2016 Subaru WRX Long-Term Test: Hitting 15,000 Miles

Bozi Tatarevic
by Bozi Tatarevic

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]

Bozi Tatarevic
Bozi Tatarevic

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  • John Boland John Boland on Aug 07, 2016

    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.

  • Defazpr Defazpr on Oct 09, 2016

    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.

  • Jeff Self driving cars are not ready for prime time.
  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.
  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.