2015 Subaru WRX Review

The 2015 Subaru WRX is the car nine out of 10 successful armed robbers prefer as their getaway car of choice. Essential to own if you’re planning a bank job any time soon. (Also relevant if you just want to own one of the best value performance cars of all time.)

The 2015 Subaru WRX is pumped right up in the technology department. The 2015 Subaru WRX has a direct injection 2.0-litre horizontally opposed 'boxer' four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual gearbox (up from five in the predecessor) and Subaru's trademark symmetrical all-wheel drive system. The price of the 2015 Subaru WRX has been slashed by a grand (compared with the previous model) and there’s even an automatic option - for the first time in 10 years. That's an eight-speed manual-mode paddle shifted Sport Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission. 


SUBARU WRX IMAGE GALLERY - click to enlarge


The first thing you notice about WRXs is: they just feel like they're Velcroed to the road - the grip is just immense, in all conditions. They're supremely fast point-to-point cars.

Like all its predecessors, the 2015 Subaru WRX's drive is delivered to all four wheels all the time, and that boosts control - especially when grip levels are low: like on gravel and wet bitumen. The transition from grip to slip is very progressive - on every surface.

The 2015 Subaru WRX's Symmetrical All-wheel Drive system means the power delivery is very forgiving. The only downside is: you're never going to have a slow loss of control crash in a Subaru WRX. If you lose it, it's going to be monumental.


This 2015 Subaru WRX is the car that changed my tune on continuously variable transmissions. We’re talking ‘handbrake turn'. Hat-eating time. I withdraw without reservation all the nasty things I said previously about CVTs. Ride-on lawn mowers: Did I actually allege that?

This 2015 Subaru WRX in this video is the six-speed manual; I drove the 2015 Subaru WRX CVT last week. Give me the CVT every time: the power delivery is just seamless. There’s no lag. None. The manual actually seems clunky by comparison. Maybe manuals really are dead.

I’ve never liked CVTs. But I'd want to own this Subaru WRX CVT. I never thought I'd say those words - without using 'in my worst nightmare' in the same sentence. But there you go. Have the 2015 Subaru WRX CVT wrapped and sent to my room.



Australia is the third biggest market in the world for the Subaru WRX. There are almost 40,000 of them running around on our roads after 20 years on sale - minus, of course, the ones that have been crashed. This 2015 Subaru WRX is bigger, better equipped and safer - it’s the safest Subaru ever, scoring 35.85 out of 37 for the combined ANCAP crash-test score. It’s also cheaper.

The most amazing thing about the Subaru WRX isn’t the grip or the performance. It’s the price. The accessibility. WRXs have been a salient feature of Australian roads for 20 years. They give you Porsche performance on a beer budget.

20 years ago, the base model Subaru WRX cost $42,000. Today, it’s $39,000. But we’ve had two decades of inflation since then. When you factor in inflation over that time, a 1994 Subaru WRX actually cost more like $70,000 - in today’s dollars. And, compared with this car, it was a real junior burger.

It’s impossible to be anything but overwhelmingly positive about such a capable, comfortable performance car that’s just better in every respect than 20 years worth of its predecessors. If you spent your entire life driving Corollas and then you drive this 2015 Subaru WRX it’ll terrify and thrill you in equal proportions. It’ll come as something of a shock to learn a car can actually do the kinds of things a 2015 Subaru WRX can do. It’s better than fiction.


But the Japanese still can’t help themselves. They’re so out of touch from time to time. There’s an ‘eco’ indicator in the 3.5-inch LCD in the instrument cluster. Who cares? And there’s another eco indicator in the multi-function display in the centre of the instrument panel. Unless both eco indicators just say ‘Environment: get stuffed’ with perhaps a middle-finger salute to a tree, as a graphic, they’re kind of misplaced in a car like this. Nobody intends to save the planet in a WRX. Penny Wong’s not going to drive one any time soon.


But there’s relevant technology too. The body structure is very stiff. And you can feel it - the benefits are hugely under-rated. Because it’s just not sexy technology. But it makes the car so predictable in extreme handling situations - or at least it allows the engineers to tune that predictability in. And it’s got active torque vectoring - gotta give that 13 out of a possible 10. It works like this: You tip the Rex into a bend, hard, and you’re near the cornering limit. The computer applies the brake automatically to the inner wheel. Not enough to slow you down. Just enough to distribute more drive to the outer wheel, which is fully loaded up, thanks to inertia. And that just gives the steering wonderful neutrality, even when you’re going really hard. Torque vectoring is an extension of stability control - at least it puts the same hardware to a different use. But the really cool thing is: you can enter ‘traction mode’ and that cancels stability control, but leaves torque vectoring active - which is just right for having a red hot go on a track day. If you want to void your insurance, and your warranty. Or practise for a bank job.



That’s really the dichotomy of Subaru WRX ownership. It’s like having a thoroughbred racehorse, and riding it through a regulated system that’s compatible only with worn-out nags and the kinds of covered wagons they used to colonise the American wild west. Another way to look at this whole WRX-owning proposition is: the 2015 Subaru WRX will shred your licence faster than just about any other $40,000 car, unless you bring to the table a highly developed sense of self-restraint.

Of course, if all you really want to do is knock over the local National Australia Bank and get home before lunch - without a police escort - then the 2015 Subaru WRX is a pretty elegant solution. So - bank robbers, form an orderly queue to the right: If you want a new 2015 Subaru WRX, and you don’t want to get ripped off by a dealer (And I’d rather deal with bank robbers every day, than dealers. At least bank robbers are honest about the intention to rob you.) Where were we? If you want to sidestep the rip-offs, click here >>

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