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WRX Revived: Subaru's Tribute to Rally Racing Is Back in Competitive Form PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Maynard | Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 15 May 2014 00:05

Photo Credit Creative Syndicate

Re-engineered and redesigned, the WRX rocks as a bargain sport sedan.

The 2015 WRX is a shot of shut-up sauce to all who felt this tribute to rally racing had lost its edge and fun factor.

Re-engineered and redesigned, it rocks as a bargain sport sedan, and it's also a functional daily-driver. Based on the Impreza, the WRX is a sedan-only body style, while the Impreza still is available as a five-door hatchback.

For WRX, the four-door body provides better balance and weight distribution, which is beneficial for weekend autocrossing. It still gets the wide-body treatment to the hood, front fenders, doors and quarters. And the brooding stance includes bumpers, headlights and taillight clusters that are unique to the WRX.

New for 2015 is a 268-horsepower, turbocharged and direction-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder "boxer" engine (with horizontally opposed pistons). With a strong 258 foot-pounds of torque that peaks from 2,000 to 5,200 rpm, the WRX jumps off the line. There is a new six-speed manual transmission, a standard rear camera, a three-spoke steering with a flat bottom (for more driver thigh room) larger brakes and a much improved interior appearance with more cabin soundproofing.

Pricing starts at $27,090, including the $795 freight charge from Gunma, Japan. The Limited starts at $30,790 and the tester was $33,290 with the navigation package with Harman/Kardon audio and keyless access and pushbutton start. Cars are just arriving at dealerships (along with the higher-performance, 305-horsepower WRX STI, starting at about $35,000).

The chuf-chuf-chuf of the boxer engine on start-up gives no hint of its burly potential. The new exhaust cuts out one muffler chamber for a bigger sound of power, but some will want the sound to be even rowdier.

There is very little turbo lag before the engine jumps to hyper speed. 0-60 mph may not be as impressive as the pull from about 3,000 to 5,000 rpm in second, third and fourth gears, running right into the rev limiter at 6,700 rpm. Gear changes with the manual almost snap to the next gear and the pedal placement is ideal for effortless heel-toe downshifts. This is a quick car off the line, but to keep it on edge you'll have to keep shifting to stay in the power band. Back off on the throttle, and it's an easy cruiser around town.

An optional Lineartronic CVT automatic ($1,200) with steering wheel shifters has two sport modes to replicate sixand eight-speed manual shift modes.

There are larger front brakes now -- 12.4-inch vented, up from 11.6 -- and 11.3-inch solid discs rear. The new Active Torque Vectoring (yaw control) works the front brakes when cornering to reduce understeer. The Vehicle Dynamics Control can be set in three modes: Normal, Off and Traction, which disables stability and traction control but retains the yaw correction.

The body feels stiff as a brick of aluminum. Everything about the car is tight and controlled, from steering inputs to braking and the roll-on of throttle. The suspension is performance stiff, but not jarring to occupants. 17-inch wheels with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT tires carve through corners and whomp through ruts and washboard without a whimper.

And there also is much family function to this four-door. A one-inch longer wheelbase than the previous WRX allows two more inches of rear legroom. The windshield is more raked than before, which with a lower dashboard and narrower A-pillars improves visibility over the hood.

Short throw, slick snick.

The Limited cabin is sporty with a black cloth headliner and carbon-fiber-like trim elements with some brushed aluminum pieces. There is much black plastic but the monotone is broken by perforated leather inserts, soft touch plastics and a soft dashboard top.

All doors open wide for easy entry and exit. The back seat has good legroom (35.4 inches), and good footroom and a relaxing seatback angle. But there is no center armrest. The rear seatback folds to expand the 12 cubic-foot trunk, which looks larger than its dimensions.

Today's WRX has the ka-pow factor of yesterday's WRX STI. It is a bargain performance car -- two doors or four.

Mark Maynard is online at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage

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Last Updated on Thursday, 15 May 2014 00:12