Digestible Collectible: 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

Few people get dressed up for a test drive, but I had to be convincing and look respectable. I was an occasional college student at the time, somewhere between my freshman and sophomore years on the 10-year plan. I walked into the local Subaru dealer and waited to be approached.

I can’t tell you how I did it, but I ended up taking a new Impreza for a test drive, solo. Thank goodness, as my early-20s self had long dreamt of sliding a Subie around some gravel, with a handbrake pull to get the car to rotate. The polyester-clad salesman would have stopped the fun entirely too early.

If you bought a slushbox-equipped Impreza wagon sometime in 1998 from a dealer in Columbus, I’m sorry.

I’m reminded of this as I sit down for my daily car shopping, and this 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS appears before me. Though in general I don’t prefer white cars, this four-door RS looks so right in gleaming white. The basic alloys fitted to these later cars are perfect as well. I’ve read that the earliest 2.5 RS had serious head gasket issues, eventually to be corrected by the time this car came around.

I can hear a bunch of you furiously typing WHY NO WRX/STi? For me, it can be reduced to style. I simply love the lithe looks of the early cars, where the later cars look bulky and bulbous. 300-plus horsepower from a turbo is certainly appealing, however.

A couple years after drifting the wagon, I was actually in the market to buy a new-to-me car, rather than simply hooning with impunity, and I found a used RS at a massive used car lot just outside of town. They even had it in my preferred black with the gold alloys.

Jack’s mentioned this particular dealer — and their shenanigans — in the past, and naturally I was bitten. They couldn’t find the keys. We waited for a couple hours for a chance to drive this Impreza RS, but were spurned. I ended up buying a Ford Focus a few weeks later.

Someday …

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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  • Honda_magna85 Honda_magna85 on Feb 01, 2016

    I helped my buddy move one of these across town last year. Not in the condition of the picture above. Not even close. Upstate NY in the rust belt, any of these car that are left are full of holes. Anyway, my buddy knew a guy at his work that was having trouble selling a subaru impreza. My buddy is pretty enterprising and a pretty good backyard mechanic so he said he would drive it to his house, clean it up, and advertise it in his front yard (he lives on a main road). We go to pick up the car. Originally i was going to take my truck and flat tow it but we thought that might attract more attention then just driving it, as long as it started. Car looks beat. Starts up, blue smoke, hole in the exhaust that sounds like an open header. My buddy says just follow me real close since there is no plates on the car. I'm following him watching it lurch all over the road (automatic transmission has seen better days). He stops at a gas station and puts in a gallon to get back to his house. Somehow he got the car to make it home. He did get it all cleaned up (and he has a gift for lipstick on a pig). I think he advertised it for $1000 and ended up selling it for $300, which was quickly converted to beer, burgers, and fireworks and we had a hell of a party as his house that night.

  • Mattmers Mattmers on Feb 03, 2016

    I had a 1993 Impreza L AWD, was fantastic. It had its problems especially with its 1.8l engine but it never left me stranded. The interior was crappy but at the same time weirdly welcoming. The AWD was fantastic. I only got rid of it because I got screwed on a repair and It ate through new tires in under 5000 miles. I had a bunch of new part and sold it to a guy who was planning to make it a trail car. He is planning to drop a 2.2 into it to give it some pep and yes I still text him to check the progress of my baby.

  • Alan Like all testing and analysis work you need a good set of requirements. If you don't you'll find or end up with gaps.
  • Alan In aviation there is more vigourous testing, well, until Boeing changed things.
  • Alan This outcome was certain.The US, Australia and Canada need to approach this differently. A policy towards plug in hybrids should of been a first step. As in CAFE gradually tighten FE from there.There's no reason why you can't have a 2 litre F-150 with electric motors putting out 400-500hp. A 2 litre turbo is good for 200hp more than enough to move a pickup.Also increase fuel tax/excise every year to fill the void in loss of revenue.
  • Doug brockman hardly. Their goals remain to punish us by mandating unsafe unreliable unaffordable battery powered cars
  • Lorenzo It looks like the curves are out and the boxy look is back. There's an upright windscreen, a decided lack of view obstructing swoop in the rear side panels, and you can even see out of the back window. Is Lexus borrowing from the G-Class Mercedes, or the Range Rover?