2019 Subaru WRX Premium new car reviews

Ah, the WRX. Anyone else remember Subaru’s commercials from the `90s with voiceover work from Judge Reinhold? No? Well, no matter: We used to lament that we couldn’t get any of Subaru’s forbidden fruit as teens who played video games, and for some reason, his voice always played in the back of our heads whenever we visited the virtual Subaru dealership.

It wasn’t until we were slightly older—in 2002 to be exact—that our prayers were answered in the form of the WRX. Judge Reinhold wasn’t doing Subaru’s commercials by then, but that was easy to gloss over. North America was getting the WRX!

The Mitsubishi Evolution has come and gone in the time since, but the WRX remains a stalwart, and for that we’re happy.

Subaru has added a few new things for 2019 in the form of infotainment upgrades and the debut of a paint scheme they call “Series.Gray”, but it largely stays the same which, in our books, is OK.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Dear Subaru,

We go back a long way, don’t we? We were there before you were cool.

The fact that you have just recorded 89 consecutive months of yearly as well as month-over-month growth says that you’re doing something right. I’d like to say it’s all due to the WRX and BRZ, but let’s be realistic: You’re selling a shedload of Foresters, Outback and Crosstreks.

How do I know that? Because you tell us! It’s right there in your monthly sales report. During April 2019 you found new homes for 16,381 Outbacks and 14,782 Foresters. During that same period, just 287 BRZ coupes and 2197 WRX/STI models were sold.

So, a thank you. Thanks for keeping the sporty cars in the lineup. It’s what keeps us coming back for more.

The WRX, which was once the new kid in the sport compact scene, has settled into its place as the automotive equivalent of comfort food. A WRX is a WRX is a WRX.

Love the WRX? That will continue with the latest one. The engine still has the rough-and-tumble edge. The shifter could feel a tad more precise.

Yet release the clutch and squeeze the gas, and a WRX squirts forward like nothing else. I remember the first time I drove one: the media launch for the original bugeye WRX. Know what I first thought? This feels just like the WRX in Gran Turismo.

After however many years and generations, that sensation remains.

Thank you.

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Samebutdifferent
Samebutdifferent New Reader
6/4/19 10:14 a.m.

Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4?  

I'm assuming that is a typo else this may cause a shift in the space/time continuum or at a bare minimum, a very loud outcry from diehard WRX fans...

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/4/19 10:35 a.m.

I mean, technically it's two lines of two. smiley (fixed)

Samebutdifferent
Samebutdifferent New Reader
6/4/19 11:53 a.m.

yes  The world is now flat again.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
6/4/19 12:28 p.m.

During that same period, just 287 BRZ coupes and 2197 WRX/STI models were sold. Then Subaru added the turbo to the BRZ that everyone had been asking for forever, and sold 289 during May. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Reader
6/4/19 12:34 p.m.
pinchvalve said:

Then Subaru added the turbo to the BRZ that everyone had been asking for forever, and sold 289 during May. 

Wha-?

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
6/4/19 12:40 p.m.

We can dream, can't we? devil

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/4/19 1:30 p.m.
pinchvalve said:

During that same period, just 287 BRZ coupes and 2197 WRX/STI models were sold. Then Subaru added the turbo to the BRZ that everyone had been asking for forever, and sold 289 during May. 

If they can put a 2.4-2.5 version of the FA that fixes the torque dip and gains some more HP, I might very well buy another one. 

Also waiting to see what they are going to do with the next STi.

I've got about 5 different cars on my list for next year when I start shopping.

RX8driver
RX8driver Reader
6/5/19 9:18 a.m.

I'm hoping that the next STI will use a hotter version of the FA24 found in the Ascent in place of the outdated, thirsty EJ25 and I'd definitely consider one when it comes time to replace my current 2015 WRX.

William
William New Reader
6/5/19 4:15 p.m.

All I want is a Crosstrek-based BRAT STi.

MT, of course.

Is that too much to ask?

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/5/19 4:42 p.m.
z31maniac said:
pinchvalve said:

During that same period, just 287 BRZ coupes and 2197 WRX/STI models were sold. Then Subaru added the turbo to the BRZ that everyone had been asking for forever, and sold 289 during May. 

If they can put a 2.4-2.5 version of the FA that fixes the torque dip and gains some more HP, I might very well buy another one. 

Also waiting to see what they are going to do with the next STi.

I've got about 5 different cars on my list for next year when I start shopping.

My short yet long list is: 2019 Civic Si Sedan (the GRM articles are selling me); 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition; 2019 Accord Sport 2.0T Manual; 2019 WRX/STI (would still like to see what the next gen will offer); and a Civic Type R. My cheap ass will likely get the Civic Si, even though I really really want the GTI, my experience with my first euro (E36 M3) is not selling me on another, especially a VAG. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/6/19 8:19 a.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
z31maniac said:
pinchvalve said:

During that same period, just 287 BRZ coupes and 2197 WRX/STI models were sold. Then Subaru added the turbo to the BRZ that everyone had been asking for forever, and sold 289 during May. 

If they can put a 2.4-2.5 version of the FA that fixes the torque dip and gains some more HP, I might very well buy another one. 

Also waiting to see what they are going to do with the next STi.

I've got about 5 different cars on my list for next year when I start shopping.

My short yet long list is: 2019 Civic Si Sedan (the GRM articles are selling me); 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition; 2019 Accord Sport 2.0T Manual; 2019 WRX/STI (would still like to see what the next gen will offer); and a Civic Type R. My cheap ass will likely get the Civic Si, even though I really really want the GTI, my experience with my first euro (E36 M3) is not selling me on another, especially a VAG. 

No amount of feel-good propaganda will even get me back into a performance FWD car again. smiley

I bought a '10 Speed 3 new, they are boost limited in the first 3 gears and still couldn't put the power down. I realize it's not fair to compare since that was a platform designed 15 years ago, I guess I feel about the FWD the way some feel about "manual only." It's the only performance car I've ever owned that wasn't RWD. 

 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
6/6/19 8:35 a.m.

I don't much care for how this gen of WRX looks, but I did get a chance to hop behind the wheel of a bone-stock one (right down to the 400tw Dunlops) at an autocross and loved how it drove. Very easy to drive fast and very confidence inspiring. I had never driven one and yet felt like I'd been driving that car for the past 5 years (and for the record, I've never owned a WRX or STi or any performance AWD cars)

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
6/6/19 9:08 a.m.

The styling is just so bland. Would it kill Subaru to add a bit of panache? The Crosstrek and BRZ are the only vehicles in their lineup that have a sense of presence. 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
6/6/19 10:04 a.m.
z31maniac said:
DirtyBird222 said:
z31maniac said:
pinchvalve said:

During that same period, just 287 BRZ coupes and 2197 WRX/STI models were sold. Then Subaru added the turbo to the BRZ that everyone had been asking for forever, and sold 289 during May. 

If they can put a 2.4-2.5 version of the FA that fixes the torque dip and gains some more HP, I might very well buy another one. 

Also waiting to see what they are going to do with the next STi.

I've got about 5 different cars on my list for next year when I start shopping.

My short yet long list is: 2019 Civic Si Sedan (the GRM articles are selling me); 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition; 2019 Accord Sport 2.0T Manual; 2019 WRX/STI (would still like to see what the next gen will offer); and a Civic Type R. My cheap ass will likely get the Civic Si, even though I really really want the GTI, my experience with my first euro (E36 M3) is not selling me on another, especially a VAG. 

No amount of feel-good propaganda will even get me back into a performance FWD car again. smiley

I bought a '10 Speed 3 new, they are boost limited in the first 3 gears and still couldn't put the power down. I realize it's not fair to compare since that was a platform designed 15 years ago, I guess I feel about the FWD the way some feel about "manual only." It's the only performance car I've ever owned that wasn't RWD. 

 

I am of the opinion that about 100-125hp is the maximum a front driver should have.  If you want more performance, make it lighter, but more power than that does not equal more fun, just more work.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/6/19 10:23 a.m.

Wasn't some Saab engineer back in the `80s once quoted as saying 220 was the maximum amount of horsepower a FWD car should have?

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/6/19 10:39 a.m.
Knurled. said:
z31maniac said:
DirtyBird222 said:
z31maniac said:
pinchvalve said:

During that same period, just 287 BRZ coupes and 2197 WRX/STI models were sold. Then Subaru added the turbo to the BRZ that everyone had been asking for forever, and sold 289 during May. 

If they can put a 2.4-2.5 version of the FA that fixes the torque dip and gains some more HP, I might very well buy another one. 

Also waiting to see what they are going to do with the next STi.

I've got about 5 different cars on my list for next year when I start shopping.

My short yet long list is: 2019 Civic Si Sedan (the GRM articles are selling me); 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition; 2019 Accord Sport 2.0T Manual; 2019 WRX/STI (would still like to see what the next gen will offer); and a Civic Type R. My cheap ass will likely get the Civic Si, even though I really really want the GTI, my experience with my first euro (E36 M3) is not selling me on another, especially a VAG. 

No amount of feel-good propaganda will even get me back into a performance FWD car again. smiley

I bought a '10 Speed 3 new, they are boost limited in the first 3 gears and still couldn't put the power down. I realize it's not fair to compare since that was a platform designed 15 years ago, I guess I feel about the FWD the way some feel about "manual only." It's the only performance car I've ever owned that wasn't RWD. 

 

I am of the opinion that about 100-125hp is the maximum a front driver should have.  If you want more performance, make it lighter, but more power than that does not equal more fun, just more work.

Maybe not quite that low. I have no interest in driving a car that makes that little HP. 

My R6 weighed around 600, maybe over because of all my gear, and put it 110hp to the wheel. devil

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
6/6/19 1:33 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

160 was more than too much for my S40 on the street and I used to turn it down to 4psi boost in competition.

 

On the street, it was annoying to have to watch the throttle at speeds below 60mph unless it was straight, warm, and dry.  More power would have just meant more annoyance and not more speed.  In competition, anything that gets your head outside the car is a benefit so I'd just turn the power down.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
6/6/19 2:43 p.m.
Kreb said:

The styling is just so bland. Would it kill Subaru to add a bit of panache? The Crosstrek and BRZ are the only vehicles in their lineup that have a sense of presence. 

I prefer “understated”.  Personally, I think my 2018 WRX is one of the better looking sedans out there nowadays.  Too many other cars are just over styled.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
6/6/19 5:08 p.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

I can respect that POV.

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