By on July 8, 2014


As the snow swirled in front of my headlamps, the radio crackled with a forecast of 18-22 inches for an early March Nor’Easter. Most people hate this weather. They huddle in their homes, presumably consuming the massive quantities of milk and bread they bought in a panic earlier that day. A public whipped into frenzy by The Weather Channel and local news stations with nothing better to do has been a predictable pattern for decades. Lately, I’ve noticed a new phenomenon.  When it snows, the Subarus come out. My neighborhood was ringing with the thumping song of the flat four.

Scores of bug-eyed WRXs were frolicking in the storm. I was behind the wheel of a 2015 WRX, and I was part of that club.


Mrs. Braithwaite took one look at the new WRX and declared “that looks like a piece of shit.” She’s entitled to her opinion, of course, and it’d be harder to argue if this were just an Impreza. In the past, I might have even agreed, but the 2015 Subaru WRX is really a gem.

Subaru wants you to think of the STI as its performance star with the brightest gleam. That may be true on a track, but the WRX is not only a better deal, it’s a better car. With the 2015 Subaru WRX, you get the latest evolution of the turbocharged flat-four. It’s a whooshing fire-breather of a 2.0 liter, and it’s strong. While the STI has more power, 305 hp, from its older 2.5 liter EJ engine, the WRX isn’t far behind with 268 hp. What’s more, the new 2.0 liter is is flexible and friendly, with good response “under the curve,” where you’d expect a highly-boosted four cylinder with modest displacement to fall on its face.


Look at the torque curve for the full story, and you’ll find it maxing out at 258 lb-ft by 2,000 rpm and sticking around to 5,200 rpm. If you didn’t know it was a 2.0 liter, you’d guess that it’s at least 500 cc larger than it is. Thank the direct injection, beefy 10.6:1 compression ratio and fancy-pants valve control and twin-scroll turbocharger. Those press-release talking points behind us, all you need to keep in mind is that the STI powertrain is less satisfying in contrast to the Johnny-on-the-spot nature of the new WRX generating station.

This time around, the WRX is available with a CVT. It could be worse; it’s just a transmission, and CVTs do well with torquey engines. The last WRX I drove with an automatic had a four-speeder and a tragically-turned-down wick. The CVT erases those compromises. Still, you want the manual. It’s a new six-speed, and it made me happy to be fully engaged in the act of driving for a week. It’s more exercise than I’ve gotten in a while, getting all the extremities involved. Areas where other manuals disappoint, clutch takeup, shifter action and electronic throttle response are all worked out here.


The WRX has always been an eager meager car. The dopamine hit powered by the exciteable engine made the underwhelming structural rigidity, not-good interior and “why’d they bother?” infotainment all completely non-issues, until you had to get your boot out of the power. The interior materials are better, with more soft touch plastics, a harman/kardon nav/stereo unit that’s not like listening to an Emerson transistor radio from the ‘80s, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel that’s supposed to feel racy. Not being overly-fancy does the WRX a favor in the ergonomics department. The controls for the ventilation system are clear, easy to find without looking, and don’t require stabbing your finger at some touchscreen. All cars should be like this, right down to the knobs that are injection molded to look and feel like they’re kurled. There’s even more practicality in the new WRX because the longer wheelbase makes the back seat more accommodating, so your friends will be more comfortable when you say crap like “check this out.”

The WRX handles better now, too, so that phrase doesn’t have to be a precursor to the inevitable. This car is a precision tool in traffic. The chassis is balanced, the feedback is clear enough to let you know when you’re being a true idiot. The highly-enriched engine is the keystone, too, enabling you to basically place the WRX wherever the hell you want it. Key to that is the responsive new engine that removes the planning you used to have to do. So, because the car lets you mainline your aggression, I spent a week being a complete jerk behind the wheel, loving every second. Oh, is that not what the WRX is for? I mean, I occasionally used the quick-on-its-feet powertrain to facilitate effectively quick merges.


The body structure of the WRX is beefed up with more high-strength steel, too, and that’s the most noticeable improvement other than the engine. The stronger structure allows the suspension to be more deftly tuned, and so the 2015 WRX manages to be supple and controlled where in the past it was brash and crashy. Because I was driving in the Polar Vortex, the WRX was wearing winter tires on its 17” wheels. That, plus the 50:50 AWD system makes the 2015 WRX a damn zippy snowmobile. Power-steering is electric, and could use more feedback, but weight, ratio and control are great.

The 2015 Subaru WRX has the driving thing down. This is a car that reminds you of vehicles twice its price. When Subaru says it benchmarked top-handling sports cars and braced the chassis, it’s believable.


And then there’s the looks. Flares and cranky headlights, extra windshield rake, LED headlights and carbon-fiber look trim strike a balance between badass and boy-racer. It works, and there’s always the STI if you want that stupid-ass wing. The most surprising thing to me was the fuel economy I managed to eke out of the 2015 WRX. It was frigid, I drove it like an animal, and yet, it still coughed up 25 mpg.

Welcome to being a grown-up, WRX. I’m glad you made it.


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70 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Subaru WRX...”

  • avatar

    It’s still ugly.

    and no hatch, so it’s not even as useful of an ugly.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Do Subaru drivers ever wonder how mere mortals driving 2WD vehicles arrive at their destinations, or do they truly believe it’s impossible to go out in the snow except in a Subaru?

    Subaru has built a brand based on irrational fear.

    • 0 avatar

      I live in an area that sees winter storms that will literally kill you, where we saw 90 days of below zero temperatures and record snowfall. When my loved one has to journey in that kind of weather I always say, ” take the subaru.

    • 0 avatar

      Winter tires. Caution. Common Sense.

      • 0 avatar

        AWD can give you an awful sense of self-confidence in the snow because you can get going without as much slippage.

        Of course, it doesn’t help you stop or turn, so you end up just cocky enough to think you don’t need snow tires, right up until you realize that you really, really do.

        You have to give FWD points for this: it’s natural behaviour encourages inexperienced drivers to do the right thing.

        • 0 avatar

          I wish someone would explain to all those stupid Rally time keepers that the AWD cars CANT turn faster just because the surface got damp. They can’t seem to get it through their thick heads and stopwatches that driving all 4 doesn’t really help unless there’s deep snow.

        • 0 avatar

          AWD will help you stop faster in snow if you use engine braking — it beats the heck out of ABS’s spastic behavior in snow.

    • 0 avatar

      Of course you can drive in snow safely with virtually anything. You could take a Corvette with bald tires out in a blizzard and maybe get to work safely if you wanted to.

      Sure, I can drive around in blizzards and make it up my hill, very slowly and with much wheelspin and care, in a FWD or RWD car. I don’t have any “irrational fear” of doing this, but it isn’t fun, since I’m impatient.

      I like to be on time regardless of conditions. Any car can do this, but a Subaru excels and makes it great fun. Only issues I had with mine were CV boots and wheel bearings when the car was near 200k, and gas mileage wasn’t stellar. But I’m more than willing to excuse these in exchange for 6 months of driving pleasure and finding excuses to leave the house during a time when I’d normally be doing the opposite.

      Common sense RE: traction still applies as with any car, but I don’t see why I should want to make that crucial “moving forward” stage of driving harder than it needs to be.

    • 0 avatar

      Does that mean all AWD manufacturers have built their brands based on irrational fear? What about cars with ABS – cars without it can stop OK so what’s the big deal? Airbags – meh, we survived as kids without them. Snow tires – now that’s just dumb when you can have perfectly fine all season radials that will stop your car eventually.

      I don’t drive a Subaru, but my last 3 cars have been AWD and I’m not going back any time soon. Now all I have to worry about is mere mortals in 2WD cars with all season radials plowing (get it?!) into me.

      • 0 avatar

        “Now all I have to worry about is mere mortals in any car with all season radials plowing (get it?!) into me.”


        • 0 avatar

          Now all I have to worry about are folks who think AWD makes them a better winter driver,

          • 0 avatar

            A lot of drivers think all you need to do is hit the stop/go pedals and use the round thing to herd it between the lines. Blind faith in mechanical safety and poor driver training is the big issue.
            How many people do you have get in your way standing around or wandering aimlessly in a market while on a cell phone? And these same people think they can pilot a car down a road or negotiate a nasty intersection while distracted with it.

    • 0 avatar

      Modernity is built on irrational fear.

      I quote Richard Wilson, “We find that many of the large risks of the last century have been eliminated, leaving us conscious of a myriad of small risks, most of which have always existed…Our society has a quirk which is fostered by our news media. We are far more concerned with infrequent large accidents than with numerous small accidents which, in total, cause many more deaths…What we are not doing, and need to do, is comparing risks of various activities and then reducing the largest risks – which may not be the obvious ones.”

      Unfortunately, even if modern people *were* concerned about making rational choices and rational allocation of resources to best effect the problem of mathematics and comprehension of magnitudes far removed from our everyday experience remains an effective barrier to entry.

      I predict that most people will continue to act like the boorish idiots that they are and that corporations will continue to profit from them through leveraging fear.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Thank you. Your previous comments on this subject have fascinated me.

        I don’t blame Subaru (and other AWD makers) for capitalizing on our desire for eternal life and avoidance of all accidents – at any cost.

        But personally, I could do without the added mechanical complexity, tire wear, purchase cost, operating expense, and repair expense. And in Subaru’s case, I hate the sound of a boxer engine, and their disingenuous claims about low hoods and lower centers of gravity.

        • 0 avatar

          For a decent, populist commentary on this, please see the South Park episode where a) the UPS guy delivering Amazon packages is a suspected rapist, and b) the town increasingly comes to depend on ‘InSecurity Personal Alarm Company’ to mitigate their fears of 1) property damages, 2) bodily harm/assault, and 3) Eric Cartman’s particular fear that someone will steal his Xbox 360, and to a lesser extent, rape his mom.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve run a number of Subarus over the years (as well as RWD cars), and I can tell you, in an area that has lots of unpaved roads or snows a lot, I’ll take a Subaru over just about anything else. The worse the road gets, the more fun the cars become.

      With the appropriate tires of course — that’s the big issue that Subaru fails to address in their ads. A Subie on bad, bald all-seasons will be as big a nightmare as any 2WD car.

      • 0 avatar

        Driving in a snow-laden area in the winter without AWD/4×4 is like taking the SAT/ACT test without a calculator.

        Can you do it? Yes.

        Do people do it? Yes.

        Is that how people did it in the past? Yes.

        Is it really the smartest option and the best use of resources? No.

        • 0 avatar

          I drive through it every winter and have no issues. If we define snow laden as constant snow and from 6-12 on the ground at any given time, I would potentially look at a 4×4.

          • 0 avatar

            That’s kinda the point of the comments above yours: Of course you can drive in winter “without issues” in anything.

            You’ll probably never truly need AWD, just as you’ll probably never truly need a hot meal to stay alive. You’ll keep breathing on water and Saltines if that’s all you want to eat. I’ll take a ribeye, though.

            Pretending that desiring AWD is somehow dishonorable is silly. I like it even in rainy or dry weather; the pegleg burnout I experience almost every time I leave work in the rain, merging onto a busy highway from a dead stop, has long since gotten old.

          • 0 avatar

            “I like it even in rainy or dry weather; the pegleg burnout I experience almost every time I leave work in the rain, merging onto a busy highway from a dead stop, has long since gotten old.”


            The one thing that deeply annoys me about my Corolla vs. my ancient w115, is that combining steering and power on the same wheels makes turns in the rain, especially if any hill is involved, just *stupid*.

        • 0 avatar

          While I agree AWD with snow tires is awesome on slippery surfaces, the problem is that even here in Maine, in a bad winter, that constitutes ×maybe× 10% of the driving. At most. 90% of the time the roads are clean and dry, and you are just wasting money. Awd costs more up front, costs more in gas, and dog forbid anything goes wrong with it.

          And ultimately, if things are so bad I feel I really need AWD, then I want something with a LOT more ground clearance than a Subaru. Something like my old Range Rover, for example. I am fairly sure it could drive over a WRX in a pinch. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      So you’re saying buying a car based on perceived or real virtues is illict? BMW = driving; Toyota = reliable; Subaru = AWD.

      We very rarely have anything considered snow here in Houstn; I bought my Outback because I wanted AWD for our slickened roads during heavy rains, beach play time, and light trails. If there’s merely a minute mpg penalty to pay for AWD, why would anyone not have it?

      My OB has risen above and beyond my expectations in those cited conditions.

      What the problem?

    • 0 avatar

      For me it’s not a fear. I’ve had two Imprezas and a Sentra in between. I had winter tires on all three. The Sentra with Blizzaks had absolutely no issues driving through anything. As far as I’m concerned the AWD ads little safety. I’m more worried about stopping and steering then traction. The AWD of a Subaru does not improve these. On the other hand, the absolute blast you can have in an unplowed parking lot cannot be done with a FWD car. This was what a missed when I had the Nissan. Now three years later, putting up with the Impreza on the 350 or so days a year without a large snowfall and I am tired of the car.I have been sacrificing to much when roads are OK for the fun on the snowy days. (Something I’ve done less and less as the years go on) I’m ready for something more grown up, and am ready to move on.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Good discussion. I know that Subarus are superior snow vehicles, and a blast to drive in extreme conditions.

      The Pittsburgh area averages 40 inches of snowfall a year, with storms of an 1 inch or more totaling just 17 days. This past winter was especially harsh, and I think the total was over 63 inches. We made it through just fine with a Leaf, and an 01 Elantra which had neither traction control nor ABS. Both had good tires, and that’s key.

      IMO, conditions that require the capabilities of a Subaru are conditions that most people shouldn’t be out in, except enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar

      What is this thorough belief that all awd is useful for is snow? I lived in New England for many years and drove fwd cars with all-season tires and it was fine. But after I got a Subaru it became apparent that awd is so much more. The car is far more planted, there is now traction loss when launching (properly) and it’s very stable altogether. Far more so than any fwd car I had.

      As for WRX – it’s unfortunate that it took them so long to get these things right. I own a ’12 and interior materials along with the horrible shifter and stiff clutch are my main complaints. But at least they finally fixed it. If only they could finally make a hatchback I’d certainly ponder an upgrade.

    • 0 avatar

      I drive on wintery roads every day for about four months of the year, and I’ve never encountered any weather situation where I wouldn’t take my Mazda3 on studded Cooper Weathermasters on a highway drive at the speed limit, visibility permitting. With decent tires, snow and ice provide perfectly predictable and consistent traction and are a joy to drive on, until someone comes along and ruins it with salt and sand to appease the lowest common denominator. But I have absolutely nowhere near as much fun driving it in the winter as my buddy does in his Hakka7-shod MT Legacy GT. My 0-60 is probably something like 25 seconds in those conditions. His is well under 10, with ridiculously easily controllable oversteer on demand.

      People who don’t understand the purpose of something like this STI in winter driving conditions either don’t understand the purpose of sports cars in general or have little experience with true winter driving. Probably both. You can’t legally drive a sports car on dry pavement on public roads to its true potential. You can legally drive a car like this to its true potential on winter roads. All the time. Traffic conditions permitting.

  • avatar

    I just crossed 1k miles on my ’15. So far I really like it. Had the short throw shifter dealer installed.

  • avatar

    Amazing is this:
    2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan @ 70 mph cruise (dB) 68.3
    2015 Subaru WRX @ 70 mph cruise (dB) 67.7

    WRX is quieter than G37 !!!

    • 0 avatar

      In other news, a 1985 Thunderbird Super Coupe is louder at cruise than a 1991 Town Car.

      Six years of advancement.

      • 0 avatar

        I wouldn’t shrug that off as expected results of six years of advancement. The WRX was generally considered obnoxiously loud even for a car designed for cheap speed and sold to a demographic that is otherwise tolerant of comfort shortcomings. The G37 had to compete with the 3-series and A4.

        Even if the dB readings might be worthless due to differences in tires and road surface, this gives me hope for the new WRX.

  • avatar

    “While the STI has more power, 305 hp, from its older 2.5 liter EJ engine, the WRX isn’t far behind with 268 hp.”

    I’m sorry, but in a car this size and weight that’s a huge difference in power. Even in a larger car it’s a considerable difference.

    Most offensive to me about this car are the cut lines around the trunk. What the hell?

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. 268 hp is about 12% less than 305 hp. In terms of acceleration you can think of the difference as an equivalent weight penalty of nearly 400# in the WRX compared to the STI – using a curb weight of 3267 lbs, which I found at another site.

      In other words, 268 hp is pretty far behind 305 hp in this application to say nothing of the difference in torque output, which happens to be about 12% in this case relative to the STI.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. The front of this car looks pretty impressive, but the rear is so poorly designed. Did they pick up the Malibu design team from 2006 to work on this car?

    • 0 avatar
      Winston Braithwaite

      STI will win on the track, with its adjustable center differential and higher peak HP, BUT the WRX is the better car to drive.

      STI is peaky – the new 2.0 liter turbo engine is flexible and has a wider powerband.

    • 0 avatar

      I think what frustrates people the most about the STI’s engine is that it is basically the same one they have been stuffing under the hood since 2004. You want progress in this car. When the STI was launched in the US in 2004, it was able to beat most high end sports cars of the same era in both a straight line and through a road coarse. In 2014, that engine is now pretty outdated, and doesn’t match-up well against what else is available today.

    • 0 avatar

      I found a pretty good article comparing the powerbands and dyno runs of the WRX to the STI, along with acceleration testing:

      Presumably these were done back to back on the same day, same weather, same conditions, same dyno, which is more accurate than bench racing between advertised numbers. The cars are much closer than you think they would be, and in real world driving situations where you aren’t clutch dumping or bouncing off the rev limiters I am betting the STI would not have any significant benefit over the WRX. Now on track days the better brakes alone would put the STI over the top, not to mention the more track-focused suspension, but I guess it really depends on how many times you actually track the car.

      Another big influence is tuning, I am very sure that they are going to be able to top 300hp in the WRX with minor mods once the kinks are worked out.

      But yes, this car is still ugly. How I wish they would figure out a way to drop this powertrain in the BRZ.

  • avatar

    My last 2 car shopping the WRX was in the top 3. Mostly it was the interior finish, reliability of the awd systems, and the rough engine that turned me off. Still I had to pay more to over come those deficiencies. Maybe next time.

    • 0 avatar

      I have heard about a lot of Subaru specific problems over the years, like head gaskets, crappy paint, and interior refinement of a tractor… but I have never heard of reliability issues with the AWD system itself. What were your findings?

      • 0 avatar

        I was about to say the same thing. The head gaskets and rust seem to be the major issues. The AWD has to the best of my knowledge been pretty reliable.

    • 0 avatar

      I know of two folks who had expensive repairs with differentials and suspension. Both of which were older models. Otherwise based on my impressions reading Subaru forums and True Delta. Not very scientific and to make it even more illogical the first time I bought the internet’s more unreliable car, an Audi A3. So maybe I was just looking for an excuse not to buy it.

  • avatar

    You guys are forgetting the formula for fun while living in the frozen wastelands of the north: AWD + snow tires = traction and FUN.

    It makes winter almost bearable.

  • avatar

    I wish Subaru would bring into production a concept they’ve occasionally played around with — a WRXized Forester XT. My Forester XT is supremely practical but just OK to drive. A manual and a bunch of WRX suspension bits would *totally* fix that.

    The interior would still be cheap, but, hey, if you’re not dragging mud into a Subaru you’re doing something wrong.

  • avatar

    Nicely written review, Winston.
    I think the styling has gone backwards this generation, and I have no need for AWD, but you made a better case for looking at this car than any of the other reviews or reports I have read.

    Also, thank you very much for the detail shots of the interior, wish every car review had those.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    It’s nice that this car is still (relatively) light. Weight is not your friend when driving in snow. Also, there are AWD systems and there are AWD systems. The Subaru’s is great; others not so much. We have an AWD Pilot that I hate to drive in the snow, even with true snow tires. The “slip-and-grip” AWD system is not particularly useful, or predictable. And the weight of the car is downright scary when you want to stop. I much preferred my old Saab, which was FWD.

    When Audi introduced the “Quattro” AWD system, it’s express purpose was to deal with torque steer issues occasioned by a powerful FWD car. One of the car mags tested otherwise identical Audi FWD and AWD sedans on a track in dry and wet conditions and found, with both expert and non-expert drivers that there was no performance advantage (i.e. shorter lap times) for AWD. Snow, of course, is another matter but AWD systems do not stop the car any more quickly or help it turn any better, other than compared to ham-fisted drivers who stomp on the gas in an RWD car and experience the thrills of power oversteer (which can easily be stopped by dropping the throttle).

    An AWD system that powers all 4 wheels all of the time is another matter, but lots of AWD systems — especially the cheap ones — don’t do this.

  • avatar

    Automatic WRXs got the power split of 45% front and 55% rear,
    mechanical WRXs got 50/50 split.
    More power for rear is better.
    Can you feel the 45/55 advantage of automatic WRXs in handling over 50/50
    WRXs or is it irrelevant?

    • 0 avatar

      I have the VTD AWD system on my old Legacy GT. The Honda SH-AWD system they apply only on the rear axle is similar in concept, and needs an explanation by TTAC’s resident transmission guru to make it easily understandable.

      In any case it involves having different gear ratios front to rear, but using an electric multiplate clutch to allow higher wheel speed at the rear if traction is lost at the front. Otherwise the whole assembly rotates at a single speed when good traction is present, but with a rear torque bias of 55% rear, 45% front. (65/35 in the STI)

      So, if you goose it in snow, like making a left or right turn from a side street onto a major one, the rears spin up instantly, and the car wants to pirouette. Catches you out the first time each winter. For some reason, my car hooks more to the left than the right, and the electronic nannies are slow to react – probably much quicker in a 2015.

      Having had six AWD cars since 1988, I’d say the 50/50 system on manual Subarus and regular Audis is more predictable in snow, frankly. It tends to understeer or plow, rather than oversteer. My car needs no handbrake to perform 180s or 360s, just a heavy foot and steering lock – handy for turning around in a narrow road!

      Just my experience.

      I found the CVT WRX quite a bit less responsive, combining the CVT with turbo lag, than my old EJ25 turbo and 5 speed auto just driving around in a sporting manner. And the old engine is supposed to be laggier.

      But then the real world intrudes and blows away the theories and suppositions. No spare WRX 6MTs to sample around here yet, all sold and waiting for more just to satisfy existing deposits, so cannot comment on it.

      • 0 avatar

        50/50 car is better on snow. How does 45/55 car drive on dry road?
        Does it handle at least little bit like RWD?

        • 0 avatar

          Sorry to be late in replying.

          The Legacy GT does not have, IMO, good enough at the limit handling to tell whether the 45/55 split gives a more rear drive feel. I blame the rear suspension, which is a design Subaru only foisted off on its customers for the 2005 to 2009 model years. It is one of those multilink set-ups which make no geometric sense, and the trailing arm bushings live a hard life, and last only a couple of years. It loses the rear end to sideways sliding on a certain 270 degree curve at about 55mph. Decades ago, my FWD Audi Coupe would do about 10mph more on the exact same curve, using the on/off gas technique Baruth mentioned in his WRX test. Mind you, in greasy snow/salt mix, that Audi lost to Mustangs from a stoplight, because the winter tire treads filled up with snow and spun uselessly impairing both traction and steering control. Which is what I still feel on Hondas, etc. and which make me laugh at the FWD warriors.

          The WRX has a much better rear suspension design, the guts of which feature on all current Subarus. The old Legacy can get quite unstable on high speed off-camber curves, even if you back off the gas. Had a few uh-oh moments with it when combined with crosswinds.

          With a decent-handling car, I doubt the uneven split would make much difference unless it were more pronounced like the STI’s. At sane speeds anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        Timur Apakidze


        If I were to write about the VTD system, I would run out of stuff to stay at around the 500 word mark. A sufficiently “guru”esque article has to be around 2000 words ;)

        • 0 avatar

          If you can do it in 500 words, I’d be impressed :)

          Reason being, most mechanical engineers let alone the average joe haven’t a clue how a regular differential works, and are amazed when they see the twirly bits operating on my 1/8 scale gas car unit. The model Torsen really freaks them out, so a planetary diff with different gearing on its output shafts should cause heads to implode. People find these units very hard to visualize.

          The dry words might only number 500, but the work is coming up with understandable drawings, I think. Plus, there is no decent explanation I can find on the internet. Such explanations as there are are tend to be written by what the Brits call “Anoraks”, uber enthusiasts first, technical understanding approaching zero.

          Anyway, thanks for responding.

  • avatar

    Nice review on a great car. Subaru AWD always impresses me when I get to drive one here in Chicago. Coupled with a boxer engine and all is great. You can drive anything in the snow, as people are saying. I drive a 911 Turbo in snow but I’d have more fun and confidence in a Subaru’s AWD system.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the review, Winston. Your writing has improved and is way less florid than before. I drove a coworker’s WRX the other day but it wasn’t as fun and flingable (not a real word) as a late 90’s Legacy. The WRX had a bunch of power but wasn’t as fun to drive as my Mom’s old Legacy. PS- I prefer Levofed over Dopamine.

  • avatar

    Wait, how much extra rear seat room? Damn it, I’ll go sit in one.

  • avatar

    Typically, and still, that interior is way too low-rent for a $30,000 car. It amazes me how Subaru gets away with it, but I wouldn’t touch it, no matter how good the engine may be.

  • avatar

    Cant wait till Subaru comes out with the FA25 and puts it in all the USDM BRZs/WRXs/STIs. Engine would be a lot better with 500ccs more displacement.

  • avatar

    Since there is no longer a hatch version, please stop writing nice things about this car!

    For day to day driving, compare the area under the torque curves of the regular and STI versions. Draw a horizontal line at about 2 or 2.5k, and a vertical line at about 5 or 5.5k. I’m betting the regular STI has more real world, day-to-day torque available.

    • 0 avatar

      You would be surprised–A few comments above, someone posted an article pointing out the differences in power delivery for the FA and EJ:

      I think the reason why the STI is still u sing the EJ is because Subaru wants to put more development time into the FA. Also possible is cost logistics, ie. get a higher margin with EJ STIs first, use it to offset smaller margin with FA-powered STI etc.

  • avatar

    How does a boxer engine even work? I have read about them and tried to watch a video, but can’t quite wrap my head around the concept.

    As for AWD, I think it would be cool to have, but would require me to alter my driving habits to get the most out of it. My Blazer had the selectable 4×4 system, but I never really used it for much and didn’t feel the need. (I know, different systems for different purposes) I could tell the difference in traction and the feeling of being properly planted in nasty weather, but knew that keeping it engaged for much more than that would have been a bad idea.

  • avatar

    How’s the road noise in practice (rather than just on the dB meter)? I had a 2010 for a while that was great except the road noise was unbearable for a daily driver on Northwest freeways. Great car otherwise.

  • avatar


    Has anyone read this article?

    As for driving in snowy conditions here in Calgary, we only use All Season tyres. I watch these dopes with winter tyres hammering along thinking they are super safe. They have a false sense of security.

    As for Subaru’s, my son has a RH drive STI import and it’s been nothing short of a challenge. We have replaced:

    Idle sensor, twice
    Spark leads
    RH Front axle
    Steering rack
    Timing belt

    The rear differential is playing up. One thing for sure, they are easy to work on. Getting the engine out was straight forward.

    That all said, the car is a blast to drive…..

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