By on June 5, 2014

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When Eric pulled up in his properly blue WRX, I could see that he wasn’t entirely sure about the idea of letting me drive his car. To begin with, I’d changed the location of the meet three times in the past twenty minutes. Admittedly, that was because I hadn’t been to the Easton Town Center in a few years and the first few places I could think of to meet had been closed or moved — but attentive readers will also remember that this is how Jeremy Irons tormented Bruce Willis in the third Die Hard movie. I was wearing bleach-spotted shorts and, I think, a One Lap Of America T-shirt. Furthermore, I was muttering to myself and shaking my head like a poleaxed goat. I’d just discovered that my wallet had gone missing during an airport run I’d made for a friend. In short, I looked and sounded like a crazy person, and I appeared to have a very strong desire to take Eric’s WRX to the airport for no legitimate reason — which, attentive readers will recall, is what happened to Bruce Willis in the second Die Hard movie.

With a visible effort, Eric smiled and stuck out his hand. “I’m Eric.”

“I’m Jack,” I replied. “We need to take your WRX to the airport.”

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Two hours later, I found my wallet under my Accord’s passenger seat.

Thanks for reading.

Just kidding! Yes, I did find my wallet later — but after a few minutes behind the wheel of Eric’s recently-broken-in “Rex”, I was ready to stop thinking about that and give my full attention to the car. Having driven the new Mk7 GTI just two weeks before this, I was eager to see how the two cars, natural enemies in the marketplace, would compare. Luckily for me, we truly do have the best and brightest among our readers. Eric, a successful young man with an understanding and manual-transmission-capable wife, is an outstanding example. What would Jalopnik do in a situation like this? Test-drive their readers’ “Forza 360″ cars while the far-from-MILFy single parents of said readers serve snacks like the Pin’s mom in Brick?

I’ll assume you’ve read Kamil’s recent press car review of a WRX Premium. This one, too, was a Premium, I think. (Eric will pop in and correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure this had a sunroof and didn’t have leather seats, which makes it a Premium.) Let’s go immediately to the meat of the matter: the dynamic capabilities of the WRX in the context of the competition.

The Subaru and the Volkswagen were very different cars twelve years ago but now, in 2014, they are united by an approach to ride, handling, and demeanor that can best be described as “adult”. As with the GTI, this new WRX is surprisingly quiet and thick-feeling, its sodden “thump” over every pothole betraying a very modern obsession with the lowest possible natural resonant frequency. The bugeye WRX had thin doors and rattled on the showroom floor, but this sedan might as well be an Audi for all the extraneous noise you get. Since the original Japanese Post Office Leones, badged simply “DL” and “GL” here, and possibly before, every Subaru has had a sort of inherent crappiness, a loose-jointed feeling that there just weren’t a lot of welds in the unibody. If you liked that, and a lot of people did, too bad. Little Rex is all grown up now.

Like the Volkswagen 2.0T direct-injected inline-four, the Subaru turbo boxer uses a small turbo and active wastegate control to keep torque at a consistent plateau through most of the rev range. Unlike the VW, the Subaru retains a fair amount of laggy turbo behavior despite what you see on a dyno curve. It’s much less aggressive on part-throttle than the GTI and a full-throttle run through the gears reveals a laggy hole in the delivery after each shift. Eric’s car is, thankfully, a six-speed manual. Intellectually, I accept the idea that a CVT of sufficient stoutness might be the perfect partner to this stumble-prone boxer, but I also intellectually accept the idea that I could probably manage to copulate with Lena Dunham under circumstances of sufficient provocation, such as danger to my child or an Aventador-sized cash bonus, and that does not stop me from finding both propositions repugnant to the extreme.
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So there’s a little bit of old-school to this car. Throttle-whoosh-shift-stumble-pause-whoosh and let’s do it all over again for the next gear. The GTI has this thing whipped for power delivery, even if the numbers aren’t as good. Eric’s curious about my Accord V6, so I offer to let him drive it. He’s obviously appalled by the fact that the dinged-up coupe contains the remnants of no fewer than four Kid’s Meals, plus a half-eaten bag of cheese puffs, and requests that I just tell him how the Honda compares. Well, it’s got nothing for either of the turbo cars down low, but it has a rush to the top that these tiny puffers can’t match. When the Accord gets going, well, that’s about the same time that the Subaru and Volkswagen are asthmatically blowing through the unimpressive space after the torque plateaus.
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After visiting the airport Departures area and quizzing the service personnel there about the likelihood of their having recently found any missing Couch Jet Age wallets, I decide to misuse the roundabouts and short two-lane couplers between the various parking lots as an impromptu autocross course. This is mostly second-gear work, with brief excursions to third. Here, the turbo is strong and the rush to the next corner is remarkably satisfying. The Subaru’s imperfect power delivery feels a bit more characterful than the electric-motor torque of the GTI. Shifting is no slower despite the four driven wheels, but you still don’t want to rush the synchros the way you would in a Mustang or Viper.
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The brakes are adequate but this is clearly a place where Subaru wants you to spend some extra STi money. Just three or four hard slowdowns from about 70mph to 30mph is enough to lengthen the pedal a bit. Remember, folks, this is a sub-$30,000 vehicle, not an AMG CLS. I’m also not pleased with their lack of ability to stand the WRX on its nose with hard application. Here, too, the Phaeton-ish brakes in the GTI Performance Pack are simply better, more reassuring.

In max-lat-g cornering around a roundabout, the Subaru pushes early and often, with plenty of progressive warning and behavior from the 235-width SportMaxx tires. It’s so predictable that I have no trouble immediately eyeballing the slip zone at approximately 80mph on a freeway ramp, letting the nose wander than rein in with pogo motions of the throttle. Think of a Focus ST, which can step right out on you in a corner if the throttle action is abrupt. Then restrain that to just a suggestion of motion, and you have the GTI. Now dial it back the same amount again, and you have the WRX. I can’t see getting this car to oversteer in any conditions short of a wet racetrack. The driveline feels relentlessly front-biased in all dry-road operation.

This extremely dignified default cornering attitude means that once again the Fiesta ST is going to be a more entertaining drive. Even my Accord feels considerably lighter on its feet and more tossable, due in part to narrower rubber, a lower beltline, less insulation, and a greater degree of power assistance for both steering and brakes. Still, it’s worth noting that this car is perhaps too quick to be tricky by default.

During our drive, I ask Eric why he bought this car. His answer is extremely self-effacing, referring to an old Sentra owned previous to this, the desire to have a little more power, and a preference for manual transmissions. He keeps noting that the vast majority of his experience has been in slower cars, and that perhaps that renders his opinion of his WRX less than credible. To the contrary, I think. I might have been behind the wheel of a Viper TA and Camaro Z/28 a few weeks before driving these four-cylinder model rockets, but the average buyer for a car like this is coming from a Sentra or a Civic or his parents’ old Camry. To satisfy that buyer, the WRX needs to be both fast enough and upscale enough to justify spending what feels like a long ton of money.

When you look at the Subaru that way — as a vehicle that should satisfy aspirational and dynamic desires — I think it succeeds admirably. Between this and the GTI, I’d take, um, the Mustang 5.0. Or possibly an Accord Coupe! But if you are going to spend a lot of your own money on a car that will be your daily transportation, your track rat, and your sanctuary during long trips, it’s hard to offer much argument against the WRX. The Volkswagen is considerably more upscale, more tasteful, more responsive, and probably economical. Against that, the Subaru offers a sedan form factor and all-wheel-drive. On the streets of San Francisco, it just has to be the Mexi-German hatch, but for the snow states, the WRX is the easy winner.
eric1

(Disclaimer: This vehicle was provided to us by a TTAC reader who failed to come up with any flights, any five-star hotels, or any free half-bottles of Ketel One. I shouldn’t have to live like this. Thanks, Eric! — JB)

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131 Comments on “Reader Ride Review: 2015 Subaru WRX...”


  • avatar

    This is such a neat concept. They’re real cars, broken-in, with no possibility of having “factory specials” via the presser fleets. It’s like Consumer Reports crossed with R&T.

  • avatar
    JCK

    “To the contrary, I think. I might have been behind the wheel of a Viper TA and Camaro Z/28 a few weeks before driving these four-cylinder model rockets, but the average buyer for a car like this is coming from a Sentra or a Civic or his parents’ old Camry. To satisfy that buyer, the WRX needs to be both fast enough and upscale enough to justify spending what feels like a long ton of money.”

    Well put.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    I agree with ’bout everything. The ’15 WRX makes a great, fun daily driver. My ’13 RalliArt feels quicker and handles sharper. But I *LOVE* hearing the dual clutch trans snapping gears up and down.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      I came really close to buying a ralliart but the dealer would not let my wife (we are well north of 30) take it for a test drive because she or I might damage the automatic transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        LALoser

        What!? That is unreal. This is my second RalliArt, and I have had zero problems with either. These cars sold me on the dual clutch. My friend has one in his Porsche, it is about 3 years old now, again, no problems.

        • 0 avatar
          Detroit-Iron

          We were not dressed like bums and it would have been her driving (I could understand his reluctance if it was me because my raw sexuality would clearly overwhelm the transmission) but he wanted a loan approval before he would let us take it out for a spin, with him in it! We just left.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOLLL “raw sexuality”

            But really you’d think Mitsu would be so glad to have a customer with more than a Burger King pay stub in their pocket, they would let you do whatever you like.

          • 0 avatar
            LALoser

            Sorry that happened to you. It is great car for the money. People are surprised when they try to jump a light to cut you off in a far more expensive car.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Understandable. With all the buyers fighting over every available Mitsubishi in the US, standards must be maintained!

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    Just want to say that if I was single and she was willing I would happily sleep with Lena Dunham. She is young and cute (not hot but cute. Most women are never going to be supermodels but neither are most of us guys) and seems like she has something to say about life. Most guys could do, and have done, way worse.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Who is Lena Dunham? I assumed it was an old silver screen actress I’m too young to recognize, since Jack is so old.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I had to google her following Jack’s reference. Then I threw up a little in my mouth. I figured that I didn’t know who she was because I am too old. There must be a very narrow demographic to whom she’s relevant, one I hope I don’t cross paths with.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        IMDB says she’s a creative writing grad from Oberlin that gets paid to write…

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Co-signed. Also, everyone I know who’s seen her in person says that she intentionally dowdies herself down for her show, and that she’s much prettier than you’d expect.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I guess if you have really low standards then Lena Dunham could be called cute. But you could literally walk into any bar or Starbucks in the country and immediately find 4 or 5 girls that are cuter and less annoying, and you really could sleep with many of them as well. Extremely common is probably a better descriptive term for her.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s a good point. Go to a mall, and you could find 20-40 more attractive, all under one roof!

        She looks like someone who would make the pretzels, in the back of the Auntie Anne’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Land Ark

          If I had free access to the freshly cooked pretzels I don’t care what the person looks like, I’m down.

          Next you’ll say the person in charge of the glaze at Krispy Kreme has no positive qualities.

      • 0 avatar
        MPAVictoria

        “But you could literally walk into any bar or Starbucks in the country and immediately find 4 or 5 girls that are cuter and less annoying, and you really could sleep with many of them as well.”

        Sure no doubt in theory it is possible to do better but don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good and all that. She is cute enough for me and I don’t find her any more annoying than the average woman.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Have you seen the show she writes? Good god. Her character is self absorbed to the point where the show became unwatchable after the first season.

          Forget her looks…. it’s the on screen personality that is more annoying.

          • 0 avatar
            Madroc

            This was my thinking as well. She’s not unattractive and we’ve all done worse at some time or another, but I assume what Jack meant was that he didn’t want to star in the latest episode of the self-indulgent liveblog that seems to be her profession.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          I am not talking about perfect. You are very right, most women are not supermodels. And even if they were, supermodels are incredibly annoying to be around for very long. But it isn’t “theory” that you could do better, its out and out fact. It would be like dreaming of driving a 91 Hyundai because well, its good enough for you. I mean everyone has their own standards but wow that’s setting the bar pretty low.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      All this discussion is interesting given how the WRX is and always has been the Lena Dunham of cars…not a looker in any conventional sense but well-endowed with appealing attributes nonetheless.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      I had to check this out myself…. not the woman of my dreams, but I wouldn’t say no either. Beats being single IMO.

      Maybe Jack REALLY doesn’t like cake?

      (this came up on a Google image surf, this would be kinda awkward at work and not recommended… not adult oriented but still…)

      Though I do agree on this, she is by far better looking then the WRX, no question.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    Also I really like these Reader Ride Reviews. They are a refreshing change of pace.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The most surprising thing in this article was hearing the WRX has more insulation than the Accord Coupe. That doesn’t seem right in any way. Why does Honda want their cars to be so loud? Conversely, why does Subaru want their yobbo-WRX to be so quiet? They’ve made it all fronty-Volvo and backy-BMW now, as well. I’m not passing any design judgment because Sanjeev is lurking here somewhere, but that’s what I see.

    But the main problem I have with the WRX is in relation to the GTI. “…Volkswagen is considerably more upscale, more tasteful…” You can’t arrive somewhere with dignity in a WRX, and you look ridiculous when you step out of one in a suit and tie. When you brat-at-ta-ta up to the front of the building to fetch people from the lobby, they see you have a Subaru and sigh. None of that would happen with a GTI. *Commence Fuji H.I. Defense Association attacks*

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Honda traditionally has favored weight savings over quiet. The Accord now uses a speaker for noise cancellation on upscale trim levels, with middling results.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It would seem to me that on a car like the Accord, which spans a wide price range (and can be a luxury model, as they have no Avalon) with older customers, they would focus more on quiet.

        How much can good insulation weigh anyway? I have never seen any weight figures.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      It has been well documented that Honda/Acura are loud cars. They do excel in weight management and fuel economy were the 2015 WRX fails at 23-28 highway.

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      I have a friend who does outside sales for the company he works for, he was promoted to that position after spending years in the parts warehouse. While he was in the warehouse he drove a Neon SRT4, after his promotion, the car’s age, wear and tear he inflicted on the car, the fact he would spend lots miles on the road to get to clients, and the presception a client could have of him if takes one out for lunch in a hoon-mobile could be bad, led him to trade it in for a….

      Dart.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      It absolutely does. I drove both the new WRX (and the BRZ) last weekend and was surprised at how quiet the WRX was. The exhaust is subdued and there is little wind noise on a clear day, even when approaching 100 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      @Corey, not sure I agree, especially with the new WRX. When people see me in my GTI at work, I definitely get the boy racer vibe. Among my peers its a very acceptable, but those who drive the BMWs or Audis still look at it as a “toy”. Now the new WRX, in a low key, tasteful color like black or dark grey, looks like most any other sedan, actually it’s a bit boring compared to many mainstream cars.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        But VW also gives you the option of the Jetta GLI, should you need something a bit less boyracer.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Is your GTI two or four doors? I can’t imagine a boy racer perception for the four door, though I can sorta see it for two, even if I don’t agree. Maybe all hatchbacks have that vibe in the US?

        This WRX does look pretty tame to me, with the exception of the quad tips and rear diffuser. That said, Corey is not wrong. And if they don’t sigh seeing a Subuaru pull up to the curb, they definitely will when they step inside.

        If you have to worry about perception as part of your career, the GTI definitely wins between these two cars. A sedan with some class is probably preferably to either.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Not all hatchbacks get that Vibe. Some things with a little less Soul definitely don’t appear boy racer.

          I suppose many people have careers where what you drive doesn’t matter. We’re all just living in the Matrix.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          Its a 4-dr, black, pretty tasteful looking car. And I work in IT, so its a very acceptable car for most of my peer group. I had commented on one of the GTI articles that 4 guys at my company had recently purchased GTIs, all around the same time frame. It’s mostly younger guys, though one manager around my age got a Jetta TDI.

          It doesnt’t really matter, not like someone isn’t going to hire me or my company if I drive a GTI or a WRX or a BMW or a Kia. But my guess is if you are in a career where perception about what you drive does matter, then neither car is going to be any better than the other. Maybe the GLI, if you get a grey one with leather and black out the red grill stripes.

          • 0 avatar
            LALoser

            I would be more inclined to hire the guy or gal that pulls up in an Evo/RalliArt/STI/WRX/SS/V series etc. Those cars show engagement in life vs someone that pulls up in something that needs the generic barcode and “car” stamped on the side.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Agreed! Just like I respect guys (and especially girls) who can drive a stick more than those who are auto only. But I of course realize I’m in the minority, and I have no real power at work, probably because of that lol

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I was shocked by the praise for the WRX’s insulation as well. Especially since Jack called his Accord Coupe “eerily quiet” when he reviewed it: http:// http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/un-mois-daccord/

      The WRX is better insulated than an eerily quiet car?

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    This review reads like the equivalent of a participation trophy for the Rex. At least they got rid of the godawful cheapness of the bugeye version though the interior design could still use some work.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    I think this is a fairly handsome car onto which they’ve thrown a basketful of cheesy pieces. I much prefer the more subtle way that VW signals an enhanced performance orientation. Then again, that’s not how i thought when I was twenty three. So maybe Jack’s distinction of San Francisco vs. the snowy states is less to the point than the different age cohort attracted to the Subaru compared to the GTI. If I were exiting the WRX now, it would be on the side where no one could see me.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It’s a great car, but were it my money, I would have gone for the STI.

    There would be an inevitable day when I pulled up at a stoplight next to an STI and at that moment I would be overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy and my manhood would shrivel and wither.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      If you are worried about your manhood withering while behind the wheel, you have far larger (smaller?) problems than buying an STI would solve.

    • 0 avatar

      WRX vs STI is a debate as old as the car. I’m not planning a lot of track time with my car, so spending the extra money didn’t make sense to me.

      • 0 avatar
        LALoser

        Agreed. The WRX and RalliArt are good, solid drivers for everyday. The STI and EVO take expense, and ride quality in a weekend only direction. IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        hgrunt

        The debate continues…

        Motortrend dyno’d the FA-powered WRX against the EJ-powered STI. The FA20 builds boost faster and sooner, and generally makes more torque where it counts in daily driving:

        http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-reviews/car-comparison-tests/2015-subaru-wrx-vs-sti

        The price difference between the two cars, would cover a healthy brake upgrade at the very least.

        Comparing the cars stock-to-stock, the WRX is a far better daily driver choice.

  • avatar

    This comment thread is missing just one thing: Politics! And noting how ugly the Ohio plates are now.

    Everyone thought the Farm-cartoon plates were bad, but now we have probably one of the ugliest plates in the nation (sorry New York, but y’all ain’t got nothin’ on this). The red at the top isn’t bad at all with the wide V shape almost makes you think of the old V8 logos you used to see on Ford trucks. But it’s all downhill from there, the entire white area below it has GRAY Ohio slogans printed in the background, like The Buckeye State, The Heart Of It All, Birthplace of Aviation–ick.

    This offensively ugly design was brought to us, designed by the wife of Theiving-Republican-Creature-Governor John Kasich, who screwed the state of Ohio to the tune of 7+ BILLION dollars–the entirety of the next 10 years of our future state liquor/beer tax revenue. Which he sold for pennies on the dollar ($1.5 B) to fund his completely unconstitutional “Jobs Board” which he personally, would appoint all members and he would chair as a PRIVATE ENTITY, with no oversight, in hopes of luring companies to bring jobs to Ohio. Not to mention the fact that this inveterate scumbag politician sold the tax revenue DIRECTLY to his FRIENDS on WALL STREET. As far as I know, there was no bidding process and no competition to see if any other investors would pay us more for that guaranteed $7 Billion.

    Oh, and the plates are still ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Ugh, complaining about the appearance of license plates is such a Whig Party thing to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      As a fellow Ohioan, I was intrigued by your accusations regarding Kasich. So I Googled “Kasich jobs board liquor tax,” and got only two results – one of which was you griping about the same thing on TTAC three years ago:

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-not-your-grandfathers-marauder-edition/

      Back on topic, it seems that what the new WRX has gained in refinement, it has lost in sheer fun, because the bugeye WRX was the automotive equivalent of a four-month-old Black Lab puppy. I loved it.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Maybe Potatoes lives in a van down by the river?

      • 0 avatar

        Wow, your google results must be tailored to your political leanings because I just googled “Kasich jobs board liquor tax” without using the quotes in Google, and got plenty of newspaper article links about this fiasco, including.

        http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/01/24/jobsohio-set-to-pay-state-1-4b-for-rights-to-liquor-profits.html (I was wrong on duration, it’s for up to the next 25 years)

        84,000 results is not 2. Republican math must be magical. If you want results and projected figures, you have to go back to about 2011 when he started the unconstitutional program, via The Plain Dealer @ cleveland.com http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/03/ohio_gov_john_kasich_hopes_boo.html Projected revenue: 6 Billion (I’ve read elsewhere up to 6.8 or better, depending on consumption remaining steady or increasing. Never bid on the open market. Now tell me again how I’m LYING?

        Canton Repository, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch, Toledo Blade, Cincinnati Enquirer, all the major newspapers have covered the story, especially Kasich giving kickbacks, I mean Tax Credits from his “Jobs Board” to a company HE used to serve on the board of and donated to his political campaign: http://www.cantonrep.com/article/20130815/News/308159793

        But it’s not corruption?

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Foley

          I had “jobs board” and “liquor tax” in quotation marks, which is how I got two results to your 84,000.

          You’ve made some big assumptions about my politics, most of them wrong. I do want to keep more of my paycheck, and I have a hard-wired reactionary hatred for anyone who seeks to take my cars or my guns, but most of the rest of my political views are center-left.

          (reads your links, thinks) Kasich’s actions smack of cronyism and corruption…but the jobs board seems to be working:
          http://www.deptofnumbers.com/unemployment/ohio/

          Screw politics. Do you have an opinion about the domestication of the WRX? If you were writing the checks, would you take a well-preserved 2002, or a 2015?

          As for vans by the river, I am a big Farley fan…but in hindsight, maybe I should have picked another Farley character for my forum name. Like Tommy Callahan III, for example.

          • 0 avatar

            Obviously, the newer cars have lost something intrinsic to their nature. I see the WRX sort of like the movie Happy Gilmore, in the beginning, he’s cussing, spitting, throwing golf clubs and all that, attracts all the bikers and nontraditional golfing fans, he’s signing tits, has a bum for a caddy, etc. But by the end of the movie, he’s totally sold out, no more antics, *completely* reserved and toned down, almost respectable even. Regardless of his trick shot to win and get the jacket/girl/win back grandma’s house in the end, it felt like he changed, man, into something he never wanted to be.

            That a deep enough parable for you? ;D

          • 0 avatar

            As for your jobs claims, 46th in job creation is not “the right direction” http://ohiodems.org/under-gov-kasich-ohio-plummets-to-46th-in-the-nation-in-job-growth/, also, a rutebaga could have created 250k new jobs by doing nothing after the historic crash we went through. How about not cherry-picking only private employers and including all jobs, including government jobs in the figures? Because it makes him look like a tool http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/elections/2014/04/22/kasich-ad-i-lift-ohio-through-job-creation/8012081/

  • avatar
    DubTee1480

    1250, Vista Blanca, the ink blotter, on the desk in the den, in the basement, of the house with the tacky mailbox.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “When the Accord gets going, well, that’s about the same time…” that the stoplight grand prix has ended and you lost.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    According http://www.edmunds.com/ noise level:
    bmw 228i 70 mph cruise (dB) 63.8
    2015 WRX 70 mph cruise (dB) 67.7

    I had a short test drive in WRX and it seems to me as quite
    as 228i. Is there really 4 db difference?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Did you drive them back to back? Did edmunds test them on the same road surface? It’s hard to get a handle on noise levels in reviews.

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      4 db is a decent difference, but both are fairly quiet cars. The 228i may be noticeably quieter in the same situation.

      • 0 avatar
        vanpressburg

        I had second test drive in WRX. The engine is very quiet, wind noise
        is very low, but there is a tire noise. On bad road WRX is 4 db louder
        than 228i, on good road surface WRX is as quiet as 228i.
        WRX with quieter tires could match 228i.
        Very impressive.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    “The driveline feels relentlessly front-biased in all dry-road operation.”

    That’s all I needed to know. I take it the Mitsu Evo comparisons are overblown (or at least reserved for the STI only). If this is the case, why not just get one of those newfangled Haldex turbo-mobiles, like a Golf R? It would certainly do a better impression of a highly dampened German car than the Subie.

    Cars are more capable than ever (far beyond the skill levels of most enthusiasts), yet it feels like there are fewer “driver’s cars” than ever (rotate-ability being a key characteristic, in my opinion). I had high hopes for the new WRX.

  • avatar

    This is Eric – long-time reader, first-time commenter. Jack is correct that it is a premium trim, which includes the sunroof, fog lights and heated seats. The GTI/WRX comparison is natural and I think Jack hit the nail on the head. If I was in sunny California, a GTI would be a great DD, but here in snowy OH I wanted the added abilities of the subie AWD. I work one of those 24/7/365 jobs, and “I couldn’t get out of my driveway” isn’t an acceptable excuse for not being there.

    Judging cars on their behavior at the limit is a great way to amplify their characteristics, but with a low skill driver like myself, I’ll probably never experience that until right before I understeer into a tree. I’ve played the FWD game long enough and wanted something else as my DD.

    And a word of advice – if you have a chance for a ride along with Jack, take it. The guy is a hooligan!

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I almost want him to drive my 350Z just to see him extract it’s potential at the limits. But then again I’ve read plenty of JB’s stories and thus would most likely spend the whole time screaming in fear and not learning anything. In addition I’d be worried he might start hitting on my wife ;)

      • 0 avatar

        Well I only learned a small amount, and don’t recall screaming, but it was one of the scariest rides of my life. The skill delta between myself and Jack is massive – just the rev-matched downshifts under heavy braking were damn impressive.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Aren’t rev-matched downshifts are actually easier under heavy braking, as opposed to light braking?

          I try experimenting with the whole “heel-toe” thing, but I don’t brake hard enough in street driving, so the brake pedal is too high relative to the gas. I’m sure I just suck at it, but heavier braking would at least solve that part of the problem.

          • 0 avatar

            It was the brake modulation that impressed me the most. Diving into a turn, carrying what I thought was way too much speed, then stabbing the brake harder all while down shifting – I would need an extra leg, an extra arm, and possibly an extra brain to be able to perform all those actions in a split second.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Please send a list of the mods to your 350Z, and a picture of your wife, and your nearest airport served by Poor People’s Airlines, aka Southwest.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      This.

      If anyone, anywhere, gets the chance to be piloted around in any car by a professional racing driver, take it.

      My first time (many years ago), I was working a consumer ride and drive featuring a certain client’s performance car. We ran short of club host drivers, and I was recruited into a car. My orientation was performed by Dick Guldstrand himself. First, he showed me how we’d all prefer the attendees drive the course (safely, under control). Then, just to demonstrate the car’s potential, he went full race mode once the track cleared. It is terrifying, mesmerizing to watch a race car driver driving at 10/10ths, conversing in a normal tone, with hands and feet performing a dazzling dance of cause and effect. That night, Dick grabbed one of the cars and we headed out on the road to a restaurant. Again, my mind was blown.

      Your rational brain’s understanding of the professional driver’s confidence, control, knowledge and experience keeps you from freaking out, while your emotional brain sees the corner coming up, fast, no slowing, and it’s screaming, “Holy sh!7, we’re gonna die!”

      So yeah, if any B&B have a new performance car and want a ride to always remember, call Jack. Warning, you will learn just how bad regular people suck as drivers — including yourself. But the ride is totally worth this realization.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly my experience, Hearse. My brain’s understanding of a car’s abilities told me more than once “well this won’t end well”, but Jack was fully in control. Scary, exhilarating and eye-opening ride of a lifetime.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Eric- An attaboy for subjecting yourself and your car to JB’s cold eye. Lots of folks would wince at reading any negative comments about their automotive pride & joy.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks Bruce. I wasn’t expecting a puff piece, and Jack delivered. I’ll be honest – I was more anxious about how I would be perceived. The car is what it is, but I’m the only one to blame if I come off as an idiot.

        • 0 avatar
          LALoser

          How do you like the car so far? I really like it.

          • 0 avatar

            LA – I’ve been loving it. It offers so much more in the way of performance, technology, toys and style compared to my Sentra. But, because its a brand new model I’m just now starting to feel the pain of being an early adopter. The car is staying parked all weekend while I wait to get it into the dealer’s service dept. for the CEL.

            I take it you also have a 15 WRX? What are your thoughts? What kind of vehicle did you have before hand?

          • 0 avatar
            LALoser

            I still have a ’13 RalliArt. I’m old, I have had long list of cars and trucks in the US, PI, ZA, India, Thailand, NZ and few other places.
            It is fun having a WRX and RalliArt to play around with.

          • 0 avatar
            LALoser

            Oh! When you go to the dealer, see if they can install the short throw shifter. Its slick.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I am very familiar with the not-quite-thoroughly-welded-and-screwed-tight feeling Subarus are famous for. Growing up in the mountain west (with family still residing there), I’ve been in dozens of Subarus of various generations and models. Each comes with Gene Krupa hiding somewhere in the headliner, Buddy Rich in the the dash, and Max Roach swinging in the driveline.

    Granted, each cat keeps different time, and can not be located no matter how desperately I tear into door panels, cubbies, glove compartments etc. Sometimes, one will lay out awhile (and you think he’s finally taken up a gig somewhere else), then he randomly breaks into a drum solo, regardless of road surface.

    (I’ll never forget the time Mom’s ’04 Forester had Neil Peart in the rear hatch, playing the triangle intro to YYZ, over and over and over.)

    So Jack, it seems the new WRX is much more solidly welded, but I’d be a little sad if you were to tell me the new Subie is completely percussion free. Not one rattle? A little brush on the high-hat somewhere under the rear seat? A bass drum kick in the boot? Nothing?

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    This is rather strange. I’ve been in multiple Accords before and there isn’t much sport involved in those cars, especially the newer ones. I’ve driven a rare ’07 V6 6MT sedan and while it had decent acceleration the suspension wasn’t changed and it felt like a family sedan with a big engine and transmission added as an afterthought which is what it was. Hell, I’ve driven my buddy’s 2008 TL-S 6MT with similar drivetrain and that thing was far more luxury than sport. So here I am, trying to figure out how an Accord ended up praised over a much better handling, much faster WRX for its lightness and performance.

    Now, I own a ’12 WRX. I compared that with a ’13 GTI and the latter came out as a joke. Measly 200hp, fwd, pathetic interior size, etc for the same price. The only thing that was decidedly better was interior materials in a few places. The new car must be leaps and bounds better than the old one.

    I do agree about the San Francisco part though. I moved there and WRX is just not a good SF car at all. I would say downright bad. But so far that’s the only strike I have against it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’m afraid the WRX isn’t “much faster” than an Accord. At least it’s not much faster than MY Accord.

      2015 WRX, C/D: 13.6@102
      2014 Accord V6 6MT, C/D: 14.0@103

      Even with the need to light-foot the throttle for the first 60-90 feet, the Accord still out-traps the WRX. In the real world, where you don’t drop the clutch at 5000rpm in your own car, the Accord will walk the WRX.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Why is the WRX a bad SF car? Suspension to stiff for the rough roads? I thought Jack’s point was GTI if winter is not a concern, WRX if it is.

      A WRX would still come in handy in mild climates (SF and LA) that are near mountains (Sierras and Bear Mountain), though certainly a much bigger selling point for a 24/7/365 job in snow country, as Eric has.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    How is the 2015 WRX’s ride quality compare to GTI, BMW M235i, Lexus IS ?

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Wow, the review really makes it sound like the WRX has been neutered.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      It will run with the best for a DD. It may seem neutered because it is more composed and quieter. I experienced that in my friends Regal GS. It will haul, but the seat of the pants feeling has faded away.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        And now we’re comparing the WRX to a Buick. Truly these are the end times.

        I get it, I really do, but it makes me a little bit sad. The WRX was among the small number of car that I never expected, nor wanted, to grow up. At least not without a name change.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    … I might have been behind the wheel of a Viper TA and Camaro Z/28 ….
    Don’t compare WRX to these cars.

    WRX has better lateral g than much more expensive BMW 335, Lexus IS, Infinity G37, Q50, Audi A3, A4.
    Now, when WRX is quiet, what is the reason to buy one of these cars?
    With CVT, WRX has power distibution 55 rear and 45 front, so the WRX
    with CVT isn’t front-biased.
    WRX is the best deal on the market today.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Because no matter how much grip it has and how fast it goes a WRX still feels like what it is, which is an econobox with a big engine, stiff suspension and sticky tires? Which is also pretty much what a GTI is, but is certainly NOT what a 3-series, G37, or A4 is. The A3 is kind of halfway in-between.

      The WRX is more refined than it used to be, but there is an even bigger gap between it and the $45K-$60K set. As there should be given the difference in cost. I do agree that you get a heck of a lot for the money with the WRX. But you also get what you pay for.

      • 0 avatar
        LALoser

        It sounds funny, but I think the WRX without a sunroof handles better. Drove both.

      • 0 avatar
        vanpressburg

        ….Which is also pretty much what a GTI is, but is certainly NOT what a 3-series, G37, or A4 is…..

        I don’t think so.
        2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan @ 70 mph cruise (dB) 68.3
        2015 Subaru WRX @ 70 mph cruise (dB) 67.7

        WRX is quieter than G37 sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Ha, not too many sentences start with “WRX is quieter than…”

          The road surface has a huge impact on cruising noise. Unless those numbers were taken with the same equipment on the same road surface, they aren’t worth much. Especially since the measurements are so close.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Glad the WRX has been Subaruthed. Looking forward to more of these readers’ rides reviews.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    People, people
    since when is a quieter car a bad thing?

  • avatar
    wmba

    Interesting indeed.

    The first thing anyone driving a Subaru turbo seriously should do before setting off is to check the tire pressures.

    Each Spring and Fall when I get my tires swapped, I ask for 35/33 psi front/rear. As it states on the goddarn door jamb.

    Invariably, I get 32/32. A few weeks ago, I blew up. Mechanic tells me they set it that way to minimize uneven tire wear. So, these people, who deal with cooking Subarus 95 percent of the time, tell me they know better than Subaru. Bullshit. I got them to put matters right, I know the thing handles like sludge at 32/32.

    I don’t know what Subaru recommends for tire pressures for the new WRX, but you won’t have much idea of its true capabilities unless they’re correct, based on my ’08 Legacy GT.

    Perhaps the owner can tell us how his tire pressures are compared to recommendation. It would be good to know, because the dealer is unlikely to have gotten it right.

    • 0 avatar

      I honestly haven’t checked tire pressures or recommended pressures from the door sill. I’ll let you know tomorrow when I’m not at work and have access to a pressure gauge.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      I have multiple friends who have blown up the transfer cases in Legacys and Imprezas due to mismatched tire pressures and therefore mismatched tire rotation speeds. Do the newer ones have this Achilles’ Heel? If so, that door jamb sticker may as well be a holy text if you want to avoid a four-figure transfer case repair.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        How much of a difference are we talking about and how long does it take to cause that kind of damage? A blown transfer case seems like an excessive penalty for a leaking bead seal or picking up a screw.

    • 0 avatar
      Grahambo

      Agreed. My ’05 LGT is very sensitive to tire pressure. Makes all the difference – konis and H&R springs have a a very positive impact on handling as well, although the ride quality suffers.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Many mechanics don’t seem to get this right on any car. Last time I had a car in for repair the mechanic checked tire pressure as part of their complimentary “service” (tire pressure, top off fluids, etc). The door jamb lists 32/32, they had it had 45/45, which didn’t even match the invoice that said they set it to 38/38.

      I double check tire pressure every time a mechanic touches the car, but this was the most ridiculous example.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      I’m having a tough time believing that 3 psi front and 1 psi rear is going to make any substantial difference in a street car with street tires.

      You and I walk into an auto parts store and buy identical well-regarded tire pressure gauges, take them out to the parking lot and you’re likely as not to get a 2 psi different reading from mine – on the same tire on the same car. Do you have an NBS-calibrated gauge with a calibration cert? How recently?

      I might suspect the tires are slightly low after a few corners, but I’m pretty sure I’ll still have a pretty good “idea of its true capabilities.”

      I agree if the techs are deliberately setting the tires to other than what is specified, that’s wrong, but…

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        A couple of things:

        I have owned nothing but AWD cars since 1988. Two Audis, one Talon, and three Subies. All of them were/are very sensitive to tire pressures. Maybe for the average person, it doesn’t matter. But I don’t drive like Casper Milquetoast, and want some sharpness in my handling. I can easily tell the difference between 32 all round, and 35/33 on my car. It lessens understeer quite noticeably..

        Second, you are confusing accuracy with precision wrt tire gauges, or any other meter. My professional life was half spent in Legal Metrology. Even if the accuracy is incorrect, good repeatability and precision enables the correct delta to be measured in tire pressure front to rear.

        The mechanic hauled out a tire gauge of a size I’ve never seen before, huge with a name like Techmaster, and proceeded to lecture me that my 30 year old Bourdon pressure gauge was a piece of sh*t. I shut him down, being a prickly old so-and-so. Lectures from a know-nothing I don’t need. We compared, four times and whaddya know, the two agreed to within 1/2 psi! They both could be wrong, of course, and probably are.

        He then asked me what pressures I wanted. That teed me off. I replied I wanted Subaru recommended pressure. Oh, that’s 32 all around. I had to take that donk around and show him the driver’s side door jamb, and get him to tell me what was printed there. 35/33. Much whining and complaining from him. I just told him to get on with it, having just dropped $800 on the 60,000 mile service. Plus, this happens EVERY time I get my tires swapped. I’m tired of the incompetence. When I bought my last summer tires at a Chrysler dealer, wow, they had no problem getting the pressures correct! How dumb can these Subaru service people be? Screw it, like I told him, I paid for him to get it correct, not to be set to his opinion. Period.

        You can believe what you want about the handling differences, but from my point-of-view, unless you agree with me, you’re simply insensitive to the issue. I own a turbo Subie – do you?

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          That is an awful lot of aggravation to get your tires adjusted by 3/1 PSI. I certainly understand the aggravation, but fixing it yourself and then taking your business elsewhere might do wonders for your blood pressure.

  • avatar
    WhatDaFunk

    Really cheap shot on Jalopnik. They’ve done similar features where they reviewed readers’ cars, and I thought they were quite well done and about as far as you can get from your imagined scenario. I expect better from you, Jack.

  • avatar

    Quick update on the WRX – fired it up this morning after a long night shift to see the Check Engine light staring back at me. Owners manual said if the CEL isn’t flashing, its safe to drive slowly.

    Once home, I popped in my bluetooth OBD2 adapter and the Torque app gave me P2610 – ECM issue. So at 1200 miles on the dot, the ECM had a fit. Of course the two local Subie dealers can’t fit me in until next week when I’m scheduled to work 72 hours.

    I’ll try to keep everyone posted if anyone is interested, but my weekend plans to terrorize the Hocking Hills region are on cancelled unfortunately.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      Oh…I just have +-250 miles on mine…will see if it strikes.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m hopeful it’s just a one off issue, but who knows? An ECM reflash may be a TSB in the near future.

      • 0 avatar

        So Subaru had the car yesterday and explained the code was caused by “intercooler soak”. I asked the service rep what that really meant, and he couldn’t explain. He said “That’s what Subaru told us the code meant.” Because of the nature of some of these codes, they requested to drive the car 40-50 miles to ensure the CEL wouldn’t come back. This morning they called to advise it appears everything is working as it should.

        If I run into any more issues, I’ll try to update this again.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    re: not pleased with their lack of ability to stand the WRX on its nose.
    Any chance the lower CG is part of the lack of dive? Are the brakes actually incapable of overwhelming the front tires without ABS? My ’93 Legacy wouldn’t until I upgraded to bigger “turbo” brakes and stickier pads, but a WRX? That is one serious pet peeve of mine; the brakes NEED to be able to out grip the tires even on dry road.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      I wouldn’t worry about that, the brakes can easily overpower the tires. They are actually the same front brakes essentially as your Legacy GT. Jacks issues with feel and fade or more likely due to pads. Subaru has never used particularly performance oriented pads, but this issue is easily fixable.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Other than the fact I have shown up late, I have to catch up on my TTAC every couple days, this article kinda brings up a point of feedback: there should be more author participation in the comments here! I mean the Jalopnik crew seem to be good at that and it really adds something if you respond to counterpoints.

    I think of this because I can’t quite reconcile your love of the GTI and cold feeling to the WRX. If we take the last generation cars, the old WRX was soft and laggy compared to this one, but also it would easily paint tire marks up one side and down the other on a GTI from a performance standpoint. You can easily gather up and spit out a GTI as a novice in a WRX on a track day, pretty easy and that’s not playing track day racer, just driving the car. No big secret, the GTI has been a far nicer car but even softer and down on power.

    Now this new WRX, which really is a similar chassis to the current one, with way more roll stiffness, more STI shared parts, proper damping and quicker steering solid mounted to the chassis…from an objective standpoint the car is the most aggressive WRX yet though the dash is nicer and it is quieter. When is the last time you drove the old one and can you compare?

    So is the new GTI *that* good that it has caught the old WRX and then passed this new one? Or have you crossed the line to irrelevant race car driver like Pobst over at Motor Trend…whichever is the “looser” ride that understeers less wins. If so I mourn the loss of the old Jack who seemed to have a connection to the common man as it were…

    On the other hand you are saying an Accord Coupe is just as fun to drive as a WRX…I can’t make sense of it…

    I’d also like your thoughts on the Mustang comparison…tons of power but even in GT track-pack config with all the Boss 302 parts this thing has a soft suspension. It gets around the track on tons of awesome power. I fee like if you put the kind of roll stiffness Subaru puts in a WRX (i.e. 200#+ wheel rates just from the springs) the car then becomes too unsafe for a normal driver to drive. Only my theory but there has to be a reason they do this, maybe old guys buying Mustangs like a nice ride.

    So in this class…WRX, GTI, Mustang GT track pack, Focus ST…which is the truly hard core car if you discount the Evo…

    • 0 avatar

      I wish I could offer any additional insights, but as mentioned all of my past automotive experiences have been in much slower cars.

      I’d love to get my hands on a new GTI just to see what the fuss is about. Older generation GTI’s I’ve ridden in seemed similarly quick to my WRX, with a slightly laggy power delivery. Could it be that the AWD powertrain’s parasitic losses put the higher HP WRX closer to the actual power at the wheels of a GTI?

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Surely it is possible, I have yet to drive this new WRX! I owned a 2009 myself. No GTI could touch a WRX as far as power is concerned, but this 2015 has a brand new motor, and rated power seems to be just a general guide these days, by the magazine numbers these cars both trap around 100 in the 1/4 mile which is a great indicator of HP, so the WRX and GTI are closer than they have ever been. If the GTI has really gotten that much more aggressive handling then it is worth a drive for sure!

        Too much is made of the AWD power loss. There isn’t much more lost in the Subaru AWD system vs transverse FWD, just one of those things people make up on the Internet and others repeat it as true.

        Enjoy your WRX!!

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      +1 on author participation, at least while the story is relatively fresh.

      I don’t think Jack was cold toward the WRX; he did say it was the easy choice over the GIT in snow country. Also, not sure if you caught up to the MKVII review yet, but he wasn’t that impressed with the GTI. Says it lacks soul or something.

      You might be right about Jack losing his connection with the common man though. In both this review and especially the GTI review, the main criticism seems to be that both cars are so competent they are boring to him. With that in mind, I’m not clear how an Accord coupe fits into the picture…

      • 0 avatar
        bludragon

        I read this part mostly as a comparison of turbo vs NA power delivery. I can definitely see the appeal of the NA, especially if you are not fully attuned to the turbo delivery.

        I also think Jack will have some natural bias towards the accord coupe since he has a closer connection to it with it being his daily.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    According motortrend.com:

    LATERAL ACCELERATION 2015 Subaru WRX 2013 Accord EX Coupe
    0.96 g (avg) 0.88 g (avg)
    BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 106 ft 121 ft

    WRX is much more fun and it has excellent brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Yep, that WRX sure had better tires than that Accord!

      It’s true that the WRX is way more fun though. Because while both are a bit dull for most of the year, for those four months of the year when the lateral acceleration capability of both cars is usually well under 0.5g even on studded winters, the WRX will be about as fun as street driving gets.


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