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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings, everyone. Prospective owner here - looking to order an Impreza hatch within the next couple of months. Test drove a used 2019 sport model today and was very impressed with the overall package, including driving and handling. Was initially set on getting the base model with a manual transmission and building it up from there (wheels, rear sway bar and suspension upgrades, if possible). Had some questions for the owners:

  • Any oil consumption issues with the recent model years? I heard/read that design changes addressed this issue from the 2019 model year onwards. For the record, I am very meticulous about maintenance and oil changes.
  • I read the threads about a rear sway bar not being standard on the base model. Would Subaru service install this for me? I don't have the means to do this install myself. Would anyone happen to know how much the OEM parts would cost in total?
  • How different is the "sport-tuned" suspension of the sport as compared to the base?
  • I see that the sport comes standard with the short throw shifter (this is what I drove today). I was thinking of installing this as an option on the base. Has anyone done this? I know that it is an available option for install from Subaru parts, but wanted to know the experience of folks who have done the swap.
  • Any other things to be aware of before I make the commitment?

I wonder if it would be better to pony up the cash and size up the sport model, or whether I can start with the base model and build it up over time to handle similar to the sport model. The latter would be my ideal scenario. I am purchasing this car to teach my daughter how to drive a manual transmission - the car will eventually be given to her for her use. Hoping to add suspension bits and nice wheels as we go along and as she learns.

Thanks to everyone for their inputs and their time.
 

· ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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First off welcome :)

I will try to answer a few and I hope others chime in as well.

this page will answer a ton of questions too

2019 Impreza Subaru specs, options, prices, dimensions, measurements and more

I have a 2019 Sport. I also like to mod my cars. Personally I think you would be better off getting the sport with the upgrades you plan on doing eventually. It's going to cost a lot more in time and money to do the things after the fact. Yes it comes with the short throw shifter. It's okay but I installed a Kartboy SS myself and I think it's much better. You can look in my sig to see some of the mods I've done including the shifter

About the short throw shifter. The upgraded one involves a lot of the linkage but the only real difference is the lever itself and the pivot point. It's a lot more involved to swap that out than just get an aftermarket one and do the lever only. There is also a front and rear bushing you can swap out to a stiffer material. Improves feel but of course NVH will also increase.

The sport suspension has different dampers and the wheels have lower profile tires with sway bars so the ride will obviously be different.

Buried in the link above

Sport tuned suspension
Front- independent Stablex struts with coil springs, lower L arms, stabilizer bar. Stablex front MacPherson struts and rear shock absorbers are larger in diameter and have revised internal valves designed to deliver a more stable ride and more responsive handling.front
Rear- independent, double wishbone, coil spring, rear stabilizer bar
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a few other things, the sport has a push button start with prox sensor. So the doors will open and lock by using your hand by the handle. At night the interior lights will come on as you approach the car, a safety feature for your kid eventually. There is a button on the rear hatch that you can use to program in a PIN press code to unlock the car when you have the remote fob.

Subaru's have a Hill Holder Clutch feature, it's on by default. The car will be held from rolling back on a hill for 3 seconds while you move your foot from the brake to the clutch. I've disabled the feature because it bugs me. Honestly if you want to teach your kid the right way to drive a manual, I'd disable it first, that's just me though. Seems like a crutch and if they get in a car without it they will be in for a surprise.

Good luck and I'm glad you are going to teach your kid to drive manual. I taught both of my kids too. I know it's a dying art.
 

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Hello :)
1) Oil issues truly have been squashed it appears .... I have many many friends who have bought Impreza's and I always ask them if ver they have the oil light or if they check their oil on regular basis - nada ! Nothing .... I think if so on odd situations ....
2&3) To be honest I have only driven the sport model even when I test drove it long time ago when I could't buy a new car ..... unless you want fake/real leather I think sport is where the sweet spot it for added bonuses and drive ; she corners better then I think they ever tested her at the factory ;)
3) When optioning a base you can - or at least you were able to add it as an option - I think this should be a non issue / truly .

So the thing is how do you wish to use this car, how much would you like to be engaged while driving , how much do you want to pay for a car and do you like to worry excessively about your car......

I do appreciate the choice I made when I bought mine as it was just returned from a lease when I picked it up as preowned .... yes the primary owner changed the oil twice at 9 000 miles and more and yes the dealer never really shared this info ... mine came with allot - i mean allot of goodies and options that would have made the care 10 000 more but i got a good deal and sooner and later Subaru was kind and they did switch engine as mine did suffer from consumption lol ......but ownership has been nothing but amazing .

1) Golf R : 46 0000 + if you can even find one ( Manual and AWD)
2) Impreza 20 000 + You can actually find one / order one (Manual and AWD )
3) Honda Civic hatch - great car ( truly ) beautiful design inside and out but FWD ( can get in manual)

The Impreza doesn't shine in luxury or power - that's ok as she'll shine when she's pulling your neighbor out of a snow bank ; she'll also shine when you get done with payment faster then your neighbor !!!! And you know what - when you have the window open and you have good company ( including dogs) in the car - who cares about all the other things :)

With best wishes .
Car Cloud Land vehicle Sky Vehicle
 

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yo man, I have a 22 5MT base, bought it new. wanted to comment on the short throw shifter (STS). it was an option I could add alone, it was 250 plus labor so it was like 300 bucks, and having test drove a base without it, and having put just over 8k on the car with the STS, its an absolute must, and shouldn't be a problem for you. the main thing the sport model will come with over the base is wheels, STS, skirts, and interior. wheels IMO arent worth it due to wanting aftermarket as you stated. STS is 300 bucks to add to a base. the sport interior is nicer, no way else to put it, but the base interior is IMO more than adequate. and finally, you will get the sport side skirts. if you plan to lower the car and throw a lip on the front, these will help to make the car look more of a uniform height all around, but IMO they look ok but don't really match the look of older gen Imprezas, so that's more of a preference. to me, saving the 3k or so, (or whatever they are charging for the upgrade right now) and spending it on wheels/tires, maybe a shift knob, and the short throw and sway bar from the sport would be a better deal, but I was on a tight budget, you may have more freedom. also, for what it's worth, while the sport suspension may handle a little better than stock, BCRacing makes Coilovers for our cars that are going to perform better than any trim once dialed in. they cost about a grand, and are probably the #1 performance mod you can do to one of these cars. good luck and enjoy.
 

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2017 Subaru Impreza Sport
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Hello there. I am a 2017 Sport hatchback owner. I am going to honestly address your questions and concerns.
1. Oil Consumption
It will only consume oil if you do lots of high rpm down shifts. I know since I use to drive aggressively to have fun and would do high rpm down shifts especially into 2nd gear hitting over 5k. When I changed my driving behavior which was recently I haven't experienced any more oil consumption and it's going to approaching my 2nd oil change after I adjusted my driving behavior. I rarely down shift to 2nd gear unless I am doing sporty driving. I find 4th going to 3rd is enough to slow down down from highway speeds. when is gets below 1.5k rpm in 3rd I just brake and thrown it in neutral.
2. Swaybar
You are better off having the Sport model with its preinstalled sway bar. I am not sure what needs to be done to add a sway bar to a Base that may or may not have the mounting points for a sway bar to be later added.
3. As mentioned by peaty the Sport suspension is much better. You dont have to upgrade anything. As you said its going to be your daughter's car so it will be more reliable on the Sport stock setup than any other setup in the aftermarket plus you saving over 1,000 dollars for the parts and installation.
4. Short Throw Shifter
I am honestly impressed with the Sports short throw shifter. The shifts are truely sport and crisp. I only recommend getting a weighted shift knob thats a direct screw on and not those with adapters and set screws. I personally have the Grim Speed weight knob that is solid metal and weighs a solid pound. It makes shifting so much smoother. The stock knob isnt heavy enough and makes the shifting feel very notchy. The weighted knob smooths it all out. You will still have that solid feel of the knob locking into each gear slot. Check it out ok.

To be Mentioned:
1. 18inch wheels wrapped in 225/40-18 tires
2. Torque Vectoring that brakes the inside turning wheel. Works great!!
3. Sportier look all-around, side skirts, better looking front and rear bumpers.
4. LED DRLs in front bumper in place of fogs. I find the setup great and really dont see the need for fogs. Also the DRLs turn off when Headlights are on.
5. Nicer interior with the red accents and red lighting on the dash and knobs.
6. Sport metal pedals with rubber knob grips
7. 8in center display is standard on the Sport

Pricing: Subaru Impreza 5door Base with no options $21,315
Subaru Impreza 5door Sport with no options $25,015

Cons: Seems to be that no packages are currently available.
 

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I have a 2019 Sport CVT. No oil consumption issue.

With regards to suspension, it does feel stiffer than a base model I had test-driven. However, I had one of my front strut replaced and I did not see a difference in part number between Base and Sport model, so I don't really know where the difference lies.
 

· ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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I have a 2019 Sport CVT. No oil consumption issue.

With regards to suspension, it does feel stiffer than a base model I had test-driven. However, I had one of my front strut replaced and I did not see a difference in part number between Base and Sport model, so I don't really know where the difference lies.
While I'm sure you can put the strut on any trim, there are different part numbers to the struts. Looks like they base it on the OEM wheel size.

Struts & Components for 2019 Subaru Impreza | Subaru Online Parts
 

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Rather than create a new thread, I am in a similar situation as the OP and had similar questions. I have never owned a Subaru, but have a friend who owns a 2015 Crosstrek CVT with about 60k and have driven it around a bit - including the snow. I replaced a bad front wheel bearing on the vehicle along with the brakes. I am a bit surprised that the heat shield brackets rust out and the A/C died (seems like a common issue with this year). I have only owned front wheel drive cars and used dedicated snow tires/steel wheels as I live in the Buffalo, NY, area. As a side note, I will say that the Goodyear Assurance Weatherready tires recently installed work very well with the Crosstrek in the snow.

I am looking at the manual Impreza HB as it seems like the most practical option for me (I am looking for a HB) and I am not crazy about the look of the Crosstrek. The Impreza also seems to be relatively simple compared to other manufacturers/vehicles. I was looking at the Sport, but living in the Buffalo NY area, I would like to have dedicated snow tires/wheels. From my research and unless I am missing something, it looks like you can only use 18" wheels (or larger). In the past, I have typically downsized the tire size (i.e. go from a 16-inch to a 15-inch wheel with the snows) as the tire is narrower had does not drive on top of the snow.

I am wondering if anyone has any input, suggestions, opinions, etc.

Thanks
 

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2017 Subaru Impreza Sport
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Rather than create a new thread, I am in a similar situation as the OP and had similar questions. I have never owned a Subaru, but have a friend who owns a 2015 Crosstrek CVT with about 60k and have driven it around a bit - including the snow. I replaced a bad front wheel bearing on the vehicle along with the brakes. I am a bit surprised that the heat shield brackets rust out and the A/C died (seems like a common issue with this year). I have only owned front wheel drive cars and used dedicated snow tires/steel wheels as I live in the Buffalo, NY, area. As a side note, I will say that the Goodyear Assurance Weatherready tires recently installed work very well with the Crosstrek in the snow.

I am looking at the manual Impreza HB as it seems like the most practical option for me (I am looking for a HB) and I am not crazy about the look of the Crosstrek. The Impreza also seems to be relatively simple compared to other manufacturers/vehicles. I was looking at the Sport, but living in the Buffalo NY area, I would like to have dedicated snow tires/wheels. From my research and unless I am missing something, it looks like you can only use 18" wheels (or larger). In the past, I have typically downsized the tire size (i.e. go from a 16-inch to a 15-inch wheel with the snows) as the tire is narrower had does not drive on top of the snow.

I am wondering if anyone has any input, suggestions, opinions, etc.

Thanks
Hey you came to the right place. How soon do you need to get the car? If you can wait I would hold off till the new Impreza full redesign is coming soon. I just went on the Subaru website and show that the Base or Sport don't have any packages available to add. I found that quite odd but than again look at the time we are in today. I think they are trying to push out all the last remaining Imprezas to make room for the redesigned model. The only issue with waiting for the redesign is that the manual goes out the window which is huge negative for me personally. I currently own a 17 Sport and I am very impressed with everything about it. I understand your need for Winter tires which is very smart. I think you should be fine with 18 inch Winter tires. The Sport wheels are only 7.5 inches wide so they are still slim enough to cut through the snow instead of plowing through like wider tires. I honestly haven't had issues using the stock all season tires through the winter months. In the end I highly recommend the Sport if you want the 5speed.
 

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2019 sport owner here, just some advice to consider:
While I applaud you in teaching your daughter on how to drive a manual, keep in mind that when selling the car, the fact it has a manual will REDUCE the selling price. If you are getting a stock model, I'd recommend going for the manual, since it seems there is really no 'override' for the CVT in that configuration, and the CVT will do some annoying things. However, on the sport (and other premium models), the paddle shifter make all the difference in the world in having a shifter you can live with. For those models, I'd recommend the CVT, ironically.
And, as for the suspension setup, unless she's doing SCCA slalom events, the stock suspension is probably more livable, since the Sport is really quick stiffly-sprung. Also, the 40-series tires on the sport really require your constant vigilance to avoid rim-bending potholes.
 

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As a '22 Sport owner I can at least contribute my purchasing decisions - I wanted a manual, and the larger screen. The AWD was another consideration. Originally I wanted a WRX, but that was out of my price point.

As for the additional non-mentioned differences, the multi-function display has digital gauges that would be more helpful for a daily driver (coolant temp & oil temp) Which aren't available on the gauge cluster. The shift knob is leather and in my opinion more resilient to wear than a vinyl or urethane shifter.
The CD player that's been used by myself quite often, and not available on the base (premium Forester has it so I imagine the premium Impreza does too, just not with the 8" display). Front hood comes with sound insulation and from other drivers who've added one to their base model it makes a significant difference in NVH.
I've been very happy with my purchase, the Sport trim handles really well, nearly as great as my Miata. Which at about 1.5x the weight and 1.5x the power, it's been a blast to drive when I don't want to take out the convertible. Sport trim has wider rims and lower sidewall, so to note if you prefer larger sidewall tires, you would want to change it or go with the Base if the other features mean nothing to you.
Visors have mirrors and lights. Sport headlamps have separate high&lo beams, and the high beam is not the DRL. Base models have capacity for fog lamps in place of the DRLs.
I personally think the Sport trim is worth it over Base if you really want a solid set of amenities like the larger stereo and retain the manual transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My goodness, that was a set of very insightful, helpful, detailed and positive responses. I really appreciate that. Sorry for the delay in responding, got caught up with weekend errands.

I won't be able to respond to everyone individually, but here is a combined response to everyone.

A little back story. Yes, both my daughter and I are car enthusiasts, and she wants to learn to drive a manual transmission. Kudos to everyone who is trying to keep this art alive in the final days of the ICE.

I prefer to hang on to my cars, and don't intend to sell the car anytime soon. I was seriously looking at the Toyota Corolla hatch, but Toyota dropped the manual transmission for this model year and onwards. The Civic manual hatch is around $27k, which I think is ridiculous for an entry-level car. Plus, Honda dealers are price-gouging with markups and dealer-installed add-ons. I did not realize at the time that the base Impreza is so much more affordable, and that is the primary factor that has me consider the base version. Let me list the pros and cons of the base as they apply to my case:

BASE:
PROS:
  • The price is very attractive. $21k or so for AWD, hatchback and a manual transmission is a very attractive price point. This is just a bit more than a used car with a crazy amount of miles in today's crazy used car market.
  • I would really like to keep my monthly payments as low as possible, especially since this is a first car for my daughter. In any case, it is a significant upgrade over a used vehicle for a first-time driver.
  • I'm okay with not having the fancy goodies like the second LCD and stuff like that. Even my daughter prefers minimalism in her car, and is insisting that we get the base over the sport. As long as the basic car is solid and reliable, we are good to go. I know that Subarus have good crash test scores. She can eventually get whichever car she wants when she grows up.
  • I can teach my daughter on a car with no frills, just as back in the old days when cars were not computers on wheels. She can get a solid driving experience with no electronic doodads to distract her.
  • No alloy wheels is actually an advantage at this time - I was planning on letting her scuff up the wheel covers for the first couple of years while she learns (no mods during that time), and then slowly adding mods as she gets more proficient. That way, she can appreciate the subtle changes and differences in the driving dynamics and handling. She can be a part of the process and we can build out the car together. I am thinking of sapphire blue for the car, and then eventually getting these wheels:


  • Can customize the installed components to be sportier or less sporty than factory, as needed.
  • My daughter played with the short throw shifter in the sport while the engine was off (clutch pedal fully depressed), and mentioned that she actually liked the notchy feeling. She was comparing this to the buttery-smooth GTI shifter that she tried out at an auto show. She said that it felt good to actually feel the bushings/shift linkage.
  • Reassuring to know that oil consumption problems have been resolved (also true for the Sport).
  • Did I mention the price? LOL!

CONS:
  • No rear sway bar. Seriously, Subaru? Is this a marketing/price gouging thing to arm-twist driving enthusiasts step up to the sport version?
  • I read the DIY sway bar install thread on the forum, and it is an involved process. Dropping the exhaust does not sound like fun, even if I get the sway bar installed professionally. Hopefully, I can find a competent mechanic to do the install for me when needed.
  • Can potentially be more expensive in the long run as compared to paying the money upfront for the sport with all the goodies installed at the start.

=======

SPORT:
Pros:
  • Suspension and handling bits. I was very impressed with the buttoned-down handling of the sport version, even on the freeway.
  • All else being equal, the upgrades are nice to have, no question about it.
  • 18-inch alloy wheels standard.

Cons:
* Price: It's around a $3.7k premium (give or take) over the base. I'm having a hard time justifying that, as it translates to a difference of around $70 a month on a 5-6 year loan, higher on shorter-term loans. Especially given that this a first car for a beginner driver.


At this time, I am leaning towards ordering a base in sapphire blue with the short throw shifter and the LED fog lamps. But, the omission of that rear sway bar is really bothering me. I called a Subaru service station and asked if they could install the sway bar for me. They told me that since a base VIN number lookup does not list the part, I am out of luck. They are not willing to order the part for a Sport and do an install on a base. Interestingly, the Subaru website has a generic description saying that all models have front and a rear stabilizer bar, which is strange.

Product Azure Rectangle Font Material property



Plan on placing my order around the end of February or the beginning of March, so I still have time to decide.

Thanks for reading this essay, appreciate the friendliness and the support. Look forward to being an active part of the forum.

On another note, @peaty, it's nice to see a Nikon user here. Is that a single-digit pro DSLR, or a DSLR with a vertical grip attached? Have you made the jump to the Z mount yet?
 

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2017 Subaru Impreza Sport
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You are very welcome. You came to the right place for sure.
After reading what you had to say the Base model makes sense for a first time teen driver.
I have to say that the lack of a rear sway bar shouldn't be a issue. Yes it reduces rear body roll. As you said you can always install one and make it good one like White Line for both front and rear.
You have a good point that she would be better off without the extra tech of the Sport. I find the Base to be a great beginner car that's also very safe and has road confident awd. You can't go wrong with the Base.
I would get it purely stock with no add-ons. I would test out the stock shifter and see how much of a difference the short throw would make. If she likes it more get the short throw add on. It make logical sense that way since you won't have to buy and install an after market one. The short throw shifter Subaru offers is pretty great in my own opinion.
In the end the Base will be a great reliable car that will provide a great learning platform for her and dependable form of transportation throughout all the seasons of the year.
I would try to find one that's on the lot to save some cash or just order one at the MSRP to make it truly her own.
 

· ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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On another note, @peaty, it's nice to see a Nikon user here. Is that a single-digit pro DSLR, or a DSLR with a vertical grip attached? Have you made the jump to the Z mount yet?
Yes, I have both single and few DSLR's like an 850 and 800. I do photography for work and as a major hobby :) No I have not made the jump to the Z mount yet though.

If you have a new driver or a driver up to 18 years old, I highly recommend the SCCA /Tire Rack & BMWs' Street Survival course. Both my kids have done it and I will volunteer to photograph the event when it's local.

This gives real world situations in their own car but in a safe place with an instructor in the car. They have some classroom training discussing suspension dynamics, how ABS works etc. This isn't a racing course it's a what happens when you use ABS and things like wet and dry skid pad setups. They bring in a Semi Truck and have the kids park their cars around them and sit in the trucks driver seat to see what they see. They even detonate an airbag with a cone on top to show how powerful they are. Honestly, the best 95 bucks you'll ever spend.

School information for students | Tire Rack Street Survival

This is when my youngest took the course with a 2001 Forester S (red) in the photos, still have the car @ 224K miles. I was driving it yesterday

Tire Rack Street Survival - Kansas City BMW SCCA - 9-26-15 / by Pete Romano

My oldest in my 2010 Legacy 3.6R (blue)

Tire Rack Street Survival Course in Topeka 2011
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@Rowing-without-paddles I'm a fan of short throw shifters, and will probably include that in the order since it is not terribly expensive. That, and the LED fog lamps. We'll probably place an order since she wants it configured in a specific way.

@peaty Thanks for the suggestion on the SCCA street survival course. I have heard only good things about this course in the past, and I agree that it would be a good idea for any new driver to attend. Will wait to see when they arrange one in my area. Nice pics, BTW.

On a more general level, is the FB20D engine finally free from the curse of the head gasket issues? I did see a couple of members on the forum reporting head gasket issues, but is it safe to assume that the likelihood of head gasket failure is relatively low as compared to earlier Impreza generations?
 

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Headgasket issues have largely been relegated to a few % of owners - a family member's FB25B in a 2016 Forester Premium has been keeping its headgasket (crossing fingers I didn't just jinx it).

It seems most headgasket issues have been the early model FB's and just the EJ family of motors. Which, after this year, the EJ won't be installed from the factory in any new vehicles, with the WRX STI having been discontinued. My cousin has a 2016 FA20F WRX with no issues going on 90k miles, where both the FA and FB engines are very closely related.
 

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You are making a very wise and smart decision by ordering the Base model. I hope you get a good deal of MSRP or less. I wouldn't pay anything over MSRP. I am sure you can make the deal happen. You have the upper hand since for one you are in no rush to order like some car buyers. Best of luck with your order. Keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You are making a very wise and smart decision by ordering the Base model. I hope you get a good deal of MSRP or less. I wouldn't pay anything over MSRP. I am sure you can make the deal happen. You have the upper hand since for one you are in no rush to order like some car buyers. Best of luck with your order. Keep us updated.
Thanks! I found a dealer that is offering MSRP. To be fair, most of the Subaru dealers in my area are not charging over MSRP. Also, no mandatory dealer-installed options like paint protection, GPS tracking and all that garbage. Such a refreshing change to see Subaru deviating from the despicable dealership practices. I'm seeing the Civic Type R and GR Corolla marked up by up to $30,000.

Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome and the insightful advice. Will be in touch when I place my order and with future developments.
 

· ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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If you do your own mods, this is a good option over the OEM short shifter, if you want both shorter throws and a lower shift knob:

Kartboy Short Shifter and Knob on 2019 Impreza Sport

Keep in mind in those photos I was replacing the OEM short shifter that comes with the Sport. Just changing the OEM knob to the KB made the knob sit lower but also changing the lever moves the fulcrum point so the throws are shorter. The NVH will go up a little though. This can be a pro or con depending on how you look at it I suppose. The OEM lever looks fatter because the top rod sits in the lower half surrounded by rubber to dampen the NVH. When shifting with the KB setup I have more feel but it will also send a little more noise in the cabin. Always a trade off.

If you like to poke around YouTube, check out Mr Subaru's channel, he has a lot of good info around head gaskets and other things.

https://www.youtube.com/@MrSubaru1387
 

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2023 Impreza base sedan 5 spd
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Purchased a 2023 base MT back in October last year.

Immediately put on Drag DR-34 8x18 +35 offset and Mich Primacy A/S 235/40. Some rubbing at highway speeds hitting dips. I plan to put on BR Racing coilovers to see if this helps. I like pokies so I'm keeping them one way or the other!

Short shifter added last month. Love it. However, two weeks later (coincidence?), the car is 'chirping' on startup and letting out the clutch. The chirp is very short but it's there. Squeaky serpintine belt, throwout bearing, not sure at this point.

Yesterday, added a JVC head unit, 300 watt amp, speakers and box. So I can check the audio box.

I see buying a sport model like buying a prebuilt gaming box. What's the fun in that? Much more fun to start basic and build. :)


Good luck!
 
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