The Subaru Impreza WRX returns unchanged for 2013.
In all honesty, we were hoping to be introducing an all-new 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI in this space. By all accounts, the new sport-tuned models would have been based on the redesigned Impreza that debuted last year. We were hoping that the improvements in fuel efficiency and interior quality would have carried over to the WRX, but alas, we must wait yet another year.
To the Subaru's credit, the WRX and STI still offer thrilling performance, even as they start their ride off into the sunset. The Impreza WRX generates 265 horsepower and features a well-tuned and balanced chassis that allows for hard cornering on a track or on winding canyon roads. Then there's the added benefit of all-wheel drive to help improve traction in inclement weather or while powering quickly out of tight corners. The WRX STI further enhances performance with a more powerful turbo that kicks output up to 305 hp, plus limited-slip differentials both front and rear to get that power to the pavement.
Outside of performance, however, the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI come up short of the competition. A certain lack of refinement is most noticeable within the interior, where hard plastics abound and the fit and finish seems unimpressive. The navigation and audio systems are also a sore spot, as they suffer from indifferent performance and frustrating controls.
In dramatic contrast, the new 2013 Ford Focus ST provides a much nicer cabin with up-to-date electronics. The Focus ST doesn't out-perform the WRX in terms of performance numbers, but it's just as rewarding to drive at full throttle. The handsomely appointed 2013 Volkswagen GTI is also worth checking out, although it is even more outclassed by the WRX when it comes to performance. The even sharper WRX STI variant of this Subaru gets you into a different sporting class altogether, and at that level its archrival 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution comes into play.
With the likelihood of a much improved WRX and STI set to debut next year, we find it hard to recommend a 2013 model. At the very least, we'd wait to see what finally arrives. If time is of the essence, we'd steer shoppers toward the aforementioned alternatives.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI models are available in either sedan or five-door hatchback body styles. The WRX is offered in base, Premium and Limited trims, regardless of body style. The Limited trim is available on the STI, but only as a sedan.
Standard WRX features include 17-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, cruise control, full power accessories, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, sport front seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio and a six-speaker CD player with iPod connectivity and auxiliary audio input.
Upgrading to the Premium trim adds foglights, a sunroof, a trunk lid spoiler (for sedan models), heated mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer and heated front seats. Limited trims further benefit from xenon headlights and leather upholstery.
The WRX STI trim adds a more powerful engine, 18-inch BBS wheels, Brembo brakes, front and rear limited-slip differentials, SI-Drive vehicle settings, an even more aggressively tuned suspension and a bigger hood scoop along with xenon headlights, foglights (for hatchbacks), heated seats and faux-suede and leather upholstery. The WRX STI Limited sedan adds foglights, different 18-inch wheels, a sunroof and leather upholstery.
A touchscreen navigation system is available on all WRX and STI models and also includes voice activation, real-time traffic, text messaging capabilities and satellite radio.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX is a turbocharged 2.5-liter horizontally opposed "boxer" four-cylinder that produces 265 hp and 244 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission and all-wheel-drive system are standard. In Edmunds testing, a WRX went from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, which is the quickest time among similarly priced high-performance compacts. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg in combined driving.
The STI gets a version of the same engine boosted up to 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard. It went from zero to 60 in a blistering 4.5 seconds and achieves fuel economy of 17/23/19.
Every 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, hill-hold assist, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the WRX came to a stop in an excellent 114 feet, while the STI did it in an even better 106 feet.
In government crash tests, the WRX was awarded four out of a possible five stars for overall, frontal and side impacts. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bestowed its highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
With a priority placed on performance, the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX suffers when it comes to interior quality. The cabin's design is decent enough, but is rife with cheaper, hard plastic trim. Furthermore, opting for the navigation system will also get you loads of frustration, as the menus and operation of the audio system are unintuitive and complicated. It's also worth noting that sound quality from the stereo is disappointing.
There is, however, plenty of room inside the cabin for passengers and cargo. Generous head- and legroom provide enough space for taller adults, and the front seats feature aggressive bolstering to keep passengers securely anchored to their seats when cornering. When it comes to hauling stuff, the hatch can accommodate up to 19 cubic feet of cargo. Folding the rear seats expands that space to a generous 44 cubes. The sedan is no slouch, either, with its 11.3-cubic-foot trunk.
The 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX offers an impressive amount of performance for the money, featuring plentiful power and tenacious cornering grip thanks to its firm suspension and summer performance tires. The WRX STI kicks it up a few more notches with limited-slip differentials front and rear, powerful Brembo brakes, a six-speed manual transmission and truly thrilling acceleration when the throttle is wide open. Ride quality for either version is acceptable considering the performance, but some drivers might object to the extra levels of road noise.
Both WRX models are wildly entertaining to drive hard, but in the face of newer, more polished competition, their former luster has dulled quite a bit. And with the likelihood of a new crop of WRXs on the horizon, we suggest shoppers postpone their purchase.
by ejhara on May 28, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
If you want an awd performance car for year-round use in snowy climates--one that is affordable--this is one of few out there. Just returned from a 1000 mile trip: close to 30 mpg, with no particular gas-saving driving. Always power easily available; handling is quite quick and good. Premium package an attractive choice: can't beat a sunroof, and the short-throw shifter seems desirable. WR blue is a great color. Spoiler gets in the way sometimes as far as backing up, but it looks better than STI version. One negative: exhaust noise/rumble. (I had 2007 Forester turbo, which had a more-pleasant sound.) 20 somethings love this car: Fast and Furious influence. Hill holder good. Good purchase!
by leob1 on Feb 25, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
This is a very practical, fun, AWD performance car with outstanding value for the money. A 0-60 time of 4.7 and ability to surpass 60 easily in second gear gives lots of confidence merging into traffic. The whine of the turbo is intoxicating combined with the rumble of the flat four boxer engine. It is super practical with the hatchback and can accommodate large items easily (seats fold down); big screen TV's, large boxes, mountain bike, etc. The hatch also works as excellent rain protection when you are loading (unexpected surprise). The AWD is incredible for inclement weather, but be sure to get at least all season tires so you can stop and turn in easier in snow (had stock summer tires).
by ejhara on Oct 4, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
Fine car, starting with styling. Has functional hood scoop and side vents for cooling turbo and brakes. 360 tour takes you by four doors and nice spoiler plus four exhaust tips. Subarus tend to be durable (I've had five). AWD and hill-holder on manual shift are great features. Secure-feeling, nicely-handling car, even when you are not putting your foot into the throttle. When you do that, hang on! Great power for a 2.5 liter.
by lucas14 on Feb 22, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
The Subaru WRX Sti limited was about what I expected.
I bought the care to be my daily driver.
It is very fun to drive and more comfortable than I would have expected.
Paying the extra money for the limited package was well worth it.
Heated seats adds some extra comfort in the winter time, and the sunroof will be nice in the summer.
I'm not impressed with the stereo system, but I can easily be remedied with some aftermarket additions.
by aggarcia on Feb 7, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Most hard core performance buyers are not looking at Edmunds, but I did not like several things they said in their review. In the performance category, not much besides a supercar offers as much performance for the dollar than the STI. The AWD, SI Drive, and adjustable differentials, and 6 speed transmission are world class. The interior uses cheaper materials, but this is based in the Impreza platform. You buy a STI for the performance not to impress any one. Right now Subaru has a 4 month waiting period to get a STI or WRX, so someone must be wanting them.
I enjoy everyday I hop into my STI and get to make going places and experience. The factroy NAV/SAt system sounds pretty good to me.
Do you have the money factor and residual for a 2013 Impreza WRX Hatchback Standard? I'm looking at 36 months, unless there is another term that has a better combination of LMF and residual. Also, I...
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