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
Literally minutes after snapping the photo you see above, I was soaked – hit by the third round of storms that brought absolutely insane rainfall to Detroit this week. Amateur mistake, right there; if it looks like rain's a-comin', it's a-comin'. So if you're going to take pictures of the car, do it before it's too late.

But the thing is, I was having way too much fun driving around the suddenly empty streets of Detroit to worry about handling my photo shoot in a timely manner. Folks had been cautioned to stay off the roads ever since the rain first hit. Floods had shut down several of our major freeways, not to mention many surface streets. The threat of more severe weather had put caution in the air, forcing folks to batten down the hatches and settle in for even more horrendously wet weather.

The long-term 2015 Subaru WRX, however, eats this stuff up with a passion. Inclement weather? The turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, endlessly grippy Subaru just wants to play. And after getting to know our WR Blue WRX since its delivery in June and solidifying my belief that it's a total riot, even around town, I was not about to ignore Rex's desires to go play in the rain and make mischief on the deserted streets. Empty on-ramp antics were great fun, and tossing the car around corners in the wet showed no signs of slip. Ever. Wet hair and a damp t-shirt? Worth it.

Prior to this week's flooding, summer in Detroit had been wonderful. Our Polar Vortex Winter had transformed into a mild, delightful warm season, with mostly dry conditions, and weekend after weekend of weather perfect for sitting outside with the barbecue and some friends. The WRX was enjoying every bit of it, offering gobs of fun on dry, sun-drenched roads, and quickly making friends with several members of the Autoblog staff during its honeymoon phase. But not without some hiccups along the way.
Subaru WRXSubaru WRX
Subaru WRX

"I love the power surge you can summon in second and third gears," editor Greg Migliore notes. "It's great for blasting in and out of traffic." Editor-in-Chief Sharon Carty agrees, adding, "Amazing how much pep it has in it to accelerate even when one is going, theoretically, 80 miles per hour. It's not my fault the car likes to go fast." Right, Sharon.

The WRX's power delivery is simply unrelenting.

Indeed, the WRX's power delivery is simply unrelenting, and the ready-and-willing thrust is matched with great steering – "weighty, yet precise," Migliore writes – and a firm yet appropriately tuned suspension.

On a long drive between Detroit and Chicago, I had no issues with the WRX being too stiff, though wind and road noise is certainly apparent. I found the Subaru to be quite practical on this trip, too, with comfy-enough accommodations and plenty of trunk space. "The seats are supportive and upright, and the cockpit is a great place in general," Migliore agrees. Added bonus: on the highway trek, I saw roughly 30 miles per gallon at times, well above the car's EPA-rated 28 mpg highway claim. Overall, we're averaging about 25 mpg combined – right in line with the 21/28 city/highway figures.

Other good stuff? The optional LED headlamps. In addition to looking cool, they're great for nighttime driving, offering clear, bright sight. The same goes for rainstorms, too – there's never a want for visibility in the WRX, and the cabin offers great sight lines.

Subaru WRX
Subaru WRXSubaru WRX

There have been issues, and our first trip to the dealer happened with just 525 miles on the odometer.

But there have been issues, and our first trip to the dealer happened with just 525 miles on the odometer. "The WRX's windows won't roll down" was how associate multimedia producer Chris McGraw chose to greet me upon arriving at the office one morning, and after 25 minutes of trying to diagnose the problem myself by poking around the fuse box, I gave up and took the car over to the friendly folks at Hodges Subaru in Ferndale, MI. A quick inspection revealed that a wiring harness inside the driver's door had come loose, and later that day, the car was ready to roll again. The service technicians said they hadn't seen this problem before, and since that incident, there haven't been any electrical (or mechanical) issues to speak of. "Happy accident," as the late Bob Ross would say.

The rest of the thumbs-down notes have been pretty nit-picky, mostly. I continue to be annoyed by the audio adjustment controls for all touchscreen-equipped Subaru vehicles. Instead of the usual bass, middle, and treble, Subaru gives you the freedom of seven-channel adjustment. To an audiophile with some time on his hands, I could see this being useful, but to the untrained driver (read: me), it's just annoying. That said, the long-termer's optional Harman/Kardon stereo system is one of the better units fitted to a Subaru in recent memory.

The rest of the infotainment system has its faults, too. After using Subaru's new setup that debuted in the 2015 Legacy (and now Outback), the touchscreen interface in our WRX just feels old and laggy. What's more, the navigation system is occasionally off – it commonly had me on the wrong street while driving through Chicago – and it's not super intuitive to use.

Subaru WRX

Other complaints? Nothing major. Several staffers have noted the WRX's heavier-than-the-rest clutch, a particular sore point in stop-and-go city traffic, but if that's the tradeoff for an excellent powerband and great handling, that's fine by me. Finally, resident seat warmer expert Sharon Carty notes that the bun-warmers installed in our car are "pathetic."

"I like the WRX. A lot." Those final notes from Migliore sum up our general impressions thus far. Will that change? We've got tens of thousands of miles to pile on still. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for on-the-fly impressions, and stay tuned to this space for more updates in the coming months. Here's hoping for dry conditions, and here's to knowing that we're still in for a treat should Mother Nature punish us yet again.


Odometer: 3,913 miles
Observed fuel economy: 24.9 mpg
Days in service: 69
Days out of service: 0.5
Out-of-pocket repair cost: $0


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      Garrett
      • 4 Months Ago

      I test drove a 2015 before buying my s2k, and absolutely loved it. Everything about it was significantly better than my old 07 WRX, and I was heart broken when I sold it. Only reason I didn't buy was because I couldn't justify paying full MSRP on a new car. I figure I'll wait 2-3 years until the wagon comes back, and the STi has a new FA engine. Then that will be what I go after.

        jdemp42
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Garrett

        Though i'm in total agreement I decided to get the 2015 anyway. I was able to get a little off the MSRP. I'll just sell or trade it in and a couple of years when the FA engine gets in the STi.

        Durishin
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Garrett

        I too have thought about waiting for an FA-engined STi, but I bet an STi would be pretty murderous - both physically and sonically - on the long drive back to Ohio to see my family...

      Michael
      • 4 Months Ago

      Call me when there is a wagon/hatch.

      johnb
      • 4 Months Ago
      It's rare to find a company that makes such amazing cars like this not have the ability to make an attractive grill, ever.    Still.  It's a nice car. 
        Hazdaz
        • 4 Months Ago
        @johnb

        Its sad because they have the talent to make not just an attractive grill, but an attractive car too - their concepts are pretty nice looking.  Aggressive and sporty.  


        Then everything goes to sh!t come production time.  


        Still very fun cars.

        turbomonkey2k
        • 4 Months Ago
        @johnb

        The BRZ is finally proof that they CAN make an attractive car but apparently only if Toyota is twisting their arm and demanding it.

          Truth
          • 4 Months Ago
          @turbomonkey2k

          Toyota designed the BRZ.  So there's still no proof, other than concept vehicles, that they can do anything other than ugly.

          JaredN
          • 4 Months Ago
          @turbomonkey2k

          I think that the BRZ isn't that attractive.  It isn't ugly, for sure, but it isn't something that I look at and think "wow!"

        rsholland
        • 4 Months Ago *Edited*
        @johnb

        Check the grille offered outside North America. Cleaner and much better.

        EDIT: Here's the link from the Subaru Global site: 



        http://www.subaru-global.com/2015wrx.html

          Hazdaz
          • 4 Months Ago
          @rsholland

          You have any links? 


           I did a search for JDM WRX 2015 and I'm seeing the exact same grill as the USDM.  

          bonehead
          • 4 Months Ago
          @rsholland

          that looks identical.  But i do think that the LeVorg grill is superior to the WRX.

          http://carnews.beforward.jp/2014/02/23/217370/217370_1.jpg

          plus ITS A FREAKIN' WAGON.  WHY WHY WHY CAN WE NOT HAVE THIS NOW!!!!!! GAHHHHH!!!!!!!!

        Lab Rat
        • 4 Months Ago
        @johnb

        That's the "sport grille" here in the states. You can option it.

      AcidTonic
      • 4 Months Ago

      I was out driving in the same weather in the Evo and I saw a blue WRX tearing ass around 696/I75 where all that water was. Was that you Steve (Author)?

      EvilTollMan
      • 4 Months Ago
      I want to buy one of these cars like.. yesterday.  All dealers are sold out here in the south jersey/philly area.
      Jacel
      • 4 Months Ago

      I may be nitpicking but 3 things bug me about this car. 1. is the economy class/ mini-van A-Pillar windows. 2. The side skirts character line at the bottom looks cheap and like it was bolted on by a tasteless customer. 3. the Hoop hinge trunk. I know its trying to keep costs down.... but at the end of the day... Lancers/evo/ralliarts dont have the above issues and the subie shouldn't either. For sure its a hell of a car just wish it wasn't wrapped in cheapness.


      P.S. Some of you might ask why I didn't bring up the wheels.... Mostly because everyone always changes them. But yeah these are the ugliest subaru wheels ... EVER!!!

        Go2Fast
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Jacel

        I agree with the wheel comment. Its the #1 thing I hate about my Arctic White Pearl WRX.  After I tinted the windows, I do hate them less though.

          Jacel
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Go2Fast

          Go2fast congrats on the wrx bro! Good color too! White looks both luxurious and sporty on performance cars like yours.

      VTEC kicked in bro
      • 4 Months Ago

      Have any rattles started yet? My non-WRX 2013 Impreza has started to have rattling sounds coming from the door handles and other areas after only 9k miles. It's a really minor complaint, but it's super annoying on my commute every morning. 

        pavsterrocks
        • 4 Months Ago
        @VTEC kicked in bro

        Just turn up the radio/get a louder exhaust?  

        Though I agree I test drove a used STi with 30k miles a few years back, and that thing was a rattle basket.  That's what happens when you take an economy car and bolt a stiff suspension onto it.

      PatrickH
      • 4 Months Ago

      I've seen a few of these in person.  Last generation looks so much better, especially the hatch.

      Matt
      • 4 Months Ago

      I wanted to get a sporty, practical car with a manual earlier this year, and it was between the WRX, GTI, and 320i. The 320i won out (insane BMW lease deals, easily tunable to same power levels as the WRX, and more "grown up" styling and refinement), but the WRX was right in the mix. If they had offered the hatch, that might have swayed me. GTI ended up being the most expensive option (thanks to VW's awful lease deals), so I couldn't justify paying the most for the car with the lowest MSRP. 

        pavsterrocks
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Matt

        The main problem with BMW is that their base cars are neither here nor there.  they are not really luxury, they are not really sport.  By the time you option up the car in either of those directions, you've added 10k or more to the sticker.  I am looking at a base X1 or X3 vs Forester XT, and I see so much more character, content, and even interior quality for the money with the Subaru.  I am sure the Bimmer is nicer once you up the leatherette to full leather, get nav, xenons, M-Sport package, stereo, etc.  but base BMW vs loaded XT, XT wins hands down.

          pinsimms99
          • 4 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks

          @Matt

          Will you be modding that 320i to WRX power levels while it's on a lease?

          Matt
          • 4 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks

          Yes, BMS stage 1 +4PSI brings it to about 260 HP crank, for $379 and 10 minutes to install. You know the engine/turbo can take the boost, because it's the same hardware as the 328i (just higher compression pistons, so you have to run 91+ octane). The 320i has a smaller diameter driveshaft and less cooling than the 328i, but I'm not going be dumping the clutch or going to the track anyway. Removes without a trace for dealer service. It's awesome. 

          Matt
          • 4 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks

          The key with BMW is to ignore any attempt at "luxury", because you won't find it in anything below a 5-series anyway. Focus on the "Sport" options, because those are things you can't get on many competitors. The other thing is to ignore the MSRP, and lease. A $40k BMW has about the same monthly lease cost as a $30k "mainstream" car if you do it right (invoice price, 7 MSDs, incentives, lease in December, etc). 

        Joey Franklin
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Matt

        I might have to lease a 228i with THP, price isn't bad if you stick with the standard "line" instead of sport or Msport but the Msport gets that amazing steering wheel thats almost worth the price. What are MSD's?

          Matt
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Joey Franklin

          Multiple security deposits; they lower the money factor (interest rate), and you get the money back at the end of the lease. Never put money down on a lease, always do MSDs if the leasing company offers them. 

      yo
      • 4 Months Ago

      that interior tho....straight out of 1992

      Karfreek
      • 4 Months Ago

      $33k for this?  Oy vey...

        JustinJS
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Karfreek

        Drive one. I have a 14 Limited it was about 30k. I cannot think of many other cars that are as good all around for the price.

          Jeff
          • 4 Months Ago
          @JustinJS

          2015 GTI w/Performance Pack is arguably a better overall vehicle and is only slower due to the launch.  Once rolling the cars are roughly dead even in acceleration.  C&D did a comparison this month and it won by a landslide (over 20 pts).  The WRX does have a cult following and has a slightly sharper edge, but it's not necessarily a better overall vehicle.

          Karfreek
          • 4 Months Ago
          @JustinJS

          You are not thinking hard enough...

        PatrickH
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Karfreek

        Great performance value for $25k.  Once you top $28,500 though that value drops off sharply.  IF ONLY it actually looked like an attractive car, instead of a Corolla with a PepBoys makeover.

      Teleny411
      • 4 Months Ago

      While I appreciate this car's dynamic abilities, it looks like a Saturn Ion.   I could never imagine myself willing picking this car.  

        GR
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Teleny411

        Looks like a Saturn Ion? You need glasses.

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