2015 Subaru WRX new car reviews

Subaru's new WRX comes to us in the same classic formula: four driven wheels and four turbocharged cylinders firing in opposing pairs. The news in the engine bay is that the 2-liter engine is now direct-injected and offers plentiful torque from 2000 rpm—thanks also in part to a twin-scroll turbocharger.

The test version we received has an automatic transmission with flappy paddle shifters. The continuously variable unit simulates gears—either 6 or 8, depending on drive mode—but still carries a fuel economy penalty over the 6-speed manual transmission.

Look for it at dealerships beginning in March or April.

Other staff views

Alan Cesar Alan Cesar
SuperDork

It's a shame we got the automatic, because it truly is a compromised box even if it does adjust for sportiness. It does a great job of simulating gears—it may seem odd that a CVT behaves like this, but I think it makes sense. No one likes the constant-rev drone typical of CVTs. It's not terrible, either: In manual mode, it's responsive and fun to use. I liked it. But it doesn't provide better fuel economy than the manual, so unless you absolutely can't manipulate three pedals, there's no good reason to get the auto box.

The engine's pretty excellent, though. You can select from three drive modes, but the sportiest setting is the one you want. Torque comes in full at an astounding 2000 rpm and has little appreciable lag, despite pulling 260-some horses from two liters. It has none of the trademark Subaru sound you hear on the streets, but that can be fixed with an aftermarket exhaust.

Getting into a new WRX confronts you with a simple fact: What you get in chassis technology and speed for the price comes out of the interior budget. The steering wheel buttons vary from appropriately high-tech feeling (for the SI-Drive controls) to distinctly budget-bucket Impreza plastic in quality. Coasting at moderate speed, there's a steady thrum from... everywhere. You won't confuse this with a gentleman's touring car, though you do get amenities like heated seats and a digital boost gauge in the center dash pod.

The looks of the car has its critics, but I rather like it from the front—especially the substantial hood scoop. But I'm not a fan of the rear even though it has the quad exhausts I love so much in the 5-door STI, and it looks bulbous and odd from the side. Besides, the WRX seems like it's had a somewhat odd but distinct look for more than a decade now: bug eye and pig nose, to name two.

So, while this review might sound remarkably negative, I think this car could be an excellent performer and an astonishing snow carver in the right form. Just make sure you grab the stickshift. Me? I'm waiting for a wagon.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Right now in Automobileland, there's a debate: Can we live without our loved clutch pedal? The current crop of twin-clutch transmissions raise a compelling argument. They can simply bang a shifter faster than Warren Johnson. Take a PDK-equipped Porsche for a spin, and you'll be amazed. Not only are the shifts fast and crisp, but it's like the thing is reading your mind. Oh, and fuel economy is usually better, too.

Of course, giving up that clutch pedal has been tough for some enthusiasts. No, I'll do it myself.

Our WRX test car only sported two pedals. Twin-clutch transmission, right? How about a CVT. Yes, it was a fancy computer-controlled CVT, but it was still kinda boring to drive. Essentially, what had once been one of the hottest rides in our market suddenly felt bland and cold.

The latest WRX might feature all kind of cool brake and suspension technology, but the thrill was gone. Last time I checked, no one was timing my morning commute. I'd like it to at least be a little exciting.

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Comments

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svxsti
svxsti New Reader
5/6/15 6:07 p.m.

Until they go back to the timeless styling of the '06-'07 inspired by Fiji industries aircraft, I will never look at a new WRX. That and the ProDrive P2's active diff.

Aspen
Aspen Reader
5/7/15 9:35 a.m.

Timeless styling of '06-'07? Try '96 or '97 JDM. It was all downhill after then.

speedblind
speedblind HalfDork
5/7/15 12:42 p.m.

Subaru does many things, but timeless styling isn't one of them. They're supposed to look weird. I've had three and they've all been horrible to look at.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
5/7/15 1:06 p.m.

The '06-'07 WRX styling is timeless: It was seriously weird when it came out, and will probably be regarded as seriously weird for the rest of human civilization.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
5/7/15 1:10 p.m.
MadScientistMatt wrote: The '06-'07 WRX styling is timeless: It was seriously weird when it came out, and will probably be regarded as seriously weird for the rest of human civilization.

This. At least it wasn't as fugly as B9 Tribeca, but yowza. This from the same company that ditched the bugeye after 2 years because it was too polarizing.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
5/7/15 1:12 p.m.

"Read the rest of the story" link is linkception to this thread.

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 Dork
5/7/15 1:19 p.m.

I'm the odd one out, but I think the new WRX is the best looking one they made yet!

NGTD
NGTD UltraDork
5/7/15 1:48 p.m.

I like the 2015, but it still looks like a Corolla.

Bugeye's FTW! I miss my 02.

svxsti
svxsti New Reader
5/7/15 2:54 p.m.
MadScientistMatt wrote: The '06-'07 WRX styling is timeless: It was seriously weird when it came out, and will probably be regarded as seriously weird for the rest of human civilization.

It is comparable in styling to the new Alfa Romeo 8C and 4C.

svxsti
svxsti New Reader
5/7/15 2:56 p.m.
Aspen wrote: Timeless styling of '06-'07? Try '96 or '97 JDM. It was all downhill after then.

I agree with that too, should be a coupe, but I would still want the 07 nose and chassis. The 97 chassis was like a noodle. I actually have an RA 5sp with 4.44 diffs in my SVX, the fastest one on dragtimes.com

Duke
Duke MegaDork
5/7/15 3:01 p.m.
svxsti wrote: It is comparable in styling to the new Alfa Romeo 8C and 4C.

...minus the 60+ year history of Alfa Romeo's iconic shield-shaped grille.

svxsti
svxsti New Reader
5/7/15 3:06 p.m.
Duke wrote:
svxsti wrote: It is comparable in styling to the new Alfa Romeo 8C and 4C.

...minus the 60+ year history of Alfa Romeo's iconic shield-shaped grille.

lol of course, and minus the hood scoop, I think cowl induction and an integrated spoiler would have been ideal for a sedan.

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