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Overview (Final Score: B)
The Subaru WRX, named for the World Rally Cross, is designed as a rally racing sports car that is road legal and capable of hauling up to five people. In everyday use it’s not as comfortable or as ergonomic as other sedans in the compact segment because, at its core, this is a sports car. Not a family hauler.
That said, the WRX is fully capable of hauling the family to the soccer game, grabbing some groceries and making weekend trips to grandma’s. Even if grandma happens to live at the end of a long stretch of unpaved road. Which would be the WRX’s preference anyway.
The 2018 Subaru WRX carries forward with changes made last year, coming in two flavors with several trim levels. The standard 2018 WRX is lower-cost and less complex than its more powerful, race-ready WRX STI stablemate. For 2018 a new front fascia, some steering and suspension tuning, and interior noise insulation are added to the WRX.
For those looking for a fun but practical sports car, the Subaru WRX definitely fits the bill.
What We Love About the 2018 Subaru WRX:
- A true sports car at its core, with fun driving as its focus
- Standard all-wheel drive is well balanced and practical
- Safety, reliability and daily usefulness help mitigate the sports car stigma
What We Don’t Love About the 2018 Subaru WRX:
- Standard WRX model outclassed by some competitors at similar price points
- Bare bones interior plays to the race car theme but makes it less market competitive
- Fuel economy may deter buyers interested in more practicality
Pricing and Value (8/10)
Considering its standard AWD and good versatility as a sports car, the base model 2018 WRX is competitive in its segment. A high resale value helps boost that competitive edge. Most buyers are more likely to be buying the Premium trim for the 2018 Subaru WRX, which offers more amenities and better accouterments for the cash paid. Again, high resale helps mitigate the somewhat higher cost versus competitors.
The STI model is tougher to gauge as a return on investment. Much of the appeal of a sports car lies in intangibles that are subjective to the buyer. The STI has few competitors when it comes to its design and capabilities, and also its well-vetted and mature off-pavement chops.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (68/80, 85%)
Direct apples-to-apples comparisons with the 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI are few and far between. Chief among them are theST and Focus RS, as well as the GTI and Golf R models. The Ford Focus ST is available as a hatchback, unlike the WRX, and has an all-wheel drive option. Price-wise, the WRX beats out the Ford when AWD is accounted for. The Focus offers a good drive dynamic, powerful turbocharging and a solid interior experience, but the WRX is sportier to drive and has a more track-ready feel. The comparisons are similar with the VW GTI, which is available as a hatchback only. Of the three, the VW has the best interior experience overall.
The WRX STI sees competition from the Golf R and Focus RS, both of which are price competitive in their AWD option. Of the three, the STI is definitely more competition-ready, but the value proposition and fun factor is better with both of the competitors given their hatchback size and better daily drive dynamic.
The final verdict is difficult, as it depends heavily on the buyer’s expectations, but we feel that the 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI are excellent choices for those who want the race credibility, excellent value and reliability of the Subaru brand, plus the extreme fun factor that is included with every WRX. The 2018 Subaru WRX is a fun little rally machine that definitely delivers on the good times. The fact that the family can come along for the ride is a great bonus.
You can learn more about the 2018 WRX in the FULL REVIEW now.