It’s the Rocky Balboa of sports sedans. At one point in its history, the Subaru WRX was on top of the world, defining an emerging genre of rally-inspired performance sedans and spurring a new generation of enthusiasts.
The world changed, but Rocky clung to past glories. Newer, fitter, more exciting fighters entered the ring and …
Inside the Ring
Anyone familiar with modern Subarus will feel right at home behind the wheel of the new WRX. It’s mostly comfy, with some Recaro buckets providing firm support but favoring leggier drivers. It still sports more than a few traditional buttons and switches despite the large, vertical DIC screen, which dominates the center of the dash.
The wheel is adequately thick and flat-bottomed, which is nice since the wheel-to-seat distance is closer than some of us would prefer for proper aggression, and all three pedals are well placed and weighted.
Yep, three pedals: The WRX is available with a traditional six-speed manual. Unlike much of its competition–think GTI or Elantra N–however, the Subaru’s shiftless option is not a paddle-operated dual clutch but rather a CVT that still has paddles for, uh, some reason?
Transmission operation on our six-speed-equipped tester was perfectly fine, even if it requires an early shift to third on many autocross courses. Luckily, the shift action is good enough that–whether you’re rowing up or down–won’t be too much of a detriment.
The latest Subaru WRX features a lot of familiar DNA, including that turbocharged flat-four, all-wheel grip and a comfortable interior. It makes for a near-perfect daily driver, although we’d make some chassis changes before heading to the track. Photography Credit: Chris Tropea
As a real car, though, the WRX feels solid. Remember, this is an Impreza, after all. It’s a supremely competent, five-passenger sedan with a large trunk and split folding rear seats for even more pass-through space. This version just augments the basics with touches of sporty and functional flair, like the grippy suede on the seats or the carbon accents in the dash.
Like previous WRXs, the newest model is held up by struts all around. In our testing, the front end showed a severe lack of static camber out of the showroom. This manifested in a heavy understeer tendency at the limit, along with some well-worn outside tire edges, but the good news…