EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 15, 2014

New Subaru WRX is daring but refined

You need to juice the accelerator just once to develop a warm bond with the Subaru WRX STI. You feel affection for the car the first time your foot firmly depresses the gas pedal to make the energetic little sedan squirt away.

The small, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine in the STI is turbocharged, with an intercooler sucking off heat from the air that blasts from the turbo, increasing its density to give more oomph to combustion. Along with other performance enhancing measures that boost the engine to 305 horsepower, and aided by transmission tuning and rolling-gear design that also amplify speed, the WRX STI presses you against the seat back as it launches with unrestrained gusto.

The throaty grumble from the exhaust pipe is a nice touch too, exciting your ears the same way the sudden G-forces slam against your chest.

The STI is a special, higher-output version of the Subaru WRX. The WRX is an acrobatic speedster itself. Together, the Subaru WRX and the WRX STI depart from the formula that Subaru faithfully follows with its other models. In most cases, Subaru uses solid engineering and sturdy construction to produce all-wheel-drive sedans and wagons that are safe, useful, practical and long-lasting. In the WRX and the WRX STI variant, the car company elevates fun and fast-paced adventure.

New versions of the tough, zippy dynamos arrived in April as 2015 models. They are larger than the outgoing, 2014 models, with roomier cabins. The new WRX and its more-powerful variant ride on a stiffer underbody, which quickens their reactions and makes them more agile.

A new, electric power steering system is tuned to give the fast action of a tightly wound sports car. High performance front brakes are larger, for surer stopping. The WRX uses a new engine that improves fuel-economy while still providing 268 horsepower – less than the STI but enough to make a basic WRX hop. The six-speed manual transmission in the WRX is new, adding a gear from the previous year. A six-speed automatic transmission now rides along as an option, the first time WRX offers an automatic.

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