2011 WRX Hatch - Keep or look for STI? - Subaru WRX Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-19-2017, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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2011 WRX Hatch - Keep or look for STI?

Hey All,

Brand new here (obviously...), and wanted to get some opinions on my situation. I've got a 2011 WRX hatchback, mostly stock except for a boost gauge and an aftermarket exhaust. I'm SO new to this, that I don't even know what exhaust is on it, only that the dealer told me the previous owner put on something non-stock. I've wanted one of these (the hatch specifically) forever and finally got one. It's got 65k on it and runs great.

Question is - is it worth keeping and maybe modding up a bit? Or should I search for an STI and put all my money into something like that? I don't plan on doing much racing, it'll be my daily driver until I can afford a 2nd vehicle, and even then I hope to keep it until it dies.

Eventually I'd like to learn more about engine and performance mods, but I have no place to work on the car like that, so for now I'm going to stick to relatively simple aesthetic mods like lighting or interior stuff.

Appreciate all the feedback, thanks!
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-20-2017, 01:34 AM
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Yo, welcome aboard.

It really depends on what your future plans are for the car. The STI is obviously a better car (but you already have a WRX). If you have the money to blow on replacing it with an STI and that's what you want, go for it!

For people (like me) the most important aspect of the car is power. After you get to a place where you are past Stage 2 and are upgrading things like the turbo and getting custom tuned, the power levels between the two variations become virtually non-existent especially when you reach a point where a built motor is needed. In my case my car has the same turbo as an STI but runs pretty solid power figures compared to a stock STI (I'm pushing right around 300whp (that's close to 350hp at the crank) on just regular pump gas (92). I do have a few supporting mods and a built motor.

There are however some differences aside from the ability to make power:
-sti has a better transmission
-sti has a smarter ECU with three driving modes (essentially three sub-maps) and a few other benefits on the tuning side
-sti has a better drivetrain (adjustable center differencial)
-sti has a better suspension/brakes
-sti has a bigger turbo (more power obviously)
-sti has dual AVCS (variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust), WRX has single AVCS (intake only)

There's more and if the above matter to you, then the STI is your car.

If you are seeking for performance figures, then like I said above (in my opinion) after a few performance mods, the lines begin to be blurred, especially when you start slapping turbos on (in <2009 years), in 2009-2014 models the WRX and STI have very similar turbos (the VF52 in WRX is the same turbo as VF39/VF49 with the exception of compressor outlet design) capable of producing similar power numbers (although the STI has a better intercooler, fueling and other intake components).

In my opinion also, your car is already capable of getting some pretty damn solid power figures. With just a downpipe, you could be looking at a 35whp increase (that's at the wheels) or more with a pro-tune. You're looking at numbers comparable with stock STI and if you really wanted to you could pull it off for below $500.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-20-2017, 06:52 AM
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The thing I always explain to people is if you get the STi, it depreciates slower than the WRX so the cost difference of ownership IN TOTALITY is much smaller than most people think. I sold an 11 year old STi for $16,000. I can drive my current one for another 9 years and recoup that kind of money when I'm done. That's a very low cost per year (like Chevy Cobalt low). Do not only look at sticker price. You should also evaluate resale value, along with other things like fuel costs, maintenance, and insurance, when calculating the real cost differences between cars. I think WRX's and STi's though present an unusually good value NEW instead of USED compared to many cars as well due to these resale value concerns. I don't know how many cars you've owned or if the thought of keeping one for 10 years seems impossibly long, those are also important factors to consider, but I'd point you to start in the direction of a 2017 STi. If that's unfathomably expensive, I'd tell you to stick with what you have.

2015 STi: Still Stock
04 STi, 04 WRX: SOLD
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-20-2017, 08:44 AM
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Adding on to what others have mentioned, besides the EJ257 having DAVCS/AVLS, bigger intercooler, better suspension/brakes/transmission/differentials (your wrx is all open diff), you have the same car. Fueling is actually the same (5-10cc difference) and the STi will require fuel mods to be reliable with anything above stock power levels (research STi fuel stumble). Yes the STi will keep its value longer but you pay for that every month, and can get walked by a built wrx with the same turbo.

Typically unless you meet one of the following requirements, you don't really need the STi:

Track ready, 6MT, full LSD drivetrain, powerband in higher RPMs, status/bragging rights, resale value, or larger part selection (only compared to the EJ205/FA20.

It sounds like you may very much enjoy an STi over your wrx, but unless you can get a great deal on a clean one and haven't already invested lots of money in performance mods I wouldn't bother. While you can do a bit more with a built STi vs a built wrx, the cost of doing so will go up due to having more parts to work with.

I own a 02 wrx, built block, bored/stroked, JDM Type RA 5MT, clutch/flywheel, suspension, full exhaust, and running a base map...I still keep up with a stock STi (okay 1/2 car behind). I drove a 2016 STi and got on it hard, I will say while those extra features are dank af, I can live without them. I'm not a fan of having to turn off all the safety features (VSC/TCS) just to have fun, and the feel was totally different from my GG chassis. That car STOCK is more than enough to get you arrested if you don't behave, it's also "almost" enough to out run most 5-0 cruisers but that's not why you're here lol.

Conclusion, if you have an intake/TBE and stage 2 yet find yourself wanting more..find someone who will let you drive theirs (good luck haha). The DCCD is one reason on its own to get an STi but only if you find yourself hooning off the tarmac/pavement more than you are on the streets, it also requires more maintenance if you utilize it often.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-23-2017, 07:21 AM
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I'd recommend the following to people:

1) If you have limited funds but really want a WRX/STi and aren't the mechanical type who could change the clutch on your own car (just as an example), DO NOT buy a WRX/STi. If you're buying a modified WRX or STi and the thought of putting a new engine in it would put you in financial ruin you're probably in this category.
2) If you have limited funds but really want a WRX/STi and are the mechanical type with the tools to work on nearly anything and aren't going to be taking it to a mechanic much, look at a used WRX or STi. This is a complicated value decision with no clear recommendation WRX or STi. It's more specific to what you can find at what price.
3) If you can afford a brand new WRX and don't want to mod it much or at all and the thought of the STi's rough ride bothers you or you need an automatic, get a new WRX
4) If you afford a brand new STi and don't want to mod it much or at all, it's probably the right choice. It's total cost of ownership is pretty close to the new WRX when you consider resale value.
5) If you can afford not only a new car but significant money in parts for upgrading, you need to really clarify your goals. Is this a daily driver? If so I'd say go used STi mostly for the transmission and build from there. New STi/WRX if you want the interior refinements. Is this a track car? I'd point you to a used WRX.

The difference between category 3 and 4 there is all about the suspension and transmission to me. If you would prefer the STi's suspension and aren't looking automatic-only, the STi is probably the better choice for you.

A used WRX/STi is generally a bad used car purchase. They have huge resale value so you'll pay a lot and if it's in the 50-100k mileage range and may have seen a lot of hard driving, you're getting the bad end of the deal. A lease return probably alleviates some concerns but it's also probably pretty close in price to a new one. Having a $200 a month car payment instead of a $400 a month car payment is a big savings, no doubt, but if what you get is a high mileage abused WRX you'll get nothing for in a few years instead of a brand new one that will need no maintenance and you can sell for good money down the road, the $400 new one is a no brainer. If you're so financially strapped that you can't take the extra $200 a month hit for the new one, you can't really afford the older one either. It's total cost is actually higher. Not doing the math on that will cost you more.

OP: Really sounds like you're in category 1 to me and thinking about how to spend your money. I'd say save your money and keep it running. Investigate bolt-on mods and find a good tuner to work with. If your financial situation improves where you're building a beast (#5) or just ready for a more powerful daily driver (#3 or #4), then you can move accordingly.

2015 STi: Still Stock
04 STi, 04 WRX: SOLD
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-24-2017, 10:18 AM
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What's making you want to look for an STi? The way you described your WRX hatch seems to be in great condition and that could be your daily driver. Adding to what others are saying about the STi, I would have to agree it would be a financial burden if you plan on modding it out........but if it's not a problem, go for it
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