While there aren’t many three-letter words that will make your heart beat quicker, the Subaru WRX’s name comes close.
Okay, WRX isn’t technically a word, but driving enthusiasts everywhere know what it means just the same: a level of all-wheel-drive performance few small sedans can match.
The excitement centers on a 268-horsepower, 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox or an available CVT automatic. Turbocharging gives this motor a powerful kick-in-the-seat-of-your-pants quality when the tachometer needle starts to climb.
As you’d expect, the ride is firm, but you don’t buy a performance-oriented model like this for comfort. Its strong suit is handling that is above reproach. Precise steering makes the WRX feel even more responsive. The all-wheel-drive system only enhances the engaging driving experience.
In short, the WRX is an AWD car that will give you confidence in bad weather and gobs of fun once the roads dry out.
- All-wheel drive improves performance in a variety of conditions.
- Sport-tuned suspension/steering equals outstanding handling.
- Standard summer tires are not suitable for winter use.
- Surge of acceleration when turbo kicks in impairs low-speed drivability.
- Not particularly refined, but the WRX is well suited to folks who enjoy a spirited drive.
- Base Price: $27,495
- As Tested: $35,259
- NHTSA: Not yet tested.
- 21/27 (2.0L turbo/6-speed manual transmission)