The road felt like a secret, but then, it always has. Tall firs and redwoods north of Santa Cruz, trunks like Grecian columns, pavement snaking through. The look is California as foretold, without the NIMBYism and housing insanity or any of the other stuff that makes so much of the Golden State feel like a cross between paradise and cruel joke. https://www.hagerty.com/media/new-car-reviews/review-2022-subaru-wrx-manual/
I own a 99 WRX (blue with gold, since you were about to ask) It’s excellent as a daily drive through traffic and my Australian cities’ terrible roads. Except my significant other refuses to ride in it. Too noisy, too stiff, not even a light for the vanity mirror on the passenger’s sun visor. All things you’re willing to look past when the thing drives so well. I drove a 2018 WRX not long ago, thinking of it as a replacement. Like you say above, the original was there, but muted. Boy racer grows up, or maybe just has a family. It was familiar, but still different. Slightly faster, but also significantly fatter. I didn’t buy one.
Best car reviewer in the business! Such a well written and entertaining read. I had a 2016 WRX 6MT and had many of the same thoughts. The 2.0 is a terrible motor and while the chassis was ok, it didn’t make up for the power delivery. I now drive a 2022 Outback. While I hate the CVT and have had to used well placed tape to defeat EyeSight (it’s downright dangerous), this car enthusiast actually loves the car. It has quick steering and and the 2.4 is well matched to the (terrible) CVT, gets to 60 under 6 seconds and cruises at 75 comfortably. It handles reasonably well and I can bomb down gravel national forest roads with impunity. It gets me to the best fishing spots and makes Home Depot runs. I wish Subaru would focus on driving and utility and not CVTs and driver assists, but some of that old Subaru DNA still exists in one of their most ubiquitous and derided models!
Love the insight & perspective. I traded the 2002 I bought new for a new MCS in 2004 due to the lack of precision of everything from the steering & suspension to the ride quality and have been continuously disappointed that Subaru couldn’t ever mange that extra bit of polish & tightening with successive iterations.
i owned an 04, 05, and then a 17. i had impulsively sold my 05 (WRB wagon with 5 speed, horrible decision to sell) and was looking to recapture the magic with my 17- which just wasnt there. very quick point to point especially with a cobb tune but absolutely joyless, miserable road noise, horrendous electronics and sound system, and bar none the worst shifter ive ever used. if i ever return to subaru it will be buying a 25 year old example- the positives shown brightly, the negatives were quirky.
Nicely written article, thank you. Our 1st Subaru is a 2015 WRX with the CVT. Maybe 2015 and later cars are for folks who have never owned a Subaru, I don't know, but I love the car. I've driven Vipers, Porsches, Corvettes, Challengers/Chargers and Mustangs, but to me our 2015 is a keeper. I think it's how you think about the car that makes it stick. It's fun in traffic, safe for anyone to drive, good in the snow, has four doors, easy to maintain and work on (for the most part), and not expensive. Try to make it more of a sports car than it is and you might well spend your money on a different car. I really don't care for the body cladding on the new car, and agree that they should not have made the car bigger. Smaller maybe, but not bigger.
It really shows how competition improves the breed - and how the lack of competition dulls the pencil. I loved the early WRXs - and especially the firebreather gatoreye / hawkeye STis - but the last WRX I drove, a 2020 6-sp, failed to raise my pulse even a bit. Part of it was the conservative styling, a bit of the rubbery stick, another portion the (relatively) quiet exhaust note. But the main offender was the car felt "middle-aged", a dad-bod of its former knife-fighting self. I really, really wanted to like it. But mass acceptance and lack of a direct rival has made it far more compliant and soft. WRX = Was Really eXcellent, sadly.
So hard to get excited over this car. It's barely more powerful or faster than previous editions. Meanwhile the competition it use to beat has surpassed it. A WRX was a world beater, now a Camry beats it. So sad to see what has become of Subaru. I enjoyed my WRX Wagon and my Legacy GT Wagon, all the recent CVT stuff has bored me. No Subaru replacements for those vehicles so they lost me as a customer.