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The 2024 Subaru WRX:


It snuck up on me.

Headed into a 90-degree downhill turn on a lonely and poorly maintained county road, I knew I was coming in way too hot.

I immediately went into Alfred E. Neuman mode: What, me worry?

In my youth, I dipped a toe in rally racing and later was an enthusiastic fan of Subaru’s WRC—World Rally Cup—cars. Subaru won five championships between 1993 and 2003 and still holds the manufacturers’ record with 46 international rally wins.

Outstanding balance, brilliant chassis designs, bullet-proof boxer engines, and active torque vectoring let Subaru dominate the field until the bean counters got their way, and the company withdrew from WRC competition in 2008.

In the immediate instance, I had spent enough time behind the wheel of a 2024 WRX TR to know its Brembo braking system would dial down the speed quickly and that Subaru’s legendary torque vectoring would simultaneously help turn the car while getting traction to all four wheels.

When a vehicle turns or corners, the outer wheels cover a greater distance than the inner wheels. Torque vectoring systems compensate by varying the torque applied to each wheel based on predicted grip and traction.

Deliberately, I hit the brakes firmly enough to initiate a power slide. A split second later, I punched the gas. All four wheels grabbed the tarmac, and we shot out of the curve like a leopard in pursuit of a wildebeest. 

Off we went, worry-free. (Just like Alfred E. – Ed.)

Honoring heritage

The 2024 WRX’s character reflects its heritage of high-performance, all-wheel-drive dominance. Subaru has not rested on its laurels. The latest iteration boasts enhancements designed to elevate performance and everyday drivability.

The centerpiece is a new 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four engine churning 271 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. While not the absolute quickest in its class, the WRX prioritizes a thrilling mid-range powerband, perfect for darting between corners. 

Our tester had a clutch and six-speed manual transmission, which worked beautifully with the all-wheel-drive system. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available for those not comfortable rowing their own oars.

We found the six-speed felicitous. While negotiating curving roads at speed, the car earns its living in third and fourth gears. Second works well for exiting a tight turn, and fifth and sixth are employed when reaching top speed on long straightaways.

The 2024 WRX squares off against rivals like the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Elantra N. All vie for the hearts of driving enthusiasts, offering a blend of practicality and performance at a sub-$40,000 starting price point. 

The WRX, which starts at $33,855 delivered, positions itself as a value option, especially considering its standard all-wheel-drive advantage. Our WRX TR – at $42,907 – came with an extensive list of performance enhancements; it’s one of the best pocket rockets money can buy.

Upgrades include Brembo braking with 6-piston front calipers, 2-piston rear calipers, larger pads and rotors, and a larger brake master cylinder. Stiffer springs with crisper damping rates and a retuned dual-pinion steering rack improve body control and steering response while maintaining ride quality. 

The WRX TR also comes standard with exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels paired with Bridgestone Potenza S007 summer performance tires for enhanced grip and braking performance.

WRX TR models come with Recaro® front seats that keep driver and passenger solidly in place during performance driving. A Y-shaped design at the center of the seat backrest embodies a design concept to support the sides and shoulder blades. 

Strengths and weaknesses

Strengths include all-wheel-drive prowess, a communicative steering feel, and a well-sorted suspension that inspires confidence on twisty roads. However, a few reviewers lament the lack of the signature “rumble” from the exhaust, a casualty of emissions regulations. Additionally, the brakes can feel spongy under hard use, and turbo lag can be noticeable at lower revs.

Cabin considerations

The WRX’s interior prioritizes functionality over luxury. The cabin is comfortable for everyday use, but some reviewers find the materials cheap. However, the seats are well-bolstered, and the infotainment system, while not class-leading, offers the necessary features with user-friendly menus.

The WRX’s cargo space is about average for a compact sedan, offering 12.5 cubic feet. As with most performance-oriented cars, the WRX is not for towing.

Safety and Security

This year, Subaru made its EyeSight system standard on all WRX trims. It includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering, automatic emergency braking, lane departure prevention, and pre-collision brake assist.

Fuel economy estimates for the WRX are 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with the manual transmission. Opting for the CVT nets slightly better at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Reliability, Warranty, and Depreciation

Subaru has a well-deserved reputation for reliability, and the WRX should follow suit. Projected depreciation falls within the industry average for performance sedans. Subaru provides a comprehensive 3-year/36,000-mile warranty with roadside assistance.

The Final Shift

Reviews agree that the 2024 WRX is a compelling option for driving enthusiasts seeking a fun, engaging daily driver with a rally-bred pedigree. 

While rivals might offer more outright power or a more luxurious interior, the WRX delivers a compelling package that prioritizes driver engagement and all-weather capability at a competitive price. More practical choices are out there, but few are more fun.

In four decades of journalism, Bill Owney has picked up awards for his coverage of everything from murders to the NFL to state and local government. He added the automotive world to his portfolio in the mid '90s.

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