It’s been just over a decade since Subaru made the decision to offer the turbocharged WRX alongside their naturally aspirated lineup, providing a performance-inspired sport-compact for a post-Fast and Furious world. Ever since, the WRX and WRX STi have served up legitimate rally credibility, catering to their target audience, they’ve been positioned by some against the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, the Ford Focus RS and the Volkswagen Golf R.
Here’s a fun look back at the course which Subaru has been racing down, courtesy of Donut Media:
But outside the warm embrace of enthusiasts, the WRX finds itself exposed to a significant amount of criticism. This only seems to be encouraged by a noticeable sense of stagnation in its execution, leading us to the point where even the refreshed 2018 STi felt less competitive in terms of overall performance and refinement. And while the sum of the changes made to both the WRX and WRX STi for 2019 speaks to a welcome change, they do little to entice the non-enthusiast.
Sure, there’s a modest jump in horsepower (from 305 top 310) for the STi thank to an updated intake and exhaust, while the tweaked gear ratio improves its acceleration. But there really isn’t much to get excited about when speaking of the traditional WRX, except maybe for the consistency of its performance and pricing. Priced around $28,080 MSRP the base model equipped with manual transmission is predictable, with the optional Limited CVT driving it (equally predictable) up around $34,580. As for the WRX STi, it comes in around $37,480 with the STi Limited capping things off around $42,280.
Subaru WRX – Desperate for an Overhaul?
Now, it’s worth admitting that I’ve never counted myself among the STi’s enthusiast base. While I have the greatest respect for its performance stats, it has always felt little more than a kit car, begging for aftermarket mods by young drivers aspiring an accessible urban feel. But setting my bias aside, the WRX has done more than earn the desired rally credibility that drove its naming. It just feels like they could do a whole hell of a lot better.
What do you think about the WRX? Is it time for a more drastic overhaul?