Comparing my WRX to my Eclipse GSX
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This is a discussion on Comparing my WRX to my Eclipse GSX within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I replaced my 1995 Eclipse GSX with a 2002 WRX for a DD about two weeks ago. I thought I'd ...

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    Comparing my WRX to my Eclipse GSX

    I replaced my 1995 Eclipse GSX with a 2002 WRX for a DD about two weeks ago. I thought I'd share some impressions of the differences between the cars. I had owned this Eclipse for about 2 years and a 98 GSX for about a year before that one. I own and have owned a few more true sports cars than the Impreza, but I won’t be comparing the WRX to those here.

    What initially attracted me to DSMs were the looks and the AWD. In my opinion, the 2g Eclipse/Talon is one of the nicest looking cars that Japan has ever made, whether it was Mitsubishi or Chrysler who did the styling, it doesn't really matter to me. Being a DD in Colorado, I also like to have AWD in case I need to drive through our occasional snow storms. FWD works, but AWD makes it actually fun (as you guys know). Initially, I didn’t care if the car I was looking for was turbocharged or not. I wasn’t looking for power. Having come from a 92 Integra GS-R, I was used to beating the snot out of an engine to get it to move. After having driven the Eclipse for a while though, I really came to appreciate the torque of a turbocharged engine (if not the fuel economy).





    In general, DSMs are not well built for long term use. They were fairly complicated and seemed to be made from a lot of parts relative to other cars. They rattle from the sunroof, rear hatch, dashboard, and various other places. The suspension is all double wishbone, which means wheel location control is pretty good and the ride is impressively subtle for the kind of handling that the car is capable of, but it also means there are alot of bushings to go bad, and they do, and you can hear it going over bumps in the road. There's always something electronic that isn't working. The engines in these cars are the same basic unit used up until the Evo 9. Iron block and Al heads make this a very robust unit. Tuners squeeze out amazing amounts of power from the engine. Stock it comes with a Garret T25 turbo that was rated at 200bhp and 215ft-lb. Like the Impreza, the GSX uses a 50/50 F/R torque split LSD transfer case and has an LSD rear end. It weighs a little more than the impreza but the weight distribution is about the same.

    Exterior – This is subjective, of course. To me, the Eclipse is just so well proportioned and sleek (unless you’re looking at the rear end). It’s what all sports coupes of the 90s should have looked like. Great proportions and great lines. It sits low and wide and looks fast just sitting still That rear end is where the stylists dropped the ball, it’s just an abrupt ending to an otherwise great story. It served the aerodynamics well, though; it had a Cd of 0.29. The WRX (mine’s a bug-eye wagon) is cool looking, but not what I’d consider pretty. The thing I miss is the low stance.



    Interior – The interior of the Eclipse is styled much more simply than the Impreza. There’s a couple of big sweeping curves of plastic that make up the dashboard. It's very similar to the 2nd gen Toyota MR2 dashboard. There’s a boost gauge and an oil pressure gauge that the Impreza doesn’t have. In general I like the style and contours of the Impreza’s dashboard more than the swoopy curves of the Eclipse. The Eclipse shifter is up relatively high near the steering wheel, easy to reach and can be shifted without hitting the arm rest. It takes a little getting used to the wrist shifting that you have to do with the WRX. You basically sit on the floor in the Eclipse and the roof is within a couple of inches my head, I like the feeling. The Impreza feels like and SUV in comparison, you sit high up, even in the lowest position. There’s what seems like a foot of headroom. The Impreza’s seats are far superior to the power leather buckets in the Eclipse. The Eclipse seats have less bolstering and support, although they do have more adjust-ability with bottom cushion, bolster, and lumbar adjustability. The back seats in the Eclipse are a joke. There’s literally no leg room. The rear seats do fold down though, making for a space large enough to carry my bike (with the wheels removed from the frame). The Impreza’s a Cadillac in comparison space-wise. And those stupid horn buttons at 10 and 2 instead of using the center fo the sterring wheel is really frustrating.





    Drive Train – The Eclipse’s shifter is notchy and the throws are long. The Impreza’s shifts are much shorter and more direct. The Eclipse drive train whines noticeably during deceleration. The clutch travel in the Eclipse is about double that of the Impreza and it’s softer too. The Impreza feels more connected to the driver and is more rewarding to operate. The Impreza feels more robust in general, although I’m still getting used to the resistance through the drive train, the Eclipse rolls backwards on hill much more easily than the Impreza. During driving on slippery roads, the LSD in the Eclipse locks up more easily than the Impreza, oversteer is easier to induce in the Eclipse.

    Steering-The Eclipse has a quicker rack, which I like, the Impreza has a lot more steering feel, which I like more.

    Brakes - Both are excellent. The ABS in the Impreza is a little less intrusive and subtle.

    Engine/acceleration – The T25 on the Eclipse is a little turbo that spools up fast. It provides a very entertaining push in the back at midrange engine speeds. Unfortunately, the little turbo is out of breath by about 5500 RPM. After that, there’s not much thrust left. The engine revs very freely and even with the anemic top end, it’s fun to rev. It’s also very smooth, having the balance shafts and all. The Impreza is much different. The revs build noticeably more slowly and the torque delivery is much more linear than the Eclipse. At first, the Eclipse feels like it’s faster, and in normal driving, it probably is, but once the revs build, the Impreza has much more thrust and it’s clear why it’s about a second faster to sixty. The Impreza engine isn’t ever smooth, but it does make a cool growl and you can feel the engine through the steering and chassis.



    Chassis and suspension –The Eclipse has a very refined ride, relatively. It feels soft driving down the road compared to the Impreza. Road imperfections are soaked up more easily. There’s a lot of noise as you’re doing it though. Even with the softer ride, the cornering is very flat. The car understeers at turn in if you cook it, but once you get it set, it’s pretty neutral. The Impreza feels much stiffer in both suspension tuning and chassis rigidity. In cornering, you can really feel the difference in the CG. The Impreza resists turn-in noticeably more and half way through the turn, just before and during application of power, the rear end of the Eclipse stays better planted. This surprised me considering all the praise that the Impreza gets for it’s handling out of the box. This is kind of the opposite of what I’ve noticed on slippery roads, strangely. This is why I attribute the dry behavior to the CG and the slippery behavior to the LSD.

    Like most cars, there are tradeoffs. Overall though, despite some of my preferences of some of the Eclipse’s aspects, I’m really much happier with the Impreza. It’s much more solid, fells more confident in all weather conditions, and I know it will last much longer. When I went from the Integra to the Eclipse, it felt like I was putting an extra layer of isolation between myself and the road, now with the Impeza, it feels like that layer have been removed again.
    Last edited by me73; 12-29-2009 at 11:02 AM.

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    Registered User mexicanzero's Avatar
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    nice write up! i've always had a small soft spot for a turbo awd eclipse, i guess i've just always loved the idea of turbo and awd regardless of the brand...
    never got around to buying one though, almost did 3 years ago but a 92 legacy turbo stole me away from it.

    enjoy the 02! is it a wagon or sedan? i've had my 03 wagon for a bit over 2 months and couldnt be happier.

    -Alex

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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Well written comparison, thanks for your insites. My friend used to have a 2G GS-t and while it was a fun little toy for a while, it was very problematic, and unless you were under hard accelaration and only in a straight line, it was terrible to drive. DSM's have their place in the car world, they're easy to mod, relatively easy to work on (thankfully), and a good place to start for the beginning tuner. But, the truth of the matter is, the only people who stay in them are those who don't have the sense to move on to something better, or just plain don't want to.

    The GS-t eventually burned to the ground due to a fuel line problem at the filter. Which was a good thing because he then moved on to a more reliable car (he had replaced the transmission twice and the clutch 6 times in the year that he had it, all due to mechanical failure, not with his driving. I personally helped him take the tranny out and put it back in 6 times and we had it down to a clutch job within an hour )

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    Quote Originally Posted by mexicanzero View Post
    nice write up! i've always had a small soft spot for a turbo awd eclipse, i guess i've just always loved the idea of turbo and awd regardless of the brand...
    never got around to buying one though, almost did 3 years ago but a 92 legacy turbo stole me away from it.

    enjoy the 02! is it a wagon or sedan? i've had my 03 wagon for a bit over 2 months and couldnt be happier.

    -Alex
    Thanks, it's a wagon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anub1s View Post
    Well written comparison, thanks for your insites. My friend used to have a 2G GS-t and while it was a fun little toy for a while, it was very problematic, and unless you were under hard accelaration and only in a straight line, it was terrible to drive. DSM's have their place in the car world, they're easy to mod, relatively easy to work on (thankfully), and a good place to start for the beginning tuner. But, the truth of the matter is, the only people who stay in them are those who don't have the sense to move on to something better, or just plain don't want to.

    The GS-t eventually burned to the ground due to a fuel line problem at the filter. Which was a good thing because he then moved on to a more reliable car (he had replaced the transmission twice and the clutch 6 times in the year that he had it, all due to mechanical failure, not with his driving. I personally helped him take the tranny out and put it back in 6 times and we had it down to a clutch job within an hour )

    Welcome to the Subie world, hope you enjoy your stay.
    Those FWD turbos are a handfull. The AWD car is a completely different animal, dynamically. Much better behaved.

    My wife's been driving an OBS for several years so I know the in-and-outs of Subarus. Which is basically drive it and keep it up and it will run for many years.

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    Very nice read!

    I am curious about 1 portion of your write-up though. When you did the suspension comparison, did you do it based on the same route and similar speeds? Also, did you take similar lines?

    I've always wanted to know what it's like owning a gsx in comparison to a wrx.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jexeffectz View Post
    Very nice read!

    I am curious about 1 portion of your write-up though. When you did the suspension comparison, did you do it based on the same route and similar speeds? Also, did you take similar lines?

    I've always wanted to know what it's like owning a gsx in comparison to a wrx.
    I first noticed the difference on my way into work. The day after I bought the WRX, I took it out on the same route to work that I took for 3 years in the Eclipse(s). I have a sharp right near the end of my commute that comes up at about 10 mph or so and then a roundabout that I take for 270 degrees that comes up at around 15-20. There's not much choice on the line of either turn.

    Both cars run on stock springs but the Eclipse has Tokico Blues and the Impreza has stock dampers. The WRX actually has stickier tires on it than the eclipse too. The WRX resists turn-in to both of these turns more than the Eclipse and feels a little less planted while rolling into the turn. Then when putting the power on through it, the WRX wants to step out where the Eclipse just takes a set. Power delivery in the Eclipse is much more abrupt so I'd expect it to be easier to upset than the Impreza.

    When you're sitting in the car it's clearly a difference in CG and roll center locations. I strongly suspect the 7+ inch height difference and wishbone vs strut suspension are the main culprits.

    I didn't mention above, but there's also noticeably more dive and squat motion in the WRX. There's not much of either, but there's practically none in a Eclipse. It's easier to dial out dive and squat with a wishbone suspension.
    Last edited by me73; 12-30-2009 at 06:23 AM.

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    Registered User Pavia's Avatar
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    Great writeup
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    Very nice write up.

    I looked at one new back in the early 90's drawn to the sleek look. I climbed in and quickly discovered the car was way too small for my 6' 3" frame. Bummer. The salesman tried to sell me other cars, but that was the only one on the lot that had any appeal. Bummer for him too.

    My neighbor has one and keeps it in nice shape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 04.SPT.WRX View Post
    Very nice write up.

    I looked at one new back in the early 90's drawn to the sleek look. I climbed in and quickly discovered the car was way too small for my 6' 3" frame. Bummer. The salesman tried to sell me other cars, but that was the only one on the lot that had any appeal. Bummer for him too.

    My neighbor has one and keeps it in nice shape.
    I'm 6'1". My '98 (the red one) was fully loaded with the sunroof. I had to sit way back to fit. They have a couple inches of up-down travel in the seats, but all the way down still wasn't enough.

    For the second one, I specifically looked for a car without a sunroof, which is rare in the GSX, they were mostly sold with all the options. In the '95 there was plenty of headroom when I sat straight up. The sunroof takes up at least 2 inches of headroom. In addition, the mechanism loosens on the sunroof and eventually they all rattle like crazy on those cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by me73 View Post
    I'm 6'1". My '98 (the red one) was fully loaded with the sunroof. I had to sit way back to fit. They have a couple inches of up-down travel in the seats, but all the way down still wasn't enough.

    For the second one, I specifically looked for a car without a sunroof, which is rare in the GSX, they were mostly sold with all the options. In the '95 there was plenty of headroom when I sat straight up. The sunroof takes up at least 2 inches of headroom. In addition, the mechanism loosens on the sunroof and eventually they all rattle like crazy on those cars.
    Aye. A sunroof is almost always a car killer for me as well.

    I forced myself into a 2000 Honda Prelude with a sunroof (my previous car). I fit, but with the seat reclined back beach chair style. It actually worked OK for the Prelude.
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    Registered User wrx1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by me73 View Post
    I first noticed the difference on my way into work. The day after I bought the WRX, I took it out on the same route to work that I took for 3 years in the Eclipse(s). I have a sharp right near the end of my commute that comes up at about 10 mph or so and then a roundabout that I take for 270 degrees that comes up at around 15-20. There's not much choice on the line of either turn.

    Both cars run on stock springs but the Eclipse has Tokico Blues and the Impreza has stock dampers. The WRX actually has stickier tires on it than the eclipse too. The WRX resists turn-in to both of these turns more than the Eclipse and feels a little less planted while rolling into the turn. Then when putting the power on through it, the WRX wants to step out where the Eclipse just takes a set. Power delivery in the Eclipse is much more abrupt so I'd expect it to be easier to upset than the Impreza.

    When you're sitting in the car it's clearly a difference in CG and roll center locations. I strongly suspect the 7+ inch height difference and wishbone vs strut suspension are the main culprits.

    I didn't mention above, but there's also noticeably more dive and squat motion in the WRX. There's not much of either, but there's practically none in a Eclipse. It's easier to dial out dive and squat with a wishbone suspension.
    I use to own a 96 TSI AWD. with DP, intake, slightly larger turbo (not sure what, bought it used). The suspension was also stock.

    There is this turn i would take at 90 MPH, anything above and the car would start to kick out (TSI AWD).

    I joined the AF, and my dad sold my car... i was sad. I got a 2004 Nissan sentra SER Spec-v. The suspension was much stiffer and felt like the car was on rails. I went home expecting to own my 90 MPH turn only to fail and not get above 75ish without feeling like the car was going to loose traction.

    Now i have a 2009 WRX. I will be going home around March. I will being testing it on the turn when i go. After driving this car around i don't think ill match the 90 MPH with stock suspension.

    Also i will own a 95-99 GSX or TSI again one day. I had no trouble with mine. From what i understand the guy that bought mine broke it a month after he got it. Somthing about the oil pressure spitting out the dipstick and oil leaking out... I guess that was a common problem. I checked my oil everything i put gas in it some i guess that avoided that problem.
    Last edited by wrx1234; 01-01-2010 at 03:58 PM.

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    In my search for the GSX's replacement I ran across a really well preserved '91 Celica All-Trac. 50,000 miles! It felt much stiffer in ride than the Eclipse and the steering was more direct and less boosted.

    It felt very similar to the WRX, actually. But with the lower seating position.

    I didn't get a chance to push it too hard, but it didn't feel tall like the WRX does. The engine had NO turbo lag but it was also very underwelming power-wise. I'm glad I didn't go with the Toyota.

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    Registered User CGimpreza's Avatar
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    Nice write up and an excellent read. It's cool to read the impressions of a DSM guy coming to the subie side of things.
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