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I'm looking to get my own first car and for the longest time I have been in love with early 2000's WRX's. I'm 20 years old and a rising junior in college. I want to get anywhere from a '02-'05 WRX for a first car and I have a lot of question so I don't end up putting myself behind the 8-ball when I get one.

The first concern of mine is finding part life expectancy so that when I am looking at cars for sale I can see what would be the most immediate things that need to be addressed, or things to check signs of wear or failure for when going to see a car. If anyone has a link to a resource where I can find information like that in one spot I would really appreciate it!

Another thing that I am looking to understand better is the pros and cons of WRX's through the '02-'05 model years. I understand the biggest styling differences being the bug-eye front end and the blob-eye front end but I hear a lot about the differences between the 2.0L and the 2.5L engines, are there different reliability issues that come with each and which one would be a better value. I'm mainly looking to balance fun with cost effectiveness.

Going off of that I want to know more about the operating costs of these cars and how frequently owners find themselves in some sort of mechanical issue, are there parts on the car that have a tendency of failing out sooner than when they should be? How is insurance on these?

I would like to know how to spot a listing that is a good dollar value vs one that is trying to sell a car with a lot of hidden problems. My goal is to try and find a car that I can work on with relative ease and not one that needs a million different things at once and is basically undriveable.

The last part is unfortunately the toughest part to make work but its convincing my parents to let me do this and get a car. I would likely be splitting the cost of whatever car I get with them then paying them off until I have covered the cost of the car. I have an idea as to what to tell them about WRX's but I don't know everything about the cars to really sell the car to them as best I can. If anyone can help out listing the best pros to the car for practicality and for the economics of the car I would really appreciate it!
 

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Great for project cars. Not for drivers. It's impossible to find one that hasn't been owned and in the time frame of your search none will be reliable, affordable to maintain, or not beat to absolute death.

There isn't a lot of pros to buying a car like this that's that old.
 

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It's an awful time to buy any preowned vehicle, let alone one with as many potentials as the WRX. Sorry to burst your bubble, man. Finish college and then start looking. Hopefully the preowned market won't be as insane by then.
 
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