I traded my base 5 speed 2007 WRX Wagon in for a 6 speed 2016 WRX Limited in December 2015. After 5 months of driving, below are the good, the meh and the bad.
Engine - The 2.0L Turbocharged engine is excellent. The powerband is very wide for such a small engine and pulls hard. You'll be going over the speed limit before you know it.
Handling - The AWD system is terrific and big summer tires just beg you to go around corners at ridiculous speeds. Throw on some snow tires, and you'll be tearing through snow cursing at other drivers going at reasonable speeds in their inferior cars.
Driving feel - The seats, steering wheel, instrumentation, and visibility are all set up very well. It feels like number one priority of this car is to give you excellent control of it. The seats hold you in place (even the leather ones in the limited) and are comfortable. The steering wheel is beefy and aesthetically fits the car well. The multi-functional display in the center of the dash is very useful and the option to have a digital speedometer is appreciated. The cabin is very open and 360 visibility is suburb.
Looks - I didn't like the looks of the car when I first saw it in 2015, but they have grown on me. It could never be considered a handsome car, but it does have a poised and aggressive enough look when you look at it from the right angle (going around a corner at a 45 degree angle).
Clutch action & gearbox - The gearing is pretty decent overall, even if you won't spend much time in first gear. I do appreciate it that I can finally shift into first gear while moving in a Subaru. The gearbox is notchy, but that is appropriate for a car like this. The clutch action is grabby, much more so than my old WRX. The revs also tend to hang when you shift up, so that takes some getting used to.
The interior - Based on reviews, I was expecting it to be pretty bad, but the interior really isn't too bad. It is a little too plastic-y with fake carbon fiber and whatnot, but you aren't expecting luxury car when you buy this one. It is definitely a step up from the 07 WRX.
Stereo/entertainment system - The stereo is pretty weak and the bluetooth takes awhile to connect. I probably will try to upgrade this in the future.
Wagon??? - Add my vote to the "Where the hell is the wagon?" chorus. I understand they had to concentrate on one design to get the chassis stiffness right, but why wasn't that design a 5 door?
I bought this car for the power, handling, and driveability. The car is even better than expected in that respect. If you're the type of driver I am, there isn't really anything in this price range that can do the same things as this car can. It is the type of car that makes me look forward to drive it and it makes me want to take the back roads, even if it takes a little longer.
This is one perfect car, grateful to Subaru for making it. The only negative is the fuel economy, which is acceptable to me given how good everything else is. Drives fantastically well! Every single drive in this car feels great and a lot of fun even without pushing it. The transmission, the steering, the engine's power and torque curves, the sound, the brakes, the control, the road-holding ability, the predictability of the outcome of any decision you make while driving, even if it is a quick or panicky decision, the visibility, add all this driving fun to the fact that it has 4 doors, seats 5 people with ample legroom in rear, good trunk comparable to other equally priced sedans, an amazing full time all-wheel drive for all season driving, scorching sun or freezing blizzard, with manually-adjustable front to rear wheels torque split, driving modes for throttle response that actually change the throttle response, not just a gimmick, like Intelligent for comfortably smooth throttle response in traffic jams, while Sports and Sports Sharp modes for quicker throttle response for more fun driving.
The only gripe is that some times on long drives, the front seats hurt the back, both driver and passenger. Does not always happen, so not a consistent problem, but when it does it's not pleasant.
I purchased a new 2016 STI in August, and so far I love it. I drive it in Alaska so the road conditions can be ruff. It gets through the snow no problems, a set of blizzak tires on it and I have had no issues. Short throw shifter is a nice plus, smooth, and sport mode is fun! The interior is nice. The only negative I have with the vehicle is the sound system is crap, for what the rest of the car is.
You wont regret buying this vehicle. Spring for the STI if you can afford it, its worth it!
It's true, all of it. Its fast, its fun, and its practical. I always wanted a WRX ever since I test drove the 2.5 RS in the late 90's. Now I'm 41 years young with 2 kids and I'm having a blast driving this car where ever I go. There is a distinct aura just driving a Subaru. A lot of Subaru owners flash there lights or wave and say Hi to other Subaru owners while driving on the streets. It's really cool and friendly.
I have the base 2016 WRX 6-Speed with a short throw shifter. At 2500 RPM and above my car has enough turbo spool built up it can challenge anything. I really mean anything. I just press firmly on the throttle and the car just moves like I'm riding on a puff of air gaining so much speed. Mind you I only accelerate like this on spirited drives during on-ramps to get on the highway and never with my kids. The handling is great not excellent but just great for everyday driving. If you need more feel for the handling prowess obviously get the STI. I test drove both and I know I will never get close to the limitations of the STI. You can feel the hardware in the STI. But as far as acceleration I would put the WRX and STI neck and neck in terms of acceleration with the STI just ahead by a little bit. The only minor negative issue with the WRX I feel is the shifter. I'm at roughly 1,500 miles right now and I'm finally feeling comfortable shifting quick. There is a minor notchy feeling going from first to second. But you'll figure it out in a couple days by maybe holding the shift knob in a certain way and shifting in a certain way that can alleviate that notchy feeling. Otherwise I read Perrin has a shifter stop that can help.
I'd definitely recommend using the Costco auto buy program. I paid $200 dollars below invoice for my WRX. It was no hassle. The Subaru dealer in my local area showed me the Costco price and it matches my researched internet invoice price. Also they subtracted the $200 dollars. Super Easy. Here's my down payment and I was out the door having fun.
If you're looking for something cheap, practical, fast, and fun I totally recommend the WRX. Also the WRX is a Lego. It has so much potential for upgrades and customization because there's an abundant amount of tuner parts available.
My car-> WRX 2016 Limited w/ 6-speed manual. Great Car; I'm a 'limited gear head.' Great handling (quick steering needs careful monitoring at first). Ride is not 'limousine' soft or 'floaty' it is firm but can be rough over roads under construction. I drive as if I'm riding a bicycle-steering around deep pot holes; approach sudden road level changes at an angle; I slow when I'm not sure of road surfaces directly ahead.
Manual transmission required I relearn; clutch engages suddenly about 2/3 of the way up. Must practice to shift smoothly, both up and down(especially from 3rd to second; I 'double clutch' when I shift from 3rd to 2nd; much smoother. Easy to steer sharply, much like with a 'go-kart.' Keep eyes on road at all times.
This was my first sports sedan, 'factory tuner,' or 'muscle car.' In High School, class mates had Dodge Charger; et cetera. In college, friends and acquaintances had
Plymouth Road Runners, Camaro Z-28, Porsche Speedsters, and so on. After college I passed on first year Datsun 240Z(luckily, they were rust buckets. Other cars I owned were Subaru Legacy's with automatics. Last on was totaled. I couldn't close deal for a Legacy Spec B, so bought 2007 Sonata with 'manumatic.' It shifted from 5th->4th when speed below ~33 mph, had soft ride and indeterminate steering; only got 30 or so mpg on highway using cruise control set between 60-65 mph.Mileage in winter around town 19(-) mpg.
My WRX doesn't 'lug' until Tachometer is below approximately 1200 rpm; I can drive up gentle hills at 30 mph in 4th. Mileage is remarkable-overall mixed 28.4; up to 25 mpg around town-I downshift to slow for lights or stopped vehicles & stop signs. On rare highway driving near Boston, with cruise control in 6th gear at 70-75 mph I've obtained 34+ mpg (NOTE-I only drive this fast to 'keep up' with traffic AND when faster cars ('rabbits' or 'police baits' have passed me.
Driving directions/map not the easiest nor most helpful for me, but then each other direction aids are also->Verizon Navigator&Google directions on my 'smart phone; Map Quest, and On-line Google Maps and more. I haven't yet tried iPod, but telephone blue tooth is good.
Wind noise could be much less with improved windshield, side window, aerodynamic designs; road noise in my car due to 'Summer Tires' and 'performance exhaust.
Overall I rate my car 4.5/5 and highly recommend it for value AND safety: See IIHS.org crash results