Purchased the WRX after test-drive & reading reviews of WRX and WRX STI - I liked the STI's acceleration, handling, and in particular the brakes, but did not care for the appearance of fin or stiffness. As a 40+ yr old, I was looking for a car that was fun, but non-descript in a corporate parking lot and comfortable as a commuter/pick up the kids vehicle. I've driven the WRX 46K+ miles, and live in the Colorado foothills, windy road. It is a blast! Took awhile to get used to timing (turbo lag) and too many RPM's while shifting does release a horrible smell, but this only occurs when not careful. The car is very light; braking and acceleration = very responsive. I'm 6'2 200 lbs. Four concerns since my earlier review @ 6K miles -- 1) clutch is being replaced @ 46K miles. This is the 3rd manual transmission that I've owned, have driven approx. 100,000 miles with manual cars prior to purchasing the WRX. My last manual Subaru (2010 forester) had the original clutch when sold back to the dealer at 75K miles. I do drive the WRX "actively", but this seems soon for the clutch to go. 2) The car sold to me in Colorado came with summer tires. However, I did not realize they were summer tires; this was not mentioned or explained at any time during the sales process, and the tires do not say "summer" on them. I could have researched the tire model to determine this, but this was not on my mind with a 5 month old car heading into its first winter. At 15 degrees or so, the tires became non-functional. Literally. As in, on a moderate uphill grade road getting home, after stopping to get the mail, the car not only wouldn't drive forward, it slipped backward as I accelerated from 0 MPH to 5 MPH, on an angle, toward a fence. I put the WRX in park, left it there & walked 1/2 mile home until it warmed up the next day, then parked it until new tires were available (paid by Subaru per my complaint on this issue). While doing maintenance a year later at a Subaru dealership, another WRX owner mentioned getting into an accident his first winter due to the tires. Not acceptable. 3) A/C stops working in summer after awhile when the car is parked (I often work in the car or take conference calls). After reviewing other forums, I learned that revving the engine a few times causes the a/c to kick in again. a/c works fine while being driven. 4) Battery had to be replaced after 24 months. I did accidentally drain it completely around 1 year ago (left interior light on, parked for a few days due to bad weather), so this may be my fault. So, these may just be fairly normal maintenance issues, spouse drives '14 Forester XT (automatic), has not experienced any of these issues in 3 years of ownership.
The Limited in stunning World Rally Blue is a work of art. A true drivers car. I am 6'2 275 lbs and plenty of room for me front and back. Excellent seats and position of controls. Superb build quality and extensive use of lightweight body panels. Engine sound and performance is designed for those who are truly drivers. Clutch feel is progressive and light enough for all day city driving. Turn in and braking is spot on. Dunlop performance rubber is a good choice. No needs for any after market upgrades. Many comments about Clarion radio..Simple reset of some settings solve this.Check on line for tweaks. Road noise is evident on anything less than smooth asphalt. Could be the tires.
After checking numerous car reviews and seeing the praise this vehicle was getting from many automotive journalists I was convinced this was the car I wanted. Not many people would buy a car without the initial test drive. It's almost like getting married without kissing the women you have decided to wed . However during the month of March I put a deposit down for the 2015 WRX Premium model, no leather seats was an option I could live without . The owners manual has you keeping the revs under 4000 RPM for the first 1000 miles and let me be the first to say it was treacherous. Must say the car looks better in person and grows on you. Overall I am very pleased with the car.
I had one of the original 2002 WRX cars and loved it. The trouble was that stock it had way too much squishy rubber to satisfy any potential buyer. New motor/trans mounts, ALK, smaller brake booster, and a bunch more urethane parts finally made it feel like a sports sedan. The 2015 feels like a sports sedan right out of the box. I hear people complain about road and wind noise, but don't find it to be an issue at all. My wife and mom don't find the ride too harsh, which surprised me. It's definitely firm, but not jarring.
If absolute refinement is non-negotiable, the WRX is not for you. Don't bother reading any more reviews - go and buy a VW GTI! Subaru have built a great car, but it is one with compromises. Ride quality is firm to rough. Wind and road noise (OEM-equipped Dunlop Sport Maxx RT rubber to blame) tend toward the higher end of the spectrum. Interior fit and finish is lacking. The cable-linkage shifter-feel is rubbery, loose and inconsistent. Throttle mapping is anything but linear - closer to binary or step function; expect a herky-jerky ride if less-than-spirited acceleration is demanded. Rev-hang is quite pronounced in 1st or 2nd gear, requiring slow clutch release when shifting while driving slowly (think stop-and-go traffic). My early manufacturing cycle specimen has a heavy clutch, necessitating greater finesse while shifting (this seems to have been fixed later on based upon driving a friend's late-2015 WRX). Steering is tight but somewhat vague. The general feel of the WRX gives the impression of a bigger, heavier car. All that said, I wouldn't trade the WRX. The car driven is a raw experience but the extra effort required to drive it smoothly is very rewarding. Every (non-stop-and-go) commute is a blast; every heel-toe or shift nailed perfectly or the wave of acceleration following the lag leaves a grin plastered wide across my face. With the inevitable winter storms here in the midwest, inclement weather is joyfully anticipated once the Blizzaks have been slapped in place. Passenger comfort is quite good. Cargo space is sufficient for short car-camping trips for four. Fuel economy is solid at 27 mpg mixed. The WRX covers all bases while offering great entertainment as a daily driver.