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2004 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: WRX- Best bang for the buck but at a premium. by mowpardude



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For safety, handling, & performance it is hard to beat the WRX. Overall, it is a dependable economy car that inspires confidence.rnHowever, the rather low 20 mpg fuel economy might and required use of premium fuel might be a huge turnoff.

Reviewed: 2004 Subaru WRX

4dr Sedan turbocharged 227hp 2.0L H4 4-speed automatic AWD

Why the 2004 Subaru WRX?

Powertrain performance

Out of the box, the acceleration is great. Having driven naturally aspirated vehicle all my life, having turbo boost is a beautiful thing! It is a wonderful and welcome addition for the daily driver. Add a few modifications and the thrills never end. Keep in mind that a stock 5 speed manual will launch much quicker than a stock 4EAT automatic transmission.


A solid handling machine! Thoroughly enjoy and have come to depend on the All Wheel Drive system! Once you have it, you won't want to go back to FWD or RWD applications. You cannot beat the characteristics of AWD in wet conditions such as rain or snow.

Safety & braking

Anti-lock braking system, All-wheel drive system, and very respectable crash test standards are much appreciated especially in the snowy mid-west driving conditions.

Reliability & durability

Always starts even in 30 below zero temps. The WRX has never left me stranded anywhere through 6 years and 170,000+ miles. Very confident with this vehicle and all long trips are taken with it. After 6 years and many highway miles, the vehicle still looks and feels practically new.

Exterior styling

Rally inspired and is dripping with character! Definitely stands out in a crowd and is not your average economy based grocery getter. If a car can have a personality, then this one surely has it in spades.

Why Not the 2004 Subaru WRX?

Powertrain performance

Subaru's 4EAT automatic transmission and its internal gearing is not the best for those seeking performance. The 4EAT seems to be a bit mismatched when linked to a turbocharged engine. Buy a 5 speed manual if this is you’re your after. Not the most even tempered of transmissions. Sometimes slow to downshift and can sometimes be a bit stubborn and hesitate to downshift back down into 1st from a very brief stopping situation.

Feature availability

Factory stereo head unit and speakers are just barely passable components and will most likely be the first interior modifications made by the user.

Fuel economy

Expect 20-24 mpg depending on how you drive. One does not buy an AWD turbo Subaru with fuel economy in mind. These cars were meant to be driven in a spirited manner. Keep in mind vehicle is required to be used with premium fuel.

Feature availability

Turbo boost gauge should be mandatory/standard on all turbo vehicles. Also of note, the lack of decent cup holders and/or poor cup holder placement. Subaru should have taken more time to design and place them which can leave the user feeling a bit frustrated at times. Later models were a bit better in this regard


This is not your mothers Honda Civic. It is a performance oriented vehicle with an AWD system. It has front and rear differentials coupled with the trademark "boxer rumble" so it can be a noisy vehicle for some.


The WRX is so much more than a standard economy car & the WRX experience is a fun one. The 4EAT automatic transmission WRX has its little quirks but still manages to make the driving experience a satisfying one. The AWD system inspires confidence & security during poor weather condition

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