Used Subaru Impreza Turbo 1994-2004 review

Away from the straights and into the corners, it felt impressively sure-footed and forgiving of most ham-fisted attempts to unstick it.

However, we criticised its light steering and stiff suspension and noted that a series of quick corners could unsettle it. We didn’t much like the plasticky interior, either, but how were we to know it would endure the passing years better than most?

We did concede that, thanks to split folding rear seats and good head and leg room, the cabin was practical and comfortable.

It was well equipped, too, with a driver’s airbag, electric windows and central locking. Outside were alloy wheels and dinner plate-sized foglights – nice.

In spite of our reservations, there was soon a waiting list for the saloon version (the hatchback was never very popular) and once that was satisfied, the Subaru-sanctioned spin-offs followed.

The first, in 1995, was the limited-edition, Prodrive-developed Series McRae with 238bhp, 16in Speedline alloys and Recaro seats. Next in 1997 came the Catalunya, another Prodrive-developed car with a carbonfibre-effect dashboard.

The 1998 facelift brought a 10bhp increase and reduced turbo lag.

Later that year, the Terzo special edition arrived with gold wheels, a strengthened body and a fixed rear seat, followed by the very limited and today very expensive Japan-sourced 276bhp 2.2-litre 22B STi with a wide-body, two-door shell.

The next year, Prodrive released its Richard Burns-inspired RB5 special edition with 237bhp. In 2000, Subaru commissioned Prodrive to build the 276bhp, two-door P1 – and with that, the curtain came down on the first-generation Impreza Turbo.

What a way to go for what some hailed the car of the decade.

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