I absolutely love the Subaru WRX. It’s held a special place in my heart ever since I experienced my first one; a “bug-eye” WRX station wagon my uncle impulsively purchased back in the early 2000s. The Momo shifter, the linear steering and brilliant all-wheel-drive system had me hooked. Late last fall, Subaru invited me to the Los Angeles International Auto Show for the official reveal of the 2015 Subaru WRX, something that made me truly go weak in the knees. Ever since the car was revealed, I actually had dreams at night about driving the thing. A few weeks ago, Subaru had a track day out at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park where I had my first go behind the wheel of the new WRX and WRX STi.
Finally, the time came for me to take home a WRX for the first time and spend a (hopefully) exhilarating week behind the wheel. The PR team at Subaru Canada seems to know me well; my tester was painted World Rally Blue, the only colour this car should be offered in. For the past decade or so, this rally-bred Subaru has only been offered with a manual transmission. Starting with this new generation, you can actually get a WRX with the Sport Lineartronic CVT transmission, which we will also be thoroughly reviewing this summer. This one though, came with three pedals and the much-improved shifter. Rather than the old five-speed box, the 2015 car comes with a slick-shifting 6-speed manual.
Propelling the 2015 WRX to speed is a new 2.0L direct-injection 4-cylinder, assisted by a turbocharger. This engine pulls a great deal better than the outgoing 2.5L, and feels a lot more composed while doing it. As in every other Subaru, the motor is longitudinally mounted. This one pumps out 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, and 258 lb-ft of torque. It accelerates with confidence and the engine sounds fantastic; there’s a deep bass-filled rumble, and the quad exhaust pipes help amplify the sound. I distinctly remember some drone at highway speeds in last year’s 5-speed WRX, but noise levels in the new car are significantly improved.
The steering in this car is literally perfection. For the new generation, Subaru has added a nice, meaty steering wheel that has a surprisingly upscale feel. Tossing the WRX into curves is effortless, and the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system allows stratospheric levels of grip. This car would be perfection in the winter. WRXs have been reputed to have unnecessarily harsh suspension. Even though I consider myself to be an enthusiast and have owned a few cars with bumpy ride quality over the years, I wasn’t a fan of the ride in the last WRX. This one is much better – it’s actually well-behaved on roads like Dufferin Street (known for its absurdly poor road quality) and is livable on a daily basis.
These cars already have a cult following; there are a series of Subaru owners’ clubs around the country, and they all are exceptionally proud of their cars. I’m not the least bit surprised by this, as the WRX is phenomenal. They aren’t for everyone though; the average motorist probably wouldn’t like this car. That’s a-okay with me though, because that means this is one car that is reserved for the real enthusiast. The WRX isn’t quiet by any means, and the interior isn’t exactly upscale. It’s much better than it used to be, as this car has a bad reputation for having overly bland interiors. The LCD screen in the centre of the dashboard is capable of displaying a variety of things, from a boost gauge to music information as well as fuel economy. Subaru’s seats are excellent; they hold occupants superbly in the corners.
I tested the 2013 Subaru WRX in the middle of the winter last year, and came out with a less-than-desirable 13L/100km average. Naturally this is because of a heavier-than-average foot and an eager turbocharger. I knew the sixth gear in the 2015 WRX would help fuel economy drastically, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much. Over the course of my test week, I had a few spirited jaunts through the countryside, enjoying the sound of turbo spool with the sunroof open. I also did a little bit of highway driving where I kept the car in sixth gear and let the fuel management do its thing. My combined average? A miserly 9.1L/100km. On the highway, I saw numbers as low as 7.5L/100km as well.
My particular WRX is the Sport trim level, which is one level up from the base car. For a mere $32,495, about $2500 more than the standard WRX, this trim gives you a lip spoiler on the trunk lid, a power sunroof, LED headlights, fog lights, and a power driver’s seat. Although things like leather and a beefy audio system are available, this is all I would really need. All WRXs come with the basics such as remote keyless entry, USB connectivity, Bluetooth, and automatic headlights. I appreciate the fact that you get a standard double-din stereo which can be easily swapped out for an aftermarket example.
The 2015 Subaru WRX Sport took every single one of my expectations and shattered them. The base car starts at $29,995, and at that price point is quite possibly the best value on the North American market. I’ve seen some armchair critics talk about how bland it is to look at. While it isn’t as striking as the concept Subaru showed us a couple years ago, I think the WRX looks fantastic – the LEDs in front really set it off. I would opt for some gold wheels for the sake of nostalgia, but otherwise, it’s pretty much perfect. This is one car I would be happy to own twelve months of the year, and would not hesitate to put my money down on one. Your move, Mitsubishi.
2015 Subaru WRX Sport Gallery