2012 Subaru Impreza WRX

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Flash Drive: 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX

This 2009 review is representative of model years 2009 to 2014.
By Staff of MSN Autos

The WRX is a blast to drive, with plenty of power on tap, which is artfully put to the pavement via sticky tires and all-wheel drive. The dual exhausts provide a powerful sound, and it’s easy to run through the five manual gears smoothly. Acceleration is impressive, as is the handling. Interior styling is nothing fancy but has nice sporty cues, including the supportive sport seats and aluminum pedals. Unfortunately, those pedals present problems when your feet are wet. My foot slid off the clutch several times — at the wrong time, that could be disastrous. The WRX also features a classic Subaru feature: hill holder. In theory, a system that keeps the car from rolling before you release the clutch sounds good, but there is no way to turn it off, and I found it to be more annoyance then helper. It is also worth noting that the stock tires are great, unless it snows — if the white stuff is on the road, swap to snow tires or keep it parked. –Perry Stern

Just one year into a complete redesign of the popular all-wheel-drive WRX, Subaru surprised everyone with significant performance upgrades, including a big boost in power to 265 horses, inching closer to the mighty STi. In addition to the extra ponies, the WRX receives upgraded suspension, bigger wheels and tires and aerodynamic body changes, and is available only with a 5-speed manual transmission, making the WRX quicker and more fun to drive than ever. The WRX doesn’t have the raw edge of the STi, but daily drivers will appreciate a little extra suspension compliance. Even so, this car is ready to rock at a moment’s notice, with all the upgrades combining to move it up a notch. If there was still any debate about the WRX’s status as a performance bargain, the latest performance tweaks seal the deal, with the WRX starting at $25K and coming in just a few dollars over $30K with premium package and navigation. –MikeMeredith

The new Subaru Impreza WRX is an affordable pocket rocket for five. It combines great acceleration from a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine and agile handling and stability from the all-wheel-drive system for a fun driving experience. In fact, the turbocharged power and great acceleration were too addicting and hurt my gas mileage. I averaged only 18 mpg in mixed city driving. Unfortunately, the steering felt too numb and needed less power assistance. Inside, there are quality plastics throughout the cabin. The controls are straightforward and minimalist. Yet, it was very difficult to reach the seat heating buttons, as they were in an awkward place near the central arm rest. The WRX has only 45 less horsepower and torque than the STi, yet it delivers almost all the fun and better fuel efficiency, making it a compelling alternative to its pricier cousin. –JoeChulick

The Subaru Impreza WRX has a bargain-basement feel to it that I wasn’t expecting. The engine sounds horribly scratchy when you first turn the key. There is less grip than I expected from the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, though this is almost certainly due to tire choice. And on the example we drove, the clutch was in desperate need of adjustment, as it engaged only at the very top of the pedal travel. Yet, the WRX is still endearing. It has the great “wubba wubba” sound familiar to fans of World Rally competition, and the engine offers impressive acceleration. However, cruising around town at a normal speed doesn’t make the WRX feel temperamental. –PaulHagger

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BB03 - 9/21/2014 1:18:28 AM