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2015 Subaru WRX Review

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more. See what you should pay

2015 Subaru WRX Expert Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If pure driving excitement takes precedence over straight-line performance, the rear-drive Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S are worth a closer look. If balancing performance with practicality is more up your alley, the less expensive Ford Focus ST might be the better choice.

How It Ranks

#18

out of 19

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 19

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.0 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Subaru WRX Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

The Subaru WRX and high-performance WRX STI sports sedans are all-new for the 2015 model year.

Driving the WRX
2015 Subaru WRX Front angle view photo

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.

SPORT SEATS
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.

2015 Subaru WRX Details
2015 Subaru WRX Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

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
2015 Subaru WRX photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood
2015 Subaru WRX Engine photo

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.

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2015 Subaru WRX Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 5 Ratings for the 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

The WRX handles like a dream.

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "The horspower, handling and design lines"

Cons: "the summer tires ...otherwise it is just a great c"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car has so much horsepower and I am still getting over 27 MPG on average. The AWD system makes it a good choice for winter in Ohio. The only problem I have had with the car is the summer tires it came with. I switched them out for all season tires and haven't had a problem. The seats have are quite comfortable and the trunk space is amazing."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

A Driver's Car

By on Sunday, October 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Unbelievably Nimble, Exhaust Note"

Cons: "Dated infotainment, Stiff Ride"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Your girlfriend isn't going to like this car. Your mother is going to shake her head when she see's the wing. None of that matters. You will look forward to your drive to work and think about the drive home the whole day. Compared to previous generation STI's the quality is really up on this one. An aggressive yet refined interior. The doors and trunk feel solid (however Subaru Rattles are already starting to rear their heads). The new shift linkage really helps the transmission feel solid and the stock exhaust is really great for an H4. I have the upgraded stereo and unfortunately the interface really isn't all that great, the maps are sluggish at best and the screen layout doesn't make much sense at all. The sound quality is greatly improved however. My fuel economy isn't terrible, up to 26 mpg on the highway with semi-spirited driving and about 18 mpg in town with heavily spirited driving. I regularly drive the car from Raleigh to Atlanta and it's quite comfortable although sometimes you wished the suspension was adjustable."

13 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Fun car to drive

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,400

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

16 people out of 25 found this review helpful

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