The 2017 Subaru WRX sedan can go from track star to domestic warrior, backed by 268-hp under the hood.
My favourite thing about sports cars born from unassuming and inexpensive compacts is the way they blend performance with everyday practicality. My second favourite thing is contemplating how two cars built on the same platform can have such vastly different personalities.
This kind of platform sharing, as it’s known in the automobile design business, is nothing new. Every automaker does it to keep development costs down while designing vehicles for two or three (or even more) brands, but there aren’t many platforms that have given rise to two vehicles as disparate in purpose as the WRX and the Impreza economy car with which it shares its basic architecture.
Under the hood: 268-hp 2.0L Engine
Both cars share a 2.0L engine, so the turbocharger bolted onto the one in the WRX is the biggest boost to that car’s character. It nearly doubles power output to 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and it’s clear as soon as you drive away that the WRX is not interested in puttering along on your daily commute or an errand to the grocery store. A sensitive throttle and touchy clutch mean the WRX is happiest when being driven flat-out. Smooth and gentle launches take practice; it was only at the end of my week-long stint in the car that I finally felt I’d nearly perfected my technique.
But for a car that seemingly likes it rough, it doesn’t always do that well, either. Full-throttle acceleration in the lower gears brings out turbo lag at low revs (or is it just a lack of torque below 2,000 rpm?) and a flat spot somewhere around 4,000 rpm. I wish I could be more precise, but I was too busy watching where I was pointing this turbocharged menace to notice where the rev counter was when it happened.
A friend who came along for a ride noted the engine note is hardly musical, and he’s right. That actually makes it tough to shift “by ear;” indeed, at one point, while guiding the car around the sweeping curve of a highway on-ramp, I realized the engine was up against the nearly 7,000 rpm rev limiter, but only after a glance at the gauges to figure out where all the acceleration had gone.
The front seats are supportive but not overly bolstered, everyone gets good head and legroom, and the 340-litre trunk is free of intrusions, making it well-suited for stuff like big suitcases.
The engine’s power delivery is such that the throttle feels like an on/off switch to an uninitiated driver: go too easy and you get nothing, but dig the smallest bit deeper and you’re off to the races. Because of that, there’s no swell of torque as the engine runs up toward its redline, making the WRX feel like a very quick piece of machinery rather than a sports car.
By contrast, the turbo 2.0-litre in Volkswagen’s Golf R delivers its 292 hp and 280 lb-ft with more refinement; it’s a more pleasant car to drive enthusiastically.
WRX’s handling is sharp and this chassis hangs on tenaciously in fast corners, despite (or maybe because of) a lot of body motion over uneven pavement. While that’s a bit off-putting in the middle of a high-speed curve, it translates into decent ride quality that’s easier to live with on a daily basis.
Our test car posted a fuel consumption average of 11 L/100 km in city driving, a figure that looks good next to the car’s 11.3/8.5 L/100 km (city/highway) ratings.
WRX Cabin and Features
The WRX’s humble origin means this car has a useful interior for all its performance intent. The front seats are supportive but not overly bolstered, everyone gets good head and legroom, and the 340-litre trunk is free of intrusions, making it well-suited for stuff like big suitcases.
WRX pricing starts at a shade under $30,000, a number that includes niceties like an infotainment system with smartphone integration, backup camera, 17-inch wheels, and heated front seats. Our tester was kitted out with a Sport-Tech package that adds a nine-speaker 440-watt amplified stereo with navigation, intelligent keyless entry, rear spoiler, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, sunroof, blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, eight-way power driver’s seat, and leather upholstery. That list of goodies adds $6,100 to the car’s price; the middle ground is a $32,795 Sport trim that gets just a few of those extra items.
A continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission is a $1,300 addition that comes with Subaru’s SI-Drive drive mode selector, which would actually be handy in the manual version, given the car’s aggressive throttle programming.
In the end, it’s the WRX’s seeming desire for speed that makes it hard to live with. A quick car with four doors suggests one as well-suited to track time as the daily grind, but that’s not quite the case here. And I can think of other cars I’d rather drive enthusiastically — including some much less powerful ones — simply for their more engaging mechanical soundtracks.
The WRX does indeed have a huge personality compared to its Impreza sibling, but it’s one that not every driver will want to spend time with.
Subaru’s all new Legacy will be hitting the showroom floors later this year. Powered by a 2.5L flat four engine that produces 175hp or a higher output 3.6L flat six producing 256hp in the 3.6R model, the Legacy is suited for those who want a little more economy or a little more oomph in their daily driving. The power is transmitted to all four wheels via Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT transmission.
The 2017 Legacy will be offered in a base, limited, and touring trim packages. This year, Subaru has upped their in car technology offering so that all vehicles will come with the Starlink media system with a 6.2inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a reverse camera. Customers who choose the Limited and Touring trim packages will get a larger touch screen, keyless entry/start, a moonroof, dual zone climate control, and an upgraded audio package featuring Harman Kardon products.
The all new Subaru Legacy will be priced starting at $22,815 US.
To the untrained eye, this might just look like your run of the mill Subaru Impreza from the 90s. But those who know better will tell you just how special this car really is. Subaru built the Impreza 22B to celebrate its 40th birthday and also for winning three back to back to back FIA World Rally Championships. With its bubble fenders, and all the gizmo and gadgetry you can think of from a rally car packed into the street version, the 22B really was as close to a street legal rally car as you can get.
To reinforce how rare this car truly is, buyers from Japan have the biggest allotment at 400 units produces for that market. From there on out, the numbers dwindle quickly. The UK got 16, Austrailia got five and three other prototypes.
One unit with only 2,500 miles on the odometer just came up for sale at an auction is initial estimates puts the sales price somewhere close to $100,000.
Subaru is set to recall their 2015-2016 WRX and Forester 2.0XT. In total 18,200 examples of these cars are affected by the recall. Subaru identified the issue as a defective turbocharger intake duct which can crack and result in a poorly running engine.
The problem originates from defective materials which were used in the production of the intake duct. If you own a WRX with a production date between April 10, 2015, and October 21, 2015, or a Foresters with a build date between April 10, 2015, to October 20, 2015, contact your local dealers for more information about the fix.
Dealer service includes a full inspection of the turbocharger and the intake system. If the part is deemed defective, it will be replaced at no cost to the owners.
The Isle of Man has been home to some of the highest speed racing around. Not only highest of speeds, but around a highly technical street circuit that has claimed more than it’s share of highly talented racers. Prodrive is set to take on the Isle of Man TT Course with their Impreza STi which will be piloted by British Rally Champion Mark Higgins.
Higgin has broken many record on this track. Breaking the 20 minute mark on the Man TT course is impressive and Higgings has continually surpassed his own records now holding a 19 minute and 15 second lap time. The partnership between Prodrive and Higgins may prove to be a force to be reckoned with as they attempt to break that lap time around the 37 mile street course.
A mid-engine high-performance sports car by Subaru would be amazing, but it won’t happen according to Subaru’s COO Tom Doll. Rumors surrounding a mid engine car from Subaru has been circulating for a while, but it’s more hopeful wishing than truth and to that the rumors are now officially squashed. Subaru will continue development on their BRZ which has been a hot seller since its debut.
The facts are clear, for an auto manufacturer like Subaru it is just cost prohibitive to develop something like this. They need to develop cars that has mass appeal for sales. Take the BRZ, it was developed in conjunction with Toyota to share costs in order for it to be a financially sound venture.
So for fans who were thinking that maybe one day that dream mid engine Subaru will come, they can now set their minds on a more realistic dream that future iterations of the BRZ may bring interesting combinations of things like more power, or all wheel drive.
There has been a lot of anticipation for the debut of the latest iteration of the Impreza by Subaru largely due to the new chassis platform which will underpin the fifth generation Impreza, as well a large number of other vehicles coming up in the Subaru lineup. Today, Subaru used the floor at the 2016 New York Auto Show to let the public see their all new Impresa sedan and five door hatchback.
The 2017 Impreza carries over many of the design elements that were found on the concept cars which debuted last year. The main design theme with the new Impreza are sharp and angular body lines to exude a performance forward vision. The grille takes a hexagonal shape and uses a sporty hexagonal mesh. The lights wrap around the front and flow backwards into the fender line creating the concept of speed and motion. The bumper uses large vents on both sides and anchored in the middle with a low slung bumper grille. Follow the body lines along the side and you will notice how the body flares out for a more aggressive look. This wider body is not just for looks, this is a function of the new modular architecture that underpins the Impreza which gives the car a lower and wider overall stance compared to its predecessor.
The new chassis is being debuted by Subaru in the Impreza body, but they will be using this platform in future cars such as the Outback, the Forester, and every Impreza off-shoot including the hot-rodded WRX STI and the rugged Crosstrek. The new platform should provide a lighter and more dynamic chassis to build upon which will greatly enhance the overall driving experience for Subaru.
Yet another entrant into the SUV space, this time Subaru showcases their XV Concept Compact Crossover. This particular vehicle will slot into the compact SUV spot. Subaru launched their XV Concept to show the public their new design philosophy for the next generation of Subaru vehicles.
Subaru executives are calling their new design direction ‘DYNAMIC X SOLID’ which offers a robust urban appearance merged with outback rugged adventure. The new design will embody a go-anywhere do-anything mindset. The XV Concept Crossover exemplifies more of the offroad characteristics which other Subaru models like the Legacy or the Impreza won’t.
The concept has a raised suspension, oversized offroad looking wheels, black cladding for a more rugged appearance, and certainly uses more chiseled body lines than any current generation Subaru. It will be interesting to see how these design elements make their way to the rest of the Subaru stable.
Subaru has issued a recall of 3,251 2016 Legacy model vehicles with a build date between October 24, 2015 and November 16, 2015, and the Outback with a build date between October 24, 2015 to November 17, 2015.
The issue has been identified as an improperly assembled drive shaft; specifically, the nuts securing the drive shaft to the rear differential were not properly torqued. If the nuts come loose, the drive shaft could separate from the rear differential, hit the gas tank, and could lead to a fuel leak. As of today, no injuries or accidents have been linked to this recall.
Owners of these vehicles should contact their local Subaru dealers immediately. The dealers will complete a full inspection of the potential issue and complete all repairs at no cost to the owners.
An official recall campaign will begin on December 10, 2015.
Fresh off the unveiling of the Impreza 5-door Concept in Tokyo, Subaru is taking the wraps off of the Impreza Sedan Concept. I’ve been wrong about this in the past, but I’m going to do it again and say that the next Impreza, and other vehicles based on this concept will look pretty good. I say this because the concept doesn’t look overly conceptual and looks pretty production-ready. Throw on some normal door handles, properly sized side mirrors, raise it up a bit, put on some standard wheels and smooth out the taillights and you’ve got yourself a great looking vehicle. It’s quite the departure from this great looking WRX concept that unfortunately never materialized. Hopefully this more sedate looking Impreza concept sees the light of day.
One big announcement Subaru did make is that the next-generation Impreza will be manufactured in the United States instead of in Japan. Plant upgrades that were scheduled have been moved forward by 6 months as well. This is a bit surprising to me as the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement being worked on right now was supposed to benefit Japanese auto manufacturers the most. The move will add about 1200 jobs in the USA.
Subaru says to look out for more news regarding the development of the next generation Impreza next year in New York.