Looking to get a Subaru Impreza Wagon. Seeking Advice.

Discussion in 'Subaru Impreza' started by Chris, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. Chris

    Chris Guest

    Hi All,

    I am looking to get a Subaru Impreza Wagon, probably 2002-2004 range,
    depending on price.

    What I would like to hear opinions on is how is the Manual 5-speed on
    these models?

    Currently I have an Acura Integra '96, manual as well, thus I would like
    to know whether the shifter is as good as the Acura one, and how does
    the engine perform on the road with a manual transmission compared to an
    automatic one?

    The only Impreza wagon's I've driven, or been driven in, were automatic,
    so I'd like to hear some opinions on how it differs.

    Thanks All in advance.

    Chris, Nov 3, 2005
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  2. Chris

    Fuzzy Logic Guest

    I have an '03 Imreza TS Wagon with a 5-speed and the tranny is pretty
    smooth. I haven't drive the Acura so I cannot compare it. It's certainly the
    best manual transmission of any vehicle I have driven. Much better than the
    one in my wife's Corolla. I would assume it's better than the auto but again
    I haven't had the opportunity to compare them.
    Fuzzy Logic, Nov 3, 2005
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  3. Chris

    Mike Lloyd Guest

    I imagine it is nearly identical to the WRX sedan... since the car is 99%
    the same. That tranny was alright.... The kartboy short shifter and
    bushings made it way way better. Can't say that there are to many WRX
    owners out there bitching about their tranny....
    Mike Lloyd, Nov 3, 2005
  4. Chris

    Chris Guest

    Thanks to all who replied. Good to know the tranny is a good one on the
    Subaru. Now i just gotta find a well kept Impreza in my region with a
    manual transmission and not too much km's on it..

    Chris, Nov 4, 2005
  5. Chris

    M. Brumbaugh Guest

    I drove an '89 Integra 5-speed for 11 years. It finally got to
    expensive to maintain. I bought a 2003 WRX Wagon.

    Subaru transmissions are not Honda transmissions. Subaru's aren't
    bad, but they're not Honda's.

    There's a little more 'wiggle' to me shifter than there was in my
    Integra. It's hard to translate what this feels like into words
    well... So I hope this translates. It feels a little less 'precise'
    than my Integra did.

    Don't get me wrong. I love my WRX. And to have the engine power and
    the wagon carrying capacity is what sold me on the car. Because
    Honda/Acura had noticably scaled down the Integra's from the early
    models, like the one I had. I could put my full size tack trunk in
    the back of my '89 Integra AND close the hatch. That wouldn't have
    been possible in the mid-90's and later models.

    I would recommend the short throw shiter though. You probably won't
    be happy with the standard one.

    M. Brumbaugh, Nov 4, 2005
  6. Chris

    Mike Lloyd Guest

    again, that slop is due to soft rubber bushing in the shifter lever under
    the car... a simple $30 fix from kartboy will make it a much more solid and
    firm feel. regardless of whether or not you go short or not.
    Mike Lloyd, Nov 4, 2005
  7. Chris

    Beefcake Guest

    I have to agree with Brumbaugh. I used to drive a manual Honda Civic
    before my 02 Impreza, and I've had an accord and a toyota corolla too.
    If you are used to the (very excellent) maunal transmissions in small
    engine japanese cars, then you will notice the difference in the subaru.
    In my opinion, it does not shift as cleanly, and will take some
    getting used to - there is more clutch shudder, and you'll feel that its
    a bit jerky. This could be due to AWD vs FWD, and might be normal. I
    have only driven one subaru, so my frame of reference is not large. But
    the standard is definatly not as smooth as a honda.

    That being said, its still pretty solid (compared to other american
    cars), and fun to drive, once you get the hang of it. It will take some
    adjustment. When you find one and drive it, you'll see what i mean.

    When I bought my Impreza, I test drove an automatic, and was suprised by
    how powerful the auto felt. Normally japanese cars feel so gutless in
    automatic mode, but the Impreza felt pretty nice. When I eventually get
    a new Subaru (because now that i've owned one i will never go back),
    I'll consider an automatic.

    Happy hunting!
    Beefcake, Nov 5, 2005
  8. Thanks for the info!
    Will have to test drive the manual to try it.
    Hopefully it won't be too much different than Acura's, but I suppose
    I've been spoiled by their well designed trannies.
    I've got some time to do research and perfrom some test drives, as I am
    planning this purchase for early next year.

    Chris Jankowski, Nov 5, 2005
  9. Chris

    gpatmac Guest


    I have a 2002 WRX wagon. I had the 5 speed for about 2 years but I broke it
    at the starting line while at the dragstip. The 5 speed does have a bad
    reputation, but I broke mine most likely due to the man-handling I put upon
    it. Oh, and that was on a stock clutch....that I was slipping quite a lot.

    As far as smoothness, it does take some getting used to. What has
    essentially become my method for overcoming judder and the like is that I
    use the accelerator to assist it going in gear. The forward gears are
    obviously syncro'd, but my belief is that the driveline responds well to

    I can't compare it to an Acura, as I've never driven a manual and the one we
    had we sold almost 10 years ago. I can say that I pretty distinctly recall
    the Accord we had, though. If I were to compare the Impreza to the Accord,
    I recall the Honda as being nothing but smooth. Of course I never beat on
    it, though, like I do my WRX and 2.5 RS sedan.

    gpatmac, Nov 6, 2005
  10. Thanks for the info.

    So, basically, give it more gas than necessary and it will shift
    smoothly? How about breaking assist by using the engine compression?
    What would you recommend as RPM's for REV matching of different gears.
    Downshift acceleration on mountain roads will be needed.

    I don't indend to race with the car, planning to get a base model wagon,
    probably a 2003-2004 model, depending on price. Looking to get one
    sometime early next year. Gonna be a replacement car for my Integra, as
    my needs have changed and i need the extra people hauling room, as well
    as a bit of cargo room, depending whether the seats will be down or not.

    Also, i can probably find the info somewhere on the net, but would you
    recommend going with a subaru hitch or some after-market one? How much
    LBS can it tow?

    Chris Jankowski, Nov 6, 2005
  11. Chris

    gpatmac Guest


    Yeah. That's my opinion, though it may take some practice. Further, I
    'engine brake' probably 80% of the time. Sometimes I probably overdo it,
    when I am fantasizing that I'm a racercar driver; by gunning it up to about
    4k rpms and then putting it into 2nd gear while coming up to a big 90deg
    turn or something.....but I'm not that smart.

    I'm afraid I can't address trailer hitches on a Subaru, as we have Ford
    Explorer that we use for our trailer.

    I think, though, that much of the more technical information you can find on
    www.cars101.com. It's written by someone who's much more of an
    all-things-Subaru enthusiast than I am.

    Lastly, whether you're on the fence or already convinced that you're going
    to make this purchase, you can't go wrong. The reliability, safety, and
    value-retention that a Subaru promises is definitely impressive.

    gpatmac, Nov 6, 2005
  12. Chris

    Chris Guest

    Yeah, I am pretty much convinced I'll be getting one.

    Other choices were either the PT Cruiser or the Prius.
    And well, PT Cruiser is cheaply made, and the Prius, although promising,
    is just too expensive. So the Subaru falls right into the middle.
    I got used to the Acura performance and reliability so hopefully going
    with the Impreza Wagon won't dissapoint me.

    I'm aiming to do a test drive on a manual one by next week, just so i
    get the feel for it. Will report what i discover.

    The website you pointed out does indeed hold a LOT of info, visited it
    before, but I guess I will have to dig into it again to find the towing


    Chris, Nov 7, 2005
  13. Chris

    gpatmac Guest

    I'm curious to see what your impression will be.

    gpatmac, Nov 8, 2005
  14. Chris

    Tom Reingold Guest

    I don't agree with engine braking unless you are going down a long steep
    hill and want to avoid overheating the brakes. Brake pads are placed so
    they are cheap to replace. They cost much less than clutches. Brakes are
    for braking. Clutches are for shifting gears.
    Tom Reingold, Nov 9, 2005
  15. Chris

    Chris Guest

    When driving a manual car, there is a time for exclusive use of brakes,
    and also a time to use the engine braking. Both serve well when using
    them appropriately.

    I live in Montreal, so when it is wet or when snow/ice is on the ground
    it is MUCH safer to use engine braking to slow down gradually without
    affecting traction, rather than risking a skid with the use of regular

    Also, in emergency stop situations it is wise to utilize both systems to
    shorten ones braking time and distance.

    But I do agree with your point that it is much cheaper to replace brake
    pads rather than the clutch.

    Chris, Nov 9, 2005
  16. Engine braking shouldn't wear the clutch significantly; after all, you are
    truly just shifting gears.

    Michael Pardee, Nov 9, 2005
  17. Chris

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Agreed. Any damn fool that holds the car on
    a hill by slipping the clutch deserves what
    he gets. OTOH, it doesn't take much practice
    to match rpms when downshifting, causing
    negligible wear to the clutch.
    Jim Stewart, Nov 9, 2005
  18. Chris

    Tom Reingold Guest

    How do you figure? I've seen people avoid their brakes as much as
    possible and do nearly all their braking by declutching, letting the
    engine spin down, and then clutching slowly, to maximize braking. Some
    of that energy has to go to wear.

    You say it shouldn't wear significantly, but neither should any one stop
    wear the brakes significantly. The wear comes from the aggregation of
    all the many stops.
    Tom Reingold, Nov 10, 2005
  19. (snip)

    Huh. I largely avoid using my brakes, but I engine brake by throttling a
    bit to rev-match as I downshift, then while the engine is fully engaged
    in the lower gear (clutch pedal not pressed) I slow down by reducing the
    throttle I'd used to rev-match for the downshift. When there's so little
    throttle that the rpm is low enough I rev-match and downshift again.
    Rinse and repeat. No need to use the clutch any more than you would for
    upshifting and accelerating; it's just the same process reversed. I
    consider what I do to be engine braking, but there's no slow clutching
    involved: that sounds like a dreadful idea!

    -- Mark
    Mark T.B. Carroll, Nov 10, 2005
  20. I admit I sacrifice my brakes to save clutch components. I DO see how
    some types of racing/high performance driving might demand rev-matched
    downshifting. I also understand about mountain downslopes. And there are
    occasions in everyday driving where I DO downshift to - say - 3rd or
    second in preparation for an 'urgent' maneuver. But 90% of the time I am
    either in neutral slowing to a stop with the brakes, or less often,
    clutch pedal down/hand on shifter ready for next gear if required. I
    think it's more a 'style' thing than a 'right/wrong' thing.

    I dunno

    1 Lucky Texan
    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, Nov 10, 2005
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