2016 Subaru WRX Review: A hatchback away from turbocharged nirvana

– Detroit, Michigan

I’ve got a mega soft spot for the Subaru WRX, faults and all. It’s certainly not a perfect daily driver, with its lackluster, loud interior, but it’s arguably one of the most compelling cars in the small performance segment. You get an aggressive, turbocharged engine, a fantastic all-wheel-drive system, and plenty of convenience features, all for around $30,000. Any complaint I have about the WRX is overshadowed by its sheer driving pleasure. The turbo-happy antics and rally-car-for-the-street engineering means the WRX can turn grocery runs and commuting into hilariously enjoyable experiences. I love this thing. Period.

Pros

  • In a world of endlessly adjustable driving experiences, the WRX is a breath of fresh air. There is no sport button. There are no suspension settings. There are no varying stages of traction control. You get in, and the turbocharged flat-four delivers 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels, and how much fun you want to have is directly related to the heft of your right foot and the quickness of your hands. Three cheers for enthusiastic simplicity.
  • To expand on that point, I love how perfectly set-up this car is from the get-go. There’s a super small smidge of turbo lag off the line, but then a wave of torque is available through the range in each gear. There’s no need to downshift to pass while cruising in sixth on the freeway, and your favorite back roads can largely be negotiated in third and fourth gears. The...