By on September 2, 2014

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When the latest Subaru WRX was released, the enthusiast fan base was forced to suffer the indignity of a sedan-only lineup. Subaru’s company line was that there weren’t sufficient resources to develop a hatchback model as well. But that might be changing.

A hatchback WRX mule was spied undergoing hot weather testing, with a WRX front end grafted onto an Impreza hatchback bodyshell. Given the popularity of hatchbacks in both world markets, and the WRX hatch’s fanbase stateside (where it accounted for about 45 percent of WRX sales), there’s a good case for its return.

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44 Comments on “Subaru Reviving The WRX Hatchback?...”


  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    If there was only room in the budget for one bodystyle, and it was already fairly even in terms of sales, they should’ve made the hatchback from the start. Performance PLUS practicality is what set the WRX apart. Subaru drivers are some of the most active out there….if there is a group of buyers that would appreciate the extra versatility of a hatch, you’d think it be them.

    Personally, as soon as the hatch went away, so did the idea of an WRX ever being a buying option.

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      Same for me.
      I waited, I watched, I listened, and Subaru decided to go with a sedan only.
      Took my money to Audi and got an S4 instead. Would have been perfectly happy with a WRX hatch, but no luck.

      Subaru has the same issue with the WRX that Ford has with the Focus ST. A lot of the prospective buyers like me aren’t buying ‘the best car we can afford’, we’re buying the car we want. If they stop offering cars we want, we can shop elsewhere. Still happy they’re doing well selling the WRX like hotcakes. it’s a good car!

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Translation – we pissed off the people, and the people ain’t buying.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      Not buying? There are less than 400 WRXs for sale in the entire country, and many of those are on trucks. The wait at all of the dealers here is weeks, if not months (I’ve asked). It’s a great car and there are zero competitors in its specific niche.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I agree with djsyndrome. Sales numbers suggest the ’15 WRX is selling very well. I still think that production capacity is one issue that Subaru is constantly fighting that the Impreza moving to Indiana will give them some breathing room. When that move happens, maybe it makes sense to offer a WRX hatch (or a higher power version of the BRZ).

        My anecdotal evidence from Nasioc is that the CVT uptake has been particularly good. I think that the buyers that only considered a WRX hatch and will not drive a sedan have been replaced with CVT buyers. Offering an additional transmission has to be cheaper/easier than offering a different body style… especially when the CVT is the only transmission available in Japan and is already being offered in the Forester XT.

        I’m also not 100% convinced that a WRX hatch is on the way. There is a new Impreza due soon and there was talk about it sharing a lot of bits from the just-released WRX (Impreza being a toned down WRX rather than the WRX being a hopped up Impreza).

      • 0 avatar
        Tim_Turbo

        Yup. I sell Subaru. In all of New England right now (70ish dealers) there are 19 available 2015 WRX premium w/manual transmissions-between what is actually on the ground and what is incoming.
        Only 3 of them are not spoken for as of right now.

        While I would love to see the hatch back in production-I don’t think not having it has hurt sales.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I believe you on WRX availability, but I’ve always been a little suspicious that it reflects demand accurately. Even in the last couple of years of the old generation it was almost impossible to find a WRX around here (PNW), when every dealer in this Subie-obsessed region has 50 Imprezas and 150 Foresters. I suspect Subaru of artificially limiting WRX supply for marketing reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Limiting supply for marketing reasons? Uh, yeah, it’s a total niche car and there aren’t very many buyers! If they don’t limit supply it’ll be like when they were selling brand new ’70 Plymouth Superbirds in 1973. Regular Imprezas and Foresters can be sold to anyone.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s not like the WRX is a product that doesn’t sell, particularly around here where every EXTREEEEME sports bro drives one. If supply matched demand, I’d think the dealers would have at least a few on the lot and there wouldn’t be a 3-month wait. And it’s also not like a WRX has unobtainium components that should be supply-limited. Mechanically it’s like a Forester XT with a stick and radically different suspension tuning. There shouldn’t be any issue making enough of them.

          • 0 avatar
            djsyndrome

            Just north of Seattle here. I actually got to test drive one in Marysville – base model, no options in silver. Before I could even get home and think about it the car was gone.

            It seems to be year-round demand here, but where I used to live (Sacramento) it was definitely seasonal. You couldn’t find a WRX to save your life when the snow hit, but dealers were swimming in them all summer long.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> @tim_turbo Yup. I sell Subaru. In all of New England right now (70ish dealers) there are 19 available

          Do you work for SNE/Joe?

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        They could probably sell a lot more if they offered it in a hatch and instead of the CVT offered a quick shifting real automatic. But I suspect that Subaru doesn’t really want to sell too many since it’d wreck their CAFE scores horribly.
        Still, I hope the hatch comes back, it’s the only version I’d buy since it’s more practical.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhowington

      hogwash.

  • avatar
    SunshineReturn

    Can’t SUBARU make their cars attractive a little bit at least?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I am always amused when manufacturers decide that if they stop making something the customer will just shift over and buy whatever they decide to make. It’s just as stupid as a dealer thinking I came there to buy whatever they have lying around and feel like pushing.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      As someone who drives an LGT wagon (I’m guessing manual as well), you understand the virtue of patience and being particular.

      Lot of folks don’t. And a lot of “enthusiasts” would rather have the first car, than wait for the exact car they want.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        It’s even worse than you guessed. I got one of what I hear we’re a few dozen with the MT and LSD without a sunroof. The dealers wouldn’t deal with someone who wanted a specific car so I bought it through a brokerage at my CU. Kaching! Ended up saving $ too.

        • 0 avatar
          gessvt

          Mine is MT and LSD no sunroof as well. Cloth seats. I recently saw a nearly identical 2005 LGT 5MT wagon with leather. Suffice it to say I’m glad mine has cloth.

          And as for a WRX or STi hatch, that will be my next car if it arrives stateside. Unless the Focus RS is really on its way.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Help kill a story I don’t want to believe and tell me it’s not the dark blue. Someone told me that certain option packages were color specific (he’d worked at the terminal offloading cars…

          • 0 avatar
            eamiller

            I have an 05 LGT wagon with MT, but it’s the limited with leather. It’s the dark blue color (Royal Blue Pearl I believe).

            I’m personally glad I got the leather (and sunroof) as it has worn extremely well, even with 2 dogs as frequent passengers in the rear seats. The giant sunroof was also very worth it.

            At least my turbo has held on for 96k, my friend’s 05 LGT sedan blew through a turbo in 40k despite fastidious maintenance.

            It’s been a fun car, but not particularly reliable. Multiple seat frame replacements, blown fan driver circuit in the ECU, wheel bearings that the dealer refused to replace under the extended warranty (what sound?!?). Now it has a tendency to break the alternator adjustment bolt under high RPMs due to a bad design on the hinge bracket.

            It will soon be sold for a new Cherokee. Subaru makes nothing now that interests me in the slightest. Anybody want to buy it?

          • 0 avatar
            gessvt

            Mine is Atlantic Blue Pearl, lighter than dark blue.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      05lgt, +1. I own a Pontiac G8 GXP. The number of mailings I’ve gotten from GM trying to sell me a Buick LaCrosse by offering me good financing is just staggering. The two cars have nothing in common except being full-size sedans.

      You’d think they would have at least tried to sell me a Regal GS.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      05lgt you don’t understand the automotive business if you think they need to make some car you and 2 other people want. Now WRX/STI hatch and SOA(Subaru of America)…they are SUPER conservative. The Subaru of Japan mothership couldn’t spend the money on the hatch model for debut same time as the sedan…even though they know people want it, it was half of sales, or even the majority in Aus. Subaru Australia head was quoted as saying they will be getting a hatch. Chief engineer of WRX is quoted as saying a hatch is coming. Still SOA says “there is nothing of the sort” they will not let one person wait to buy for that hatch who would have settled for a sedan. That is how they work. Its not that they don’t know the hatchback would be popular, but WRX/STI is a low volume car they take what they can get from SOJ, and the marketing people do the story telling…

      This is the same reason we can be pretty sure there is some sort of FA-motor STI coming to replace the old EJ, but SOA can’t let that get out lest someone consider waiting for it and not buying an STI now, they will probably trade at a huge loss for the new one anyways a few years from now. Lots of 08-10 STI owners who were going to “keep their car forever” traded up for the sedan in 2011 and the same for the 08-10 narrow body WRX owners. Subau, at least SOA is good about keeping future product talk at bay and, to coin a term from an old sales manager…SWAT – sell what is available today…this is an important tenet of sales, which is why the dealer wants to sell you what they have, not some future product that may or may not come.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        I’m hoping Subaru of America didn’t flunk the same business class you did. Their customers aren’t out looking to buy some random Subaru. They’ll walk across the street and become the customer of someone making something they want. I didn’t have to buy a Subaru, or even a car. I did want to buy the one I got, but I didn’t grow up in the land of “Repo Man” and don’t set out to buy a generic car.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Well you can insult me all you want brother you don’t even know me so no bother, but Subaru is selling more cars than ever though so how do you explain that? I guess they should hire you?

          I was just pointing out that SOA keeps it close to the vest, just because the marketing dept says “sorry sedan only this is what buyers want” doesn’t mean they actually think every hatch buyer will convert, they might have something up their sleeve for future product but they sure won’t talk about it.

          Now there is a case for the hatchback WRX, unlike the wagon Legacy which sold in pitiful numbers here. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t a nice car, buyers just wanted the jacked up Outback version.

          Now interestingly enough I assume you own the 05 by your name, only year of 5 speed turbo wagon…this entire generation cost too much to make vs what Subaru could sell them for, and Subaru had to cheapen them up a bit. A loss for us that like the premium feel of this gen (wife has an 05 Outback XT).

          Automotive biz is interesting, lead times are long, investment for models and then variations of those is large so just “building what the customers wants” is not so easy.

          I am curious as an owner of the unicorn LGT wagon…what do you like on the market for a new car now to replace it?

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            I’ll go with you responded to my post about the WRX as if it were part of the later string about *my* unicorn and I thought you were responding to the original about the WRX. I’m sorry for my share of the confusion.
            They should never have made my car. I had been planning to avoid the first year, and jumped when word came out that they were discontinuing the 5MT turbo wagon.

            I hate your question, although I ask it frequently. If I was where I was then with today’s car market, I’d be looking at the Ford Fiesta and Focus ST’s, the Jetta and TSX sport wagons, and the Mazda 6 Wagon. actually 9 years later with a 7 year old and my wifes current car (RX330) in the stable: Camry or Prius or Accord and most likely used. I’d have to promise myself that a MX5 was in my future for this to work.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    of course they are, to drum up re-interest. oh the horror of no hatchback wrx.

  • avatar
    SunshineReturn

    Fk subaro, who cares….

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    God, please don’t make another hatchback WRX! The last one was hideous! Hell, it’s bad enough you can’t get one as a coupe, but at least the sedan looks good – for a sedan. I for one am glad that Subaru decided to not build a hatchback for this generation car.

    I’ll be buying a new car soon and this is one of the few vehicles on my shortlist. I chose it in large part because I love the styling, and the fact that I could get it with a manual.

    I figure Japanese, fairly boxy wedge shape, turbo engine, manual transmission, AWD, funky electric blue color – this is the closest thing to an R34 Skyline that I can get.

    The only problem is the that I’ll have to order one to get it as stripped down as I want (I’m talking ZERO options) and was told by several dealers that it’d be a three-month wait.

    C’est la vie.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Fear not, if it’s anything like the few other current Asian hatches (Fit excepted) the roof line aft of the front seats will slope downward so abruptly that from a front 3/4 view you’d be hard pressed to tell it from the sedan.

      And the hatch opening will be the size of a microwave door.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Its weird when a consumer actively supports the reduction of choice.

      I’d like to see all Subaru models with all drivetrain options in all body styles available. I can then choose what I want.

      Is this the best business practice? I don’t care and they (Subaru or any OEM) can do as they please. But I, as a consumer, want things how I want them. If a OEM doesn’t provide, I don’t buy. If they do and I don’t like it, I never wish it wasn’t a choice.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    A return of a WRX hatchback would be a nice addition, but a car I personally would like over here would be a WRX wagon, aka Subaru Levorg.

    I would think it would help recapture both the former WRX hatch customers and the former Legacy GT customers in a single bodystyle (not too much additional resource).

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      It does seem sort of ridiculous that Subaru of America refuses an existing product which could probably be federalized and justified by a modest sales goal.

      SOA just doesn’t think a wagon only model like that will sell. Once bitten twice shy with sporty wagons I think.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Does anyone remember the Subaru Impreza GT? An Impreza Premium hatchback with the WRX engine and none of the silly WRX or STi bodywork. That’s what Subaru needs to build now. A WRX for adults. I currently own a 2010 Impreza Outback Sport 2.5. It’s a fun, practical car. But I wouldn’t ever consider buying a new Impreza or XV Crosstrek with that unnecessarily weak 2-liter powerplant.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      You should know the short lived Impreza GT…was basically a carry over product when the 2009 WRX got upgraded after just one year on the market becuase the 2008 was way wide of the mark, too soft for the WRX buyers and didn’t bring drives of new ones in. When the 2009 got stiffer and bigger turbo that necessitated being manual trans only.

      And so they carried over the automatic version of the WRX and slapped an Impreza GT badge on it for another couple years then they dropped it. It was a holdover, not a car that Subaru buyers wanted.

      There are products like the Levorg, what you are talking about, grown up machines. Subaru doesn’t think Americans will buy them. Now me I am the fairly old guy who might buy a Subaru, and I would want the WRX/STI, not necessarily the big spolier but don’t water it down I want the good suspension I don’t mind the ride.

      It is funny Subaru has basically weak powerplants for someone like me who might like one of their regular models, but needs a certain amount of speed. The turbo options have gone away and replaced by a half hearted H6 that is slow and gets bad fuel economy. But the turbo models are great MPG be damned…

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Can’t be the WRX because it does not have those god-awful spoilers in the back. Can’t be hot-testing it without all that drag, erm, I mean, downforce.

  • avatar
    spoonie

    Now that I’ve decided on a late 2015 or early 2016 GTI, at least Subaru now has a contender. Hopefully it makes it here by then for an in-car comparison.

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