By on January 9, 2009

In 2005, Toyota bought around half of GM’s stake in Subaru. As ToMoCo never bought Saab, they never bothered with a Saabaru. Instead, Toyota decided to go for a return on their investment. How? By broadening the WRX’s appeal. That’s right, the WRX, Subaru’s de facto all-wheel drive, turbocharged, deformed-looking halo vehicle was going to bring home the bacon by appealing to moms. Ha ha ha. As such, the 2008 WRX was an abject failure. There’s no better proof/pudding than the fact that I spent a week with an all new 2009 WRX. Not since the 1950s has a redesign happened so fast. But big questions remain. Like just how much better is this new-for-‘09 Rex?

The exterior’s a big mess. Still. Viewed from the side, it’s a Corolla with big wheels. From the front, it’s the ugliest WRX yet, even if it now sports the STI’s grill. That’s truly a remarkable achievement. However, I’m reserving the bulk of my venom for the ghastly rear. Our particular tester is the sedan (as opposed to the much better wagon) and all I see a Toyota Echo with twin pipes. Blech!

The interior is no better. In fact, it’s a big step back compared to the 2005 – 2007 flying-vagina model. Sure, the gauges do an expensive-car sweep when you turn the key. And instead of illegible-in-sunlight orange, everything on the WRX’s dash now glows red. But everything’s made from cheaper stuff, which in my STI review I perspicaciously referred to as “crap.”

I particularly dislike that the doors are no longer (partially) covered in fabric. Instead, your left elbow rests against the type of crummy plastic you’ll find lining a 737. Awful to the touch. The seats have less bolstering (but do have heaters) and the steering wheel doesn’t adjust up far enough to even consider driving tricks like left foot braking. Heel and toe’s more difficult, too. Hey, at least the WRX is now manual-only, right? Sadly, it’s BMW-grade floppy and vague.

But there is a new for 2009 engine. One of the two big downfalls of the 2008 WRX: Subaru carried over the ’07 motor. Brand new car, same 224 hp and 226 lb-ft torques. For 2009, the turbo has been swapped out for the STI’s larger turbo plus some piping and ECU upgrades. But big deal, right? I mean, the resulting numbers are 265 hp and 244 lb-ft. Nice, but… Caution! You’re about to enter the all spin zone! When the WRX’ tachometer crests 4,000 rpm, something miraculous occurs. Oh. My. Lord. It’s fast. Freakishly, worryingly, shockingly fast. Ten years ago I would have sworn it was running nitrous. How fast?

The 2009 WRX hits 60 mph from zero in 4.7 seconds. And here’s the kicker: it costs about $25k. Let’s put that in perspective. In 2002, just six years ago, a Ferrari Maranello 575M (the one with the much-admired HVAC controls) stickered for around $225k. The Fezza hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. You want new cars? A Porsche 997 costs $75k0 and hits 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. A Cayman S? $60k/5.1 seconds. BMW 335i? $42k/5.2 seconds (though some claim 4.8– which is still slower). M3 sedan? $53k/4.7 seconds. The new Mustang GT and new 370Z are both well over 300 hp machines that cost $5k more and can “only” hit 60 mph in 5-flat.

Subaru’s own STI costs $38k and manages 60 mph in 5.0. Here’s a biggie: Mitsu’s $39,000 EVO X MR? 4.9 seconds. In fact, 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds is the exact same time as a Buick GNX, a car that 22 years ago was the fastest accelerating production car in the world. $25k, friends.

The other major downfall of the 2008 Rex was the soft-as-peach-yogurt suspension. Especially when compared to all the other dental appliance loosening WRXs that preceeded it. The new WRX fixes that, to a degree. Gone is the whoa nelly! body roll, replaced by what feels like a highly-tuned Corolla. I happen to own an ’06 Rexer; the 2009 model simply lacks my car’s maybe/kinda/could be a race car feel. It’s just too comfortable, too squishy, too mainstream. Not that the new car has any issues with corners (it doesn’t). But its econo car roots are more apparent. Specifically, understeer happens. One aspect that has been improved over all predecessors is high speed stability. Thank God.

So, do you buy the 2009 WRX? As an owner of both a 2006 and a 2001 would I buy it? The obvious problem: the competition. MazdaSpeed3 anyone? Hell, the Chevy Cobalt SS is just as powerful and can whip the WRX around a track. And the Subaru is really, seriously ugly. But here’s the thing: once that big turbo fully spools and starts puking power into the transmission, you realize how little all the other stuff else matters. My advice? Get the wagon, and start looking for rich guys to humiliate.


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93 Comments on “Review: 2009 Subaru WRX...”

  • avatar

    Excellent review, though I do question whether neck snapping acceleration can really cover for all the things botched.

    • 0 avatar

      This TTAC article is what really, ultimately convinced me to get into the 2009-2013 series of WRX. I absolutely agree with the performance review. In terms of the interior and exterior treatment, they have improved from 2009. I bought a 2013, and it has been a dream.

      The 2009’s have now been known to have some issues, but a 2010+ is a fairly safe bet for reliability. The 2011+ has a face lifted body to match with the STI. I wouldn’t say that anything on this car was botched.

      True driver’s car.

  • avatar

    0-60 in 4.7? Wow, that is quick by any measure. Did your car have the six-speed or the five-speed, or is that even an option anymore? My old and very missed ’04 Werx had the six in it.

    To get those numbers though, it almost sounds like they re-worked some of the gearing ratios in the tranny. That 0-60 number is all the more impressive because you’re giving up some time by manually shifting, at least compared to a lot of the other cars you mentioned that accelerate slower.

  • avatar

    Yeah, fast won’t compensate for everything. I sat in a Lancer EVO at a recent auto show and I can tell you that if I was that uncomfortable and in pain when sitting in the hard as plastic seats when just sitting still, being in that kinda of pain AND hitting 60 in 5 seconds would be downright dangerous.

  • avatar

    Not fair to compare zippo-60 numbers against RWD cars. By the time the WRX reaches the end of a quarter-mile, a 575 Maranello will be putting on its turn signal for the return lane.

  • avatar

    “Sometimes quantity is quality.”

    If I’m correct, Joe Stalin’s quote is closer to: “Sometimes, quantity has a quality all of its own” while launching yet another entire ARMY on a hapless Wehrmacht regiment…
    A fitting comparison for the WRX’s engine, it seems.

    @ Jack: not fair, true. But on the other hand, most WRX owners pride themselves on using their cars in real-life rather than on the track, where low speed acceleration matters more than top speed (although passing speed may well be the ultimate measure).

  • avatar

    A) Your obsession with 0-60 times belies the truth about vehicles, the real world, and speed – what does a 0-60 matter except for magazine racers and stoplight racing, which is for douchebags and hooligans (respectively). A more telling figure would be trap speed, which indicates how fast the car really can move. This car’s 1/4 mile trap speed is between 99-101 mph – that’s not very impressive unless your goal is to race Mom’s Camry V6.

    B) Where are you getting your 0-60 time data from? The best I could find anywhere on the intarnets is 0-60 in 5.1 from Road and Track, who has notoriously low 0-60 times. Realistically you’re looking at 5.2-5.3, thanks to AWD and good gearing, but as I stated before, the car runs out of steam up top and only traps around 100 mph.

    C) Its one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. This matters, especially if you have to be seen in public.

    disclaimer – I am a Subaru owner, and therefore cannot be accused of fanboyism or bias against Subarus themselves – just calling it like I see it.

  • avatar

    My advice would have been to do what I did. Pick up a new 2008 STI for 29k with 0% financing for 63 months then add a Cobb accessport for $650. You are looking at 340hp and 345tq (yay 93 octane) at the flywheel with a much smoother pull from 2750 instead of 4k.

    Also stats vary, some STI tests show it at 5 for 0-60 but even Edmunds(notorious for slow times) ran one in 4.7 on lame 91 octane.

    While I would never have paid 37k for one nor bought any previous year as it looked like a kids car the 08/09 STI fits the bill for me at least.

    With about $1,000 in modifications (sways, bushings, accessport and taillight overlays) and the 08 STI finally makes sense.

    I agree they do need to fix the interior, cheap for a car in this price range but then I care less that my kids mess it up so maybe it’s for the best.

  • avatar

    As another Subaru owner (2008 LGT), I can attest, above 4000RPM, the car flys (even with my smaller Turbo compared to the 2009 WRX)

    Also, with the Legacy, you get leather, a nicer soft touch interior, slightly longer wheelbase, and less attention from police.

    I love my subie. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn awesome.

  • avatar

    I read an article that claims the ‘most expensive’ cars to insure are the STI and EVO. Does the WRX fit into this category as well?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman


    Car & Driver

    Good enough?

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    The problem with the 0-60 times on these AWD turbo cars is that you have to side step the clutch at 5000 rpm to get out of the hole with a reasonable time.
    A a 5mph-60mph street start will reveal the car to be much slower (as evidenced by its 1/4 mile trap speed as well).
    That being said, I still love subies!

  • avatar

    Like other here have said, what’s the obsession with 0-60 times? AWD cars with high gearing have an advantage in that area.

    Also the M3 Sedan has been timed from 0-60 as fast as 4.1 seconds. Cherry picking numbers to make your point isn’t valid.

    You didn’t include 1/4 mile times because that didn’t prove your point.

  • avatar

    My attraction to WRX’s over the years is akin to my high school years attraction to slightly chubby girls with great personalities and an openness to “try new things”.

    In a nutshell, the spec sheet performance of both can just rock, but the day to day livability, and dare I say looks (I said it) just does not make it.

  • avatar

    This review was a constant contradiction of terms, but that pretty much sums up a Subaru – and it’s owners (yours truly included).

    If you’re above (below?) blasphemy, the aforementioned Saabaru can be had on the dirt-cheap right now, since they’re all but forgotten. Find yourself an Aero model, and you’ll have an inoffensively-styled (if not almost handsome) previous-gen WRX with the same craptastic interior and 100% of the thrills for a 25% discount over the authentically badged model.

    I probably wouldn’t fare so badly in the new gen REX since stupid power crossed with nautical handling is the M.O. of my Outback XT. I’ll just have to feign blissful ignorance that better handling exists somewhere everywhere.

  • avatar

    From back when I bothered to subscribe to both Road and Track and Car & Driver, Road and Track tested acceleration like they owned the car (i.e. they used the clutch, and dropped the clutch an RPM level that would make it last more than a week), while Car & Driver tested acceleration like they stole the car (i.e. speed shifting, dropping the clutch at very high RPM, etc.). So take the results given that.

    If someone wants sub 5 second 0-60 times with cheap interior plastic an F-body is the way to go. Getting beaten by the Bandit would be particularly humiliating for rich guys.

    Does this thing still have a 5-speed, one less shift might give it an advantage over some of the pricier cars in 0-60.

  • avatar

    onerareviper: depends on the frequency with which people total them. Probably fairly expensive to insure.

    I was severely disappointed by the 2008 WRX, for the reasons mentioned in this review. Especially the interior (which all of the magazines have raved about–what’s up with that?) and the suspension.

    Drove the STI recently. Better, but not loving it. Like the Evo better.

    Reliability is a question mark here. 2008 WRX owners have been reporting a fairly high repair rate on TrueDelta’s surveys so far, which is unusual for a Subaru. Most likely they worked the bugs out prior to the 2009 launch. Time will tell. We have updates every three months, with the next one in early February.

  • avatar

    Sales of the Impreza are up in spite of a down market. The 2008 is right on target, exactly what Subaru needed.
    The WRX part is meaningless, as are most “enthusiast” cars.
    I see women driving 08 Imprezas now, I never saw that with any of the previous gen cars.
    0-60 from Consumer Reports
    2008 WRX-MT 6.3
    2008 STi MT 5.4
    2008 Evo GSR 5.8
    Mustang GT 5.5
    911 4.4

  • avatar

    Of course, no review of the Subaru WRX would be complete without a mention of the freakin’ Mazdaspeed 3. I’m glad that you fit right into the mold there, Mr. Lieberman.

    Listen – the Mazdaspeed 3 is a fine car. In many respects, it’s a better car than the WRX. Unfortunately, the fact that it ATTEMPTS to put a fair amount of power through the front wheels is the car’s Achilles heel. Now, here’s the deal: THAT IS ONE HUGE MOTHER EFFING ACHILLES HEEL when it comes to a car that makes Mazdaspeed 3-levels of torque.

    I am completely tired of automotive journalists who discount AWD (I’m not saying you do this, Mr. Lieberman; I’m just venting here.) Do they not realize that with AWD, you can actually *use* the power that your car makes in everyday situations (merging onto a four-line high-traffic highway, for instance) WITHOUT screeching and wheelspin? Sorry, but THAT, to me, is a BIG deal.

  • avatar

    A) Your obsession with 0-60 times belies the truth about vehicles, the real world, and speed – what does a 0-60 matter except for magazine racers and stoplight racing, which is for douchebags and hooligans (respectively). A more telling figure would be trap speed, which indicates how fast the car really can move. This car’s 1/4 mile trap speed is between 99-101 mph – that’s not very impressive unless your goal is to race Mom’s Camry V6.

    I think the quarter mile time is what doesn’t matter in the real world of a daily driver. Acceleration up to highway speed is more important to most people than how quickly the car can cover 1320 ft.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Vorenus: Sounds like someone needs to drive a MazdaSpeed3.

  • avatar

    The last turbo Sub I drove was a manual Outback XT, and I thought it was slow compared to the 0-60 claims (under 6, supposedly). I’m guessing that the WRX is a ringer, much like the GNX was (although the GNX was a journalist ringer, with specially prepped cars going to the testers to ensure ridiculous numbers. They were preproduction prototypes, and later tests peg the acceleration at about 1 second slower). It’s always better to underquote power than to overquote it.

  • avatar

    Good point Vorenus…I don’t think a lot of people in “non-AWD” locales realize the dry weather advantage. I have a car Mr. Lieberman didn’t exactly love (08 Infiniti G35xS) but the ability to hammer its Nismo 3.5 306hp and put all the power to the pavement is amazing. I’ve had some semi-high power FWDers (2002 Acura TL-S) and torque steer – even if partially controlled – just spoils the festivities…I had a 2006 A4 3.2 Quattro with the true S-line suspension – 30% stiffer springs and lowered 0.8 inches – and that was a serious go-kart (but with heated rear seats)…Even my wife’s 08 Highlander Ltd AWD with it’s Toyo AWD system can smoke almost all the soccer/hockey moms – and dads – in their CUV/SUV buggies…Sure, AWD weight can kill, but I love all 4 wheels putting down the power. PLUS, I like the new “Chrysler” front end on the 2008-2009 Subies…

  • avatar

    P.S. Johnny – I’ll also go drive a Mazdaspeed3 ASAP…I just drove a 09 GTI but I know that isn’t in the same hp/lb ft ballpark…

  • avatar

    $25k, yeah right. Add ten large for the Canadian price…

  • avatar

    Is it really so ugly? Bland – yes, but no less handsome that the last model was to my eyes.

  • avatar

    Ambulancechaser is bang on. When the STI first debuted it was pushing $50k up here in the Great White North. Budget supercar my ass.

    I haven’t priced the WRX lately, but they started at $40k a few years ago. I’m not sure how well they adjusted the pricing when the Canadian dollar went to par.

    As for 0-60: My used ZX-6R, probably worth about $4k, will hit it in less than 4 seconds. Since I’ve had the bike I’ve stopped caring about what my car can do, because everything feels slow next to a sportbike.

    Edit: Furthermore, I can cane the bike like an idiot and still get 35mpg all day long.

  • avatar

    But here’s the thing: once that big turbo fully spools and starts puking power into the transmission, you realize how little all the other stuff else matters. My advice? Get the wagon, and start looking for rich guys to humiliate.

    If the turbo’s the only reason to buy the WRX, you’re better off picking up a used [insert favorite sports compact from the past 20 years], slapping on an aftermarket turbo and getting the same effect for a lot less money.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    quasimondo: Nuh uh.

    Especially as the WRX will 100,000+ miles with no problems and strapping a turbo to most cars will kill said engine.

  • avatar

    Bench racing aisde, the car looks like it’s much more improved over the 07-08, performance-wise. At the very least, the car didn’t gain much weight, if any, over the previous generation.

    JL–the gauge sweep isn’t necessarily confined to fancy cars. I recall Pontiac doing the sweep on startup, although it may have been a recurring electrical glitch. Is the pedal placement still as good as the 06?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Areitu: Stupidly, no!

    Now, I’ve talked with engineers that say proper pedal placement is one of the most expensive things to design into a car.

    i.e. I smell Toyota.

  • avatar

    Or so we hope. My old scooby blew it’s engine after only 75K.

    You’d be amazed at what engines could laugh off a good boosting.

  • avatar

    > I recall Pontiac doing the sweep on startup, although it may have been a recurring electrical glitch.

    That’s unfair, but it made me laugh. :)

  • avatar

    Please to be resizing the interior pic (it’s verrrrry big).

    I’m not a Subie aficionado so what is the aftermarket support like for this vehicle?

    Could one change the hood for a less obnoxious look?

  • avatar

    “Instead, Toyota decided to go for a return on their investment. How? By broadening the WRX’s appeal. That’s right, the WRX, Subaru’s de facto all-wheel drive, turbocharged, deformed-looking halo vehicle was going to bring home the bacon by appealing to moms.”

    Source? I hear a lot of enthusiasts assuming that Toyota is making decisions for Subaru, but I have yet to see any proof. What makes more sense to me is that Subaru was simply trying to sell more cars by extending to other demographics.

  • avatar

    All I can say is I love my 06 rex wagon and I think I’ll drive it till my balls drop.

    But my question to Jonny: isn’t the 0-60 time for the 09 more like 5.4 seconds?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    akirachan: that’s the ’05 to ’07

    ’08 is slower.

    ’09 is insane.

    And I agree. Keeping the ’06 till death do us part

  • avatar

    Rex’s are cult cars in Australia that we always wondered why the USA missed out on. The whole Subaru brand in Australia is built on them (well maybe the excellent Outback too).

    WRX’s are the wet dream of many an Australian teenager to the detriment of GM Holden and Ford’s performance divisions over the last decade.

    IMHO, the 2006 STI 2.5L was the best looking and the most frightening to ride in with someone who could peddle it. The grip and in-gear acceleration is unbelievable. V8? Bah! Turbo AWD in-gear feels like it’s in another league.

  • avatar

    We wound up picking up one of the last 2008 WRXs they had. A super cheap MFGR subsidized lease payment can get you a sub $275 / month payment (this includes taxes and accessories, etc.)! It has some body roll issues and its brake suck – as evidence by its last track day in stock form at Gateway Int Raceway (Fall ’08). But now with EBC Yellows, Pink STI springs, and a set of front/rear sway bars it can brake and corner very nicely and flat – even still rides nicely. Next up is a Legacy GT turbo and upgraded intercooler, intake and turbo back exhaust and it’ll have more than enough power for our family car!

    What is the nice thing about it is when it snows. The car is so sure footed and controllable it is definitely a great car.

  • avatar

    Silly power is entertaining, but the awful, awful looks really make the Scooby a non-starter for me. I’m not a big fan of the new Lancer/Evo, but it at least has presence. The Scooby looks like a migraine.

  • avatar

    While I love power as much as the next guy, there is more to driving than acceleration. My brother loves hot Imprezzas and has a bunch of them over the years – mostly hotted up STi and WRXs. We have taken them on the track as well as twisty back roads and while the power and grip have never failed to entertain, I have never seriously contemplated buying one. I simply can’t beyond the cheap interior, the terrible clutch and rubbery shifter. It just kills the deal for me.

    Subaru should poach some of the designers from the Miata team and learn something about attention to detail and driver involvement.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Carguy: The clutch is same as it ever was — i.e. pretty good.

  • avatar

    Jonny – does the clutch still have that late uptake that used to make WRXs so difficult to launch?

  • avatar

    I’ve seen much uglier Subarus than this one. I mean, considering that they wrote the book on bug-eyed ugliness, this one is actually not too bad in that relative way. I used to always hold up Subaru as the example of the automaker who had to really try to make something any worse looking. I know looks are usually subjective, but, short of Vermonters, you weren’t going to find many argue with you on their complete lack of any redeemable exterior aesthetic. Sorry to waste a paragraph on what you already knew.

    I have driven only a couple of Subarus over the years. Hard plastics, cheap interiors, flimsy tin can feel, etc. were what I remember. I’ve always wondered what it was that drew those to the WRX as a performance vehicle. To be able to swallow those gold wheels, I’m from Mars front-end and such was something that I could never understand. There have been cars that are quicker for the same money that you don’t have to rev to the moon to milk power from. I just never got it. I guess there are guys who appreciate torque and guys who want to wail like banshees in order to get their grins.

    no_slushbox, Car and Driver doesn’t speed shift in their testing. See

    0-60 testing is a de-facto standard among car magazines and has been that way for many years. I thought that went without saying. If you’re reading Car and Driver, at least you know they have consistently wrung about the most you can out of the vehicle. That consistency allows you to compare two vehicles properly.

    cretinx, You seem pretty harsh on your description of magazine racers and stoplight racers. I think most of us over the years have dreamt about owning or at least driving the fast cars in them. I have fond memories of talking numbers from the testing of these sexy beasts before I could actually experience some of them firsthand. I don’t consider myself or those I talked with to be “douchebags” as you refer to us.

    I might not do much in the way of stoplight racing, simply due to ticket aversion, but I know that I rev the hell out of all sports cars I’ve owned as often as possible. I have no respect for those who don’t take a car to the redline once in a while. For me, it was and still is a frequent exercise. I long to be first at a stoplight – not to be a racing hooligan, but to wring out and enjoy the performance of the vehicle at hand. Life’s too short to not talk car numbers and drive like you mean it.

    0-60 best represents that fun. Trap speed in the quarter mile is indicative of HP. Both are good tests, but it is a much less frequent occurrence in the real world to hit 120 MPH. 0-60 is going to tell you about gearing and traction and what you can expect from each stoplight. Or, more accurately, what I can expect. You don’t have to race someone to go fast.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Here is a thread about ’09 WRX owners having major engine problems.

    Have any of you TTAC folks heard anything of this??

    I’d really like to buy this car but these posts make me nervous… I thought that half the reason you bought a Subie was for strong reliability…

    The other car I’m considering is an A4 Avant and that car’s reliability is obviously nothing to write home about either…

    Any thoughts??

  • avatar

    I know they had problems on the 2008 STI and those were addressed with the 09 models. The major flaws with the current WRXs are the paint which is very thin and chips easily. The stereo is mediocre and new looks are much more conservative over the previous generations. We have 7k miles on ours and have some small problems like the heater control is either fully on even down to 66 degrees it is hot – til you turn it to 65 degrees then no heat (no scale of heat control).

    As for the engine failures I’ve not had them nor been aware this was a major problem on the 08/09 WRX. With the WRX crowd a lot of people modify cars – get a problem then put it back to stock and claim 100% innocence – they will even note that they never even drove it hard. So I’d be skeptical as to most claims (that’s not to say that there’s been problems).

    • 0 avatar

      WRX’ers pining for more power often flash their ECU’s. Trouble is, the ECU remembers this and cannot be restored to factory stock. Any good Subie tech doing a ECU check will see the alteration, and that voids the factory driveline warranty. Engines can run $4 – 6K.

      Also, the WRX engine changes have produced the peaky turbo response enthusiasts crave, but isn’t much fun driving around town or in slippery situations. Or do enthusiasts enjoy mmmmmmmmmmBWAHHHHHHH and el-lurch-a-rino no matter what?

    • 0 avatar


      A factory e25 shortblock is about $1900. You can even buy them on eBay for around that.

      Sleeved, blueprinted, balanced shortblocks go for about $4K. At least that’s what I used to sell them for.

  • avatar

    I read in a GTO forum recently about an encounter between a GTO and a STi on a mountain road. Of course the GTO had its butt handed to him and the consensus on the forum was you would have to be out of your mind to tangle hair with a Subie in the twisty’s. I just got out of my 06 WRX its 15 degrees and the roads are snow and ice covered here in the UP of Michigan. Not a Ferrari or Lambo in sight. Super cars shouldn’t hide in the garage when the weather gets interesting.

  • avatar

    I have an ’02 with about 60k miles on it. No serious problems but the paint is thin and the windshield likes to chip. Also, the OEM tires are garbage and wear out at about 12k miles. Still, put some decent tires of any brand on and you will have a budget all-weather supercar. The only thing I could wish for would be an improved clutchless manual system like those on an Audi.

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    C’mon, Jonny. 5.0 seconds to 60 mph for the STI? In /your/ review of the STI on this site, you say 4.8:

    “Light the fuse and the STI’s carryover (but remapped) 305 horsepower boxer mill will rocket you to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. The STI doesn’t feel nearly that slow. If not for the fussy gearing that forces an up-shift to third, you could hit 60 mph a lot faster.”

  • avatar

    I read in a GTO forum recently about an encounter between a GTO and a STi on a mountain road. Of course the GTO had its butt handed to him and the consensus on the forum was you would have to be out of your mind to tangle hair with a Subie in the twisty’s.

    I was just watching an old Top Gear where they tested the Vauxhall Monaro and it put up an identical lap time to the STi. That’s not a big track, and it has plenty of bends. The Vauxhall actually looked really tidy around the corners.

    In all but the worst driving conditions, I think it would come down to the driver.

  • avatar

    Shortly after acquiring my WRX I discovered it was like a high school chum I had who constantly got me in trouble. He’d whisper lets break into your old mans liquor cabinet, go to the gas station and steal some butts and then we can pick up Maryanne and take her to the lake and get her drunk. After a down pipe and a Cobb Access reflash etc. my little buddy started carrying a flick knife and adopted a very dangerous attitude.

  • avatar

    I HATE THIS VEHICLE BECAUSE IT IS the car out there that competes with Mitsubishi Evolution X.

    I hate the way it looks and it is really freakin fast. If you hate this look because Subaru intended it to be for Ricers or Tuners.

    The best car for snow next to Evo X.

    Complaining about the seats, the 0-60,the interior
    the looks, the sound etc etc.

    Those guys who don’t know power and durability are still driving automatics.

    Subaru WRX is the one of a kind. compare to Audi “oil sludge king” and BMW “tank” m3

    Subaru WRX is from hell. Please don’t try to over TAKE it with your GTO and by way the Ladies love this car and you look good wearing leather jacket on this car especially when the Rex (street name of wrx) is color black.

  • avatar

    The Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback will be on sale in America this year. Can’t wait for TTAC crew to test drive it.

  • avatar

    Leave it to Toyota to ruin a good thing. Before they got there grubby hands on Subaru, they made neat pocket rocket and AWD vehicles that I wouldn’t mind owning. Now this thing looks like they gave it the blandified treatment that reminds me of a 2001 Saturn L-Series which is for sure not the vehicle I would want my youth oriented pocket rocket to look like. Word to Subaru- leave Toyota out to the curb when it comes to exterior styling.

  • avatar

    Jonny – There wasn’t a 2001 WRX in the US. It arrived on our shores as a 2002 model. 2001 was the classic GC/GM/GF chassis (which I owned and loved w/ my 1993 L & 2001 2.5RS)

    CarnotCycle – The WRX has never been available w/ a 6MT from the factory unless it has “STI” after the WRX in the name.

    Vorenus – learn how to modulate the throttle. You are mashing the throttle to prevent bogging, like you would an AWD car, and that is why you lose traction. My current GTI does just fine pulling out into traffic when it is wet.

  • avatar

    Noreserve – you fail to grasp the obvious method for testing a vehicles capabilities – sanctioned automotive competition.

    Redlining on the street, extralegal speeds, stoplight racing – its all for the birds, and lets not forget the plague that streetracing is and the lives its claimed.

    Its not a travesty to never take the car to redline on the street – the real travesty is all the poseurs with sports cars who never take them to the track.

    And lets not forget all the douchebags who engage in hooligan antics on the street raise my insurance rates.

  • avatar

    Jonny, a fair review of the 2009 WRX. I too own a 2006 WRX – WRB Wagon Limited – and to date it has been dead-reliable, even slightly modified (turbo-back exhaust and Accessport). I thoroughly enjoy driving the car. I would like to point out that the 2008+ WRX’s do NOT come in a wagon variant. It is the hatch-back, not wagon. The last wagon was in 2007. The interior space of the 2008+ hatches is less than the 2007 wagon.

    The WRX is quick due to AWD, it is not fast. I’ve stated it before and others have stated it here that 0-60 mph times mean nothing. What about quarters, trap, 50 to 70 times? Those have more real world implications (on-ramp accelerating, passing ability, etc.).

    0-60 testing is a de-facto standard among car magazines and has been that way for many years. I thought that went without saying. If you’re reading Car and Driver, at least you know they have consistently wrung about the most you can out of the vehicle. That consistency allows you to compare two vehicles properly.

    Wrong. They post more than just 0-60 mph, such as 1/4-mile, trap speeds, slalom speeds, skid pad, 50-70 mph times, etc.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven many a 2WD vehicle, and in anything but perfect weather those will be spinning wheels in one situation or another. Well designed AWD vehicles (Subaru being one) just go.

    Perhaps enthusiasts live for the joy of wheel spin? That seems to be what drifting’s all about.

    As for bad engines mentioned on nasioc, some posters on that forum said they “flashed” their engines before they failed. As a former auto engineer, all I’ll say is: Take your engine beyond what the engineer designed, and you’ll either severely shorten its life or wreck it. And, like Audi, VW and others, don’t expect Subaru to warranty engines damaged that way.

  • avatar

    I am getting rid of my WRX come the end of winter for the very saving grace the 2009 WRX has. It’s fast, and that’s it. It is a one trick pony.

    Fast cars are great (wonderful, special, and slap your grandma fun), but if that is the only thing they do, I have to say this: Looking over your shoulder, or around the next bend for Officer Smiley gets really old.

    Sure the M3 Sedan can just keep up with the 2009 WRX, but it handles better AND looks better AND has better fit and finish AND has a (way) better interior AND better creature comforts AND the motor sounds better AND has a better sound system AND better quality paint AND AND AND…

    I will pay the money for a car that has more than one ace up its sleeve. If it was all about 0-60 the 2009 WRX would be considered near the zenith of automobiles. Wouldn’t that be some scary shit?

    Sorry Johnny, I almost always agree with you, but 4/5 stars is a bit high this time around.

  • avatar

    That’s got to be one of the ugliest hatches ill conceived. It looks like a Mazda wagon. Where’s the Croc Dundee guy pimping his Outback?

    With all that said though, if this car was electric drive and $16,000; I’d buy one and tolerate it’s looks. I’ve got plenty of cheap fuel burners till then.

  • avatar


    Sure the M3 Sedan can just keep up with the 2009 WRX, but it handles better AND looks better AND has better fit and finish AND has a (way) better interior AND better creature comforts AND the motor sounds better AND has a better sound system AND better quality paint AND AND AND…

    …AND is WAY, freakin’ WAY, WAY more expensive?

    I’ll take the WRX. If you GAVE me the M3, I’d sell it, get the WRX, and pocket the SUBSTANTIAL difference… and if you barred me from getting a WRX, I’d get an STI, and if you said “no Subarus,” I’d get an Evo.

    Yes, AWD is a big deal.

    If you told me that I couldn’t get a Subaru or an Evo, and I had to go with something as upscale as the M3, I’d get the new S4.

    Yes, I know it’s not as fast as the M3. Whatever. In the real world, on public roads, where leaving rubber stripes on the asphalt is *not* acceptable, I’ll take a car with a good AWD system.

    So will kurtamaxxguy, I think.

  • avatar


    “I’ll take the WRX. If you GAVE me the M3, I’d sell it, get the WRX, and pocket the SUBSTANTIAL difference…”

    Don’t be silly.

  • avatar

    WRX- Cheap plastic. Wings and spoilers everywhere. No thanks.

  • avatar

    Am I the only person on earth that likes the look of the new WRX Hatch? I never liked the old sedan based WRX. Maybe it has something to do with me currently driving a VW GTI and loving the hatchback. I see a hatchback and I think functionality!

  • avatar

    One note about the suspension squishiness: Drive one on dirt or gravel, and it will make a lot more sense. A LOT more.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned this.

    The main reason why 09 WRX does 0-60 in 4.7 seconds is because it’s geared to reach 60 in the second gear. Most cars require two shifts to hit 60. 09 WRX does that with one.

    The idea that the M3 Sedan “can just keep up with the 2009 WRX” is laughable. M3 sedan has 30% more hp per pound of weight than the WRX. A better competitor for the WRX would be the old M3 coupe (E46). You could get a loaded ’04 (maybe even ’05) for the price of the ’09 WRX. The WRX is cheaper to maintain and, because of AWD, has an advantage in rain and snow; the M3 has much more pleasing interior and exterior.

  • avatar

    To clear noreserve’s befuddlement:
    “I’ve always wondered what it was that drew those to the WRX as a performance vehicle.”

    It’s WRC (World Rally Championship). All other motorsports seem like a walk in the park in comparison IMHO.
    I guess Nascar is too entrenched here, else Ford will go toe-to-toe with Mitsu and Subaru with its own WRC-inspired AWD monster.

  • avatar

    Believe it or not, I cross shopped a new WRX with a used 07 335i. Sure- the Subie can pull off some ridiculously fast 0-60 times, but you have to have no sense of mechanical sympathy to do it, and you’ll run up big repair bills quick. They get those numbers using the AWD side step launch. The hold the pedal to the floor with the engine bouncing off the rev limiter and side step the clutch- move their foot off it horizontally and let is spring up. Car & Driver tends to start seeing serious problems with their turbo suibe long-term testers really quickly because of this. There’s no other way to get a good 0-60 though because it seriously bogs like a three cylinder below 4000 rpm.

    The 335i, on the other hand, makes it’s peak torque from 1600-5500 rpm. For a max performance launch, you brake torque to a mere 1800 rpm & let off the brake as you floor it (or let the clutch out at a similar rpm in a stick). Instant 0-60 just a couple tenths slower than the Subaru you can do all day without beating the car up. Above 4k, both cars feel similarly fast, but the 335i is much better for real-world driving in a car you’re actually paying for…even if you have to buy a used one.

    Don’t get me wrong- I love the WRX. It’s just that the 0-60 numbers aren’t realistic and it is as responsive as a sloth if you don’t have it revved up all the time.

  • avatar

    Johnny L.
    subaru recently posted USA sales numbers from 07 to 08 and overall the new Rex has outsold the old one.

  • avatar

    Flying vaginas? I am seriously concerned about your relationship with vaginas if you think the front end looked like one.

  • avatar

    I have an ’09 5 Door WRX. If you drove an ’08, go drive the ’09. It is a very different car. I like the styling…not as good as the Mazda 3, but just fine. I can not understnad the comparisons to the Mazda Spd3 with it horrendous torque steer and awful shifter. The Mazda has a better interior but that’s it. I have owned over 60 cars of all types….the majority performance. My WRX came with SPT exhaust and the short shifter. I’ve added the Cobb AP with the Perrin Performance MAP and Perrin front and rear sway bars. I am anxious to race my buddie’s ’08 STI with the Cobb AP. My car is serously fast and just incredible bang for the buck. It is comfortable, can be taken skiing, holds a lot of stuff when necessary, and is clearly a step up from the previous edition, which I came close to buying several times but just could not as it was too boy racer for me…I’ve been driving for 45 years. I have no doubt on the C&D 0-60 times of 4.7 as I’ve owned cars that were quicker than that. Subaru listened to the ’08 gripes and stepped up to the plate….give them some credit. Many people think this ’09 is under rated on hp and I would not doubt it. There’s the marketing position vs the STI that they had to consider when upgrading and publishing their ratings.

  • avatar

    The 09 WRX is an abomination. I couldn’t even enjoy the turbo lunge because of the totally crap shifter. I have never put my hand on anything so horrible in my life. That alone would veto a purchase. The suspension was still too soft and the stereo was the worst I’ve heard. Bang for the buck? Um no.

  • avatar
    2009 wrx

    I paid $25000 for my 2009rex and its the fantastic car.I dont know why some drivers dont like the look of this car but to me it looks perfect.I think you need to get used to it like to everything new….well and I can smoke:M3,evoX,any civic,any and I mean any cobalt,lexus IS …and so on

  • avatar

    okay, I’ve owned a 2009 WRX for about six months now. Mandatory should be the SPT or equivalent CAT-Back exaust! I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 26,000 but that includes the fog lights, dimming mirror and the 800 dollar exhaust system (which is installed free if you order it with the car). The other major downfall under the hood is the intake, scrap the goofy plastic rat trap of a stock intake and get a K&N or Perrin or one of the many others (check out! and check ebay too! I got a $370 K&N Cyclone Intake for about 250 bucks on Ebay!) With the air going in and out of the engine more efficiently you’re looking at making about 25 more horsepower…realistically somewhere around 220 to 230 WHP or power to the ground (remember you lose at least 25% of the crank hp through the transmission) The car handles amazing, and the looks on the inside are supposed to be minimal, c’mon…are we driving or are we super rich egotistic men/women from Beverly Hills? I love it, I am absolutely amazed by this automobile. I turned down the steering wheel radio controls, the sun-roof and all kinds of goodies in the cockpit, the part of the car I am all about is what pulls it through those 30mph labeled turns on your favorite back roads and I can do 70 or 80mph and laugh when the mustang or the audi behind me has to slow down. The clutch, upgrade it if you want to pull 4.6 or 4.7 mph 0-60’s on a daily basis. I am no tuning expert but the few that I have consulted with (truly amazing mechanics and tuners here in the Austin, TX area) have informed me that for about $4500 in parts and about $1500 in labor the car could easily make 375 horsepower at the wheels. So, in perspective we’re talking about a 500 horsepower car…much like the famed Shelby GT500 and so far you’ve spent roughly 31000 dollars. still with me? Okay, at about 3400 pounds with the driver you’re going to be making somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 horsepower for every 6.8 pounds of car. I dare you to compare that with the numbers of the M3 or M5/M6 or the Porsche 911GT2 or whatever you can fathom in your stack of car magazines. The inside gives you what you need to survive, the engine gives you the ability to pick on that guy in the 60 thousand dollar car, the handling is insane…and upgradeable! A subaru isn’t just about what you get off the lot, and for 25 grand you can leave it the way you get it and have an incredible machine for the price… and if you’re a Subaru fan/fanatic/enthusiast like myself…then you’re starting with a vehicle that has nearly unlimited potential. Remember, for about 26000 you can have the car, an intake and an exhaust that will have you smoking the 09 STi all day.

    Gary McKenzie
    Very Happy 09 WRX owner!

    • 0 avatar

      awesome thanks.(pondering a midnight boost at the local dealership)

    • 0 avatar

      If you are losing 25% of engine horsepower in the transmission, you wouldn’t have a transmission very long at all.

      Typical MT efficiency is around 96 to 98% for factory cars.

      25% of 305hp is 76hp and change. In watts, this is 57KW.

      This would slag your transmission before you got to 40mph.

      It’s more than likely your dyno guy is just blowing sunshine up your rear end on your motor’s output.

      Sorry about the new post to a thread over 2 years old… but I just had a major laugh at your expense.

      Still wouldn’t buy a Subbie, either, when you look and you see a G37 for 38K, that is a lot more fun to drive in everyday traffic, than a banshee that requires transmission bending, seal cracking high rpm clutch dumping.

      I am with the M3 guys on this (and no, I don’t own a g37), “Ok, but really, why?”

      Effortless power is what it is all about, not screaming engines, in everyday traffic. I had a screamer for it’s day, and it was fun, but it got old after a while. A silent sledgehammer is a lot more fun, IMO.

      Not to say there aren’t some 4-bangers now coming to market that do make effortless low end horsepower, but the Subaru boxer is NOT one of them. They still use port fuel injection and you’d expect quieter performance from a boxer…

      • 0 avatar

        What an odd thing to feel the need to comment on more than 2 years after the fact. However, somewhere around 15% is what the expected loss from crank to wheel horsepower usually is accepted to be. Add in the fact that an AWD system saps more power than your typical 2wd setup, and our friend above may not be far off the mark… at least on the 25% number.

        You might want to consider as well that not everyone drives in the same conditions or has the same preferences as you. I, for one, have had daily drivers with power peaks that arrived at over 10,000 RPM (sport motorcycles). What you might describe as “too much effort,” others might consider “involving fun.” My current Miata (140 crank hp, dynoes usually around 120 whp = 14% loss) goes nowhere below 4,000 RPM. Hell, even at 6,500 RPM it’s no rocket, but you know what? I like the idea of being able to rev to 6,000 RPM and snick through the gears at every opportunity. If that’s not your cup of tea, I promise I won’t snicker at your purchase of a VW diesel, V-8 barge or whatever floats your boat, either.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting you are still trying to maintain a 15% loss in the transmission. A gear box is a gear box, most energy is lost at the mesh point between the cogs. Slush boxes do waste more power, that is why the oil is generally pumped through a cooler in any modern car, with the cooler size increasing with the amount power that needs to be transmitted (loss is still relatively constant, even if the % of the power budget lost is still greater, due to great computational dynamics simulations BEFORE the first castings are made).

        To give you an idea of 57KW or even just 34KW at 15% loss, the underside of the car would be roasting, and not just the exhaust components. Pretty much any gear oil known to the common consumer can’t deal with that level of heat soak. The oil would immediately shed it’s hydrogen and leave a nice thick coating of carbon all over the vital parts, the gears would then seize from both thermal expansion caused by the already present heat, and the new heat spike generated by oil failure, resulting in a pretty spectacular display of molten metal ejection. I sure don’t remember any cooling fins under the WRX I last looked under, and that wouldn’t even remotely mediate the problem…

        It’s very typical for wheel dyno shops to inflate egos with blown up power loss in the transmission & diff, therefore over-inflating the shaft horsepower. Wheel dynos are great for measuring *relative* changes in wheel horsepower, but horrible at giving exact shaft horsepower at the engine, and shops know this. Even the wheel horsepower is fudged to some degree, attempting to compensate for imperfect efficiency of the measuring apparatus. The power loss DOES NOT occur in the transmission and rear end, unless they go up in smoke on the dyno. Looking at most dyno failures on youtube (sorry, my only reference point, since I have NEVER seen a transmission or rearend blow on a dyno), transmissions & rearends (or front diffs) are rarely seen blowing up on the dyno.

        Even better, the cooling fans in *any* dyno run are not aimed at the rearend or the transmission, they are aimed at the radiator and intercooler (and subsequently the transmission oil cooler, if it’s a slush box).

        Sorry, I don’t buy the 15% loss under ANY condition, motorcycle, car, truck, semi-tractor, unless you are slipping the clutch for traction control – – and your clutch will burn up quickly. The only thing I know of with that much loss in the transmission is a diesel locomotive, where the shaft horsepower is converted to electrical energy and then either SCR modulated for universal wound field motors, or run through a rectification stage and then through 3 phase inverters to drive the wheels. These transmissions do get about 14% loss, but there are massive blowers and cooling systems to eliminate the heat (and resulting catastrophic failure when those cooling systems fail).

        Some auto engineer can correct me, but I would think even a modern slush box rarely dips below the 92 to 94% mark for thermal efficiency, unless under extreme duress (like towing — there isn’t going to be a lot of slip for a lightweight car).

  • avatar

    jmckenziemr: I love your post. Thank you. You have included some really great information in one spot. I just bought the 09 wrx. This is my first performance car. I am 53 and wanted a practical fun car. I live in RI and like to ski. I thought about a used bmw, but because I am a landlord, I was self conscious about seeing tenants in a “BMW”. The wrx appealed to me becsuse it is a sleeper. I will tell you that when I get in the car and drive, I am enjoying every minute. I like the clutch. The shifter is just ok. I do wish the turbo came in a little sooner, but as others pointed out, you are 60 in second gear. I like Gary’s performance suggestions. I am yet undecided whether to enjoy it stock or modify it. I am barely using what I have now. As many have pointed out, the premium radio is ok. The heat appears to be on when you go past 65. Lot of plastic. But…The practicality of a hatch with awd; the preditcted reliabity of a subaru and the FUN just going to do an errand is worth it. I test drove the mazda and it just did not kick my a– the way the subie did.

    One question I have is when in second gear and you take you foot of the gas, below 3k rpm it feels like I am lugging it. Is this normal.

    Another Happy 09 WRX owner

  • avatar

    MIZMAN!!! If you have the money throw down for the short throw shifter…I promise you it’s worth it! (and if your gearbox feels a little rough and you’re still below a couple thousand miles on the odometer just give it time…it breaks in awesome!) at a minimum get the short throw and any one of the cold air intakes for this car! I would seriously recommend the K&N intake, search it up on eBay and it’ll be somewhere around 250 bucks. that lagging that you’re feeling is something to do with the stock intake…that thing is a joke! I promise you will be shocked at the difference. At about 1000 miles on my Rex I started getting service warning lights…the dealership must have reset them ten times for me and never really addressed them, just said it was nothing to worry about… I dropped that intake in and “BAAAMMMM!” the light is gone and the car just chugs that air and loves it! It took me all of about an hour to install the kit myself. Comes with directions fit for a toddler…I swear! If nothing else those two upgrades are a must. the intake will not (I REPEAT: WILL NOT!) void the manufacturers warranty. Check with your dealership to make certain but mine told me I was good to go.

    okay… current modifications:

    09 WRX four door sedan, base model with/
    -SPT exhaust
    -Short Throw Shifter from Subaru (definitely worth it!!!)
    -K&N Intake (I’m telling you, you will not understand what you drive until you free up that stock freakin’ silly goofy garbage intake)
    -Eibach pro-kit suspension drop… (NASTY!!!, you think the car handles good now? just try it 1.5 inches lower to the ground!)

    Okay, literally just finished a ride down a nasty road here in the central texas area. the new suspension is SSSIIICCCKKKKKKK! my buddy is in a decently modified 350z…good rubber on it and about 320hp… he said it was insane how fast I took the road. all those “30mph curve ahead” signs on the way…? What signs??? I was too busy driving…he said at one point I was up around 95mph in one of those curves and theres a really short and crisp “S” curve… smoked it, used the whole road on the second trip and I’m telling you I don’t think a Vette or any other rear wheel drive monster car could have hung with me! This car is truly something to be a fanatic about!

    Broke the Law Today!!!
    …in a Subi ;)

  • avatar

    Gary, You are AWESOME! Thanks for the recommendations. I am going to do them when I get to 3000 miles. I am going with the Synthetic Oil. Would you do the STP exhaust? I heard it only makes it sound better and no real gain in performance.

    I don’t want to lower the car cuz, I like to go to ski country (you are in Texas so…not so much skiing down there).

    Thanks again. Hey take it easy on the twisties you are scaring me. be well mizman

  • avatar

    Kichy, you’re not going to be a tuner car because you don’t like the feeling of the shifter? Really?

    Kartboy bushings are ~$30 and would tighten that up, or if you want you can get their short-throw shifter for about $200.

  • avatar

    The SPT exhaust is 3″ in the mid section and does make power. The most bang for the buck performance upgrade and the starting point for all other go fast mods is the Cobb access port…can be gotten for $600. It can be reprogramed back to stock for warranty/dealer issues.

  • avatar

    But if the shop runs a check, they will see that the ECU was reflashed to a custom tune and then back. If you want to keep your warranty, it’s best not to reflash the ECU. Only install parts that can be easily taken back out (bolt-on intake, cat-back exhaust, etc) and keep all the OEM parts.

  • avatar

    actually with the access port you don’t necessarily have to reflash the ecu… it’s not so much of a piggy-back ECU modification. I’ve been told by tech’s that work for Subaru that as long as you don’t do the reflash option on it then it’s impossible to know. All that means to me is that if I leave it plugged in it will not permanently alter the ECU what-so-ever. The SPT exhaust is the bomb, I really like it…makes some noise when you’re driving hard but it’s not annoying. I have a buddy, no crap, has a new GT mustang and says the subi sounds more muscle than his stang. the cool thing about the new subi’s is that the up-pipe doesn’t need to be replaced anymore and what I understand of the intake manifold is that it’s fine for any application up to around 400whp. as soon as they come up with some new maps for the accessport I’ll be getting it and I’ll definitely post something up here then. as for the suspension…so much better now that I got rid of that off-roadish stock stuff.

  • avatar

    Sure it isn’t the prettiest car and the interior is a little cheap, but for 25k its the best performance car you can get for the price. It handles very well, the awd makes it great for all conditions, and if you are into racing it will launch better than most other cars(mazdaspeed3). With a few tasteful mods this car can become a really good sports car for around 30k. Lastly for all the idiots who have commented complaining that this car is a one trick pony, has a crappy stereo, bad interior, would rather have an M3, etc( all from above comments), go and try to find a better car (new) for 25k.

  • avatar

    That would be on bad Camry, cause 13.5 seconds in the quarter is .1 seconds slower than a 426hp Camaro SS. Oh and BTW Camry V6s only run 97mph trap speeds at 14.6.

  • avatar

    My daily driver since 2002 has been an ’02 WRX with some upgrades (exhaust, ECU remap, larger turbo, up and downpipes-makes about 260-265 bhp. It’s the best car for the money in the WORLD. For $25k (with the upgrades)I got a car that now has 105,000 miles on it, NO major expenses or repairs ever (I do adhere to a solid maintenance routine), goes through a foot of snow like a snowmobile, and will blow most cars off the road. And room in the trunk for my skis and room in the back for my kids. And those “CHAD” seats- fantastically comfortable and supportive and have carried mny 300 lb. 6’4″ bulk around for 8 years now. I have always been amazed they could build a car this good for so little $$$. Had a Carrera 4, and the WRX is a better (and quicker)car. I’ve hated every model since 2002, BUT I just drove the 2010 WRX and I’m impressed again. A bit bigger, not quite the buzzy SCCA spec-racer feel of the ’02, but quick as hell, nicely finished (heated seats, heated mirrors and windshield, iPod dock, premium sound system), good looking body (about time) and interior, and only $26K! So I’m trading up. Just can’t decide between the sedan (I’m middle aged) or the hatchback (very boy-racer). I just cannot heap enough praise on Subaru for that 2002 WRX. I hope the 2010 will be as much fun, and it should have a 6 speed option like the STi. Lest anyone think I’m nuts in my praise of this car, I do have a garage full of exotics to use for comparison. Congrats to Subaru for getting back to the basics.

  • avatar


    This site is awesome…you guys know WAY TOO MUCH…creepy. LMAO!

  • avatar

    okay okay okay…got it, this is not a performance minded website necessarily, but guess what? The 09 WRX is a crazy sleeper of a performance car! So, with an accessport/3″ turbo back exhaust/intake and with an upcoming protune my car will make more than 300whp (wheel horse power). I have plenty of other mods as far as handling/small little tweaks like uppipe etc but I thought it was impressive that you can make the WRX a straight up Mustang GT/Camaro SS killer for far less than the price tag on either of them :) My car right now is sitting with 3grand in mods and at just under 25k that makes it a 300hp on the ground monster for about 28,000 bucks! I have 45k on it and I had one of the bad engines but in fear of their reputation subaru asked minimal questions and replaced it in a week! (be advised that I would not mod any car still under factory warranty because subaru is getting more and more aware of people tuning them and then breaking them!)

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