This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Feb 22, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright There are a bushel full of cars available in the $25,000-30,000 price range. Everything from ‘normal’ (read boring) family sedans, to small SUVs. The Subaru WRX is a normal car that just happens to have something special lurking underneath: a 265-horsepower turbocharged engine coupled to an extremely agile suspension that will, if you tell it to, make your passenger’s head move as if it was one of those bobbing dashboard toys. Subaru, already known for their Symmetrical All-Wheel drive, delivers über ride and road holding with the WRX. The Subaru AWD will keep you on track and in line even if you come into a corner a little too fast. Accelerating down on-ramps reaches new levels of fun, often resulting in a need to slow down to match the speed of traffic. And running errands, with an emphasis on ‘running’, can be a lot more fun, even if your significant other has plans that might not be thrilling. At least the ride there can be.
The five-door version of the WRX has a lot of room. I picked it up from the airport after a long trip in Asia, and with the rear seats folded it was very easy to fit two large suitcases and two smaller carry-on sized bags into the car without ever having to build bag-piles that obstruct the view. Fold the rear seats back to the normal position and you are still looking at a lot of storage capacity. Four adults and their around-town belongings fit easily, with plenty of room to move about. The WRX is of course a five-person vehicle, but with three people in the back, the shortest route to the destination will be appreciated by the occupants, especially if the driver insists on driving the WRX like it was meant to be driven. Interior-wise, the WRX is a normal car for all intents and purposes. The knobs and dials all look relatively normal; only the sport seats give a hint as to what the WRX is really all about. The rally-style bucket seats really hold you in place. They are firm yet not uncomfortable. Longer rides are definitely ok, even if this car might not be the perfect road-trip auto. You can put your mother-in-law in this car and, assuming that you drive calmly, she won’t regret that you married her daughter.
There are lots of fun toys and gadgets to be found in the car. The standard AM/FM stereo with single CD player and six speakers are accompanied by a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack, which is perfect for those who have MP3 players, or other music players not compatible with the USB port (which is also found in the WRX). The continuous AWD version of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to divide power 50:50; slippage at either set of wheels transfer up to 100 percent of the torque to the opposite set. What this translates into is a tremendously fun-to-drive ratio in a safe, mid-size package. Usually, I’m not too excited about driving a stick shift in L.A. traffic. And to be honest, I wasn’t this time either. But, as the week progressed, I got used to having to work a little more with my feet if I got caught in a jam. In the end, the joy of having the manual when not stuck in traffic (and blasting around empty streets) made the little extra effort during rush hour worth it. The WRX is one of a select handful of cars that I will consider driving as a manual in L.A. traffic.
The styling of the WRX makes it stand out a little from the masses, but only a little. The air intake on the hood and the aggressive exhaust pipes do their job well. But for someone who is not looking for a 265-horspower car, the WRX will slip by. Of course, if you gun the engine, anyone will hear it, and if they can’t hear it, they will feel the vibrations from the brut-of-an-engine. So, for those looking for a wickedly fun-to-drive yet somewhat wallet-friendly car, the WRX will fill the bill and still leave room in your wallet for other necessities (such as food and water). The WRX can bring out the Walter Mitty in you, without having to pay too much for it. SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Why settle for cheese, with you can have THE WoRX?
SPECIFICATIONS: Name of vehicle: 2011 Impreza WRX Price: 4/5-door WRX: $25,495 4/5-door WRX Premium: $27,995 4/5-door WRX Limited: $28,995 EPA fuel economy rating: 19 mpg (city)/25 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 2.5-liter turbocharged intercooled horizontally opposed Boxer engine Horsepower: 265 @ 6000 rpm Torque: 244 pound-feet at 4000 rpm Transmission type: 5-speed manual transmission Drive configuration: Continuous All-Wheel Drive Suspension (front and rear): 4-wheel independent with WRX sport tuning, MacPherson-type struts; steel lower L-arms; coil springs; Double-wishbone. Brakes, tires and wheels: Power assisted 4-wheel disc with standard 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist; 17-inch alloy wheels Dimensions (5-door hatchback version) Length: 173.8 inches Width: 70.7 inches Height: 58.1 inches Curb weight: 3208 pounds