2018 Subaru WRX Review

Pros & Cons

  • In both WRX and WRX STI, acceleration is swift and among best-in-class
  • Delivers superb handling and steering response on twisting roads
  • Full-time all-wheel drive enhances traction and performance
  • Offers several premium safety equipment options
  • Above-average amounts of wind and road noise
  • Interior quality lags behind competitors
  • STI's high-performance suspension makes for a rough ride
Other years
2018
Subaru WRX for Sale
2018
List Price Range
$25,615 - $35,495

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Which WRX does Edmunds recommend?

With its 305-hp engine and sport everything — brakes, suspension, seats, steering — we would love to recommend the WRX STI, but we can't. Out of the box, it's a competitive weekend race car that you can drive to work during the week, but its high-strung manner and unforgiving suspension limit its appeal. Instead, we'd steer you to a WRX Limited. While the Premium trim costs less, moving up to the Limited beings a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, as well as a range of options, including navigation and various driver safety features.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.8 / 10

The 2018 Subaru WRX is among the swiftest and best-handling compact cars around. It's not especially quiet or comfortable, but it's a reasonably priced performance car you can drive daily.

You might reasonably expect some rough edges in a car born of Subaru's decades-long participation in rally racing, a form of motorsport largely run in dirt, mud and gravel. But the real surprise is just how domesticated these cars really are. The WRX and even-faster WRX STI are powered by turbocharged four-cylinder engines optimized for performance but capable of decent fuel economy. The WRX delivers 268 horsepower and an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined with the manual transmission, while the STI wrings out 305 hp and 19 mpg combined.

The WRX also offers a good serving of modern tech and convenience, either as standard equipment or options, including a choice of two multimedia systems, two audio systems, smartphone app integration, navigation, and driver aids such as blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. These attributes, plus comfortable seating, a roomy cabin and excellent visibility, make the WRX a legitimately practical daily driver and family car.

But there's no denying that the WRX can be a loud and raucous car. You'll hear plenty of road noise and feel plenty of road surface inside the cabin, especially in the STI, which can drive from dealer lot to weekend rally race and be instantly competitive. Key rivals such as the Volkswagen GTI and Ford Focus ST far surpass the Subaru for daily civility. To be fair, Subaru says it has made efforts to quiet the 2018 model with thicker glass, seals and insulation. We haven't yet driven the most recent model to hear the difference.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Subaru WRX as one of Edmunds' Best All-Wheel-Drive Sedans for2018.

2018 Subaru WRX models

The 2018 Subaru WRX is a five-passenger sedan offered in five trim levels: base, Premium, Limited, STI and STI Limited. The base model comes ready for action with 268 horsepower and performance tires, while the Premium adds larger wheels and heated front seats. The Limited adds luxuries such as leather upholstery and has more available options. STI models start with Limited equipment but add a 305-hp engine and performance brakes and suspension. The STI Limited goes all in with sunroof, navigation, driver aids and more.

Base WRX models start with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (268 hp, 258 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. The standard equipment list also includes 17-inch wheels, performance tires, heated side mirrors, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connection, and a six-speaker media system with a 6.2-inch touchscreen, satellite and HD radio, CD player, USB and auxiliary inputs, and smartphone app integration.

The WRX Premium adds 18-inch wheels, foglights, a sunroof, heated front seats, windshield wiper de-icers, and a 7-inch touchscreen.

The Limited builds on that with LED headlights and foglights, automatic high beams, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, leather-trimmed upholstery, keyless ignition and entry, and an optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters.

Options for WRX Premium models with manual transmission include the 7-inch touchscreen, an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, and a new Performance package that bundles Recaro front seats (including an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat), upgraded brake pads, and red-painted brake calipers. This package deletes the sunroof, however, in the interests of weight savings.

A manual-equipped WRX Limited is eligible for options including navigation, upgraded audio, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, while Limited models equipped with the CVT can add Subaru's EyeSight system, which bundles features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive ("bending") foglights that help illuminate corners and curves. The EyeSight system is not available with the stick shift, though.

STI models come equipped like the WRX Premium but with a bigger engine, 19-inch wheels, and no sunroof. The base STI adds a more powerful 2.5-liter engine engine (305 hp, 290 lb-ft), Brembo brakes, front and rear limited-slip differentials, and more aggressive suspension tuning. Options include Recaro sport seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, and keyless ignition and entry.

The STI Limited adds back the sunroof plus keyless ignition and entry, an eight-way power driver seat, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and the premium audio system with navigation. The lone option is a low-profile trunk lip spoiler. EyeSight is not offered for the WRX STI.

Several dealer-installed options are available for the WRX and STI, including a performance exhaust (base WRX), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, short-throw shifter, carbon-fiber trim, unique shift knobs and interior lighting accents.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Subaru WRX (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed manual | AWD)

Driving

8.5
Though its acceleration numbers may be hard to duplicate in the real world, the 268-hp WRX provides continual thrills in a straight line or around corners. It doesn't disappoint in the areas that matter most to enthusiast drivers.

Acceleration

8.5
A deluge of midrange power makes it easy to keep the 2.0-liter turbo engine in its sweet spot. The 0-60-mph time of 5.4 seconds is a second quicker than most rivals but requires a violent, high-rev launch technique.

Braking

8.0
The WRX stopped from 60 mph in 110 feet, typical for a sport compact with performance tires. The brakes show good resistance to fade, but pedal response is unremarkable.

Steering

8.5
The steering feels direct with lots of feedback, one of the better electric-assist systems out there. Midcorner response and feel are especially impressive. Not hyper or fidgety on the highway.

Handling

9.5
Grip is truly impressive (0.94g on the skidpad), allowing for a rapid pace on our mountain road test route. All-wheel drive keeps the car planted no matter how hard you push.

Drivability

6.0
The heavy clutch becomes tiresome in traffic, and the engagement point can be tricky. The throttle causes jerkiness in certain situations. Not the easiest car to drive smoothly when equipped the manual transmission.

Off-road

We didn't take the WRX off-road for testing, but its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system has years of rally racing technology behind it. Not tall enough for Jeep-like moves, but more than capable in dirt and mud.

Comfort

6.0
Excessive and tiresome noise inside the cabin could be a deal-breaker for many, even compared to other sport compacts. The supportive and highly adjustable front seats, however, are fantastic. They stand out in this segment.

Seat comfort

8.0
Supportive seats offer consistent comfort during a full day of driving. The eight-way power driver's seat adjusts broadly and is friendly for tall and short folks alike. Lacks lumbar adjustment.

Ride comfort

6.0
Drivers unaccustomed to sporty cars will find the WRX stiff, but it's actually well-damped and comfortable for its class, and good enough to mask the incessant bobbing of choppy L.A. highways.

Noise & vibration

5.0
This car is louder than average on the inside with an abundance of road and wind noise. After a day behind the wheel, our ears were getting tired. Even worse, the weak base stereo can't compensate.

Interior

8.5
What the WRX lacks in good looks, it makes up for in usefulness. The WRX's spacious cabin is simple to use and offers good visibility. Would be even better if offered as a hatchback like competitors, but even as a sedan it's hard to beat.

Ease of use

7.0
The climate control system couldn't be simpler. The radio faceplate is easy to use, but the display is too small for iPod or satellite radio readout. You must use the redundant audio screen in the dashtop trip computer.

Getting in/getting out

8.0
A tall roofline and sporty seats with slim side bolsters make it relatively easy to get in and out, despite the WRX's sports car nature. Same goes for the backseat.

Roominess

8.5
A 6-foot-tall rear passenger can sit behind a 6-foot driver. The driver's seat offers more adjustment, and therefore room, than expected of a compact car. Headroom may be tight for those with long torsos.

Visibility

9.0
The low dash and hood create an expansive view of the road reminiscent of Japanese cars from decades past. The tall windows and huge mirrors further benefit visibility. The rearview camera is standard but tiny.

Quality

7.0
Approaches level of the VW GTI and Ford Focus ST (although still falls short). Soft-touch materials, no flimsy bits and the switchgear feels nice to use. Rivals cost less and give you more, but if you prioritize performance over equipment, the WRX represents excellent value.

Utility

8.0
Although no longer offered as a hatchback, the WRX still offers a decent-size trunk and split and folding rear seats to accommodate the active lifestyles of many WRX owners. Abundant dealer and aftermarket accessories, such as roof-mounted bike racks, further enhance the WRX's utility.

Small-item storage

Modestly sized glovebox and armrest compartment, but usefully sized cupholders and center stack bin.

Cargo space

The 12-cubic-foot trunk has a large opening and the rear seat is a 60/40-split folding arrangement. Useful for packing tools and toys for other outdoor/lifestyle pursuits.

Technology

Offers a suite of tech options and features typical for this class, including two different sizes of touchscreen display, a navigation system, a premium audio system upgrade and app-based cloud services such as remote lock and unlock, roadside assistance and emergency notification.

Audio & navigation

Base infotainment includes a 6.2-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and CD player. Top-level system comes with 7-inch touchscreen, navigation and more. New Multimedia Plus system sits in between — 7-inch screen, voice commands, Siri Eyes Free — and comes standard on Premium and above.

Smartphone integration

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but Pandora and Aha music app streaming comes standard on base models. Siri Eyes Free and MirrorLink (a universal smartphone interface) are standard on the Premium trim and above.

Driver aids

Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are bundled together, while more robust features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking are available in the optional EyeSight package.

Voice control

New Multimedia Plus infotainment includes voice commands, including hands-free text messaging feature, and Siri Eyes Free. The top-level system offers the same, with voice commands also available for navigation functions.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.8 / 10
Driving8.5
Comfort6.0
Interior8.5
Utility8.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Subaru WRX.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Treat yourself
Michael Kelly,02/14/2018
4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Great fun at a reasonable price. Not a sports car, but handles well. Very capable in ALL weather. I put 290,000 miles on my '02 with no engine work. This is my third WRX, it has 26,000 miles on it after just over a year of ownership. I've driven it in two ice and snow storms this winter and it has been very stable.
Value buy! What do you compare the WRX against?
Dominic,01/16/2018
Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
All the comparisons are against 2 wheel drive cars, and many are front wheel drive. If you want all wheel drive, great handling, and good engine performance..look around. You are now comparing against Audi, BMW, and a couple of domestic models, and they will be much more money to get the same feature set. Better quality interior materials? yes. But for a great driving experience this is a great car, and an even better one for the price!
NO CONS!
Kevin,01/30/2018
Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
I came from a 2017 VW GTI, which was totaled recently. While i loved that car.. the 2018 WRX is in a whole different league. The handling is magnificent on turns and curves. The acceleration is fun and solid. Yes, the road noise is *slightly* louder than other vehicles, but I doubt anyone interested in buying an AWD, 270HP car that isn't a luxury brand is extremely interested in a purely silent cabin. I'm sensitive to noise and it's fine for me. Love this car and finally do not have any buyers remorse or looking longingly at other cars. Go take it for a test drive and push it!
The Best WRX yet
Vlad,07/29/2017
Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I drove 2018 WRX Premium with Performance package. Outstanding! This car handles like a king and the RECARO seats deliver great support and firmness. Shifting is precise and steering gives you a great feedback. I would recommend to test drive different trims and packages before you make your decision. Now Subaru has a car for every driver

Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 22 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
305 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
17 city / 22 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
305 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
268 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
21 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
268 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2018 Subaru WRX features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the WRX models:

EyeSight Assist Monitor (EAM)
Projects alerts and warnings (about pedestrians, potential collision) into a head-up type display in the windshield.
Reverse Automatic Braking System (RAB)
Automatically applies the brakes if driver fails to respond to alerts and obstacles.
EyeSight Lane Keep
Recognizes lane markings on both sides of the car and will guide you back to the middle if you drift too far from center.
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2018 Subaru WRX

Used 2018 Subaru WRX Overview

The Used 2018 Subaru WRX is offered in the following submodels: WRX Sedan, WRX STI, WRX STI Limited w/Wing, WRX STI Limited w/Low Profile Trunk Spoiler. Available styles include STI 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M), STI Limited 4dr Sedan AWD w/Wing (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), STI Limited 4dr Sedan AWD w/Low Profile Trunk Spoiler (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT), and Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Subaru WRX?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Subaru WRX trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Subaru WRX STI is priced between $30,887 and$35,495 with odometer readings between 14935 and54822 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Subaru WRX Premium is priced between $25,615 and$26,000 with odometer readings between 23146 and32142 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Subaru WRX Limited is priced between $28,779 and$28,998 with odometer readings between 14263 and21301 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Subaru WRX Base is priced between $25,885 and$25,885 with odometer readings between 20016 and20016 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Subaru WRX STI Limited is priced between $34,999 and$34,999 with odometer readings between 15361 and15361 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2018 Subaru WRXES are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Subaru WRX for sale near. There are currently 13 used and CPO 2018 WRXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $25,615 and mileage as low as 14263 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Subaru WRX.

Can't find a used 2018 Subaru WRXs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru WRX for sale - 7 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,711.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 8 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $25,641.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru WRX for sale - 1 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $25,289.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,539.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Subaru WRX?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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