2017 Subaru WRX Review
2017 Subaru WRX Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Dan spent many years covering the go-fast, look-good, get-loud corners of the automotive universe. First, he served as editor of enthusiast magazines AutoSound and Honda Tuning, then as executive editor at SEMA News, the publishing arm of the trade group that produces the annual SEMA Show (yes, that show). As a contributor to Edmunds, he now likes to keep the volume low and the speed limit legal, providing expert car-shopping advice to drivers looking for the perfect match.
- Both the WRX and STI offer impressively quick acceleration
- Superb handling abilities and steering responses when going around turns
- Enhanced traction from standard all-wheel drive
- Many premium safety equipment options available
- Above average amounts of wind and road noise
- Aggressive suspension tune in the STI makes for a rough ride
- Interior quality falls behind rivals
For 2017, the Subaru WRX receives reverse automatic braking as part of its optional EyeSight safety package. All WRXs now have automatic headlights and auto-up window switches for the front windows.
If you're looking for a grocery-getting sedan with best in-class fuel economy, a comfortable driving experience and a reserved demeanor, you've come to the wrong review. The 2017 Subaru WRX is as akin to those things as Congress is to bipartisan deal-making. Instead, this is a compact four-door offering an entirely different group of virtues: a raucous rally-based heritage, beefy turbocharged power and precision handling and steering.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 Subaru WRX 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.93 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$212/mo for WRX Base
Avg. Compact Car
The WRX and even-faster WRX STI are powered by turbocharged, four-cylinder engines. Both offer decent fuel economy but place the emphasis on power: 268 ponies in the regular WRX and 305 hp in the STI. You can make the most of this power, too, thanks to the extra traction provided by the WRX's sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. Hit the gas exiting a tight turn and the WRX won't lose any power due to overzealous wheelspin. Of course, there's the traditional benefit, too: all-wheel drive provides extra traction in wet weather.
Precise steering and track-worthy handling are other WRX hallmarks. Unfortunately, this focus on performance comes at the detriment of some modern creature comforts. The WRX interior is outfitted with decent tech, but it's not going to wow you with superb build quality, low levels of road noise or stylish design. Granted, those concerns fade away pretty quickly when you're testing the limits of grip along an empty canyon road on your day off. It's therefore a simple question you need to ask yourself: Are you willing to trade a bit of comfort and practicality for fun?
Before you answer that question, though, you should take a look at what the competition is up to. The standard WRX goes up against cars like the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI. All three are quick and reasonably priced, but the ST and GTI are a bit more grown up. Their interiors and on-road performance are a bit more refined, and they offer enhanced practicality thanks to their hatchback body styles. On the downside, though, their front-wheel-drive layouts don't give you as much performance potential.
If you're looking for rivals for the more powerful WRX STI, you'll again be seeing Ford and Volkswagen badges. This time, it's the Focus RS and Golf R. Both share the same benefits noted above, but they have all-wheel drive to put them back in the running, along with some serious power upgrades of their own. Overall, we think the 2017 Subaru WRX is undoubtedly fast and fun to drive, but that competition is stiff. A test-drive is probably the best way to figure out which is your favorite. Just be sure to ask for a route with plenty of curves.
Every WRX model gets standard traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, a rearview camera, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure warning systems are optional.
Subaru's EyeSight is optional on the WRX Limited with a CVT. The package adds automated pre-collision braking (both forward and in reverse), lane departure warning and intervention systems and independently operating, steering-responsive foglights to help illuminate curves.
In Edmunds brake testing, a WRX with summer tires stopped from 60 mph in a short 106 feet. A slightly heavier (by about 100 pounds) STI actually took a tiny bit longer at 108 feet in our test. To its credit, the STI's upgraded brakes didn't fade as much after multiple panic stops, compared to the regular WRX.
The WRX received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest rating of "Good" for small overlap and moderate overlap frontal-offset collision tests, as well as a "Good" score in the side-impact, roof-strength and seats/head restraints (whiplash protection) tests. The WRX's EyeSight option received the highest possible rating of "Superior" for its optional crash avoidance and mitigation technology.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
When you take a spin in a 2017 Subaru WRX, you can tell right away that it has the right stuff. It's a blast to drive thanks to its turbocharged power and sharp handling, and the standard all-wheel drive is a definite bonus if you live in a place with a lot of wet weather. Learn more about what else we like about this sport sedan below.
Regardless of engine/transmission choice, the WRX is a blast to drive. It steers nimbly and sharply, and you can utilize the all-wheel-drive system to put the power down a lot more quickly coming out of a turn than you can in a front-drive rival like the Focus ST. The WRX does exactly what Subaru meant it to be: it's a thrill machine that grips and rips with enthusiasm.
The standard WRX's turbocharged 2.0-liter engine bogs down a bit if you try to pull away quickly at low rpm, but it's strong throughout the rest of its operating range. There's a big surge of turbocharged power in the midrange that becomes quite addicting. The manual transmission's clutch is tricky to modulate smoothly, but given the overall enjoyment to be had from shifting your own gears, it's a small price to pay, in our opinion. If you don't want to row your own, the CVT is a good consolation prize, with steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles and driver-selectable operating modes to present plenty of opportunity to make the most of the engine's output.
The more powerful, larger engine in the WRX STI raises the bar a few more pegs. Combine it with limited-slip differentials, hefty Brembo brakes and a beefed-up six-speed manual and you've got a truly serious performance sedan. It's a blast to drive and makes the most of its all-wheel-drive traction. The STI has a very stiff ride quality, however, which is jarring even for this class of car.
With the WRX, the emphasis is clearly on the performance, not the interior. As a driver's car, the driving position is spot on, as are the firm, nicely bolstered sport seats. Thin roof pillars provide for excellent outward visibility, and large side mirrors make it easy to monitor conditions to the sides and rear.
Interior design and layout are basic, with simple and easy-to-use controls, but not much in the way of frills. Audio quality and infotainment usability were previously sore spots for Subaru, but with this generation of WRX, things have improved quite a bit. Especially improved are the base audio system and the standard 6.2-inch screen.
The WRX has 12 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. This is below average for a small sedan. Also, most of the WRX's rivals are offered as more versatile hatchbacks (the GTI can hold up to 22.8 cubic feet of cargo behind its rear seats, for instance).
2017 Subaru WRX models
The 2017 Subaru WRX is only available as a sedan. There are a total of five trim levels when you split up the standard WRX and the more powerful WRX STI. The standard WRX can be had in base, Premium and Limited trims; the WRX STI comes only in base and Limited trim levels.
The base WRX comes with 17-inch wheels wrapped in summer performance tires, a trunk-lid spoiler, cruise control, sport front seats with cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, a 6.2-inch vehicle information display, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera, 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity and Subaru's Starlink six-speaker infotainment system with a 6.2-inch touchscreen, satellite and HD radio, CD player, USB and auxiliary inputs and smartphone app integration.
Next up the trim ladder is the WRX Premium, which adds 18-inch wheels (also with summer tires), foglights, a sunroof, heated front seats, windshield wiper de-icers and heated mirrors.
The WRX Limited model adds to that with an eight-way power driver seat, leather-trimmed upholstery, LED low-beam headlights, keyless ignition and entry and a 7-inch Starlink touchscreen.
WRX Premium buyers who stick with the manual transmission can also get the optional 7-inch screen, plus a premium nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
The WRX Limited with a manual transmission can be ordered with navigation and the premium nine-speaker media system, plus optional blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert systems. Limited buyers who select the continuously variable transmission (CVT) can also get those features, plus Subaru's optional EyeSight front collision mitigation system. It includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking and lane departure warning/intervention systems, plus an electronic parking brake and steering-responsive foglights that help illuminate corners and curves. The EyeSight system is not available with the stick shift, though.
WRX STI base models come with all the WRX Premium items except the sunroof. The base STI also adds a more powerful engine, Brembo brakes, front and rear limited-slip differentials, driver-selectable modes for the center differential, a more aggressively tuned suspension and dual-zone automatic climate control. Step up to the STI Limited and you'll get back the sunroof and add unique 18-inch BBS wheels, keyless ignition and entry, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and the premium audio system with navigation.
Optional for the STI Limited is the no-cost choice between the iconic rally-style tall wing spoiler and a low-profile trunk lip spoiler. Note that EyeSight is not offered for the WRX STI.
There are also several dealer-installed options available for both the WRX and STI, including a performance exhaust (for the base WRX), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, short-throw shifter, various carbon-fiber trim, unique shift knobs and interior lighting accents.
For the standard WRX, power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder "boxer" engine that puts out 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive and a manual transmission are standard.
A CVT with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is optional for WRX Premium and Limited trim levels. Those paddles let the transmission impersonate either a six- or eight-speed automatic, depending on driving mode.
When we tested the standard WRX with the manual transmission, it went from zero to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. Subaru says the WRX with a CVT takes 5.9 seconds to cover the same distance. For some perspective, a VW GTI we tested (with the DSG automated transmission) took 6.1 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph. A Ford Focus ST takes 6.4 seconds to get to 60 mph.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the WRX with a manual transmission is 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway), while CVT-equipped models are rated at 21 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway).
Power for the STI comes from a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine rated at 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. A beefed-up six-speed manual is the only transmission you can get with the STI. In our testing, the STI accelerated to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds. That's quicker than a Golf R with the manual (5.3 seconds), but a Golf R with the DSG automatic rocketed to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds in our testing.
EPA fuel economy for the STI is 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway) for the STI.
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
STi: An engaging driver's car
2017 Subaru WRX STI 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
If you want a car that will engage you and keep you interested, this is the car for you. The strong performance and responsive handling make it fun and involving to drive. It does not isolate you from the driving experience, you can hear all the widgets working. Some might see that as an excuse for poor NVH, but that's a part of the experience. While some may consider the drivetrain … un-evolved, the long history means a diverse aftermarket and deep knowledge base about every facet of the car. It's also a Swiss army knife of a car that can do practical daily duties in all conditions, (though somewhat less so since they took away the integrated roof racks and the hatchback options). However, it is not the car for people who are looking for the most refined experience, latest and greatest electronic gadgets, best raw performance or best gas mileage. This is my 3rd Subaru, so I guess I've drunk the cool-aid. Buy it before the EJ engine goes away.
5 out of 5 stars
Your going to love driving this car!
S.D. Jones, 07/23/2016
2017 Subaru WRX Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Was looking for a fast sporty car that had the flexibility to put the family in when needed. Meet the WRX. Faster than most of my buddies cars and the back seat has ample room for 2, 6 foot adults. The car is a blast to drive. The driver experience from handling, visibility & ergonomics is great. Upgraded infotainment features are better than previous models but still lacking. The … standard radio has poor sound quality. Must set the equalizer to get decent sound. Everything is at your fingertips. The interior is upgraded from years past. The graphite accents are a step above previous models. The exterior has an aggressive look. The graphite wheel package (premium) really makes the car pop. Just drive the car & you will love its get up & go youthful vibe. The twin duel exhaust and engine roar complement the overall experience. @ 28k for a premium model, you get a lot of car for the money. Wind & road noise is not great. Typical Subaru, but you have to concede in some area's if you want to stay under 30. Trunk space is decent for this type of car. They do suggest premium gasoline. I'd put it on your list to test drive if your looking for a car in this segment. I looked at Ford & VW, but chose another Subaru based on past experience and overall value. Plus it's a blast to drive.
5 out of 5 stars
This is a practical sports car.
2017 Subaru WRX 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
This review is for the 2017 Subaru WRX base model 6 speed manual transmission with the optional STI short throw shifter. This is a sports car designed to be driven fast on curvy mountain roads. This is not a car for the chai latte sipping crowd who worries about mobile connectivity and comfort. This car makes road noise so if you are accustomed to riding in a regular soft and quiet car, … you won’t like this car. The turbo pulls hard and it goes where you point it like it’s on rails. It’s a heck of a lot of fun to drive and will put a smile on your face. Especially when you turn off the stability control and the track light comes on the dash. This car is only sold with Dunlop summer performance tires that handle great. I bought this car opposed to a Mustang or a Camaro because I need a back seat to take my dogs to the beach and bring home a lot of stuff from Costco. I guess this is my midlife crisis car. But it is probably as practical of a sports car as you can get. But it is a sports car so your insurance will probably go up when you buy this car. I'm married, 44 years of age, with no tickets in 20+ years and 820 credit score. My auto insurance went up almost 170 dollars per 6 months with USAA and they tend to be better priced than most. But I live in southern California and we have loads of idiots on the road 24 hours per day running into you so it might be cheaper where you live. But wherever you live, you will probably pay quite a bit more on insurance with this car. The gas mileage on the freeway, (when you are moving) is fantastic. The car sits at 3k RPM at 80 mph in 6th gear. (Please note: never floor the gas pedal in 6th gear when you are driving at low RPM. You can ruin the motor in a turbo charged direct injection engine when you do that. Sixth gear in this car is for economy, not driving hard. I cannot stress this enough. Don't be the guy who blows his engine then blames Subaru for it) When driving around town in stop and go traffic the mileage is not very good. Probably low 20s. But this car, unlike most, actually performs better than the manufacture stated mpg. This car requires premium fuel. It’s a direct injection turbo charged engine that runs at high compression so you have to put high octane gas. If you don't it will run poorly and you will eventually have problems with the engine because your too cheap to run the proper fuel. Suspension in this car is tight and designed for performance so you feel the bumps in the road. So when you go to Starbucks and get your chai latte, be sure to put a stopper in it so you don't end up wearing your latte. The radio/speakers in the base model really do stink. I read on internet forums about how bad they were but I figured it was a bunch of kids who listen to lame music at stupid levels but they were correct. And if you think you can buy an aftermarket radio head and put that in it, think twice. Pretty much no aftermarket head unit will work with the aux, USB plugin, and back up camera in this car. So if you really love your music, you might consider ordering your WRX at the dealer with the Harmon Kardon head unit/speakers installed. It will cost you about 2k so you really need to love your tunes. To me it’s not worth it because I bought this car to haul *** in the mountains of San Diego but I just want everyone who reads this to be fully informed. Also the headlights on the base WRX really stink. The high beams are good but the low beams are quite bad but nothing that some 12 dollar Sylvania Silverstar halogen bulbs won't fix. Also the STI shifter is not the smoothest shifter I've ever had. My old 96 Honda Prelude SI shifter was much better. Also the cultch travel is a bit long. But these negative points are not enough to make me say this is not a fantastic car. I just want everyone fully informed. Last but not least, the resale value in this car is out of this world good so when you want to sell it 5 or 10 years down the road, you will get real money for it. That is about it. I LOVE this car despite the negatives and I highly recommend it for people who love to drive real sports cars on curvy roads but also need a practical car they can take the dogs to the beach and go to Costco and load up on stuff.
5 out of 5 stars
2017 Subaru WRX Premium
2017 Subaru WRX Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Just leased a 2017 WRX Premium (M6) in white. I love this car! Has excellent performance and overall value. Ride isn't the smoothest nor quiet. But if you're wanting ride comfort and a quite car, then look elsewhere! Overall interior looks good and a major improvement from last generation, but Subaru could do better. Subarus aren't known for quality audio, but you can always upgrade … through Subarus accessories or aftermarket. Again, I'm happy with my new WRX and looking to purchase in the near future!
2017 WRX Highlights
|Combined MPG||23 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$212/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||all wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood