Subaru Impreza WRX
(1994 - 2000)

  • A truly raw and engaging driving experience
  • Good examples are increasing in value
  • Great reliability considering its age
  • Finding a good one is quite the challenge
  • Good examples are getting expensive
  • Not that safe
Overview

While the legend of the Subaru WRX was born from countless rally wins, being piloted at warp speeds by steering gods like Colin McRae and Possum Bourne, locally the WRX eared its giant-killing reputation by outrunning local constables post-jewellery or hifi store ram raid.

Unfortunately this means finding an original, un-abused 90s WRX is near impossible, but trust us, it’s worth the effort.

These days the GC8 WRX feels almost tiny when compared to even modern hot hatches, but with its diminutive size comes a sense of light-weight nimbleness that modern performance cars could learn from.

Match this with all-wheel drive and a powerful turbo-charged engine and it becomes obvious why the original Subaru WRX is quickly becoming a classic.

Ads goes here
What goes wrong
  • The biggest issue may be how the previous owners have treated it so look for signs of abuse
  • Head gaskets known to fail (especially when tuned or modified)
  • Valve cover and tube seal leaks
  • Gear linkages wear
  • Expensive service costs at 112,000kms and 125,000kms
  • Timing belts
  • Often criticised for having fragile engines and gearboxes that fail, but more often than not, failing engines and drivetrains have generally been flogged
Check out some of our other Cheat Sheets
Model range, pricing and features

WRX

  • Price when new: $33,490
  • Price used: $18,000 - $30,000

Released in Japan in 1992, it didn’t reach Australian shores until 1994 and the WRX instantly acquired a reputation as a giant-killer. Motoring magazines pitched it into comparison tests against our home-grown V8s along with more exotic and expensive models and the ‘Rex’ was never disgraced.

Standard features for
MY95 Model:

  • Anti Lock brakes
  • Alloy wheels
  • Air conditioning
  • 4 wheel disc brakes
  • Power mirrors
  • CD player
  • Rear spolier
  • Fog lights
  • Optional drivers airbag

Extra features for
MY96 Model:

  • Metallic paint

Extra features for
MY97 Model:

  • Sports seats
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Prodrive Blue became a regular colour
  • Forester derived dashboard
  • Momo leather steering wheel with airbag (optional)
  • Passenger airbag (optional)
  • White instrument faces
  • Leather gear knob
  • Leather gear knob boot
  • Facelifted with a new bonnet and grill design
  • Downsized turbo to reduce lag and improved lowdown torque
  • Larger intercooler and wastegate
  • Revised engine and transmission components

Extra features for MY98 Model:

  • New deeper and more curvaceous front bar
  • Larger rear spoiler
  • 4-piston front brake calipers
  • Momo leather steering wheel with airbag (standard)
  • Passenger airbag (standard)

Extra features for MY99 Model:

  • New Headlights
  • Colour coded side skirts

Extra features for MY00 Model:

  • Colour coded mirrors, door handles
  • New alloy wheel design
  • Remote central locking
  • Map lights

WRX STi Version 5

  • Price when new: $60,000
  • Price used: $70,000 - $120,000

With only 399 examples being sold in Australia, the 2-door STi is now the (achievable) holy grail WRX. Good examples are rapidly increasing in desirability and price.

Version 5 adds:

  • Japanese domestic-spec STi Engine
  • Red intake manifold
  • Roller bearing turbo
  • Revised cams
  • Close ratio transmission
  • Alloy bonnet
  • Rear windscreen wiper
  • WRC inspired rear wing
  • Unique Interior treatment
  • Semi-automatic climate control

WRX STi Version 6

  • Price when new: $62,500
  • Price used: $50,000 - $90,000

After the incredibly strong demand shown for the Version 5 STi, Subaru Australia quickly imported another 400 STis, this time the recently released Version 6.

The Version 6 was nearly identical to the previous version with the primary difference being that the Version 6 was a four-door body shape.

Version 6 adds:

  • Suspension featured Inverted Struts
  • Fully automatic climate control
  • Adjusted rear spoiler
  • Minor ECU adjustments
  • Front lower splitter
  • New alloy wheel design

WRX STi Type R 22B

  • Price when new: $125,000
  • Price used: From $200,000

Arguably the ultimate WRX and one of the all time greatest Japanese performance cars.

WRX STi Type R 22B adds:

  • Wider body derived from Peter Stevens designed WRC cars
  • Unique bonnet, front and rear bars, side skirts and rear wing
  • 17-inch BBS alloy wheels
  • Bilstein suspension
  • Forged pistons with matched cylinder heads and cam profiles
  • Unique twin-plate clutch
  • Faster steering rack
  • Bespoke suspension components
  • Unique interior treatment
Should you buy it?

Yes. But it comes with conditions.

If you find a standard GC8 WRX in excellent condition, with low mileage and a solid service history, buy it immediately. The price is predicted to only increase.

But, please be cautious of dodgy modifications and go over the car with a fine-toothed comb for signs of abuse, accident damage or overly enthusiastic driving.

Buying the wrong WRX can result in a money pit and if the chassis has had a hard hit or two, it needs to be avoided.

Find the best example that your budget will allow and you should be guaranteed a very fun experience with an iconic performance car.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 years/unlimited kms

Servicing:

10,000kms or every 12 months

Tech specs

Body style:

  • 5-door sedan

Engine & outputs:

  • 2.0L, 4-cyl petrol – 110kW / 196Nm

Drivelines:

  • 6-spd manual or CVT auto, AWD

Fuel use:

  • 7.3L/100km (combined)

Dimensions:

  • Height: 1615mm
  • Length: 4450mm
  • Width: 1780mm
  • Weight: 1390kg
  • Ground clearance: 220mm
Disclaimer

Information correct as of January 14, 2021.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

Read our full terms and conditions here.