As a racier expression of Subaru's compact Impreza sedan the 2017 Subaru WRX blends rally-inspired performance with pragmatic design and class-leading resale values. If you're muddling through your work week, a roomy, secure trunk and accommodating interior are handy features. But when the weekend arrives the WRX happily shifts roles, putting its sporting suspension and high-traction powertrain to good use.
Key to the WRX's performance chops is a standard multi-mode all-wheel-drive system that smartly apportions power to the tire best able to exploit it. It's a nifty trick that enhances traction and, by extension, safety in all driving conditions. Of course properly trained drivers can find other ways to utilize that traction magic. Somewhere right now a WRX is blasting sideways down an abandoned fire road. We should all envy the driver.
Helping differentiate the WRX from its Impreza sibling is the more-powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter engine under its hood. Making 268 horsepower, the 2.0-liter is a willing accomplice for high-speed hooliganism. The enthusiast's choice is naturally the standard 6-speed manual transmission but a $1,200 continuously variable transmission is also offered for those who don't want to get their left leg mixed up in all those gear changes. For the record the CVT actually works pretty well.
A base Subaru WRX runs about $27,500 and features an impressive equipment roster including automatic climate control, 17-inch wheels, a backup camera and touchscreen infotainment. That sum also includes aggressive fender flares, an equally aggressive front fascia, and a rear wing that can only be described as.aggressive. It looks the part. It plays the part. The Subaru WRX really is the total package.