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Discussion Starter #1
Decided I want a hatchback in my life and at the moment have my heart set on a WRX.
Obviously I'm a bit limited here with my year range as they stopped making the hatch after.....2014...?

This is going to be my first real adult car hunt. What should I look out for? How do I make sure the guy before me didn't beat the sh!t out of this car?

My key focus includes:
  • manual (do they even make these guys in automatic?)
  • hatchback
  • under 90k
  • stock
  • sunroof (moonroof?) [are there certain trim packages or years I have to look out for?]
  • non-leather interior (once again, don't know if this is even an option)
Plan is to go to a couple dealers and test drive what I can. I know I'm on the WRX forum so I'm going to get a biased answer....but I'm trying to cast the net wide and compare VW Golfs, GTIs, Impreza 2.0 Sport/Limited, WRX, Crosstrek, anything else that is really a manual-hatchback and I can find locally. I've never had a car with some guts, so a WRX is slightly intimidating. Therefore I definitely want to give a base Impreza and a WRX a test drive to just make sure this is what I want in my life.

So I'm turning to the experts. Where are the problem areas in these? Hidden rust spots I should check for (I'm in the northeast)? The little details that are dead giveaways to the enthusiasts but hidden to the everyday person?
Pics accepted/appreciated if you got em!

Keep in mind - Im new to all of this and slightly intimidated by anything that isn't an "easy" clutch. I know I can handle it, I've just only had a VW Beetle + a Honda Civic in my life which is basically like training wheels. So it's time for those to come off.
 

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10,754 Posts
Rust can happen anywhere, get under it look at the bottom, the wheel wells, under the carpet in the trunk, and under the hood.

You want unmodified with a service history. you should find a shop familiar with the platform you are buying and have them do a prepurchase inspection. It's easy to get someone else's problem on a 6 year old turbo shitbox. So make sure you have a good shop verify its suitable.

Don't pay a ton for this either. They were high 20s new, a 6-9year old version isn't worth 20k. If you are paying that much just suck it up and buy new.
 

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How do you plan on using the car?

This is an important question since you do seem to be casting the net VERY wide. The WRX is a car that fills a niche market. For those looking for that type of thing, the WRX is a great car. For others, the "quirks" of the WRX are more likely to annoy.

Unless you are specifically looking for acceleration and AWD as requirements (AWD btw is less needed than many people think), you will probably be better suited with something like a GTI. The Crosstrek is good, now offered with the FB25 engine and available for low $20K new.

The WRX, particularly the GR version, will return poor fuel economy. Consider that and the high price of insurance in your budget calculations.
 
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