2015 Subaru WRX

What's new for 2015? The 2015 Subaru WRX is fully redesigned. Highlights include new styling based on the latest-generation Impreza, a new engine for the base WRX, a stiffer body structure with a retuned suspension, and a slightly roomier interior with higher-quality interior materials.

Ever since its debut back for 2002, the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX has been a cult favorite with drivers drawn to its considerable performance and affordable price. Now, for 2015, enthusiasts again have a reason to smile as a fully redesigned WRX arrives and, yes, it still offers massive bang for the buck. But Subaru also hopes this new 2015 WRX will gain an even wider audience, thanks to a slightly roomier cabin, increased performance and improved fuel efficiency.

As before, the 2015 WRX is based on the Impreza sedan, though Subaru has dropped "Impreza" from the WRX's name to signify a higher-performance bloodline. Compared to its humble relative, the 2015 WRX features a stiffer chassis, a retuned suspension and a major power increase. As a result, its performance capabilities are far beyond those of the standard-duty Impreza.

For that power surge the base 2015 WRX relies on a new, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It's smaller than the previous-generation WRX's 2.5-liter engine, but peak horsepower is up slightly -- now 268 -- and, more importantly, it makes more usable midrange power and returns better fuel economy. That power goes to all four wheels, naturally, but this time it's through a revised, torque-vectoring AWD system that improves traction and car control when driving out of turns. You also get your choice of two new transmissions: a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has steering-wheel-mounted paddles for manual-like shifting when the desire strikes. With either transmission, you're looking at a 0-60 mph dash of under 6 seconds, which is excellent for this class of car.

Exterior Highlights
High-performance sedan that seats five passengers. Available in base, Premium and Limited trim levels

The 2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI are high-performance sedans that seat five. The WRX is offered in base, Premium and Limited trim levels. The WRX STI is offered in base, Limited and Launch Edition trims, the latter limited to 1,000 units.

Standard WRX features include 17-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, cruise control, full power accessories, automatic climate control, sport front seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 4.3-inch central display, a rearview camera, a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio and a USB/iPod interface.

Upgrading to the Premium trim adds foglights, a sunroof, a trunk lid spoiler, heated mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer and heated front seats. The Limited model gains LED headlights (low beams only), leather upholstery and an eight-way power driver seat.

The base WRX STI builds on the base WRX's equipment list by adding a more powerful engine, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, foglights, Brembo brakes, front and rear limited-slip differentials, driver-selectable modes for the center differential and a more aggressively tuned suspension. STI Limited models add an eight-way power driver seat, lighter weight 18-inch BBS wheels, leather upholstery and a premium nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

The small production-run Launch Edition gets gold-painted lightweight BBS wheels, leather upholstery with simulated suede inserts, keyless ignition and entry and a short-throw shifter.

A touchscreen navigation system is available on all but the base model WRX. It also comes bundled with a 6.1-inch display, voice controls, smartphone app integration (Aha radio), satellite radio and, depending on the trim level, keyless ignition/entry and the nine-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. Other major options for the WRX and WRX STI include a performance exhaust, upgraded speakers and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Simple cabin design, multi-information display screen, rearview camera, spacious cabin, generous rear legroom, excellent outward visibility

Interior quality has never been the WRX's strong suit, but the 2015 WRX can claim to be the best of the breed so far. The cabin design is simple and straightforward and the controls are very easy to locate and use. The new 4.3-inch multi-information display atop the center stack relays audio, Bluetooth and climate control information, as well as a turbo boost gauge display, all-wheel-drive operation and the rearview camera.

On the upside, the cabin is spacious, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. One inch of added wheelbase gives the new WRX even more generous rear legroom. A new thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel imparts the proper sporty vibe after you slide into the firm, well-bolstered driver seat. The driver positioning is particularly excellent, as is outward visibility thanks to thin roof pillars and large side mirrors. Trunk space measures 12 cubic feet, a respectable figure.

Every Subaru WRX comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints.

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