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Sharper, More Polished and Better Than Ever
by Aaron Gold
The WRX is the hot-rod version of Subaru's compact Impreza. Patterned after rally cars -- a form of racing that is wildly popular in Europe but widely unknown in the U.S. -- the WRX first came to the States in 2002. With its turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive, it offered a unique driving experience somewhere between a hot hatchback and a full-on sports car.
1. A new, smaller, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine makes 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
2. Subaru claims a 0-60 time of 5.4 seconds with the new 6-speed manual transmission.
3. Also offered with an automatic, Subaru has fitted the 2015 WRX with a CVT.
4. Fuel economy is 21/28 MPG (city/hwy) for the manual and 19/25 for the automatic.
The WRX has had its good years and its bad years, but it's always been fast, grippy and relatively inexpensive, traits that have earned it a large and loyal fan base.
We liked the previous-generation WRX, and we're smitten with the new one. Though Subaru has several significant changes, the basic character of the car remains intact: Armed with a broad, flat torque curve and a seemingly limitless supply of grip, the new WRX attacks curvy roads with the tenacity that only a turbocharged engine and four powered wheels can provide. The old WRX may have needed a little help from the aftermarket to bring out its true potential, but the new car feels complete, its surfaces smoothly sanded and its edges finely honed.
Familiar Look, But Only One Body Style
So what, exactly, has Subaru changed? Darn near everything. As with the old WRX, the new one is based on the Impreza, though most of the sheetmetal has been altered: Doors, fenders, hood, and front and rear fascias are unique to the WRX.
Though the new car looks a bit tame compared to the old one, the big, functional hood scoop gives it the unmistakable look of a hot-rod Subaru. Unfortunately, the rear view is less captivating: The trunk spoiler has been downsized in the name of aerodynamics, and from the back the new WRX is as anonymous as an ordinary Impreza.
There's also one detail die-hard Subaru fans might not like: The new WRX is only offered as a sedan. Subaru says that by sticking to a single body style, they were able to spend more money on stiffening the structure. That's all well and good, but those who chose the WRX as a practical sportster will be left hanging, as the sedan's 12 cubic foot trunk is no match for the old hatchback's spacious cargo bay.
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