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Is the Subaru Impreza WRX a Good Car?

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The Subaru Impreza WRX is an iconic performance car that has captured the hearts of driving enthusiasts across Canada. With its rich rally racing heritage and legendary all-wheel-drive capability, the WRX has earned a reputation for delivering exhilarating thrills and confidence-inspiring control on any road surface.


But is the WRX more than just a weekend toy for enthusiasts? Can it truly serve as a practical and livable daily driver in the diverse Canadian climate? This comprehensive guide takes an in-depth look at the latest Subaru Impreza WRX models to help Canadian buyers decide if this rally-bred sports sedan is the right choice for their needs.


From dissecting its reliability and common issues to evaluating its driving dynamics, everyday livability, performance potential, and overall value, we’ll explore every aspect of the WRX ownership experience. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of whether the Subaru Impreza WRX deserves a spot in your driveway as the ultimate all-weather, all-purpose performance machine.

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Reliability: How the WRX Stacks Up

When it comes to reliability, the current Subaru Impreza WRX models have made significant strides compared to older generations. Gone are the days of widespread head gasket failures that plagued earlier WRX engines. The latest 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine has proven to be a robust and dependable powerplant, instilling confidence in buyers.

While no car is perfect, common issues reported by WRX owners include oil consumption, clutch wear on manual transmission models, and occasional infotainment system glitches. However, these are relatively minor concerns compared to catastrophic engine failures of the past. Proper maintenance and addressing problems promptly can help mitigate these issues.

Industry-wide reliability surveys consistently rank the Subaru Impreza, including the WRX variant, above average for the compact car segment. Reputable sources like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power have given the Impreza lineup favorable scores for predicted reliability and overall dependability.

For those considering a used WRX, it’s essential to carefully inspect the maintenance records and have a trained mechanic evaluate the vehicle. Look for signs of any deferred maintenance, abuse, or improper modifications that could impact long-term reliability. Purchasing from a reputable source and getting a comprehensive vehicle history report can provide valuable insights and peace of mind.

 

Driving Thrills: Cornering, Speed and Control

At the heart of the Subaru Impreza WRX’s driving experience is its symmetrical all-wheel drive system. Unlike many rivals that utilize front-wheel drive or rear-biased AWD setups, the WRX has a balanced 50/50 torque split. This provides incredible traction and grip in all conditions, helping the WRX cling to the road like a rally car.

The low center of gravity and stiff suspension tuning allow the WRX to carve corners with minimal body roll. Steering is direct and communicative, providing plenty of feedback to the driver. While the ride is on the firm side, it pays dividends in handling confidence. The WRX darts into turns eagerly and powers out with all four wheels clawing for traction.

Powering this corner-carving prowess is a 2.4L turbocharged boxer engine producing 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. With a 0-60 mph sprint in the low 5 second range, the WRX has serious straight-line performance credentials too. The distinct boxer engine rumble and turbo whoosh add to the visceral driving experience.

For purists, Subaru still offers the WRX with a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission. The crisp take-up and short throws make it an absolute joy to wring every rev out of the turbo engine. A precise clutch further enhances the involving driving feel. Those wanting convenience can opt for the Sport Lineartronic CVT which simulates traditional gearshifts in manual mode.

 

Everyday Livability: Driving the Subaru WRX in Canada

While the WRX is undoubtedly a high-performance sports car, it surprisingly excels as a daily driver in Canada. The interior offers ample space for a compact, with enough headroom and legroom to comfortably seat four adults. The hatchback design also provides a versatile cargo area, making it easy to load up for weekend adventures.

One of the most significant improvements in recent model years is the WRX’s ride quality. Subaru has retuned the suspension to deliver a smoother, more compliant ride without sacrificing handling precision. While still on the firm side compared to mainstream sedans, the latest WRX soaks up bumps and potholes far better than its predecessors.

Road and wind noise were once major drawbacks for the WRX, but Subaru has made strides in sound insulation. It’s now on par with other performance compacts, though luxury brands still have an edge in overall cabin quietness. The upside is a more engaging auditory experience, with the boxer engine’s distinctive rumble always present.

Despite packing over 300 horsepower, the WRX’s fuel economy is respectable for its class. With the latest 2.4L turbo engine and standard all-wheel drive, owners can expect around 22 mpg in mixed driving. That’s on par with less powerful rivals like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Si.

Of course, no discussion of daily driving in Canada would be complete without addressing winter capabilities. Here the WRX shines, with its advanced symmetrical all-wheel drive system providing tenacious grip on snow and ice when equipped with proper winter tires. Heated seats and a wiper de-icer also make battling Canadian winters more bearable.

 

Tuning Potential and Aftermarket Support

One of the biggest appeals of the Subaru WRX for driving enthusiasts is its immense tuning potential. Right out of the box, the turbocharged 2.4L boxer engine makes an impressive 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. However, with some basic bolt-on modifications and a proper tune, it’s relatively easy and safe to push output well over 350 horsepower.

The WRX’s FA24 engine responds exceptionally well to simple upgrades like an aftermarket downpipe, intake, and ECU remap. More advanced builds can incorporate larger turbochargers, fuel system upgrades, and internal engine work to reliably achieve 400+ hp. The stout boxer design and symmetrical AWD system allow the WRX to put down this level of power very effectively.

Luckily for Canadian WRX owners, there’s an extensive aftermarket parts and tuning support network across the country. Popular online retailers like Subispeed, JDM Sport, and RallySport Direct have warehouses supplying everything from basic dress-up items to complete turbo kits. Many specialty Subaru performance shops also operate in major cities.

Beyond just drag strip performance, the WRX also shines as an affordable entry into grassroots motorsports. Its combination of AWD traction, stiff chassis, and tuning headroom make it ideal for rallycross, autocross, and track events. The high-performance Brembo brakes can handle repeated heat cycles from sustained track use better than most in this price range.

 

Subaru WRX Pricing and Value in Canada

One of the major selling points of the Subaru WRX in Canada is its affordability compared to luxury performance rivals. With a starting MSRP around $30,000, the WRX undercuts competitors like the Volkswagen Golf R, Honda Civic Type R, and entry-level BMW and Mercedes models by a significant margin.

However, it’s important to factor in the higher cost of ownership and maintenance for a performance-oriented vehicle like the WRX. Consumables like high-performance tires, brake pads, and premium fuel will add extra costs over more economical compact cars. Insurance rates also tend to be higher due to the WRX’s performance potential.

That said, the WRX delivers tremendous bang for your buck in terms of driving thrills per dollar spent. Few cars at this price point can match its blistering acceleration and capable all-weather handling. Subaru also offers attractive financing and lease options through Subaru Canada Finance to make monthly payments more affordable.

Another area where the WRX shines is resale value. Thanks to its cult following and demand outstripping supply, lightly used WRX models command top dollar on the Canadian pre-owned market. This helps offset the higher upfront costs versus mainstream compact cars when it comes time to sell or trade-in.

For driving enthusiasts seeking an affordable entry into world-class sports car performance without the premium badge markup, the Subaru WRX represents a tremendous value proposition in Canada. Just be sure to budget for its higher operating costs over more pedestrian transportation.

 

The Subaru WRX Ownership Experience

Owning a Subaru WRX in Canada is about much more than just the car itself – it’s a lifestyle and community experience. Long-term WRX owners rave about the engaging driving dynamics that never grow old, even after years of spirited daily driving. The robust build quality means these rally-bred sports sedans can rack up high mileage without major issues when properly maintained.

A vibrant enthusiast scene surrounds the WRX in Canada, with online forums, regional meet-ups, and track day events. Subaru embraces this community, offering contingency payouts for amateur racers as well as branded gear and accessories. Customizing and modifying WRXs is a beloved pastime in Canada, thanks to the huge aftermarket support and tuning potential.

Subaru’s dealership network across Canada is generally knowledgeable about the WRX and its enthusiast following. Many have dedicated product specialists and master technicians trained on these performance models. This expertise helps with everything from explaining the car’s unique capabilities to new owners to properly servicing modified WRXs with upgraded components.

Overall, the Subaru WRX delivers a rewarding long-term ownership experience in Canada. Its lively performance, rugged nature, and passionate community make it much more than just affordable sports car transportation. For driving enthusiasts, the WRX offers a lifestyle few other vehicles can match at this price point.

 

Subaru WRX Competitors in Canada

In the fiercely competitive Canadian sports compact segment, the Subaru WRX faces off against some impressive rivals. Honda’s Civic Si brings front-wheel-drive thrills and a rev-happy naturally aspirated engine. The Volkswagen Golf R packs all-wheel drive traction and a premium interior, but at a significantly higher price point.

Two value-packed Korean competitors are the Hyundai Elantra N and Veloster N models. Both offer potent turbocharged power and aggressive looks, plus Hyundai’s outstanding warranty coverage. The Veloster N’s quirky three-door hatch design sets it apart.

While lacking the Subaru’s rally pedigree, these alternatives match or even exceed the WRX’s straight-line performance in some cases. However, none can quite replicate its confidence-inspiring AWD dynamics and balanced handling character. The Subaru also has the advantage of a larger cabin and more practical hatchback body style.

From a pricing perspective, the WRX undercuts most rivals by several thousand dollars when comparably equipped. This value equation is a major reason why the Impreza remains Canada’s de facto affordable sports car choice for those wanting year-round traction and real performance for the money.

 

The Case For and Against the WRX

The Subaru WRX has earned a cult following in Canada for good reason, but it’s not a car without flaws. Here’s a balanced look at the key pros and cons Canadian buyers should weigh before taking the plunge on an Impreza WRX.

 

Pros:

  • Affordable yet thrilling all-wheel drive performance, with 0-60 mph times under 5 seconds even from the factory
  • Excellent winter traction and control thanks to Subaru’s symmetrical AWD system
  • Strong resale values and lower cost of ownership compared to luxury sports sedans
  • Practical hatchback design offers impressive cargo versatility for an enthusiast car
  • Huge aftermarket tuning potential to extract even more power if desired
  • Manual transmission still offered for driving purists

 

Cons:

  • Stiff suspension tuning compromises ride comfort, making it feel busy on rough roads
  • Higher operating costs like fuel, insurance, and maintenance versus non-performance Imprezas
  • Noisy cabin at highway speeds with pronounced road and wind noise
  • Lacks some of the latest tech features and upscale interior appointments of luxury rivals
  • Relatively snug rear seats and so-so small item storage for a family vehicle
  • Potential for costly repairs if not properly maintained by previous owners

 

For driving enthusiasts willing to make some compromises on ride refinement, the Subaru WRX rewards with an unbeatable blend of performance, practicality and value that few other cars can match in Canada.

 

What the Reviews Say About the Subaru WRX

When assessing if the Subaru WRX is a good car for Canadian drivers, it’s worth looking at what the experts have to say. Automotive reviews from trusted Canadian publications provide helpful insights into the WRX’s strengths and weaknesses.

In their review, Driving.ca praised the WRX’s “tenacious grip from the advanced all-wheel drive system” and “powerful turbocharged boxer engine.” However, they noted the stiff suspension results in “a busy ride over rougher surfaces.” Overall, Driving.ca concluded the WRX is “an affordable and practical performance car with real rally-bred credibility.”

Auto123.com’s review highlighted the WRX as “a true all-weather sports sedan” thanks to its “symmetrical AWD setup.” They commended the car’s “razor-sharp handling” but cautioned that “the ride can get busy and noisy at times.” Their verdict was that the WRX offers “thrilling performance and surprising practicality at a reasonable price point.”

The team at Le Guide de l’auto found the WRX to be “an absolute hoot to drive hard” with “gobs of turbocharged power.” Downsides included “elevated interior noise levels” and a “somewhat plain cabin design.” Nonetheless, they stated the WRX “punches well above its price class in terms of driving engagement.”

From these Canadian review outlets, it’s clear the Subaru WRX delivers outstanding performance and all-weather capability that make it an attractive sports car option in this country. Ride quality and interior refinement are noted shortcomings, but the potent turbo power and genuine rally pedigree earn high praise.

 

Special Editions and Limited Models

Over the years, Subaru has released several special edition and limited run WRX models exclusive to the Canadian market. These unique trims often feature exclusive styling, upgraded equipment, or commemorative badging to set them apart from the standard WRX lineup.

One notable example is the 2019 Subaru WRX Raiu Edition, with only 100 units offered in Canada. This ultra-rare model added stylish exterior accents like a matte bronze wheel finish, cherry red accent lines, and Raiu badging. The interior received upgraded Recaro seats and red accents throughout the cabin.

For the 2020 model year, Subaru celebrated the WRX’s rally racing heritage with the Canadian-exclusive WRX Sport-tech RS. This trim level brought signature World Rally Blue Pearl paint, larger 19-inch wheels, Recaro seats, and a numbered plaque on the center console indicating each car’s limited production number. Only 500 of these special WRX models were available in Canada.

The 2023 WRX Sportswagon Wilderness Edition catered to Canadians seeking a more rugged, off-road oriented take on the turbo Subie. It combined the versatile cargo space of the Sportswagon body style with a lifted suspension, all-terrain tires, and unique Wilderness green exterior accents. Just 750 examples reached Canadian dealers before selling out.

These limited run and regionally-exclusive WRX special editions often become coveted collectibles among Subaru enthusiasts. Their low production numbers, unique specs, and special detailing make them a must-have for avid fans of the legendary rally-bred sport compact.

 

Subaru WRX: The Essential Canadian Sports Car?

The Subaru WRX has long been a favorite among Canadian driving enthusiasts seeking affordable performance and all-weather capability. Its rally-bred roots and signature symmetrical all-wheel drive system give it a distinct edge over front-wheel drive hot hatches when the weather turns foul. Yet the WRX also excels as a practical daily driver thanks to its spacious hatchback design and surprising versatility.

While competitors like the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R may out-muscle the WRX in outright power, few can match its balanced driving dynamics and confidence-inspiring grip in all conditions. Subaru’s boxer engine and low center of gravity give the WRX an inherent advantage when it comes to taming twisty backroads or winter snowstorms. Its stiff chassis and communicative steering feel more akin to a sports car than an economy hatchback.

Yet despite its performance credentials, the WRX remains an immensely practical option for Canadian buyers on a budget. Its roomy cabin can comfortably accommodate four adults, while the rear hatch area swallows an impressive amount of cargo. Pricing also undercuts premium sport compacts like the BMW M235i and Mercedes-AMG A35, making the WRX an enticing blend of thrills and value.

For buyers seeking an adrenaline rush without sacrificing everyday livability, the Subaru WRX ticks all the right boxes as an iconic all-weather sports car made for Canadian roads and climate. Its tenacious grip, tuning potential and iconic rally pedigree have cemented its status as an essential for local enthusiasts.

 

The Next Generation 2024 Subaru WRX

For the 2024 model year, Subaru has given the iconic WRX a comprehensive redesign aimed at keeping it fresh and competitive in the Canadian performance car market. The new sixth-generation WRX debuts an edgier exterior design with wider fenders, a larger grille, and more aggressive body lines for a muscular stance.

Under the hood is an updated version of the 2.4L turbocharged Boxer engine, now producing 271 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. While not a massive power increase, Subaru has focused on improving responsiveness with revised turbocharger geometry and tweaks to the engine’s internals. A six-speed manual remains the enthusiast choice, but a new 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters is also available.

The chassis has been reworked as well, with a stiffer structure and refined suspension tuning. Subaru claims notable improvements to steering feel and body control for sharper handling without sacrificing ride quality. The iconic Subaru symmetrical AWD system carries over with active torque vectoring for maximum traction.

Tech upgrades bring the 2024 WRX into the modern era with a massive 11.6-inch vertically-oriented touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a digital instrument cluster. Advanced safety aids like adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist are now standard as well.

For Canadian driving enthusiasts seeking rally-bred performance with daily driver comfort and practicality, the redesigned 2024 Subaru WRX looks to be shaping up as a compelling all-weather sports car option.

 

Future of the Subaru WRX in Canada

As the automotive industry shifts towards electrification, the future of the Subaru WRX in Canada may face some challenges. However, Subaru has shown a commitment to preserving the brand’s performance heritage while embracing new technologies.

One potential path for the WRX could be a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain. This would allow Subaru to maintain the rally-bred driving dynamics that enthusiasts crave while improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. A hybrid system could even provide an additional boost of electric torque for even more exhilarating acceleration.

Alternatively, Subaru may explore a fully electric WRX in the coming years. While this could be a tough sell for diehard fans initially, an electric powertrain could potentially unlock new levels of instantaneous torque and precise handling characteristics. Advancements in battery technology and charging infrastructure could make an electric WRX a viable option for performance-oriented buyers.

Regardless of the powertrain direction, long-term sales projections for the WRX in Canada remain promising. The compact sports sedan segment continues to attract a dedicated following, and Subaru’s reputation for all-weather capability and reliability gives the WRX a unique selling point. As long as Subaru can strike the right balance between performance and practicality, the WRX is likely to remain a staple in Canadian driveways and racetracks.

Ultimately, the future of the Subaru WRX in Canada will depend on the brand’s ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences and emissions regulations while staying true to its roots. With a passionate enthusiast community and a history of innovation, Subaru is well-positioned to keep the WRX spirit alive for generations to come.

 

Final Verdict: Should You Buy a Subaru WRX?

After evaluating all the factors, the Subaru Impreza WRX emerges as a compelling choice for driving enthusiasts across Canada. Its rally-bred pedigree and affordable pricing make it an attractive option for performance car buyers on a budget. However, the decision ultimately depends on your specific needs and priorities.

For young drivers or those new to the world of performance cars, the WRX could be an excellent entry point. Its standard all-wheel-drive system provides a confidence-inspiring driving experience, even in challenging Canadian weather conditions. The hatchback body style also offers a practical blend of performance and utility.

Experienced driving enthusiasts who frequently participate in track days or autocross events will appreciate the WRX’s robust aftermarket support and tuning potential. With the right modifications, the turbocharged boxer engine can deliver seriously impressive power figures while maintaining reliability.

If you’re seeking a daily driver that can inject some excitement into your commute without compromising too much on comfort or fuel efficiency, the latest WRX models could be a perfect fit. The improved ride quality and decent real-world mileage make it a viable option for those who don’t want to sacrifice practicality.

However, if refinement and luxury are priorities, you may want to consider alternatives like the Audi S3 or BMW M240i xDrive. While more expensive, these premium sports sedans and coupes offer a more upscale interior and a smoother overall driving experience.

Ultimately, the Subaru Impreza WRX’s combination of performance, capability, and value make it a compelling choice for Canadian driving enthusiasts seeking an engaging daily driver that can also handle the occasional track day or spirited backroad adventure.

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Questions About The Subaru Impreza WRX

The Subaru Impreza WRX is an excellent car for Canadian drivers. It comes standard with Subaru’s legendary symmetrical all-wheel drive system that provides excellent traction and control in snow and icy conditions. The turbocharged engine provides strong acceleration and passing power, while the suspension is tuned for responsive handling.

 

Some key advantages of the WRX for Canadian drivers:

 

– Proven all-weather capability in snow, slush and ice with its standard AWD system

– Good ground clearance (over 8 inches) to handle unplowed roads and trails

– Heated front seats and available heated steering wheel for cold weather comfort

– Large trunk space to accommodate winter gear and bulky items

– Available manual transmission for driving enthusiasts

 

The main downsides would be mediocre fuel economy (around 21 MPG combined with the manual) and a stiff ride that may be uncomfortable on poor roads. But overall the WRX is one of the best performance cars for Canadian winters.

Some common issues reported by Subaru WRX owners include:

 

– Oil consumption – Excessive oil burning is a known issue, requiring consistent check-ups and top-ups between changes.

 

– Wheel bearings – Premature wheel bearing failure has occurred in some models before 100,000 km.

 

– Clutch and transmission – Heavy clutch and drivetrain abuse can lead to early replacement. Manual models seem more prone to problems.

 

– Engine knock – Incorrect octane fuel or bad gas can cause detonation issues on turbo models.

 

– Rust – Rocker panels, fenders, undercarriage and rear quarter panels may rust through after a few seasons. Proper undercoating is key.

 

– Electrical gremlins – Faulty sensors, lighting failures and glitchy infotainment have been reported on various model years.

 

Overall, the WRX scores below average in reliability versus rivals. But following strict maintenance and avoiding modifications can help minimize major repairs.

As a turbocharged all-wheel-drive sports sedan, the Subaru WRX is generally more expensive to insure than an average car in Canada.

 

Average annual insurance costs range nationwide:

 

– $2,800 – $4,500 for basic coverage

– $3,800 – $6,000 for full coverage

 

Premiums ultimately depend on:

 

– Driver’s age, gender and location

– Driving and claims history

– Selected coverage (liability, collision, comprehensive)

– Deductible amount

 

As a performance model, the WRX sees higher premiums due to insurer analysis citing a statistically higher chance of accidents or claims. Choosing higher deductibles and lower coverage limits can help lower costs.

The Subaru WRX offers mixed reliability in the long term. While some owners report reaching over 200,000 km without major issues (beyond regular maintenance), others have experienced engine or transmission problems warranting expensive repairs.

 

Key factors affecting longevity:

 

– Following scheduled maintenance and tune-ups

– Using quality fluids and parts

– Keeping up with repairs – ignoring issues leads to more damage

– Avoiding excessive engine mods or tuning

– Practicing smooth driving – no excessive revs or launches

 

The turbocharged engine and drivetrain take more abuse than a typical Subaru, so reliability heavily depends on each owner’s driving style and upkeep diligence. Overall WRX reliability is below average, but proper care can optimize longevity.

With its standard all-wheel drive system, dedicated winter tires and ample ground clearance, the Subaru WRX handles winter conditions exceptionally well for a performance sedan.

 

Test drivers praise its capability in snow, slush and ice – the symmetrical AWD system actively transfers torque to all four wheels for excellent traction. Stability control also helps rein in oversteer or understeer when needed.

 

The manual transmission allows for better control of power down to the wheels in low-grip situations. An experienced winter driver can make the WRX feel almost unstoppable in snow, though the stability system should remain on for most people.

 

Overall, few rival sports sedans can match the WRX for Canadian winters. The combination of its turbocharged power and advanced AWD makes it one of the best options on the market when temperatures drop.

The Subaru WRX is quite thirsty by modern standards. Based on Natural Resources Canada estimates:

 

City fuel economy is rated at:

 

– 12.5 L/100 km (manual transmission)

– 11.7 L/100 km (CVT automatic)

 

Highway fuel economy is rated at:

 

– 8.8 L/100 km (manual)

– 7.5 L/100 km (CVT)

 

Combined average ratings are:

 

– 10.9 L/100 km (manual)

– 9.9 L/100 km (CVT)

 

So expect around 11-12 L/100 km in mixed driving with the manual, and 10-11 L/100 km with the automatic. These numbers require premium 91+ octane gasoline as well.

 

The turbocharged engine’s thirst for fuel is the tradeoff for the WRX’s spirited performance. Fuel-conscious buyers may prefer the Impreza or Crosstrek models instead.

Ride quality is a weak point in the sport-tuned Subaru WRX. Reviewers describe the suspension as extremely stiff and unforgiving over rough roads and expansion joints. The car tends to crash loudly over potholes or bumps.

 

Key factors making the WRX uncomfortable:

 

– Performance suspension and limited sound insulation

– Short sidewall tires transmit more road noise

– Tight bolstering of front seats can pinch some body types

– Less cushy seats than non-performance Subarus

 

While disappointing for a daily driver, the stiff setup contributes to the WRX’s exceptional handling and control at higher speeds or on curvy roads. Overall, drivers wanting a plush luxury ride should look elsewhere in the Subaru lineup. The WRX prioritizes handling over comfort.

The Subaru WRX has a rather tight interior favoring front seat space over rear passenger room. Taller adults may find limited legroom and headroom in the back.

 

Key interior dimensions:

 

– Front headroom: 39.8 inches

– Front legroom: 43.3 inches

– Rear headroom: 37.1 inches

– Rear legroom: 35.4 inches

 

The deeply bolstered front seats also have limited width, which could pinch larger body types. And the low roofline impacts back seat access. On the plus side, outward visibility is quite good all around.

 

While no roomier than rivals, the WRX does carry an ample 12 cubic feet of trunk cargo space. So it remains practical for shopping trips or road trips as long as rear passengers aren’t too tall. Overall the emphasis stays on the driver here.

Subaru’s STARLINK infotainment system gets mixed reviews in the latest WRX models. Reviewers generally regard it as dated and unintuitive versus rival setups from Volkswagen, Mazda or Kia.

 

Key features:

 

– 6.5 or 11.6-inch touchscreen

– Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

– AM/FM radio w/ HD Radio

– Single USB port & aux input

– 4-speaker (base) or 9-speaker audio

 

The graphics and menu layouts look low-budget and lag when scrolling. Physical controls take getting used to as well. The standard unit also omits built-in navigation, needing a smartphone for maps.

 

On the plus side, the Harman Kardon upgrade does deliver excellent sound quality for an OEM system. But most judge the STARLINK inferior to rivals overall – albeit with a simpler learning curve than their elaborate interfaces.

The Subaru WRX splits the difference between hot hatches like the Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen Golf GTI. It offers a more practical sedan body over their hatchbacks, plus the traction advantage of all-wheel drive.

 

Compared to the front-wheel drive Civic Si:

+ More usable rear seat and cargo room

+ Far superior winter/snow handling ability

+ Manual or automatic available

– Rougher ride quality

– Worse fuel efficiency

 

Compared to the front-wheel drive VW Golf GTI:

+ More powerful engine and acceleration

+ Larger interior and cargo capacity

+ Better resale value predicted

– Harsher ride and more road noise

– Worse reliability ratings

 

The WRX remains unique in the segment offering AWD paired with strong turbo power. It wins for multi-season and performance driving – but rivals have an edge in comfort, efficiency and tech.

These model years and trims of the Subaru WRX stand out as good options:

 

2014-2016 – Well-rounded packages with improved interior over earlier years. Stick to higher trims for performance goodies.

 

2019+ – Redesigned models with updated tech and styling. Better daily driver than older generations.

 

WRX STI – Top performance trim with beefier turbo, suspension and brakes. Manual only.

 

In general, post-2015 model years offer better interiors and refinement – but miss the raw rally-car aggression of earlier generations. Lower mileage pre-owned models generally provide the best value over brand new.

Modifying any WRX for added horsepower or performance gets very expensive, very fast. Owners can easily spend $5,000-$10,000 on common beginner mods before addressing the engine itself.

 

Some sample tuning costs:

 

– Cold air intake – $300

– Cat-back exhaust – $800+

– ECU tune – $600+

– Larger intercooler – $1200+

– Lowering springs or coilovers $800+

– Sway bars & end links – $750+

– Engine internals – $5000+

 

And that’s before addressing wheels, tires, brakes or appearance items. As with any car, it’s smarter to buy the highest performance trim level up front rather than modifying a base model to that spec later. But WRX fans usually can’t resist tweaking their ride.

Subaru has produced a variety of special and limited WRX models over the years for various markets. Some highlights include:

 

22B STI – Widely considered the ultimate 1990s-era Impreza. Only 400 units of this 2-door coupe were built for Japan in 1998 to commemorate Subaru’s WRC success.

 

WRX STI S209 – U.S.-exclusive model for 2019, just 209 units. Special engine and chassis tuning by STI engineers with 341 HP.

 

WRX Series White – All-white appearance package offered 2011-2014 featuring white wheels, badging and interior trim.

 

NBR Challenge Package – Track-focused editions offered 2007-2009 featuring lightweight parts like carbon fiber roof panels and aluminum hoods. Under 500 total units.

 

While not sold in high volumes, these exclusive variants cement the WRX’s reputation as a cornerstone of Subaru performance. They’ve become highly collectible among enthusiasts and command huge premiums in the secondary market today.

For 2022 and 2023 models, Subaru offers only one engine choice in the WRX – an updated direct-injection 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder producing 271 horsepower and 258 lb-ft torque.

 

The FA24 engine replaces the older EJ-series unit, providing:

 

– More low-end torque

– Better fuel efficiency

– Higher compression ratio

– Increased thermal efficiency

 

It’s exclusively paired to a six-speed manual gearbox on base and Premium trims, while the GT gets an optional CVT automatic transmission.

 

There are no current plans to offer other engines besides this four-cylinder. So WRX shoppers have a simple choice focused on transmission. Some may miss the previous special STI performance variants.

The latest 2022 Subaru WRX offers 12 cubic feet of trunk cargo capacity.

 

This gives it an advantage over other sport compacts like the Civic Si (7.0 cu-ft) and Volkswagen GTI (16.5 cu-ft with rear seats down). It’s also on par with small crossover SUVs.

 

Key dimensions:

 

– Trunk opening height: 30 inches

– Trunk opening width: 42 inches

– Trunk floor length: 33 inches

 

The 60/40 folding rear seatbacks add more storage for longer items when needed. Plus there’s space under the trunk floor to stash smaller items out of sight.

 

Given its performance focus, the WRX remains practical as a daily commuter or road tripper. The sedan body style ensures it can handle bulkier items and luggage better than hatchback rivals.

EyeSight is Subaru’s umbrella term for a suite of advanced driver assistance systems including:

 

– Pre-collision braking

– Adaptive cruise control

– Lane centering

– Lane departure prevention

– Lead vehicle start alert

 

Using stereo cameras and software, EyeSight essentially acts as an extra set of eyes scanning the road ahead to warn you or intervene during an impending collision.

 

While Subaru has offered it for several years now, the latest EyeSight systems on 2022+ WRX models see refinements like wider field of view, speed sign recognition and automatic emergency steering.

 

For safety-focused buyers or frequent highway commuters, EyeSight is a worthwhile option costing around $1900 on lower trims. Just know that it disables the limited-slip center differential on manual transmission cars.

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