Should I trade up from Corolla to Impreza?
March 4, 2008 4:09 AM   Subscribe

Thinking about switching my 2005 Corolla hatchback for a 2007 Subaru Impreza sport wagon (non WRX version). Am I nuts?

I live in Ireland and currently drive a 2005 Corolla hatchback with a 1.4 engine. It's an excellent car and I love it to pieces. I also have a dog (called Rascal) who is slowly but surely destroying the back seats of said Corolla with hair, despite seat covers and towels.

I have been thinking about changing my car and will be in a financial position to do some in a few months. I've been looking at the 2007 model Subaru Impreza estate version so that I could put one of those dog barrier things into the boot. I'd basically be trading up from a 1.4 front wheel drive Corolla, to a 1.5 boxer engined, all wheel drive Impreza.

Which is the better car? Is it worth trading up or should I just hang on the Corolla?

Apologies for the long-winded post! I'd love to hear the thoughts of any Corolla or Impreza owners.

posted by ReiToei to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Impreza gets significantly worse gas mileage than the Corolla, or that was my experience when I owned one.
posted by OmieWise at 4:11 AM on March 4, 2008

I'd basically be trading up from a 1.4 front wheel drive Corolla, to a 1.5 boxer engined, all wheel drive Impreza.

Increase complexity and cost of repair accordingly.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:21 AM on March 4, 2008

Scoobies are generally bullet-proof, remarkably so for an AWD vehicle. The only knock on them has been terminal bodyrot, but they seem to have that one figured out as of '99 or so.

They are gas pigs (compared to other compacts/subcompacts), but the upside is that they are unfazed by any sort of bad weather and they are a blast to drive - the engine is torquier and more responsive. You'll also have more room for dogs'n'stuff with the Subaru wagon.

On the other hand, while the Subaru is bullet-proof, the Toyota is nuke-proof, sips gasoline and is cheap to insure. So, those are the tradeoffs. The Subaru is more expensive to operate, but more fun =and= more practical.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:56 AM on March 4, 2008

What everyone else has said.

Suburus are fun. Suburus are expensive, evil little devils that may eventually come and bite you on the arse.

Toyotas are boring. Toyotas are cheap and indestructible.

Are you feeling lucky, punk?
posted by Jimbob at 4:59 AM on March 4, 2008

I personally am not at all impressed w/ the non-WRX impreza, but they are a more significant car for bad weather, and with dogs---hatchbacks are the way to go.

Subaru's are pretty bulletproof, however (around here, anyway), late model Subaru's have engine problems around the 120,000 mile mark pretty much like clockwork, and they're expensive to fix.
posted by TomMelee at 6:06 AM on March 4, 2008

Best answer: The Subaru is a much better car than the Corolla, in terms of being fun to drive, really thoughtfully engineered, etc. The Corolla is a better car in terms of being cheap to drive. Buying a new backseat every year (probably two or three times a year even) would be cheaper than buying an entire new car, too (never mind just buying a custom-fitted seat cover or something like that).

So it depends: do you want cheap (keep your Corolla) or fun plus bad weather competence (get the Subaru)? Hatchbacks are nice with dogs, but hardly mandatory; you will be getting a luxury, not a necessity, so the question is how much do you value each, not how much we value those things.
posted by Forktine at 6:39 AM on March 4, 2008

I love the hell out of my non-turbo Impreza hatchback. So, there's my vote.
posted by Netzapper at 6:51 AM on March 4, 2008

I have an older (99) Impreza and love the damn thing. I wouldn't trade it for a brand new Corolla.

With that said, if your dog is beating the crap out of the car you have now I can't really recommend spending more money on a new car. Doesn't make so much sense.
posted by PFL at 7:49 AM on March 4, 2008

I love my 2006 Outback. But I also loved the 1981 Toyota Tercel that my wife drove for 15 years until we finally sold it.
posted by trbrts at 8:27 AM on March 4, 2008

Subarus prior to model year 2002, with manual transmissions, are nearly indestructible.

Sometime before 2002, General Motors purchased a controlling stake in Fuji Heavy Industries (the primary manufacturer of Subarus), and started using parts and designs from both sides of the Pacific. This has it's advantages, too (like the WRX in the US, and the much greater availability of parts) -- but for the overall quality of the cars and the driving experience, it's been a major bummer.

Amazingly, Subarus now hit the same "needs a lot of expensive repairs" plateau at 100-125k miles that American cars do.

Seek out a good '98-'01 Impreza.
posted by toxic at 9:02 AM on March 4, 2008

Keep in mind that automobiles aren't investments, and you are best off driving them until they fall apart. Your Toyota is running well, so unless there's a practical reason for you to switch to all wheel drive of the Subaru, you might want to consider keeping the car you know.

Have you considered putting a dog crate in the back of the Toyota to cart Rascal around in? Besides the potential of less fur flying around, it's also safer for your dog.

And toxic, I think you need to check your information about GM and Subaru; GM bought 20% of Fuji Heavy in 1999, and sold off their share (partially to Toyota) in 2005. The only reference I've found to any cross development in the original partnership was Saab’s 9-2x, which was a re-badged Subaru WRX. The idea that Subarus are somehow less reliable now is suspect.
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:39 AM on March 4, 2008

I love love love my subaru because it's been unbelievably reliable for me (50k+ miles in 3 years), and services have been cheap and I've never driven anything as reassuring in bad conditions as my Subie. Snow, driving rain, poor surfaces, gravel, high winds...never a white-knuckle moment.

I'm not sure why people say they are expensive to fix, they seem to easier to fix than most other modern cars I've dealt with, as in access to important components, price of parts, availability etc...seem better than average.

The downside is the mileage: 22 mpg (US) day in and day out. Regardless of city driving, mountains, traffic. I miss my old honda that got 33-36. However, subaru is supposed to be coming out with a small diesel for the EU market next year, which should push the mileage up to the high 30s - low 40s.

Also, the boot space in the Impreza wagon is pretty small, it's not much bigger than a hatchback. Are you sure Rascal would have enough room back there?

In your position, I'd probably keep the toyota until it was a total basket case (5-7 years), and then pick up a used subaru diesel wagon.
posted by gofargogo at 11:34 AM on March 4, 2008

« Older I don't want claws, but I don't want stubby nails...   |   Fonts are Faint Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.