Junkyard Find: 2002 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
The Subaru Impreza has been with us since the 1993 model year, and you’ll still see plenty of the first-generation Impreza Outback wagons on the streets (and in the junkyards) of Colorado. All US-market Subarus got all-wheel-drive starting in the 1997 model year, so the company’s American marketers had to show a distinction between the outdoorsy/nature-loving image of the Impreza Outbacks and the rally-inspired image of the other Imprezas when the second-generation cars appeared here for 2001. Here’s a hard-to-find early-second-gen Impreza 2.5 RS sedan, showing off its WRX-like styling in a Denver self-serve yard.
In fact, all ’02 Impreza sedans that weren’t WRXs were RS 2.5s; the Outback Sport came only in wagon form.
The first-generation WRX never made it to American Subaru showrooms, so the ’01 WRX was the first to appear on our roads (legally, that is). The 2.5 RS sedan shared some body parts from the WRX, along with some WRX-ish wheels and a big decklid spoiler. Just as the Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally looked sort of Evo-ish while packing a commuter-grade econo-engine beneath the hood, so did the Impreza 2.5 RS get the ordinary 165-horse, naturally-aspirated H4 engine that went into all those jillions of Legacies and Foresters.
The installation of a Fun Reduction Device made this car even less WRX-like.
But! Someone decided this car looked sufficiently racy to give the wheels the red-paint treatment.
I don’t know if a real WRX scoop was glued/bolted here or if it was a furiously aftermarket unit, because some junkyard shopper purchased it before I got here.
OK, this JDM ad is for the second-gen WRX sedan, but it’s just so heroic that we all need to watch it.For links to more than 2,000 additional Junkyard Finds ( including many Subarus), visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • V16 V16 on Feb 22, 2021

    Why would an sport sedan buyer choose this over the new Sonata N series? The V6 motor is the ONLY plus.

    • Johnds Johnds on Mar 01, 2021

      My school teacher had the 2002 Sonata N Line. Definitely a better choice over a 2002 Impreza. It was pretty sporty. For some reason, most sonatas I see from 2002 were silver, white, or black. The bug eye headlights were very popular at that time.

  • DeClercq DeClercq on Mar 01, 2021

    Well this is sad to see. I bought one of these new back in the day because I couldn't afford the WRX. Mine was dark blue and a 5-spd manual. Traded it in a couple of years later for a 2004 Forester XT, 5-spd. Now THAT was a fun ride.