Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.0L Boxer-4
Power:
268 HP / 258 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
5.4 Seconds
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,267 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
12.0 CU-FT
MPG:
21 City / 28 HWY
Base Price:
$26,295
As Tested Price:
$33,290
"As far as street-legal rally cars go, there's still nothing better than a WRX." I wrote that line following my first drive of the 2015 Subaru WRX late last year – one of the better motoring experiences I had in 2013. Sure, a particularly involving drive route helped, but I don't want to sell the new Subaru short: it's a seriously good car – easily one of the sharpest, best-driving little turbos available today.

When I drove the even hotter 2015 WRX STI in January, it was a similar love-fest. The STI is infused with all of the WRX's greatness, but it's sharper, meaner, and on good roads (and race tracks), the winged wonder is really outstanding. But because of its higher price tag, less forgiving suspension tuning, and only marginal performance increases, I'm convinced that the STI isn't the best WRX for the money. And much as I love it, I just don't think I'd ever buy the STI over its more sedate sister (though I totally understand why others might).

So when it came time to add a new long-term car to the Autoblog fleet, many votes were cast in favor of the WRX. There was a lot of debate about whether or not to get the standard version, or the mightier STI. But at the end of the day, my argument that the basic WRX is the better daily driver – nee, one of the best all-around, all-weather performers money can buy – carried the day.

Our WR Blue turbo darling has landed. Will our hearts still be aflutter after 12 months of hard use?
Subaru WRX
Subaru WRXSubaru WRX

This new boxer-four feels really sharp, with a broad range of power and a potent turbo punch.

Let's go back to the "turbo darling" line for a minute – that's one of the big reasons why we went WRX and not STI. The more-powerful version uses the same 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer-four as before – an engine we've become very, very familiar with over its time in Subaru's stable. In previous generations, the standard WRX used a detuned version of the STI's powerplant, but that isn't the case for 2015 – our car has the company's new, 2.0-liter turbo-four underhood (also found in the Forester), producing 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

That's a potent little engine, able to get the 3,267-pound, all-wheel-drive WRX to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds. The new powerplant only offers gains of 3 hp and 14 lb-ft versus the outgoing engine, and it's tasked with lugging around an additional 59 pounds compared to the 2014 model. But as was noted in the first drive, this new boxer-four feels really sharp, with a broad range of power and a potent turbo punch. It's great for canyon carving and backroad cruising, but will it still be thrilling when slogging through winter slop? And while the new 2.0T is estimated to achieve up to 28 miles per gallon on the highway, is that something that can be obtained day in and day out? We'll see.

Subaru WRXSubaru WRX
Subaru WRXSubaru WRX

The 2015 WRX starts at $26,295, and the car Subaru has been kind enough to loan us stickers for $33,290.

As for the car itself, it's a fully loaded WRX Limited in traditional WR Blue. We love the color, though we still aren't totally sold on the styling just yet. It wouldn't really be a true WRX unless there was a bit of ugliness baked in, and we might find the sedan's design less unfortunate as we get used to it day in and day out. Do we wish Subaru still offered a hatchback bodystyle? You betcha. And we'll see if the loss of functionality really hurts the car over the course of the year.

The only option not found on our car is the continuously variable transmission – not because it isn't good (it's actually damn impressive), but because really, the WRX is best served with the ever-engaging six-speed manual transmission. And besides, what sort of car guys would we be if we chose the automatic over the manual?

The 2015 WRX starts at $26,295, and the car Subaru has been kind enough to loan us for a year stickers for $33,290, including $795 for destination. Standard kit on the $29,995 Limited model includes things like leather seating surfaces (heated up front), a sunroof and LED headlamps. Optional goodies fitted to this car include the navigation/infotainment system and Harman/Kardon premium audio system, all lumped together in one $2,500 package.

Subaru WRX

We have a lot planned for the 'Rex this year, and are ready and raring to go.

Of course, with one year of testing on the docket, it stands to reason that we might make a few tasteful modifications to the 'Rex during its stay in the Autoblog Garage, just as many owners will. The stock, dark-finished, 17-inch alloys are handsome enough, but they still might need to go in favor of some STI-spec 18-inch gold rollers. And certain staffers have been eyeing Subaru's short-throw shift kit – standard fare on the limited-run STI Launch Edition.

But right now, we're going to focus on the stock car's capabilities, and see how it fares when tasked with daily driving duties, road trips, weekend backroad drives, and maybe even a track test or two. Be sure to follow this space for all of the monthly updates, and hit us up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more on-the-go impressions.

As of this writing, our new WRX has just a tick over 200 miles on the odometer, and we'll be adding tens of thousands more. We have a lot planned for the 'Rex this year, and are ready and raring to go. Here's hoping we're still all smiles in one year's time.


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  • 95 Comments
      Werther Dong
      • 6 Months Ago
      thought I'm gonna wait for hatchback. but sedan version is growing on me
        gary
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Werther Dong
        I have owned a '15 WRX sedan since April. I would have chosen the hatch had it been offered. That said, the "pass through" from the trunk to the passenger compartment when the seats are down is wider, taller, and more square at the corners than in the last WRX, and the rear seats fold almost completely flat. Its the most usable trunk-plus-folded-down-seat I've seen on a compact 4-door. I fit a BMX bike in there with all wheels attached and was easily able to put an adult-size mountain in there with the front wheel detached. If the roof still had the bosses for the crossbars I honestly wouldn't miss the functionality of the hatch at all.
          ravenosa
          • 6 Months Ago
          @gary
          Do your research, Joey. The GTI gets crap for reviews and if you've ever driven an AWD or RWD after a FWD econobox, there really is no comparison. The GTI easily has to be one of the most uninvolving sporty commuter cars on the road. Take your time. No hurry. Spending $20k on a car shouldn't be an impulse decision...
          Joey Franklin
          • 6 Months Ago
          @gary
          I guess i will have to go drive one, i'm pretty set on the new GTI for the hatch utility but willing to drive the WRX and see if it changes my mind.
          Joey Franklin
          • 6 Months Ago
          @gary
          Current car is a rear drive Cadillac ATS 2.0T and i've had a FRS also, i have driven plenty of RWD and some AWD cars. I bought a 06 GLI new and had it for a while also. I know what i'm getting in to, the GTI may not be great at everything but i'm confident it will fit my current needs.
      Hector Djibaou
      • 6 Months Ago
      You know what, I'm kind of glad they didn't make the concept a reality. Yes a bit more cues from the concept would've been nice but as a WRX owner, I understand how much more the base price of this car would've gone up if Subaru made the 2015 WRX/STi look more concept like! The WRX went up like what $750 (i think it was a lot less actually), for a new motor/tranny and basically a brand new car. The STi stayed at the same price, and Subaru was smart for doing so since the engine/tranny are just tweaked. But I honestly would've expected a similar $500 - $1k jump! Here is what a lot of known Subaru and some Subaru buyers overlook ... there are no automakers that can compete with what Subaru offers in the WRX/STi for the price they charge. I mean seriously, the STi has like 80+ driving modes (SI Drive settings + DCCD settings + traction/stability configuration) ... the damn thing comes with 3 diffs and 300HP. Sure you can argue MPG figures all day long if you want, but I'd like to see you find another AWD car (evo X excluded, since it's being phased out) that puts down the same power/torque, handling capabilities and still returns gas mileage you can use. If MPGs are really of concern, Cobb Accesport + ECO mode map ... there ya go fixed it (lol). Drove my 2010 wrx wagon from Annapolis, MD to the Niagra falls on a road trip in Oct 2012 on one tank of gas using that ECO mode ... cruising at 60-75MPH the hole way. Anyway, hurry up and drop that FA series motor in the STi Subaru and while you are at it ... regen braking would also help if you can do it with less than an extra 50-75lb on the car. Than you can have my money ... ha
      Drizzy
      • 6 Months Ago
      I hope you guys throw some weekend autocross competitions in there...
      WindsWilling
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm debating between a WRX and STI myself right now. I need a new year-round (snow) daily driver. It's just a really tough call to make here. WRX: Much cheaper, good new engine design, great MPGs for my commute in an AWD turbo car, and a couple grand left over for basic mods. STI: Body/Ride "feel", better brakes, better diffs, better sound. But it has that old motor in it with it's bad MPGs.
        rsholland
        • 6 Months Ago
        @WindsWilling
        You need different tires for snow, regardless of which one you pick. Summer tires are useless in the snow.
          Hector Djibaou
          • 6 Months Ago
          @rsholland
          Was rocking my summer tire WRX for almost 2 1/2 years in DC and northen US. While it didn't offer as much grip as winters or a good set of all seasons, I can honestly say that if you know how to regulate your throttle input, brakes and steering .. mild snow isn't a big deal in these cars with summer tires.
      hm.crespo
      • 5 Months Ago
      So...Are we still doing this thing? Update?
      MidWest_in_SF
      • 4 Months Ago
      When are you guys going to update this entry? Almost been 2 months now.
      domingorobusto
      • 6 Months Ago
      The looks are slowly growing on me. I still wish the STI had gotten more aggressive flares, but it's not bad. I quite like the nose, but the tail is kind of plain. I'm very curious to see what Subaru can do with a bigger FA. From everything Crawford Performance is saying about the FA and how great it is, I am very excited to see a 2.5L version in the STI here in a little bit. Are there any plans for more serious modifications, at least some basic power mods like intake/exhaust/tune? Or any plans for any suspension mods?
        Gorgenapper
        • 6 Months Ago
        @domingorobusto
        It would only grow on me if there were a hatchback version - which there isn't.
          sc0rch3d
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Gorgenapper
          same here. i'm on the market for another car and Subaru is at the top of my list pending the hatchback makes a return. otherwise, a CUV (SQ5?) is probably in my future.
      AcidTonic
      • 6 Months Ago
      Anyone know the final drive on the new 2.0? Curious what the revs are at 60-70-80....
        crx2wrx
        • 6 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        According to C&D, 26.6 mph per 1000 rpm. So at 60, it's at about 2250 rpm; 70 at about 2630 rpm; 80 at about 3000 rpm. I just bought one like this example, and while the gearing may not be perfect for that 0-60 run, it really is set up to maximize efficiency at average commuter speeds. 4th gear is perfect around town, and 6th on the freeway is perfect for being able to cruise, but also right at the spot where you can still pick up some power if you need to pass. Between 1500-2500 rpm is where you can get the best MPG - on the freeway at 65, I got over 32 MPG this last weekend on a 60 mile trip. Around town I average 22-23 MPG. Both are incrementally better over my 2003 Accord automatic 4-cylinder I just got rid of it - and the WRX has far more EVERYTHING. With the amount of sound-deadening they did, at least compared to my old Accord, 2250 on the road is pretty quiet.
        crx2wrx
        • 6 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        According to C&D, 26.6 mph per 1000 rpm. So at 60, it's at about 2250 rpm; 70 at about 2630 rpm; 80 at about 3000 rpm. I just bought one like this example, and while the gearing may not be perfect for that 0-60 run, it really is set up to maximize efficiency at average commuter speeds. 4th gear is perfect around town, and 6th on the freeway is perfect for being able to cruise, but also right at the spot where you can still pick up some power if you need to pass. Between 1500-2500 rpm is where you can get the best MPG - on the freeway at 65, I got over 32 MPG this last weekend on a 60 mile trip. Around town I average 22-23 MPG. Both are incrementally better over my 2003 Accord automatic 4-cylinder I just got rid of it - and the WRX has far more EVERYTHING. With the amount of sound-deadening they did, at least compared to my old Accord, it's a great cruiser too.
      WRX buyer
      • 3 Months Ago

      Got a automatic 2015 WRX for my son. Lots of issues so far. The gas cap is made cheaply and has been replaced two times because it does not open. Then the RPMs jump from 5K to 8K when going about 60 MPH. Brought the car back to the dealer and they replaced the coils. They said they were misfiring. Fine so they replaced it. Two months later the same thing happened. Took it to a different deal now they think the transmission has to be replace! the car only has 4K miles on it. Anyone else having issues...

      hm.crespo
      • 4 Months Ago

      OK...So here's what happened, the reason for them not writing anymore about this car is because unfortunately they wrecked it! And all the writers where in the car when it happened and broke all their fingers so they couldn't tell us what had occurred. On the other hand Motor Trend has an STI Launch Edition on for a year as well, I'm going to switch to that instead, even though I was more interested in this specific car since I own one.

      Tes
      • 6 Months Ago
      I don't care about how great the performance is when dashboard and everything inside looks like from 90s...
      Insidious
      • 6 Months Ago
      Where are the pictures for the 2015? The ones up there look like a 2005 model.
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