My husband and I are expecting in August. He just bought a 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI from a friend and insists it’s a family car because it has 4 doors. After riding in it I can’t imagine putting our newborn in the car. It’s super loud and it feels like there’s no suspension at all. Is this a safe car for a baby? Or should he get something a little more family friendly? Any insight is appreciated.
The model itself is not as safe as newer, but probably safe enough if it is in good repair. There are some things that may be in need of repair based on your observations and would suggest a mechanic look it over and give you an idea of work that might be necessary.
It’s fine. The “feels like there’s no suspension” means the car has sharper handling than the average family sedan, which means you can swerve out of the way better when the drunk is heading for you. The super loud part can be fixed by installing a better muffler (a lot of WRX owners (and other sporty cars) install what we call fart-can exhausts because they think an exhaust that sounds like a giant farting angry bumblebee will convince others their car is really fast. Kind of a dumb thing to do on an STi, which is already impressively fast).
Let him have fun. He’s already made a concession by getting something with 4 doors instead of a Corvette
Car’s fine, how’s your husband’s driving? Does he get a little nuts behind the wheel? He’ll have to fix that, the WRX can bring out bad habits…
Just a note to people who disagree with opinion statements: Have the intestinal fortitude to post your reasons. This is a board for mature adults. It’s not reddit, no matter how much the admins are trying to make it look like it is.
Why not let him keep the STI and get yourself a minivan
Actually, a child may be less apt to get carsick in a car with a firmer ride. The car my parents had until I was 8 years old was a 1939 Chevrolet and was the low line model with a solid front axle. My mother’s sister said that the car “rode like a wheelbarrow”. I never got carsick in the Chevrolet. The Chevrolet was traded for a used 1949 Dodge and I did get carsick in that car. I read years later in an old Consumer Reports that the Dodge did have a sway in the back suspension and one should take that into consideration if the person were apt to be carsick and rode in the back seat. The Dodge did have a much softer ride than the Chevrolet.
My wife and I own an 2004 STi and bought it brand new. We have three boys who have grown up in this car and rode in it as newborns. The car is designed as a Rally car and 04 was the first year. You can look at it as the first family race car you’ll own.
More importantly than a concern about safety (the 04 has good ratings), you should be looking at the service record and any modifications the previous owner may have made. As a stock vehicle, the Sti is a 300 hp. turbo engine that is tough, but the '04 had an issue with the oil feed line to the turbo. There is a screen that must be removed.
Some of the previous comments mentioned suspension and yes, it is a stiff drive. It is very responsive and with AWD has a phenomenal feel to it. Subaru found a nice medium between the need of comfort and response.
Is it safe for the baby? If the car seat fits properly, yes it is safe.
This is a small sedan set up for performance. Lots of power and the hard suspension you mentioned makes for tight, crisp handling. It is actually is a very safe car since it can go around corners with ease and can make the quick movements necessary to avoid accidents. However, a performance car driven aggressively can be unsafe. Therefore, your husband may need to tone down his driving when the “baby is on board”.
Three words: Recaro Car Seat. =)
5-point racing harness for the car seat? (although the better ones seem to already have a variation on this)
I have a friend with a WRX STi and 4 children young children. He wanted a car that handled well with good performance yet still would function well as a family hauler. This is essentially a Subaru Impreza wagon with a hot engine. The Impreza wagon received 4 or 5 stars in the NHTSA crash tests in 2004. Your new arrival will be safe.
This is a fairly heavy, substantial car and I see no reason to worry about safety. The Impreza is a far cry from some of the 1,600 lb. sardine cans that came out in the '80s (remember the Geo Metro?). The Impreza STi is a 3,200 lb. car. Just remember: NOTHING has more of an effect on safety than the driver! Also, as mentioned above, check to see if it has a factory muffler on it and not a “fart can”. If not, you could get a good OEM spec muffler from Bozal or any other company that makes good exhaust parts.