Since debuting in 2002 as a performance trim level for the Impreza, the Subaru WRX has been a dream of compact-car enthusiasts throughout the U.S. In 2015, the WRX became a standalone model with a new look but with the same level of desirability as before. We spent some time behind the wheel of the 2017 WRX and a summary of our findings is below.

Pricing and Equipment

Though they are among the most expensive compact cars on the market, performance compacts like the WRX offer a lot for the money. The base WRX starts out at $27,515 (delivery fees included) and comes standard with:

  • Seventeen-inch aluminum-alloy wheel
  • Projector-beam headlights
  • LED taillights
  • Sport front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Six-speaker audio system with 6.2-inch touchscreen

In addition to the base trim level, the WRX has two other trims with extra goodies: Premium ($29,815) and Limited ($31,815).

Performance Pros

Subaru WRX

Outstanding performance is what really makes the WRX great. It gets its attitude from a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that churns out 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of twist. Buyers can opt for a six-speed manual or a sport-tuned continuously variable transmission (CVT).

  • Massive pop from its horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine
  • Standard all-wheel drive for superb traction and perfect launches
  • Standard six-speed transmission to satisfy the traditionalist in us

Performance Cons

While it performs incredibly, the WRX doesn’t look like a real performer, and the suspension can be a little rough for a daily driver.

Interior Pros

We noted a marked improvement in the WRX’s cabin—an area that hasn’t been looked upon too favorably in recent years. There are more soft touch-points than ever before, and there is plenty of room for four adults. Further, a Top Safety Pick+ rating assures the WRX’s cabin is a safe space.

Interior Cons

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a performance car has a noisy cabin. However, we found the WRX a tad excessive in this department. The new models also lacks the roominess of the previous generation's hatchback body style.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Despite being tuned for performance, the features available with the WRX are impressive. Sure, the base model has all the goodies one would expect, but the upper trims and option packages can make the WRX pretty upscale.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

We expect road noise in a performance sedan, but the WRX is a tad on the obnoxious side. Some buyers may enjoy this noise, but we see the WRX as a more adult compact sedan and expect things like road and wind noise to be kept to a minimum.

The Bottom Line

The Subaru WRX's pricing makes it a reality for many performance-car buyers. What’s more, its adult design language and available high-end features make it a great option for those who want the performance without the racer looks of the Civic Si or Focus ST.