2024 Subaru WRX / Photo by Steve Rossi

Car Review: Subaru WRX A Sporty, Fun-To-Drive Unicorn

EAST HADDAM, CT – When it comes to natural selection within the automotive universe, Subaru’s WRX proves that Charles Darwin was right. Only those who have adequately adapted to their ever-changing environment will survive.

In what is now an age of uninspiring utility vehicles that are predominantly painted in somber grays, blacks, and whites, the WRX that I recently drove was a welcome breed apart as it sparkled in World Rally Blue Pearl. 

It’s also one of the last of its kind to offer utmost performance with an unparalleled fun-to-drive quotient, and at an affordable and attainable price point.

Yes! Thank you, Subaru, for not forgetting about us enthusiasts.

2024 Subaru WRX

The WRX remains a rally-inspired, all-wheel drive, compact sport sedan that’s derived from the Subaru Impreza idea. The nameplate is now in its fifth generation and has been built off an upgraded “global” platform since 2022. 

It’s stiffer and delivers even more precise handling. Unlike previous species, the sheet metal is now all its own and no longer derived from Impreza genes.

The WRX offers wonderfully neutral handling while retaining the original WRX World Rally DNA. For 2024, the suspension been recalibrated with stiffer springs and revised damping rates for even better dynamic control. This Subaru with a pedigree rides on high-performance 245/35 R 19 tires.

Subaru offers the WRX in five extractions. Base starts at $32,735 and goes to the high-end GT at $44,215. I had the good fortune to enjoy a WRX TR, which is the equivalent of the GT, but with a six-speed manual transmission – thank you again, Subaru – instead of a paddle-shift automatic. Its price is $41,665.

The TR includes all the good stuff like Recaro seats, Ultrasuede® upholstery with red stitching, steering responsive LED (light emitting diode) headlights and fog lights, a 504-watt Harman Kardon® sound system, an All-Weather Package with heated everything and more.

The WRX TR gets its thrust from Subaru’s 271-horsepower, 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine and has retuned power steering. The TR also includes upgraded six-piston Brembo front brake calipers (red) with 13.4-inch, cross-drilled discs (vs. 12.4 in non-TR models) and enlarged, 12.8-inch dual-piston rear calipers (compared to what was 11.4). 

Of course, like any self-respecting Subaru, the WRX features symmetrical all-wheel-drive with Active Torque Vectoring.

As you may be aware, I’ve never been a fan of Subaru’s hereditary gnarly and growly behavior. The good news is that it’s completely in context with the WRX’s ambitious bloodline, particularly with its sport-tuned exhaust and 35-series tires. 

In this unique case, it simply turns what’s normally an annoyance into appropriate white noise and the fact is, after a week, they had to pry it away from me. 

Having avoided extinction and adapted to the new world order, the WRX is fully complemented by Subaru’s latest safety systems. EyeSight® Driver Assist is now standard for the first time on all WRX models with manual transmissions. 

Supplementary cameras continually scan the road for unanticipated danger and essentially provide a wider field of vision. The extra set of eyes provides pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control and sway warning to detect driver fatigue. 

The system is supplemented by blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

Connectivity-wise, the potent Subaru pocket-rocket has very much evolved as well. Its STARLINK® suite brings a 11.6-inch multimedia touchscreen with it to control everything from audio to climate control, along with vehicle settings and features. Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming capability is combined with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for utmost onboard convenience. Safety and security services may also be had from navigation to roadside assistance.

2024 Subaru WRX

As a cutting-edge sport sedan for discriminating drivers who can appreciate its track-tuned performance credentials, it’s no surprise that the Subaru WRX has been recognized by IntelliChoice (by Motor Trend) for highest retained value in its 2023 five-year cost of ownership study. The fact that 94% of all WRX’s sold over the past ten years are still on the road also speaks volumes for its passionate street cred. 

Having weathered the recent automotive industry wars, WRX enthusiasts have evolved and earned the right to behave like Jeep Wrangler and Mazda Miata owners. They fittingly wave at one another along the road less travelled in celebration of this four-wheeled unicorn’s survival. 

(Photos unless otherwise noted as courtesy of Subaru.)

About Steven Rossi

Steve Rossi is an automotive engineer-turned-marketing communicator. With some 25 years in the industry, including three tours of duty in Detroit, he serves as senior columnist for "Antique Automobile" magazine. His work has also appeared in "Collectible Automobile" and "The New York Times." He holds 21 international speed and world automotive endurance records.

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