2015 Subaru WRX
Everything you know and love, and then some.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: December 16th, 2013
The Subaru WRX is an archetype of cheap(ish) Japanese excitement. For less than thirty grand, you get more than 250 horsepower, a turbocharger, and a tight chassis coupled with an all-wheel-drive system that welcomes winter with open arms.
However, in the past it wasn't necessarily the whole package; the transmission choices were on the 'meh' side of the fun spectrum, and the interior remained wholly unchanged from the standard Impreza (not what you want to do when trying to convince customers to spend more money over a base model).
Next year, Subaru aims to change that with the 2015 WRX. Based off the current Impreza platform (but far less of it than usual), the new WRX claims to fill every crack in the previous gen's foundations, providing a slightly-more-upscale driving experience with the same ol' turbocharged excitement that owners have come to cherish.
Unlike the previous generation, which pulled heavily from the standard-issue Impreza's interior parts bin, the new WRX makes a genuine attempt to differentiate itself. The larger info screen at the top of the center console provides information for just about every setting you could think of, including a boost gauge. The steering wheel feels much sportier, as well, with a flatter bottom to give the driver some extra space for the legwork. Thanks to Subaru moving the side mirrors to the door panels, there's a ton of greenhouse space - great for both autocrossers and grocery-getters.
With the exception of three body panels, all the WRX's exterior sheet metal is unique. Much like the last generation, it stands apart from the Impreza with bulkier fenders and a more aggressive front fascia. The new headlights still retain the brand's design language, but its sleeker profile adds to the aggressiveness. Press photos don't do the body justice - it looks far less aggressive on the page than it does in the real world. The rear-end's LED taillights add to the premium feeling, and the dual exhaust makes its triumphant return to counter that Felix with a little Oscar.
On the Road
Screw the exterior, screw the interior - the reason you buy a WRX is to drive the hell out of it. And we did exactly that in the mountains surrounding Napa. The WRX's torque curve is flatter than some people think the earth is, so acceleration is on tap at nearly any rev in any gear. The gas pedal is a little touchy on the manual-transmission variant, but if anything, it does a better job promoting smooth throttle application than anything else. It's like the car wants to make you a better driver, so that you can take advantage of that. The chassis and drivetrain certainly agree, taking more punishment than you think they can and spitting it out through torque-vectored differentials.
And then there's the CVT. Both we and a large majority of enthusiasts believed that no automaker could produce a CVT that would make sense in a car geared towards performance. However, Subaru has made us look like idiots in that regard. The new CVT has three modes - Intelligent, Sport, and Sport# (Sport Sharp). Intelligent is great for regular cruising, when you might care more about fuel economy than the powerband. In Sport and Sport#, the transmission created stepped gears of fixed ratios, and the results are fast "shifts" that feel closer to a well-tuned eight-speed ZF transmission than they do to a cookie-cutter CVT.
While the CVT model lacks a certain je ne sais quoi that neither your author nor his driving partner could nail down, both cars drive much better than the previous WRX, which really speaks to their engineering efforts this time around.
Much to Subaru's credit, they achieved exactly what they set out to do. With very few exceptions, the car is more capable than ever before, and gives the driver exactly what they want. The transmission choices are otherworldly in comparison to the dated cog-swappers of the previous generation, and the chassis improvements are felt immediately without turning the ride into a Home Depot paint shaker. The interior looks good, and while it does share a fair bit with the Impreza, it now feels like it's worth the full asking price.
Specs & Price
Engine: 2.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged H-4
Transmission: Six-speed manual or continuously variable
Power Output: 268 hp / 258 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 21 city / 28 highway (6MT); 19 city / 25 highway (CVT)
Base Price: TBA
As Tested: TBA
Optional Features: TBA
On Sale: Spring 2014
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Subaru WRX, click here: 2015 Subaru WRX.