By Zach Vlasuk
From its early days as a street-legal rally car to its current role as the poster child of the American boy racer, the Subaru WRX has undergone the most significant overhaul in its 23-year history. Longer, wider, faster, and, above all, more refined than ever, the 2015 Subaru WRX sedan is no longer the wild child of specialty sports cars – and that's a good thing. Of course, the range-topping 2015 Subaru WRX STI has been heavily updated as well to satisfy the needs of hardcore performance types. Available in sedan body styles only, the all-wheel-drive-equipped WRX and STI are well positioned to challenge 2-door and 4-door versions of the Honda Civic Si, Ford's Focus ST hatchback, and the 4-door Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
If you are looking for an affordable sports sedan with all-weather capability, superb handling, and laudable fuel economy, far be it from us to disapprove of the Subaru WRX. Given its newly available CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission) and added creature comforts, the WRX has become a feasible alternative for non-enthusiasts.
The Subaru WRX and high-performance WRX STI sports sedans are all-new for the 2015 model year.
Driving Impressions The Subaru WRX has long been one the few sports cars that consistently exceeds its published performance credentials in the real world. Case in point: No matter how hard we...... pushed the WRX, traction under power was beyond reproach, and understeer (where the car pushes straight into corners) went unnoticed. The latter is an impressive feat for an all-wheel-drive sports car, particularly one fitted with electric-assisted steering. Speaking of which, Subaru worked hard to give the 2015 WRX an electromechanical steering system worthy of its dynamic persona, and the hard work paid off. In terms of ride quality, the new WRX handles rough pavement with unexpected compliance compared to its stiff-legged predecessors. This newfound sense of civility comes despite the fact that Subaru engineers stiffened virtually every steering, chassis and suspension component. The ride is taut, naturally, but not overly so. Then again, the same cannot be said for the STI, as every road imperfection – big or small – transmits directly into the cabin.
6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
Standard on both the WRX and STI, Subaru's revised 6-speed manual gearbox is one of the best in the business on account of its precise action, positive-engaging clutch, and short throws.
Whether you're a seasoned track buff or all-around spirited driver, factory-installed seats rarely offer the appropriate support. Such is not the case with the Subaru WRX – the standard front seats feature high-grip fabric and aggressive leg and side bolstering to keep you in place and focused on more important things – like driving.
While "sophistication" and "WRX" were mutually exclusive terms, the latest WRX actually has a refinement story to tell. With soft-touch materials for the upper dash and door panels, a full-color driver information display, leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, and available 8-way power driver's seat, the WRX is now just a few shades behind the markedly more expensive Volkswagen Golf R when it comes to overall interior quality. As for functionality, the outboard rear seats provide more than enough room for most adults, and the trunk offers nearly twice as much space as the Lancer Evo.Exterior
Subaru's decision to retire the WRX's time-honored association to the Impreza moniker is a clear way of saying this prominent sports sedan has officially taken on an identity all its own. Consequently, the 4th-generation WRX and STI share very little with its mainstream counterpart. Save for a few pieces of glass, the 2015 Subaru WRX and STI sport a wholly unique exterior, most notably the flared front and rear fenders, distinctive "nose-cone" front-end design, and thinner A-pillars for enhanced outward visibility.
In base form, the 2015 Subaru WRX includes such standard equipment as automatic climate control, a backup camera, a 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, 17-inch alloys, a 60/40 split rear seat, and an active torque vectoring system that brakes the inside front wheel in a corner to help relieve the WRX's inclination towards understeer. STI versions add dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, and Alcantara (suede-like) upholstery. Standard safety features on both sedans consist of seven airbags, a full complement of electronic stability aids, and Subaru's Ring-shaped Reinforced Frame body structure that helped earn the 2015 WRX and STI class-topping safety ratings.
Aside from an extensive list of dealer-installed accessories, most options for the Subaru WRX and STI are tied to trim levels. Opting for the WRX Premium model lands you a moonroof, rear spoiler, and heated front seats, while the WRX Limited adds LED headlights with an auto on/off function, leather, and an 8-way power driver's seat. STI Limited models gain an 8-way power driver's seat, lightweight 18-inch BBS wheels, a 9-speaker harman/kardon premium audio system, and leather. Because Subaru's current navigation system is about as useful as a DVD rewinder, we recommend taking a look at the latest series of aftermarket navigation systems from Pioneer and Alpine. What's more, most aftermarket nav units cost considerably less than Subaru's factory offering.
Not unlike years past, a pair of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines powers the Subaru WRX and STI. The difference this time around is that the WRX features an all-new 2.0-liter engine, while the STI soldiers on with the previous 2.5-liter. Both models come fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox and symmetrical all-wheel-drive, with the WRX offering the option of a sport-calibrated continuously variable automatic transmission. We know what you're thinking, but believe us when we say that the WRX's new CVT is a truly capable autobox. Lastly, it's worth noting that both engines require premium fuel.
2.0-liter turbocharged flat-4
268 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (manual), 19/25 mpg (automatic)
2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4
305 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
290 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
The 2015 WRX carries a starting MSRP just north of $27,000, with the STI holding down a roughly $8,000 premium. Fully-loaded prices for the WRX and STI check in right around $35,000 and $41,000, respectively. Opting for the WRX's new CVT automatic transmission will set you back an extra $1,200. The Ford Focus ST and Scion FR-S start in the neighborhood of $25,000, while the Honda Civic Si sedan and Hyundai Veloster Turbo begin in the low-$23,000 range. Regardless of which model you choose, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price tool to ensure you get the best deal on your next car. Down the road, we expect the 2015 WRX and STI to maintain reasonably strong 5-year resale values, topped only by the segment-leading Civic Si.
By seang on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,400overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great sports car all year"
Cons: "Road noise, radio is terrible"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased the automatic that the sticker said got 25 mpg on the highway. Ive put 3000 miles on the car in the past two months and I've gotten approx 32 mpg on the Intelligent Drive setting. Car has 3 total settings that I believe re-map the ECU to give three different types of power bands. The leather seats are firm but very comfortable on long drives. I did check out the fabric seats and found them to stick into my back at the lower section of the seat. Power is great on the Sport Sharp setting but a bit weird on the Intelligent setting. The throttle response is held back for the increase in mileage and strange to get used to. However, 32 mpg hw is the trade off and with a push of the button, the full 270 HP comes out hard and fast. Car corners like a cat with claws on a carpet. Not having a sports care in the past, it has a couple of "issues" that I'm finding hard to get used to. One is the road noise on the highway. Tires are very loud on certain road surfaces. I'm not sure if its the tires or lack of insulation although I've read this has more insulation than previous generations. With the noise, its is sometimes difficult to have a quiet conversation or listen to the radio. I purchased and installed aftermarket insulation and it seems to have helped to a degree. But again, you can hear those tires. I guess I'll find out more when I put snow tires on this winter which is a must since the car comes with summer tires. Other issue is the stiff suspension and the car can be tough on the rougher surfaces. But again, this is a sports car and not a luxury car. Lastly, the basic radio is just plain a piece of junk. The sticker on my car was $32K. Why does the radio sound so horrible at that price? My previous car was a 2010 Legacy and the radio was very nice for a basic system. I didn't listen to the upgraded Harmon so not sure how that compares. Overall though, this is one heck of a car to drive. Power is incredible and handling is ridiculous. Driving it is just plain fun. For the price, you get a great sports car with all wheel drive for year round enjoyment and great on long rides as well. Commuting to work is now just too short of a drive at 25 minutes."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By DougSTi on Thursday, June 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 550overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is amazing to drive. The hydraulic steering, 6 speed manual transmission (short gears, but shifts so smooth), and turbo, is matched with an amazing all-wheel drive system, as well as 3 different differentials which can be adjusted from a 41-59 ratio to a 50-50 lock. It has intelligent, sport, and sport # (sharp) modes as well, which basically adjusts the throttle response (simply put). The suspension is fairly stiff, but that will benefit you in the corners (or on track day). A car seat fits easily in the backseat, the trunk is huge, and I myself am 6'3" and can extend my left leg fully straight out onto the clutch. The vision is awesome out the front windshield, side windows, and even the rear window due to the high rear wing placement (functional by the way). The limited model has less head room due to moon roof, so if you plan to wear a helmet for track day, the base model is better. I have always driven rear wheel V-8, but this is a whole different style or car. Sticks like glue on road."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By jimbo on Thursday, March 06, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling & Power"
Cons: "Cheap interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car handles like a go cart and has power to spare. I is a bit economy car inside, but for pure driving joy you can't beat it this price range."
11 people out of 17 found this review helpful