|Subaru Impreza WRX
| Subaru Impreza WRX
More Expert Reviews
| 2011 Subaru WRX
- Accelerates crazy fast
- Very comfortable seats
- Excellent handling ability
- Back seats accommodate passengers easily (not cramped seating)
- Really, really, really FUN to drive
- Bumpy ride could require a dose of Dramamine for passengers before riding on winding, bumpy roads
- Release handle for gas door quirky and frustrating
- Plastic interior dash and door panels feel like they came from a 1992 Corolla
I’ve driven a few Subarus, and have always liked them, but the WRX moniker has always escaped me. I found that any time I mentioned that I’d be reviewing a WRX, guys faces lit up like a Christmas tree. Is this something the female population misses out on? Is it not in our DNA to recognize the hot little sports car in hiding? Well, five seconds behind the wheel of this car made me understand the excitement that all of my male friends exhibited. Wow. Wow. Wow. Did I say “wow”? A very impressive driving machine. Subaru actually seemed to make it bluer than the bluest blue you’ve ever seen (not really my style), but it sure was a blast to drive!
Advertised: 19 in the city, and 25 highway (22 combined)
Actual: 23.4 mpg in mixed conditions (city, highway and heavy-footed driving) and 24.6 mpg highway
I found myself driving in ways I don’t ordinarily drive, just because I COULD. This could be bad, as I became very impatient and drove much faster and more aggressively than normal. But because I could… I did it! And it was fun. I giggled. The WRX handled so well and hugged the road so spectacularly, that I railed corners, frightening my passengers. I was forced to slam the brakes on when some clown turned in front of me, and they worked amazingly well (in the rain, no less). I took it to a dirt and gravel lot, turned OFF the traction control and drove around like a maniac, seeing if I could get the car to slide (I did). And I giggled a lot more.
It’s a rough ride. But it’s basically the type of ride you’d EXPECT from this class of vehicle. You want to feel the bumps in the road, the start of the slide, the way the car hugs the curves in the road, the traction the tires make when accelerating fast out of a corner, whether or not you can push it harder into that curve, or whether or not you need to back off and save your skin (and the car!). In short: you NEED to feel how the car interacts with the road surface.
Despite the expected rough ride, there didn’t appear to be any undo rattling indicating things coming loose or poor construction of the interior. The doors felt pretty light, but I didn’t have any issues closing any of them to where I felt I needed to slam them. The windows were smooth going up and down. The rear hatch (5th door) opened and closed easily. The seats were light enough that I didn’t have to struggle putting them down to fit my bike in, or putting them back into the upright position. The storage areas inside the cabin opened and closed easily. The rear cargo cover was a piece of cake to remove and put back in. The car seemed very well built, both interior and exterior.
Interior Comfort and Ergonomics:
Comfortable seating position, excellent visibility out of the windows, rear-view mirrors, etc. All of the controls were easy to use (once you figured them out!), and all within reach.
I really loved the matte display panel for the gauges! Such a simple solution for a nasty problem for when the sun shines in, blinds the driver with the glare, and suddenly, you can’t see how fast you’re going, the engine RPMs, etc. Safe and functional (and pretty sweet-looking).
The LED-illuminated front storage tray in the center console was the perfect place for my cell phone (although it didn’t prevent me from leaving it in the car on more than one occasion!). At least I could see it and get to it easily.
Even the back seats are comfortable and roomy-enough for the average sized person! Disclaimer: If you’re taller than the average bear, probably not a good idea to ride in the back! Besides, this is a car you want to drive, not spectate in!
The dashboard, center console and door panels felt like really cheap plastic. I didn’t expect it to be like butter, but the material should at least feel like “JC Penneys”, and not the “Dollar Store”.
Hate me if you will, but the aluminum pedals are a bloody nightmare when your shoes get wet. I happened to be testing the car when a pretty nasty storm hit, and despite trying to dry my running shoes off, my feet slipped on the pedals several times. Not good if you’re using a critical pedal at the exact moment you need it most (e.g. your brake pedal!).
Nits and nags:
The gas door release gave me fits. I had to pull on it at least 3 or 4 times to get the door to release. One time, I got in and out of the car FIVE times. I was afraid I’d break the release.
Aesthetically-speaking, it would be nice for the center cup-holders to have a sliding cover, so you could hide them away, keeping a smooth surface under your elbows.
The center console box (between the front seats) would do well to have the LED-illumination that the little front storage tray had. It was really tough to see in there (like when I was searching for the USB port that the owner’s manual described, but our model was conspicuously missing) without having to contort my upper body into a pretzel to avoid climbing in the back seat to get a better view.
With the lightness of the car and the turbocharger, the 265 hp 2.5 liter DOHC engine felt like a lot more horsepower than the numbers suggest. The acceleration was positively exhilarating! Due to the punchiness of the WRX, it was tough to keep at (or near) the speed limit and even harder not to drive like a jerk! The 17-inch (P235/45 R17) wheels kept the WRX attached firmly to the road surface as I zoomed around on-ramps, off-ramps, twisty roads in both wet and dry conditions.
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