Tag Archives: Review

2015 Subaru WRX Long Term Review Update – Car & Driver


Car & Driver has blasted through 40K miles of review testing of the 2015 Subaru WRX.  I’ve yet to read the review (I just woke up but will be reading through the review today while waking up to coffee).  I’ll update the post with my thoughts afterward.


This review just might help me better decide my next car purchase, as I’ve considered whether the 2015-2016 WRX would be a good choice of upgrade for me (considering that I’m coming from a 2011 STI sedan).

I want to highlight some of the article’s comments (the ones that jumped out at me).  I’ll add my thoughts on some of them, but some of the comments might not need any comments from me —

…the WRX offers lively steering, confident grip, and a flat ride that rounds off the jolt on sharp impacts just so.

This is great, as most people think that the WRX’s handling would be watered-down compared to the STI.  Remember, I’m comparing this car to my current ride.

By passing on the Limited trim, we missed out on a power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed upholstery, LED headlights, proximity entry, and push-button ignition.

This is interesting.  I hadn’t thought on which trim level I might desire.  My current car is a base model but offers enough options in base trim to make me happy.  I might desire the LED headlights, proximity entry, and push-button ignition, though.

PRICE AS TESTED: $31,290 (base price: $29,290)

That’s a pretty hefty price for a WRX.  I paid $34K for my STI and I can get a base 2015 STI for around the same price as I purchased mine.  The question is, is a 2015 WRX actually worth $29K?  Do WRXs have the same value retainment as STIs?

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual

This is good.  I also wanted to highlight that because Subaru also offers a CVT option for WRXs (not that I care for it…I just wanted to note that that’s not the version of transmission I care for).

Zero to 60 mph: 5.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.4 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 26.5 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.4 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 11.1 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 7.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.7 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 144 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 157 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.91g

That’s strong performance and is very close to pre-2015 STI stats.  That’s not saying that 2015 WRXs will offer the same track experience or road feel as pre-2015 STIs, though.

With the 1000-mile break-in cleared, we spun the engine to the 6700-rpm redline and dropped the left pedal with only a whisper of clutch slip. Then we did it a dozen more times looking for the quickest acceleration time.  We used this technique—combined with short-shifting into second gear at 5300 rpm—to great effect during an earlier WRX road test, recording a 4.8-second zero-to-60 time. Yet in more than a dozen attempts, our long-termer couldn’t quite match that feat. Instead it peaked at 5.0 seconds in the run to 60 mph and 13.7 seconds through the quarter mile with a trap speed of 101 mph. Not too shabby for a $30,000 four-door, eh? The chassis numbers were equally impressive with our WRX stopping from 70 mph in 157 feet and rounding the skidpad at 0.91 g.

The above is interesting.  I remember the ruckus that C&D generated in their testing procedures.  Not everyone is going to be willing to flog their car off the line at redline.  Mags don’t own the cars they test…they return them after testing.  And if an owner takes their car in for an issue and it is found that the cause of the issue was due to them launching the car in such a manner, the warranty claim will be denied due to abusive driving.  Another interesting tidbit:  the long termer couldn’t match the 4.8-sec 0-60 time…that’s certainly understandable, though, since atmospheric and road conditions may have been different (along with a different driver).

Drivers have called out the excellent electric power steering (which was first perfected on the BRZ) and a more polished cockpit. You won’t mistake the interior for a Volkswagen’s, but our staff has noticed better fits, improved finishes, and a quieter ride than in previous WRXs.

I wish everyone would be as generous in making such comments.  Most people expect every GTI competitor to have a similar interior as the GTI.  That’s not going to happen.  Besides, it is better to compare the new WRX to the old to highlight changes in the model-year…that’s the best way to measure progress, IMO.  VW’s interior is the exception, not the norm, obviously.

While the output of the turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four—268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque—is nothing to scoff at, power delivery is lumpy and peaky. We shift early in first gear for our testing because the power falls off above 5300 rpm. Lower in the rev range there’s a sudden surge of boost indicative of turbo lag. In an age when turbocharged engines are practically mainstream and their power curves have been smoothed out, this Subaru flat-four still drives like an R&D experiment from the early 1990s.

Hrmmm…that’s not a particularly good note.  I wonder if Cobb has smoothed this out (the lag and lumpiness that C&D claims is prevalent).  I’m not sure how this car can produce turbo lag, with it’s lag-lessening equipment such as the twin scroll turbocharger, which ensures the turbocharger begins to work low in the rev range (the car produces 258 lb-ft of torque at 2000 RPM).  But every WRX enthusiast knows that this particular engine is not a revver, which is why Subaru nuts usually shift earlier than 6K RPM.  USDM boxer engines are not particularly rev-happy.  The article only mentions the 1st-2nd gear shift, though…which makes me wonder if the ECU is limiting power in 1st gear (either on it’s own or due to purposeful mapping).  In fact, I think that the map might well be the cause, as someone else in the article’s comments mentioned “boost threshold”.  That’s not the first time I’ve heard someone mention that Subaru purposely limits the WRX so that it won’t overshadow it’s halo car, the STI.  So that lumpiness and lag are more than likely purposely implemented.  That still doesn’t explain the mention of the 1st gear limitation…is it just first gear, or is it gear-agnostic?

US-spec Alfa Romeo 4C loses nothing in the transition to U.S. trim

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition


The fact that the US-spec version of the Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t turn into a weighted-down pig of a car due to US-mandated requirements is pretty amazing!  In fact, the review states that the car being driven was particularly robust.

Although I’m usually pretty vocal about this car not being the end-all-be-all of hardcore sports cars (the car has been quite sensationalized), the car is gorgeous and I love the “lighter is quicker” concept.  It’s not the car I desire, but I’d be lying if I stated the car was ugly and not a driver’s car.

Another review is here (Automobile Magazine is the author of the article).

Rally Sport Direct’s 2015 WRX & STI Review

I’m going to let this video speak for itself, but Rally Sport Direct (RSD) has both a 2015 WRX and a 2015 STI that they’ve recently reviewed.  The review is more off-the-cuff in nature (it is not a technical review by any means). They’re also a good vendor to purchase parts from, too.

Without further delays, here it is!


2015 Subaru WRX STI: Everything You Need To Know — AFTER/DRIVE

This is the best 2015 STI review I’ve seen yet.

Why? Because it’s an honest review that explains where the real improvements are and how those real improvements translate into a great track experience.  It discusses things such as the stupid comments about the lack of a hatch…it discusses that issue with tact.  It discusses the active torque vectoring and shows a great example of how such tech helps drivers on track (there’s video footage of it kicking in when a driver is overshooting the apex of a corner).

I really liked how the three guys discussed the car and how they were rational when discussing the differences between the STI and WRX.  They gave solid feedback on why the STI was the overall better buy (not better value buy).

I highly recommend watching this video if you want see an unbiased and frank review.

Motor Trend – Quick 2015 STI Review

So Motor Trend got ahold of a 2015 STI and had just enough time to test the car’s sprinting capabilities.  The results?

13.1 @ 104.4 MPH in the 1/4th mile & 0-60 in 4.6 sec

Uhm.  That is damned quick (and fast, regarding the 1/4th mile trap speed).  That is really quick and fast for 305 HP.

Regarding the article itself, it sucked.  The article writer, Jonny Lieberman, promotes himself as a WRX guru but I really don’t think he knows all that much.  His reviews are never really technical and is almost always subjective (as well as WRX-biased).  He always compares the STI with the WRX (or the WRX with the STI).  The WRX is not an STI competitor, so I don’t know what his beef is with the fact that the STI is more expensive.  It should be more expensive…it is clearly the tool to have when it comes to a track-focused car.  Sorry, but the WRX is not going to cut it on the track (it never has)…not without major upgrades, at least.  But if you’re settling for a WRX and it’s good for you, then that’s good, but it is not the end-all-be-all of the Subaru line-up, no matter how you hash it.  I think most people try to justify their cheaper purchase by saying things like, “well, an STI is $8K more than an WRX…an STI has things I won’t need or use daily”.  They typically don’t understand that the $8K is giving you a whole different experience.

Jonny kept harping on the fact that the STI needed 50 HP more.  Really?  Why?  Because that’s what BMW and Ford does when developing new models?  It doesn’t *NEED* an extra 50 HP.  Subaru make a stock STI run 13.1 at 104 MPH without extra power….that’s a good thing.  Just because Mercedes makes a 350 HP turbocharged 4-cylinder vehicle doesn’t mean that Subaru should.  Mercedes is the ONLY car maker that’s generating 350 HP out of a blown 4-banger, and that car is very close to $50K.  Making such HP from such a small engine is NOT cheap and it’s not cheap to ensure the engine doesn’t grenade (the CLA45 AMG runs an insane amount of boost to make that power, too).  The 50-HP argument is ridiculous.

In fact, Jonny talked about the STI itself or even it’s competition, which isn’t a WRX or CLA45 AMG.  The article was highly subjective.  Why the hell do I want to hear his thoughts on the car if they’re jaded…I’d rather hear about the car itself, which I can form my own opinions about.  I don’t think that Jonny even drove the car.  I think he wrote about someone else’s experience but filled in the gaps with his “50 more HP” and “the WRX does the same thing but at a cheaper price point” rants.  It’s obvious he didn’t drive the car (not for review purposes, at least).

This isn’t the first article where Jonny was too subjective. There’s nothing worse than a writer who can’t stay subjective if his life depended on it.  I’m soooo glad I let my Motor Trend subscription lapse, because it only takes one writer to ruin the whole bunch of writing that MT does (IMO).

I think the 2015 STI offers extreme potential for it’s price range.  A 2015 Golf R is NOT going to be able to offer that level of performance…the new Golf R is a great step forward but I highly doubt it’s going to run a 13.1 quarter-mile or 4.6 0-60…they didn’t come close to that in the debut review estimates, either.  There is no other car out there (besides the 2014 Evolution) that will match the STI when it comes to price-to-performance, because the STI offers a LOT of performance for what’s pretty much chump-change.  They’ve also improved on every single STI owner’s complaint.  None of that can really be argued with, even if the engine is the same unit that has been used the last 9 years.

I think MT needs to let Jonny find a different job, because he’s not good at creating a good read.  He whines too much.   There was hardly anything he said that was good about the car.  Usually when I evaluate something, I try to think of three good and bad things about the product.  Jonny did none of this and went on an immediate “WRX is better” bend.  That is sad.   I might just skip over MT’s full review of the 2015 STI if I find that Jonny wrote it.

The Fast Lane – 2015 STI Press Release Review

Yes, I’ve yet another (rave) review of the 2015 STI.

No, I don’t agree with everything said, but I can appreciate their interpretation of the new car. The most I appreciate is the lack of whining of there being no hatch, it’s looks, and the fact that they’re still using the EJ257. As well, it was money when he said that the WRX and STI were like “night and day” different and that they are not the same and that there’s so much more to the STI than the $10K difference between it and the WRX. I need to copy that last sentence and paste it to IWSTI and other social media car sites, because it needs to be repeated!

I did not agree with them that it was probably not a good daily driver. I also didn’t care about their comparison of the WRX (they didn’t beat that dead horse as much as Motor Authority did in their review, though).

The video is below:

Another Press Release Review – 2015 Subaru STI


I liked this review much better than Motor Authority’s review that I posted about earlier. They focus much more on the STI (as they should) than it’s little brother (WRX).

Here’s what I gleaned from the review:

  • SI Drive now has memory (it apparently stores the settings in memory so that you’ll no longer have to place the car in S# every time you start the car).
  • Has a totally different suspension setup than the WRX (inverted struts?)…apparently handling is has improved a good bit.
  • Understeer has been dialed out…no more turning and the car continuing straight off the track (and you can actually see some slight oversteer at the beginning of the track session, in the Cork Screw).
  • Many people think the 6-sp transmission hasn’t changed…it hasn’t but it has been improved upon (the shift linkage now offers more ‘positive’ shifting).

I’ll try to post more as I find them.

Press Release Review of 2015 Subaru STI


Motor Authority and a few other e-mags have gotten their hands on the 2015 Subaru STI, conducting driving sessions on Central California roads and Leguna Seca. I’m not sure if I like Motor Authority’s article, though, because they talk more of the WRX than the STI. Car enthusiasts are already aware (or should be) of the WRX’s capabilities…we don’t need to hear of them in an STI comparison and the same thing didn’t occur within the WRX’s review.

Also, note that this isn’t a full review…this was still more of a glorified press release (the gamut of typical review tests were not run).

Of note, the review didn’t hint of overly abundant understeer or any glaring problems that should’ve been sorted. This actually wasn’t a bad review to read if you can focus solely on the STI-specific content.

Jalopnik Reviews 2015 WRX!

So, I discovered a recent review of the 2015 WRX by Jalopnik. It was an ‘okay’ review…read as a bit amateurish, IMO. There were a few comments I didn’t like (I left responses), such as, “this car looks boring” when they were discussing the Detroit Auto Show debut. When all you have to do is look at cars on display, that whole day can be boring, no matter what you’re looking at.

The review is here. I linked it because I’ve linked many others as well, but to be honest, this really wasn’t an exceptional review…it’s not that the car was “boring”, but more that the author’s comments weren’t really descriptive. They really didn’t test anything about the car…they just drove it around in snow for a week and commented on that experience. Meh…that’s not what I look for in reviews.