Lifted Impreza Hatchback / Wagon – 3 Tips on How to Build it Right

  • Model: Subaru Impreza GG
  • Wheels: 27"
  • Category: Off-road Build
  • Capability Score: 35/70
  • Build Level: Starter Off-roader
  • Mods Budget: $$
  • Owner: Ryan Miller
3" Lifted Impreza hatchback with lifted suspension

Today on our review we have an awesome lifted Impreza Hatchback owned by Ryan Miller from Spokane, Washington. From the first look at the pictures of his car, you realize that it must be very fun to drive. Improved clearance and larger off-road tires with grippy thread open up a lot of new roads and possibilities to enjoy driving.

Thanks to the famous four-wheel drive system and capable boxer engines Subaru has developed a huge following throughout the world. Successful rally racing career has popularized Impreza models to the maximum. Nearly any local car meet gathers dozens of Subies modified to beat anyone on the road, but some of their owners just don’t want sticking with concrete roads.

Lifted Impreza Hatchback on ofroad wheels 2

Key Off-road Mods

Suspension & Lift

  • 2004 Subaru Forester struts and springs
  • 3/4” spacers from Primitive Racing
  • 1999 Subaru Outback trailing arm brackets
  • Rear camber bolts
  • Rear sway bar delete
  • Total lift: Just over 3″

Wheels & Tires

  • 15″ Method MR502 rally wheels
  • 205/75R15 General Grabber A/T tires

Exterior Modifications

  • Yakima LoadWarrior roof basket
  • LED lightbar
  • Trucker mud flaps

Interior Modifications

  • CB radio
  • PA speaker under front bumper
  • Rear seats removed
  • Trunk liner removed
Subaru Impreza WRX with offroad modifications

Lift Kit


Wheels


Roof Rack


Roof Top Tent


Awning


Lights

To ensure proper fit and compatibility, we recommend you verify any selected parts or accessories with a qualified professional or seller prior to ordering.

⚙️ Technical Details

Model: Subaru Impreza Wagon GG


Production years: 2001-2007


Approximate prices on the market (Used): $4,000-$7,000


Engine: 2.5L Boxer, Naturall Aspirated


Drivetrain: AWD


Construction: Unibody


Traction Enhancement Devices: Symmetric All Wheel Drive


Low Range: No


Stock wheel size: 195/55R16 – 24″


Offroad Wheel Size: 205/75R15 – 27″


Build Level: Starter Off-roader


Budget: $$


Off-road Capability Score: 35/70

How did we get this score?

Subaru Impreza with Yakima cargo basket

*We may earn a small commission if you purchase through our affiliate links in this article

Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system, standard on Imprezas of this era, was quite adept at handling loose surfaces and poor conditions even at stock ride height. While ground clearance could be limited, for those willing to get their hands dirty, lifting one of these cars poses an easily achievable challenge thanks to the wealth of online technical resources. With relatively basic mechanical skills and readily available suspension parts off the shelf from other models in Subaru lineup, you can readily raise these cars up substantially.

Interview with the owner

This lifted Subaru Impreza Hatchback was my first car and up until a few months ago my only car. After looking into the limited amount of useful mods that can be done to an n/a Impreza, I decided on a lift because it seemed like the simplest and easiest way to make the car more fun without spending a ton of money. I started with 1998 Outback suspension, which gave me about a 2.5 inch lift, but I switched to Forester suspension to get a little more lift along with a little more stiffness, and I was able to find the Forester suspension for only $100. Where I live, lowering Subaru’s seems to be the most popular way to go, but I wanted to stand out from the crowd and decided to go up instead of down. Lifting the Impreza also adds a great deal of utility to an already useful car, and has allowed me to explore the many backroads around the Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho area.

Ryan Miller

SUSPENSION

This 2003 lifted Subaru Impreza 2.5ts Station Wagon is powered by a bone stock naturally aspirated 2.5L flat four (non WRX).
The suspension modifications feature 2004 Subaru Forester struts and springs with 3/4 inch spacers from Primitive Racing, 1999 Subaru Outback trailing arm brackets, rear camber bolts, and rear sway bar delete, which gives a bit over 3 inches of lift in total.

WHEELS

Improved clearance and slightly trimmed bumpers allowed installing bigger tires, so Ryan fitted his car with 15 inch Method MR502 rally wheels wrapped in 205/75/15 General Grabber tires.

You may be wondering if there is some sort of skid plate installed for extra underside protection, and where you could acquire one. There is in fact a custom skid plate protecting vital components, however sourcing one for your own Impreza could be tricky. The skid plate protecting Ryan’s battlewagon is a unique, limited-run piece custom fabricated from a recycled street sign, making copies unavailable. So fabricating your own or sourcing a universal aftermarket skid would likely be required.

OFF-ROAD GOODIES

Yakima Loadwarrior roof basket equipped with bright LED lightbar and trucker mud flaps really add up to the stunning overland off-road style of this Subaru Impreza with a lift.

See Also
Old School JDM Toyota Land Cruiser 80 from Japan on 35s rock crawling

Among the interior mods, you will find a must-have for any offroad enthusiast and overlander CB radio with a PA speaker hidden under the front bumper. The rear seats and trunk liner were removed to free up some space for the gear.

subaru impreza lifted in the snow

Who would you like to mention or thank for the help on your project?

Everyone that has helped me along the way with this never-ending project!

Anything else that you would like to tell us about your awesome lifted Impreza?

I know Subaru doesn’t exactly have a great reputation when it comes to reliability, but my Impreza is almost at 200,000 miles and has never given me any real trouble besides basic maintenance needs. If anyone is thinking about getting a cheap car that does well off road and in the snow, but is smaller than an SUV, then an older Impreza with a nice lift is the way to go in my opinion. I might only be getting around 16 miles per gallon with the roof rack and all-terrain tires, but the fun I have in this car definitely makes up for that!

View Recommended Lift Kits For Subaru Impreza

How we test?

Offroadium Verdict & Score Explained

We have created our own rating and classification system to differentiate and evaluate the off-road capabilities of vehicles showcased on Offroadium. Based on it, we can conclude the following:

Off-Road Capability Score: 35/70

With Subaru’s renowned AWD system combined with the lifted suspension, aggressive all-terrain tires (30 points as per our rating systems), and improved protection (5 Points), this Impreza achieves an off-road score of 35 out of 70 – placing it well into our “off-road ready” build category. The superb traction afforded by the symmetric AWD and ample grip of the General Grabber tires empower drivers to explore far beyond what a stock Impreza could achieve. And its reasonable size and weight maintain maneuverability on tight trails. It’s a very well-rounded battlewagon build perfect for escaping civilization on weekends while comfortably carrying camping gear.

Complexity Level: Starter Off-roader

The lift kit, properly modified suspension geometry, oversized tire fitment, and integrated accessory selection push this into our middle-level build category – representing extensive upgrades for much improved capability.

Budget: $$

With quality parts selected to boost capability without breaking the bank, we classify this as 2 out of 5 rating on our budget scale. The core upgrades were achieved at a reasonable cost while still improving competence – perfectly suiting the Subaru’s adventure intentions.

In summary, Ryan built a very convincing overlander that aptly demonstrates how big capability gains can happen on a modest budget by sticking to the essentials.

Author’s Opinion

As an experienced mechanic and off-road journalist having covered hundreds of unique builds, Ryan’s lifted 2003 Subaru Impreza hatchback immediately impressed me with its cost-effective blend of improved capability and rugged style. By smartly incorporating suspension, tires, and key accessories like the roof basket, the owner transformed his bone-stock grocery-getter into a pretty capable off-road car ready to competently explore unpaved roads.

The Forester lift kit, properly adjusted alignment, and ample tire sidewall clearance demonstrate that function is the key in this build. And little touches like the street sign skid plate and personalized mud flaps showcase Ryan’s creative personality. For Subaru fans seeking more adventure at a reasonable price, this battlewagon builds the right foundation.

Pros

  • Very Affordable AWD vehicle
  • Pretty capable symmetric All Wheel Drive
  • Good aftermarket support
  • A lot of tried and tested off-road solutions and knowledge on Subaru forums

Cons

  • Limited ground clearance and wheel travel
  • Not as durable and rugged as the 4×4 SUVs

Stay tuned for more project reviews on Offroadium.com – Follow us on social media, and share this write-up if you enjoyed reading it!

View Comments (6)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Question? Contact us at [email protected]

©Offroadium.com 2024 
All Rights Reserved.