2016 Subaru WRX Long-Term Test: Hitting 15,000 Miles
My 2016 Subaru WRX crossed over the 15,000 mile mark after only nine months of ownership. While some of its new car smell has worn off, my affection for it only continues to grow.
The WRX has received scheduled maintenance and begun a journey into competitive driving to bring out its full character. I also gave in to the urge to modify the WRX with some small tweaks.
The WRX’s mileage has tripled in the six months since my last update. During that time it saw another oil change and a recall, which involved inspection of the turbocharger inlet pipe to identify a manufacturing defect that may have caused a tear. Since this type of tear could cause contaminants to hit the impeller of the turbocharger, I scheduled the recall work as soon as I received the notice. Luckily, my inlet passed the inspection and the Subaru mechanics didn’t find any damage.
Since I was approaching the 11,000 mile mark at that time, I asked the dealer to perform another oil change during the same appointment. That brought my total maintenance cost to $140 so far. A cracked fog light, caused by a flying rock, was my only other service related expense. I was able to find a replacement on eBay for about $40.
My insurance cost stayed the same at its first renewal, with a premium just slightly higher than that for my wife’s 2009 Saturn Vue Hybrid. Your mileage may vary, naturally.
Fuel consumption has not varied wildly. The WRX continues to average about 25 miles per gallon in mixed driving, and even hit a high of 32 mpg on some long highway trips. I did manage to pick up another rock with my hood, which caused a dent and a gouge in the WRX’s paint. I’m going to leave it be for now because the imperfection doesn’t bother me enough to spend the money on a repair and repaint.
The engine sees redline often. I continue to choose country roads over big highways and enjoy every minute of it. My brother and I even took the WRX out to an autocross event. We were satisfied with the performance and ran about mid pack. The tires heated up a bit in later runs, but we still have a way to go before we outperform the car. We plan to do more autocross events this year and are even planning on taking it out to SCCA Targa Southland, which will allow us to experience what the car can do at three different tracks and various events across the Southeast.
This WRX deviates from its predecessor as it has a cable operated shifter contained inside a plastic housing. Over time, I noticed how sloppy it could be in certain situations. For my first modification, I decided to see if I could tighten it up. I picked up a shifter stop from the folks at Kartboy for a little over $30 and adjusted the factory shifter lockout to bring the shifter in a bit. It took less than an hour to make the changes, but the shifter feels much tighter and I have a lot more confidence that it’s going into the correct gear.
Although the WRX has plenty of power, I’ve started looking at picking up an Accessport if I can find a used one for a good price to start tweaking the engine a bit. Giving up on warranty coverage is a compromise, but like Jack’s Accord, the car will have numbers on it often, so the warranty may not have full validity anyway.
Much like Tim with his Odyssey, I’ve used the WRX for the occasional hardware store run. I do have a dedicated beater truck to transport everything from sheets of drywall to old engines, but I often find that I only have a few things to pick up and can save time by doing so on the way home from work. Most of the time, the WRX’s cavernous trunk can swallow pretty much anything. I’ve even used the WRX to 2x4s, which can fit with the back seats dropped all the way down. For those of you who are a bit more practical, the trunk is perfect for fitting luggage, which can swallow two large bags and a carry-on quite easily.
The infotainment system continues to be slow and sluggish, but I’ve gotten used to it. In order to prevent glitches, I use a 12-volt cigarette adapter to charge the phone instead of plugging it directly into the car’s built-in USB port. The 12-volt outlet charged my phone quicker and prevents the audio from pausing itself if Bluetooth is turned on at the same time.
The interior is holding up fairly well, but does require frequent dusting to keep it looking fresh. The Dunlop Sport Maxx tires are seeing some use and will likely need replacement before the end of the year. The brake pads will see accelerated wear from attending some competitive driving events, so I am planning to swap out the OEM pads and put in something a little more aggressive soon.
I truly believe that I got the car for a steal and am in the unusual situation of having some equity on car that is in a 72 month loan. I often see used models retailing for more than I paid for mine last year. Wholesale auction prices show similar models selling for only $500 less than that amount. I usually pay more than the minimum every month, but am happy to owe a few thousand dollars less than what I could realistically sell it for right now. This car is a joy to own. I know that it was the right choice as it’s rare that I walk away from it without giving it a parting glance.
[Images: © 2016 Bozi Tararevic/The Truth About Cars]
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