I'm a proud new owner of a 2003 WRX! Technically it was purchased for my wife but I will be driving it a lot (and my name is on the title!) I also own a 2000 Civic Si that I bought new. I'm a long time honda owner (4 hondas so far) and new to Subarus. I've always liked the WRX but have never really been in the market for one. My wife and I were looking to replace her aging '95 Accord and she expressed interest in a WRX. We started searching around and pretty quickly came across this 2003 with 54k miles that is basically stock. The only aftermarket performance parts are rotors. It has a custom leather interior (dealer Katzkin option when purchased new) and a carbon fiber interior kit that replaces the silver highlights. Being from the Honda world, where anything goes and ugly modifications run rampant, I was skeptical about the carbon fiber thing at first. I expected the entire dash to be some ugly carbon fiber thing but it actually looks decent. The previous owner still had the silver parts so i got those back too if I get tired of it.
It drives so much different than my front wheel drive naturally aspirated Civic. The AWD and turbo make a huge difference. It feels REAL nice. The difference in power is obvious and addicting. It is very comfortable and will definitely turn into our road trip car.
Don't get me wrong, I still love the Civic. It was the first car I purchased new and know the entire history of. It has 130k miles and I expect to last to 200k+. It has modest, carefully chosen mods. Koni shocks, Eibach springs, and Mugen exhaust. Basically replacing parts with performance parts as they wear out. I likely plan on doing the same thing with the WRX, replacing with performance parts as needed.
Here are a few pics of the WRX and Civic: