Getting behind the wheel of this 2019 Subaru WRX is like reuniting with an excellent pal. This technology of the WRX, in spite of everything, launched in 2014 and has had solely gentle adjustments since. For the 2018 mannequin 12 months, Subaru restyled the automotive’s fascias, tweaked the suspension and fettled with its clutch and gearbox. For 2019, the one actual adjustments are an upgraded infotainment system and the launch of the Sequence.Grey special-edition package deal seen on this take a look at automotive.

Identical to an outdated pal, the WRX has each its charms and its annoyances. Nonetheless a screamer on a backroad that’ll ship massive driving enjoyable, it additionally nonetheless feels a smidge behind the instances when it comes to issues like refinement, gasoline effectivity and expertise in comparison with its competitors. That is not a purpose to keep away from the Subaru WRX, however quite a byproduct of its take-no-prisoners angle to sportiness. And maybe, above all, that is a part of the WRX’s allure.

Excessive-performance enjoyable

Sequence.Grey is the newest in a protracted line of special-edition packages from Subaru that focus extra on aesthetics than precise efficiency. For $three,100, you get Cool Grey Khaki paint, which appears to be like blue quite than grey; black, 18-inch wheels; blacked-out badges and mirrors; plus the addition of push-button begin and LED fog lights. It is a fairly sharp look, and provided that Subaru will solely promote 750 WRXs so outfitted, followers will certainly recognize the package deal’s restricted nature.

The package deal doesn’t, nevertheless, deliver any main mechanical tweaks. It is primarily based on the WRX’s present Efficiency package deal, which means the automotive does with no sunroof, to save lots of somewhat weight, and provides upgraded Jurid brake pads behind the 18-inch wheels and Recaro bucket seats contained in the cabin.

Not that tweaks are wanted to the WRX’s efficiency. With its turbocharged, 2.Zero-liter, flat-four engine serving up 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, it furiously pulls via its gears. The notchy, mechanical really feel of the six-speed guide and the aggressive clutch enable for swift work dispatching all that energy. And, as is the WRX’s calling card, normal all-wheel drive means you’ll be able to unleash the engine at any time.

Regardless of plenty of lag and a few low-end surging, the WRX’s turbo engine has loads of punch.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

That mentioned, there is a massive distinction within the engine’s on- and off-boast efficiency. Catch the engine unawares at low revs and it’d stumble and hesitate for a bit. Then as soon as the revs swing up and turbo kicks in, it does so with an enormous slingshot-like impact via the engine’s midrange. With peak horsepower arriving at 5,600 rpm and dropping off precipitously after, short-shifting the WRX beneath its 6,700-rpm redline is not any massive deal.

Fast steering with plenty of driver suggestions makes cornering thrilling, too. The WRX’s suspension is stiff and firmly damped, so the automotive digs in eagerly when the street will get twisty. It is fairly arduous to upset the chassis, which retains its poise regardless of how tough the street or aggressive your inputs. And the non-obligatory Recaro seats do an inexpensive job of holding me in place, with out being too cumbersome to get out and in of. All of it makes for a automotive that feels at its finest when pushed arduous and thrashed via the gears.

The downsides

As to dwelling with it on a regular basis? Nicely, the Subaru WRX lacks the polish of some its finest rivals. The suspension jars and bounces over the street, the engine drones at freeway speeds and the cabin is general fairly loud — flip that radio up increased than you anticipate.

Black badges and this paint shade assist distinguish the Sequence.Grey fashions.

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Metropolis driving is the WRX’s weakest level for 2 causes. First, the on-off nature of the turbo engine makes for less-than-smooth progress and might generally depart you wanting for energy when you’re not immediate in your downshifts. Furthermore, even after the tweaks for the 2018 mannequin 12 months, the clutch take-up is grabby and the shifter comparatively high-effort. After all, we do enable for efficiency automobiles to be somewhat trickier to drive than on a regular basis commuting machines, however the WRX is somewhat rougher across the edges than, say, a Volkswagen Golf R, to say nothing of FWD rivals just like the Ford Focus ST and VW GTI.

Its gasoline financial system is missing, too, contemplating its energy outputs. Rated for 21 miles per gallon metropolis and 27 mpg freeway, the WRX is somewhat thirstier than the equally highly effective and likewise AWD-equipped VW Golf R (21/29 mpg with a guide transmission). Unsurprisingly, it additionally drinks excess of FWD rivals. Once more, for fanatic drivers, this may not be a make-or-break knowledge level within the resolution to purchase the Subie.

Regardless of the fuel-economy penalty, it is value remembering AWD is an enormous promoting level for the WRX. Stick some applicable rubber on the Subaru and you’ll hold having fun with the automotive’s efficiency all winter lengthy. It is no surprise the WRX is so widespread within the Snowbelt. (My very own web search historical past typically options “subaru wrx used” round this time of 12 months.)

The WRX nonetheless has the inside design from the last-generation Impreza, not the most recent mannequin.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Practical, quite than attractive, inside

The within of the Subaru WRX instantly reminds that there was a schism between the common Impreza and the WRX; the place the previous is now on a brand new platform with a vastly improved cabin design, the WRX continues to be primarily based on the outdated Impreza. That implies that, regardless of plenty of shiny carbon-fiber bits, crimson accent trim and the aforementioned Recaros, the inside does characteristic lots of arduous and coarsely grained plastics.

Visibility is excellent in each path, with a low belt line, skinny pillars and massive window glass virtually negating the necessity for blind-spot monitoring. The instrument cluster is no-nonsense, with massive analog speedometer and tachometer dials, plus a digital velocity readout. There is a small configurable journey pc within the cluster, in addition to a bigger, extra detailed show atop the sprint that may present every little thing from turbo increase to gasoline financial system.

A comparatively massive automotive for its class (it is over a foot longer than a Volkswagen Golf R, as an example), the WRX gives plentiful backseat head- and legroom. A generously sized trunk swallows 12 cubic ft of baggage, which is sweet, although lower than the trunk of a Honda Civic Si sedan.

The infotainment system has shiny and clear menus, with assist for each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The usual 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system works properly sufficient, although it has comparatively sluggish responses to inputs on the show. Help for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is built-in, as is SiriusXM satellite tv for pc radio, a CD participant and even integration for Aha and Pandora web radio. Larger trim ranges of the WRX could be outfitted with a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation.

Energetic-safety options are sadly in brief provide. Solely fashions with the WRX’s non-obligatory repeatedly variable transmission could be outfitted with EyeSight, Subaru’s package deal that gives precollision braking, adaptive cruise and lane-keeping help features. And blind-spot monitoring is obtainable solely as an possibility on the expensive Restricted trim degree. That implies that my Sequence.Grey tester has solely the federally required back-up digicam and no different security tech.

How I would spec it

My 2019 Subaru WRX could be the Efficiency mannequin, primarily as a result of I just like the Recaro seats and — do not choose — the red-painted brake calipers. Doing with no sunroof is a little bit of a disgrace, however I am going to inform myself that I can discover the diminished curb weight and decrease middle of gravity on the street. That will set me again $32,430, or rather less than my take a look at automotive’s sticker of $33,480. Pricing for the 2019 automotive stays moderately reasonably priced general, working from $28,080 (with vacation spot) for the bottom manual-transmission mannequin to $34,580 for the CVT-equipped WRX Restricted.

Irrespective of the configuration, the Subaru WRX is an absolute riot that’ll have you ever looking for excuses to go for a drive. Whereas it isn’t essentially the most polished or grown-up automotive in its class or value vary, its rawness, velocity and rally-car heritage proceed to make the WRX a beloved and cherished alternative for anybody who likes reasonably priced efficiency automobiles.

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