Subaru has a deep rally motorsport history, and in the all-wheel-drive WRX sedan that DNA runs loud and proud. This fourth generation WRX may be more civilized than any of its predecessors, but its stiff ride, raucous 268-hp turbocharged 2.0L flat-four and unbridled appetite for a twisty road will warm the hearts of the cognoscenti and scare off just about everybody else.
Available with a six-speed manual or a surprisingly well-tuned CVT with paddle shifters that call up “virtual” gears, the WRX shows its intent with blistered arches, aggressive snout, functional hood scoop and a small rear spoiler.
New for 2016, the WRX gets one-touch turn signal, updated steering wheel controls and standard 6.2-inch touchscreen with STARLINK smartphone integration.
WRX starts at $29,995, and for that we get fabric sport front seats, six-speed stick, and 17-inch alloys. Stepping up to the $32,795 Sport Package adds LED low beam headlights, sunroof, Subaru Rear/Side Vehicle Detection System (SRVD), 8-way driver’s seat and halogen fog lamps. The $36,095 Sport-Tech Package ups the ante with 18-inch alloys, upgraded suspension, leather, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment with navigation, proximity key with pushbutton start and Harman Kardon audio.
Still a little tame? Then you’re ready for the legendary WRX STI. This hyper version is solely focused on one thing – raw speed – be it in a straight line or more preferably, up and down, zigging and zagging, and dirty and sideways. Comfort, refinement and isolation be damned. The $37,995 entry fee nets a 305 hp, 290 lb-ft 2.5L turbocharged flat-four that sends its anger through a six-speed manual to all four wheel via a trick, adjustable AWD. The STI feels faster than its advertised power.
The $40,795 Sport Package apes that of the WRX - LED low beam headlights, sunroof, Subaru Rear/Side Vehicle Detection System (SRVD), 8-way driver’s seat and halogen fog lamps. Plus a rear spoiler you can hang your laundry on. Luxury and tech goodies found in the $45,395 Sport-Tech package add a veil of civility to this highly focused instrument of speed.
New for 2016 is the limited edition $41,895 WRX STI Hikari. This one gets Hyper Blue paint, black-finish 18-inch forged BBS alloys, leather/Alcantara with blue stitching, sunroof and 6.2-inch touchscreen.