By on August 1, 2016

2016 Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Montero, Image: © 2016 Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

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.

2016 Subaru WRX Hood Dent, Image: © 2016 Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

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.

2016 Subaru WRX at an autocross event, Image: © 2016 Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

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.

2016 Subaru WRX Trunk, Image: © 2016 Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

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.

2016 Subaru WRX Tire, Image: © 2016 Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

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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47 Comments on “2016 Subaru WRX Long-Term Test: Hitting 15,000 Miles...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Tell me more about your shorty Montero.

    • 0 avatar

      Picked it up recently. It is a 1987, has somewhere between 140k and 300k miles. Used around a farm for the past 8 years. Needs some work but runs and is a master cylinder away from being able to stop. Picking up a bunch of parts for it now and might do a post on it once we get cranking. So far I am about $1100 into it. Goal is to build a fun little mud rig for about $2500 total.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Nice, I’ve always read that the ’80s square gen Montero was not particularly sturdy or reliable. I wouldn’t think that there’s too much to go wrong though, as simple as they are.

        Parts availability after all this time isn’t a problem?

        • 0 avatar

          it is in a sweet spot right now where it is not popular enough to drive up parts prices and there are lots of OEM and aftermarket NOS parts available for cheap. Example of one of my purchases here: https://twitter.com/hoonable/status/705542387226058752

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I like your kitchen counters.

            And that’s a lot of stuff for $63.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Coincidentally I was following one of these gen 1 Montys (a tan/beige 5 door) in traffic today. Ah the beauty of true utilitarian design, rather than the try-hard macho of modern day pickups and SUVs!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I must say I prefer the gen 2, which had two-tone capabilities and a bit more luxurious interior.

            I wonder if I were buying in the segment at the time (Japan only), which I’d have chosen. They all had serious deficiencies in terms of ride quality and power. Monty, Trooper/II, 4Runner.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            You’d be one of those weirdos who imports a white Bronco and just pays the exhorbitant taxes on it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Again some what coincidentally yesterday I saw a forest green over sand 2nd gen Montero LS driven by a guy in his 60s. Judging by the very respectable condition I’m guessing he was the first or second owner. Awesome trucks, I’d trade my 4Runner straight across for a decent one.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I drove past that gen 2 extra clean black over pewter one again just last Thursday, it’s still in the same lot at a long closed mechanic. It had moved over into a proper parking spot. Still with no signs on it.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.231652,-84.3769886,3a,75y,265.5h,77.41t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRkpZjYvHW0mpNU-UL6KwDg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

            A year ago it wasn’t there. I don’t think the place has been a functioning garage since 2014. Very prime location for something to just sit and collect dust.

          • 0 avatar

            I am happy that parts for are so cheap and thanks.

        • 0 avatar

          While I have never owned a first gen Montero, I have worked on and wheeled them. I found them to be very durable. The 4cyl has a habit of eating head gaskets and thew 6 cyl is supposed to have oil problems but owning 2 3.0’s in minivans and working on friends Raiders, I haven’t seen one do it in person yet. They are tough little trucks. I don’t have any experience with the 2nd Gen but they seem to have a good rep on expedition portal and other off road forums.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Here I thought “rally bred” would make a car less vulnerable to a few pebbles!

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    Resale value on WRXs has always been absurdly high in the US. It’s a great value purchase from that perspective, especially since you’re getting the most reliable years of a car designed to be driven hard. I would only buy a used WRX if it was very cheap, and they never are.

    Awesome that you’re enjoying the car so much. If they bring back the hatch it’s on my very short list.

    Speaking of, why the hell did they take away the hatch? That seems like the wrong call.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah seems like one of those cars where the hatch would be more popular than the sedan, or it would at least be close to a 50/50 split on sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      My best guess is that they decided they could reach more buyers by offering an AT than what they’d lose by ditching a body style. If you can’t/won’t drive a stick, you won’t buy an MT only WRX. Tossing a roof rack or a hitch on a sedan gives you a pretty simple way to expand cargo capacity. I’d prefer them to have offered only the hatch instead of the sedan, but I’m sure they had market research that told them sedan was the way to go. Sales are up drastically from the previous gen that was sedan or hatch with MT only, so they at least chose wisely on the single body style and more transmissions.

      • 0 avatar
        Nedmundo

        That’s probably right, and the CVT also allows you to get Subaru’s EyeSight safety system on the WRX. I suspect the pre-collision automatic braking won’t work with the manual (would need to depress the clutch), and this is another reason we probably won’t see manuals much longer.

    • 0 avatar

      I quite like the look of the sedan and would have chosen it even if a hatch was available.

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        I guess that’s you. I have a ’12 hatch and would not trade that in even for a brand new sedan. There is a reason why old hatches are now worth even more than the sedans. Only sedans I liked were the ’06-07 models. Everything after that – no thanks.

        Subaru basically lost me as a customer when they made sedan only car with automatic available as I don’t touch either. I guess it’s their way of saying “please buy something else next time, your money is no good here”. Which of course I will.

  • avatar
    cheezman88

    So the best thing to do is buy this car new, and then sell it a few years later for minimal loss? Sounds like a plan to me!

  • avatar

    If you plan to autocross under SCCA rules, pay careful attention to what modifying your car will do to your classing.

  • avatar
    bikephil

    15000 miles in 9 months is nothing.I have put 110k miles on my Ford Fusion in 2 years.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I still want one of these and as soon as the kids are out of car seats, I might have one.

    It is THE best all around car for an enthusiast if you live in the snow belt. I had a regular impreza and even though it was slow, it was a riot during a snow storm

    Still wondering if any manufacturers have solved the carbon build up issue with direct injection engines though.

    How easy will it be to blast walnut shells onto the intake valves to clean them given the boxer’s configuration under the hood?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Toyota figured it out a decade ago with their D4-S. BMW and VW’s latest have the second set of port injectors like the Toyota system. I believe only the BRZ FA20 has the dual injectors. The WRX version of the FA20 is direct injection only.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        That’s right, I forgot about that.

        Having twice the fuel injectors still isn’t an ideal “solution” IMO.

        I’m curious, are these WRXs going to be a maintenance nightmare as they get higher mileage?

        Will the WRX have a carbon build up problem, and if it does, how easy will it be to clean?

        Will you have to remove the cylinder heads, or just the intake manifold?

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          Why isn’t it an ideal solution? You get the benefits of direct injection, but still retain the intake cleaning of a port injection system.

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            Because doubling the fuel injectors is more complicated and more crap to break.

            In general, I don’t think adding turbos, high pressure fuel pumps, and twice the fuel injectors just so the engine doesn’t clog up, all for incremental gains in power and fuel efficency are worth it, at least not yet.

            I know it’s blasphemy, and I’m biased, but the WRX would be better with a Toyota 2GR-FE (assuming it would fit).

            Same 268 horsepower, way more refined, less complicated, and probably better fuel efficiency.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Nice to see you’re having so much fun with your purchase, Bozi. Thanks for sharing an update.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    Bozi, have you made any long trips in the car? The WRX could be on the short list to replace my Jetta TDI, but tends to get dinged for road noise and general lack of refinement in reviews. One doesn’t expect a performance car to have the sensory isolation of a big Lexus, but I don’t want something that really gets on your nerves on a long trip. This is something that’s hard to get a feeling for during a brief test drive.

  • avatar
    ozzypriest

    Jesus I am so glad to see an actual car review / straight-up car article in TTAC again, I was about to abandoning ship because it seems slowly sinking into a Paul Finebaum inspired, click-baity, let the best-and-brightest slug it out festivus as of late. I prefer interesting discussion rather than bad puns about people dying while stealing wheels, or rants on gun carry laws.

    I vacillated between the WRX and the GTI, but eventually chose the GTI because of suspension harshness concerns on the WRX, and because local dealers would not allow test drives – so how is the suspension in everyday life?

    • 0 avatar
      cheezman88

      Yea i’ve gotta say, the content on this site has been a bit lacking the past half a year or so. Hope it changes because this used to be my favorite place to hit up.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Fix your stone chips. C’mon, man…you’re patting yourself on the back for having a car with some equity in it, and you won’t fix stone chips that are down to the metal?

  • avatar
    Nurburgringer

    “I truly believe I got the car for a steal”

    How much did you pay, out the door?

    Looking forward to reading about future tuning adventures.

    • 0 avatar

      Sale Price: $ 25,477.00
      Doc Fee: $ 649.00
      NC Tax: $ 783.78
      Tag/Title $ 124.00

      OTD Price $ 27033.78

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Thanks for sharing Bozi. Those numbers are essentially what I paid for an Accord EX-L. I think you got the better value, at least in terms of smiles per miles.

        I am surprised that resale values are so strong. Does anyone know why? If anything, I’d think they would be low because WRX owners tend to drive them hard. Why pay $20K for a 3 year old if I can get a new one with a warranty for $27K?

      • 0 avatar
        Nurburgringer

        Thanks.
        I’m not in the market for a 4WD car but seems like a decent value.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Nice to see this car fits you like a glove.

  • avatar
    Wildroot

    On that radio problem. The one in my 2016 Legacy was a real problem until I turned off “enable cached radio” or something like that in the settings. I hear that turning off the HD radio function helps too. I use HD radio so I left mine on. After a couple of months I turned the radio cache back on and now it works just fine 99.99% of the time. If you have an iPhone and you don’t have the Aha app, that might be the problem with using the USB port as that is how the app communicates. Androids use bluetooth for that. Pandora is a little buggy for me but I love the Aha app and also use every other function in the radio. During the day (using the car for work) I am able to link up the work iPhone for calls and my Nexus 6 for music at the same time.

  • avatar
    defazpr

    Hi All! I am new tor the group. I have been a long time Subie owner (Outback, Legacy and BRZ). I am interested in a four door sports car under $34,000. I took the 2017 WRX out for test drive and was very impressed. It does what the BRZ doesn’t, namely more room, practical solution for the daily drives and more power. Any owner knows this. My question is, how tolerable is it for daily commutes to work in traffic and over mixed roads? In my 30 minute drive, I was thrown around a bit on uneven pavements. I realize the car is not designed to absorb rivets. But I live in Philadelphia where, let’s just say, traffic is heavy and roads are crap.

    Thank you in advance for your replies.

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