Subaru hasn’t sold the WRX as a wagon since 2015. While fans have been clamoring for its return ever since, the automaker’s willingness to play along hasn’t gotten much further than its Viziv concept vehicles.
But that doesn’t mean other markets have to do without. The manufacturer is currently prepping the 2022 WRX Sportwagon for the Australian market. Though it’s difficult to be broken up about it being trapped in the land down under, considering it’s going to be offered exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The WRX has racked up some miles since our last update over a year ago. While the car is still as enjoyable as ever, that doesn’t mean a few new annoyances haven’t popped up. The odometer reads just over 55,000 miles as I type this, so we’re well past the mileage limits for the standard warranty, along with just a few thousand miles remaining for the powertrain warranty.
I’ve only made a few changes to the car, though there’ll be more coming as I try to sort out minor annoyances and feed my habit of making modifications. Overall, the car has proven very reliable, but a few issues crept up along the way that required a warranty repair.
Subaru announced pricing for the 2019 WRX and its big-winged STI variant this week, making special mention that the spicier option will receive a boost in horsepower and performance. It’s something enthusiasts have been clamoring for, but those seeking massive gains will probably be a bit disappointed. The aftermarket is likely to play a part in the lives of many a WRX STI, despite the factory upgrade.
Meanwhile, the more-humble WRX will go mostly unchanged for the 2019 model year. Subaru has said it will persist with the 268-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring. However, it does get a new 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen with smartphone integration and a rear-view camera.
Those optioning for the “Sport Lineartronic” CVT also get the benefit of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite. But we can’t recommend it over the six-speed manual without feeling a little dirty.
The popularity of the Subaru WRX and its larger-displacement STI sibling rival that of free vape coils and Monster energy drinks at a Millennial blogging event. Despite its growing age, owners and would-be buyers seem content with Subaru’s driver-focused all-wheel-drive sedan. There’s plenty of goodwill with this crowd.
As the previous-generation Impreza-based model awaits a new platform and body, it looks like buyers of the 2019 WRX STI stand to gain something that was available only in very limited numbers for 2018. More power.
For some reason, today is all about manual transmissions. Some going, some staying… but most just going.
That’s the world we live in, where consideration must be given to high-tech safety aids, while multi-cog automatics and infinitely cogged CVTs have stripped the stick shift of its secondary attribute: fuel economy.
For Subaru, the Lineartronic continuously variable automatic will soon become the brand’s only choice of gearbox, with one notable — and likely temporary — exception.
With his last Ace of Base segment, Matthew Guy got everyone talking about the base Volkswagen GTI S. It went so far as to cause certain members of the TTAC staff to build GTIs over at the Volkswagen website. I didn’t do that, because I was busy ruminating on the difficult choices a Buy/Drive/Burn entry on hot hatches might offer. It’s difficult to write said entry the way I want, because the STI isn’t available as a hatchback anymore. So we’ve got hot compacts today.
Three hot [s]hatches[/s] grr, compacts, from different manufacturers. One gets purchased, one you borrow, and one burns to the ground. Last time, it became apparent that some of you don’t know the rules, so here are the rules and you should read them before you scroll further. Let’s get speedy.
After some light teasing, Subaru unveiled the Viziv Performance Concept in its entirety at the Tokyo Motor Show — showing what is very likely to the next incarnation of the WRX. While that’s not a guarantee, the Viziv’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive, boxer engine, squared taillights, hood scoop, and overall shape appears to be an obvious evolution of the brand’s beloved performance model.
Enthusiasts are likely to be pleased, too. While it was never gorgeous, the WRX has enjoyed ho-hum styling since 2008. Things took a turn for the better after a mid-cycle facelift in late 2009, but even the current generation lacks some of the character of those earlier examples. On the upside, Subaru continued to refine what was essentially a budget automobile with highly desirable driving dynamics.
But if the next WRX can maintain the Viziv’s more extravagant styling cues while also holding onto improved interior quality and performance, well, then this is all very exciting.
Hoping to make a big splash at next month’s 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru will showcase two limited editions of its most-sporting models and one that will probably end up being the next-generation WRX or Legacy. Called the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept, the vehicle appears to be an abstract vision of what is arguably the company’s most famous automobile — or its more-dignified brother.
As a modern day concept car, Subaru has dubbed the machine a “semiautonomous performance concept sedan” — which could indicate a bevy of new driving aids. But, since the automaker isn’t too specific as to what those might be, we’re focusing on its shape for now.
First impressions? It’s incredibly wide-looking. So wide that you can actually see the outline of the tires, which appear to have some pretty aggressive negative camber. However, this could be an optical illusion, as a secondary photo highlights some extremely unique wheel arches. Rearward slats seem to be an aesthetic choice while little fins on the top could be indicative of something more functional. Perhaps a sensor to monitor blind spots or something in aid of aerodynamics? Your guess is as good as ours.
What’s the difference between art and modern art, between Michelangelo and Mondrian? The best way I know to explain it is this: Modern art requires a deep grounding in a particular context. Modern art is reactive. It assumes you know the history and that you’re capable of seeing how it reacts to, and interacts with, that history. To put it kindly, modern art is a continuation of the dialogue between artist and critic in an era where all of the technical problems of perspective, representation, and accuracy have long been solved. To put it less than kindly, modern art is a tiresome insider’s joke where you pay handsomely to be in on the gag.
To some degree, this is a natural consequence of any mature art form, whether it is painting, rock music, or motion pictures. All of the original ideas have long since been discovered and comprehensively realized in film, so any new movie has to make a choice: Do you approach your chosen genre wholeheartedly and with a craftsman’s intent, like Michael Mann did in “Heat,” or do you spend the whole time winking at the audience, as Matthew Vaughn does in “Kingsman”? In other words, do you create art, or do you create modern art?
In the case of “Baby Driver,” I suspect that the viewer’s opinion on this matter will depend almost entirely on his (or her) age.
When Subaru launched the fifth-generation Impreza with a CVT, a collective sigh of relief was heard after enthusiasts learned it would still provide a standard five-speed manual transmission. However, it didn’t guarantee that the next incarnation of the WRX wouldn’t abandon the clutch pedal to maximize sales and minimize zero to 60 times.
After all, most people don’t purchase manual transmission vehicles anymore and the WRX already comes with a CVT. It would be easy for the automaker adopt a dual-clutch as a pricier option on sporting Subarus and leave the variable tranny in the base trim. Nobody was so worried about it that they lost sleep on the matter, but there was just enough doubt to have us all occasionally wringing our hands.
It’s a lot of letters, but not a lot of extra horsepower. That’s the synopsis of two limited edition performance models revealed by Subaru today.
We already knew both were on the way, and indeed the models seem well equipped to trounce the handling dynamics of their regular-production stablemates. The appearance, too. Festooned with every measure available to enhance downforce, braking, body stability, and traction, the 2018 WRX STI Type RA (“Record Attempt”) and BRZ tS are instant collector’s items for Subaru superfans.
Is there more power to be had? Are both the revamped WRX and BRZ faster than their corporate siblings? Short answer: yes, and…maybe?
Earlier this week, I fielded a question regarding German hot hatches. A few commenters suggested that I had made a mistake by not recommending the Subaru WRX or STi as an alternative to the Golf R and Focus RS. After all, I’d been perfectly content to recommend a Subaru as an alternative to a Volkswagen just a week before. So why not suggest an STI in place of an RS? Was it the long-dormant Euro-snob in me surfacing unexpectedly, like a Kraken slouching up from dark water to terrify the innocents on shore with its repugnant and vicious countenance? Or had I simply forgotten about the mere existence of the twin turbo compacts?
With regards to the first of these two scenarios, I can only assure the readership I’ve repented of my youthful Euro-snobbery to a degree that would make a post-Room-101 Winston Smith weep over his Victory Gin. With regards to the second scenario, I will only say this: somebody has forgotten about the WRX and STi, and that somebody is the corporate person known as Subaru of America.
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- 3SpeedAutomatic "...to make room for reality TV reruns..."What an insult!! Shows how far broadcast TV will stoop for a few extra bucks.I much appreciate Jay for keeping the "motor head" world alive in a Zoom society. However, maybe it's time for him to retire or semi-retire. There's enough material for him to do YouTube with most auto related companies willing to underwrite....but the number of shows would be at his own pace.I wish him well!!
- Gregtwelve I had an '88 Turbo Coupe with 5 spd bought used and really liked it. I loved the looks, it had decent power for the time and a nice interior. Unfortunately the head gasket went at around 60K miles. I repaired it myself and sold it.
- Mattwc1 I bought a Maverick specifically because I wanted utility and great fuel economy. My wife has a RAV4 hybrid that we really like. I think Toyota would print money with a smaller RAV4 based truck.
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