Introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2001, the redesigned 2002 Imprezas went on sale in early spring. The basic lineup includes a sporty 2.5 RS sedan and a 2.5 TS Sport Wagon. Two offshoots of the Impreza also debuted in Chicago: a redesigned Outback Sport and a brand-new, turbocharged Impreza WRX series.
Once again, all Subarus have all-wheel drive. Subaru boasts of increased performance for the 2002 Impreza, as well as a greater level of refinement and more standard equipment than before. Occupant safety is enhanced by a new ring-shaped reinforcement frame body structure that is similar to that used in the larger Legacy and Outback models. The 2.5 RS sedan shares several features with the performance-oriented WRX, including a sport-tuned suspension and all-disc brakes.
Inspired by the Impreza World Rally Championship car, the 2.5 RS sedan features a blister-fender design and a bold front end with oval headlights and a trapezoidal grille. Subaru says that angled taillights and a lowered trunk line are supposed to create the impression of a wing section.
The 2.5 TS Sport Wagon substitutes prominent fender flares for the sedans fender blisters. Rear-quarter glass on the wagon overlaps the D-pillars, which produces the appearance of wraparound back glass. The 2.5 RS sedan has a wider front track dimension than the wagon. Sedans have 16-inch tires on alloy wheels, while the 2.5 TS Sport Wagon uses 15-inch steel wheels.
Seating five occupants, the Impreza has a new ratchet-type height adjustment for the driver, which permits 2 inches of vertical movement, and the range of the standard tilt-adjustable steering column has increased to 2 inches. The 2.5 TS Sport Wagon has a 60/40-split rear seatback that folds flat to extend the cargo area. When longer objects must be carried, the front passengers head restraint can be removed and the seatback folded forward.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power locks and windows (with automatic-down on the drivers side), and an 80-watt stereo with a CD player. The 2.5 RS includes cruise control, and embroidered floormats are optional on the 2.5 TS Sport Wagon.
Under the Hood
Borrowed from the larger Legacy and Forester, this years 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine develops 165 horsepower and 166 pounds-feet of torque a significant boost over the 142-hp, 2.2-liter engine used in the previous Impreza L series. A five-speed-manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional.
Subarus full-time all-wheel-drive system promises to produce maximum grip on all pavement surfaces. When equipped with an automatic transmission, the 2.5 RS and TS get active All-Wheel Drive, which transfers power to the wheels that need it even before any slippage occurs. Using several input sensors, the active system reacts to changes in weight transfer, which determines whether the vehicle is accelerating or decelerating.
Dual front airbags are standard, but side-impact airbags are not offered. Both body styles have antilock brakes. Three-point seat belts are installed for all five seating positions, and front belts have pretensioners and force limiters. Daytime running lights are standard, and the sedan has a self-illuminating internal child-safety trunk release.