive, but with no diesel engines, you're never going to get more than 32mpg from any car.

One final hint - try not to crash. The repair bills for hot Imprezas are notoriously huge.

Our recommendations

Which used Subaru Impreza estate should I buy?

In 1998, the Impreza went through its biggest metamorphosis since its arrival on these shores five years earlier. The changes included a completely revised interior with a standard passenger airbag, new seats and a Momo steering wheel. However, the power still came from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

There were more tweaks introduced each year as Subaru evolved the car in response to its growing cult status, and a host of special-edition cars were also launched. In late 2000, a front-end makeover resulted in the infamous Ôbug-eyed' model, which drew much criticism for the company. At the same time, the Turbo name was dumped in favour of WRX.

A redesign 12 months later created another new nose, and more annual revisions have followed. If you're not interested in performance, the 2.0-litre R is the base model, but will still hit 60mph in 8.5 seconds.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Subaru Impreza estate?