Ranking The 10 Best Subaru WRX STI Generations To Buy Used (2023)

The Subaru Impreza as a car lineup itself has been around since 1992, and the WRX and WRX STI models are the high-performance variants of the car, offering quick acceleration, rallying heritage, and outrageous styling. The WRX STI name has become incredibly important in the car world, with fans loving practically everything about the models. Indeed, now with their rallying heritage, these vehicles have become incredibly nostalgic for fans who grew up with the cars whether it be seeing them race or seeing them on video games like Colin McRae Rally and WRC. As such, the fun surrounding the WRX STI models is never-ending for many fans, especially with the recent release of the 2021 model too.

Related: 10 Things We Love About The Subaru WRX STI

With the cars reaching iconic JDMstatus, the models on the used market are becoming all the more desirable, and lifelong enthusiasts finally may have the money to purchase them as they have grown up. There are many generations to the WRX STI so picking the top ten available on the used market was difficult, and not all of them are cheap for obvious reasons, one of the reasons being their status as motorsports icons. All of the cars on this list were fantastic, but some easily outshone others.

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10/10 Impreza WRX STI Cosworth

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Both of the Subaru Impreza and Cosworth names are incredibly famous within the car world, and the creation of the WRX STI Cosworth was a decent collaboration between the two. The vehicle is a regular (and underwhelming) Subaru Impreza STI spec turned by Cosworth. Tuned, the car comes with an upgraded turbocharger, producing 395 hp alongside 400 lb of torque and an upgraded chassis. Indeed, it is suited for performance and is a very fun sports car to drive.

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There were only 75 made, making the car very exclusive. Despite its speed not being as quick as many would like, going 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, the WRX STI Cosworth drives very well even if it does struggle with turbo-lag. It may not be the first choice of every enthusiast when buying an exclusive WRX STI, but the car is enjoyable and it is still one of the WRX STI cars to buy used, especially with the Cosworth badge.

9/10 Subaru Impreza Turbo Estate

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Also known as the Subaru SportWagon, the Subaru Impreza Turbo Estate appealed to those who wanted a bit of a more spacious car rather than the usual hot hatch, which was still fairly practical but still not as big. In terms of performance, the car came with fantastic handling, and the turbocharged engine makes it all the more exciting to drive. It isn't like a rally car, but it performs nicely and it is easy to still feel the rally heritage in the Turbo Estate.

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While the car may be showing its age now, the vehicle is still great to drive and there were regular updates that have made the car suitable throughout the times. Overall, the car is great if an enthusiast wants extra space but a muted rally experience. They could even be found adorned with the body kits and styling details found on more extreme Imprezas (like bonnet scoops and large chin spoilers).

8/10 WRX STI (2001)

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Coming with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the Subaru WRX STI 2001 model produces 276 hp while using an AWD set-up. Also coming with a limited-slip differential, the car is perfect for the rally driving that the WRX STI is suited for. The stock vehicle was outstanding and very fun to drive. Combining this with the sporty styling of the WRX STI makes the vehicle all the more performance-based and enthusiast-oriented.

Related: 10 Things Everyone Forgot About The Subaru Impreza

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Easily already a modern classic, the WRX STI from 2001 is a fantastic car for enthusiasts to purchase. Many are still available and providing they have been looked after, they are fantastic to use as a sports car but also in a more practical sense too. While they aren't attractive (nicknamed the blob eye), they do remain temptingly cheap to buy.

7/10 Impreza Colin McRae Edition

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Named after Colin McRae, the Scottish rally driver, the vehicle was made to celebrate his rallying success during the 1995 WRC, it really boosted the name of the Subaru Impreza. It was developed with ProDrive and it was an incredibly fun vehicle. The Prodrive Performance Pack boosted power to 240 hp too, adding to the general drivability of the car. Despite there being only 200 of these made, they have been loved and watched for a while now and the car is perfect for rallying.

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Very much a performance-based car, coming with quite a basic interior but with Speedline Safari alloy wheels and Recaro seats, the car was very sporty. For those who the car was available to, the UK market only at the time of launch, the car was an immensely fun vehicle and it is perfect for rallying, bringing plenty of nostalgia back for many.

6/10 WRX STI S203

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The S203 Subaru WRX STI was a part of the special edition model that got Subaru around the restrictions regarding the gentleman’s agreement which was limited to horsepower to 280 hp. The car was based on the second generation WRX STI and came with a 2.5-liter engine that was also turbocharged. Producing 320 hp, the WRX STI S203 offered a high amount of power, making it perfect for rallying.

In terms of performance-based styling, the 18-inch BBS alloys and improved suspension allowed for the car to be faster and better to drive when rallying. There were only 555 produced, so it isn’t an easy car to get a hold of, but if you can get one used, it is worth purchasing.

5/10 WRX STI Version One

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The 1994 Subaru WRX STI Version 1 was an exclusive car and it was available in only Japan and the European markets. It was the first Impreza WRX to come with the STI badge, so it holds importance in car history too. It came with carbon fiber strut bars and forged pistons, making it another perfect rallying car produced by Subaru. Indeed, combining this with the tuned engine producing 250 hp, and being able to go 122 mph at top speed.

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The figures were outstanding at the time f release, and they are still good credentials today. Also featuring the pink colors throughout, the Subaru WRX STI Version 1 pays homage to Japanese culture and the cherry blossom. As such, the car was culturally relevant as well as being a great vehicle.

4/10 Impreza WR1

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The WR1 car came around in 2004, bringing Subaru back to the rallying scene. It came with a 320 hp engine, already making it an instant hit amount enthusiasts who loved JDM cars with a high amount of power. Indeed, the car was specifically suited to rallying through the low ride height – 255 mm lower than the standard SI to be exact.

Related: These Are The Greatest Group A Rally Cars Ever

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The Impreza WR1 was another fast example of the WRX STI, but going 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds, but it does offer improvements over previous cars and it is a fantastic rallying car as the power is so impressive. Also highly practical, the WR1 is easy to use as a track car, family car, and as a daily driver too. For this reason, it makes it quite high up on the list as it is just so useable.

3/10 Impreza P1

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Often considered to be one of the best special editions ever, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI P1 was designed to be just that. Prodrive worked with Subaru to produce the car, modifying the car significantly. It dealt with the problem of high-powered variants being imported on the grey market, and Subaru made sure to produce an outstanding car. It was fast, going 0-60 mph in less than five seconds, which was very impressive for its time.

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The Prodrive updates were great too, with the anti-roll bars and firmer springs on the suspension making the setup all the better – and it worked perfectly on European roads. Indeed, the car was made with Europe in mind rather than another continent, but it is still a fantastic car to drive in the US. The Sonic Blue paint is an iconic and unique color used in this car, providing a sleek look and adding to the overall Subaru experience. As such, the car is a perfect vehicle to purchase if you can, especially as though it was such an iconic vehicle.

2/10 Impreza 555

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The Impreza 555 wasn’t exactly the most ground-breaking Subaru Impreza WRX STI. It came with a compact body and a flat-four boxer engine outputting 295 hp was a good amount. It came with a new turbocharger and a new intercooler, as well as an increased amount of responsiveness. But the car was to be the turnaround in the year 1995 for Subaru with the World Rally Championship being won in this car.

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As such, the car may not sound the most exciting on paper, but in use, the 555 is one outstanding rally car and one that is perfect for enthusiasts who want to own a piece of history. Indeed, it was one of the defining images of rallying during the 1990s and it remains to be an icon.

1/10 Impreza 22B

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Many consider the 22B to be the ultimate Impreza car. The car is often at the top of the rally car line-up, bringing a nice Level of being suitable on the road and for use in rallying. This was achieved in both power and appeal. The 2.2-liter boxer engine produced 280 hp, which was outstanding for a hot hatch during the 1990s. Indeed, as a special edition, there aren’t any Subaru Impreza STI models which come close.

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There were only 399 models made, so enthusiasts will have an incredibly hard time purchasing one. At the same time, these models aren’t exactly cheap either so there is a double-edged sword in owning one. Still, it is probably the best used Subaru ever on the market, let alone the car being the best from the WRX STI range and being a huge piece of history for those who are now old enough to appreciate the Impreza 22B in terms of its production, technology, and drivability.

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