When the WRX first appeared here in 2002, we found this rally-car inspired version of the Impreza sedan very engaging: a genuine sports car with tons of power and super-sharp handling lodged within a mild-mannered, all-wheel drive, four-door sedan. The redesigned 2015 "Rex" carries on that tradition, and it tests out very well in some areas.
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Subaru WRX Road Test

When the WRX first appeared here in 2002, we found this rally-car inspired version of the Impreza sedan very engaging: a genuine sports car with tons of power and super-sharp handling lodged within a mild-mannered, all-wheel drive, four-door sedan. The redesigned 2015 "Rex" carries on that tradition, and it tests out very well in some areas. But we like it a lot less, because the typical car became more civilized over the past decade and the WRX has not. Like a talented teenager who just won't grow up, after a while the lack of subtlety gets irritating.

While staying true to the established formula, the redesign brings a few notable changes: The new WRX is a little larger than the last generation, affording a more spacious rear seat; the five-speed manual transmission became a six-speed; and higher trims now offer a CVT automatic. Despite evolving, the car feels surprisingly raw, remaining a track-ready racer aimed at the serious driving enthusiast. Acceleration is ferociously quick and handling remains enormously capable. But the powerband is narrow and hard to moderate, so power delivery feels jerky. A stiff clutch and clunky shifter make everyday driving a chore.

You have to be truly young at heart to enjoy the real-world driving experience. The ride is jarring on all but the smoothest roads, and nonstop engine drone fills the cabin. Controls are simple, arguably too simple for this car's millennial/digital-native target audience. The base audio system's Bluetooth, phone, and voice command structure are rudimentary and behind the times.

Best Version to Get
If you're planning to use a WRX for amateur racing, the base model is the best choice. The creature comforts in higher trims don't add performance, and their heated seats would probably get swapped out for a set of Recaro racing seats, anyway. If you want a WRX exclusively for street driving, con...
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