2019 WRX New Car Test Drive
For a compact car that promises stirring performance, well beyond the customary, the subtly-styled WRX doesn't necessarily attract much attention. Not unless it's the racier and more potent WRX STI, rendition, that is, with a big, towering wing tacked onto its trunk lid. Visually, that one is hard to miss, but the wing can be deleted if desired.
For the 2019 model year, the WRX gets a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. All trim levels with a CVT include Subaru's “EyeSight” driver-assist technology, including automatic emergency braking, as standard equipment. The higher-performance WRX STI gains a more powerful engine, with free-flow exhaust system.
A new Series.Gray edition, finished in Cool Gray Khaki with Recaro seats and upgraded brakes, has joined the lineup. Only a thousand were to be produced: 750 WRX and 250 WRX STI.
Last redesigned for 2015, the WRX shares some styling and interior elements with Subaru's previous-generation Impreza. Base, Premium, and Limited trim levels are offered for the WRX. The WRX STI comes only in base and Limited form.
Beneath the WRX hood, a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder engine produces 268 horsepower, with 258 pound-feet of torque. Either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) may be installed. The two transmissions differ in their distribution of power: mechanical with manual, or electronic with the CVT.
In the WRX STI, a bigger (2.5-liter) turbo four generates 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet, mating with a 6-speed manual transmission. As expected in a performance-oriented machine, the STI gets a modified suspension along with Brembo brakes. Its all-wheel-drive system includes a driver-adjustable center differential.
Though incomplete, the WRX's safety record is impressive. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2018 WRX as a Top Safety Pick+ when fitted with LED headlights and a suite of collision-avoidance technology: namely, the EyeSight group, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Those features are standard on any WRX with the optional CVT, but not available with a manual transmission.
At federal government level, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash-tested the WRX. However, the 2019 Subaru Impreza, which shares its platform and basic structure with the WRX, earned five-star ratings overall, as well as for frontal and side impacts..
Prices do not include $885 destination charge.
Base WRX with manual ($27,195) includes the 2.0-liter engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, CD player, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
WRX Premium ($29,495 with manual, $31,395 with CVT) adds a 7.0-inch touchscreen with crisper display, heated front seats, foglamps, 18-inch wheels, and moonroof. A $2,050 Performance Package deletes the moonroof, adding upgraded brakes and Recaro seats.
The available CVT on Premium and Limited models includes automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control.
WRX Premium Series.Gray with manual ($29,495) is finished in Cool Khaki Gray and includes the Performance Package.
WRX Limited ($31,795 with manual, $33,695 with CVT) gets leather upholstery, LED headlights, and a power driver's seat. Navigation and Harman Kardon audio are optional.
WRX STI with manual ($36,595) holds the 2.5-liter engine and 6-speed manual gearbox with revised third-gear. Equipment echoes WRX Premium (except for moonroof), adding a high-performance suspension and 19-inch wheels.
WRX STI Series.Gray with manual ($36,595) comes in Khaki Gray, adding Bilstein shock absorbers and Recaro seats.
WRX STI Limited ($41,395 with either a wing or lip spoiler) features leather-upholstered Recaro seats, navigation, a moonroof, and Harman Kardon audio..