Smart and sporty 

A sports car seems like a great idea until you try to take it on a grocery run, or drive it in the snow. The 2017 Subaru WRX does everything a sports car can, but it’s still an all-wheel drive compact sedan that can handle trips to the corner, inclement weather, and much more.

For 2017, the WRX adds to its laundry list of features, making it even more compelling for drivers that don't want to sacrifice the sensible features they need for the sporty performance they desire. Base STI models gain automatic on/off headlights with wiper activation plus available blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. What's more, EyeSight® is now offered on the STI, but only on Limited trims. 

Performance

The WRX is essentially a hot-rodded version of Subaru’s compact Impreza, so while it may look like a regular small sedan on the outside, it’s packing some serious performance under the hood.

Powering the standard WRX is a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four engine, the same configuration used in every generation of WRX since the model was first sold here back in 2002. This latest version boasts 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. In true Subaru fashion, it drives all four wheels.

A genre-appropriate six-speed manual transmission is standard, while an automatic transmission is also availabe. It’s a CVT based on the ones used in less-sporty Subarus and adapted to the WRX to provide a better balance between performance and convenience. Each transmission also gets its own version of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system for optimum mechanical harmony.

The WRX is inspired by the rally cars Subaru used to enter in the World Rally Championship (which is what gave the car its name) and that still compete in rallycross events in the U.S. and Europe. Rallies take place on all sorts of terrain, making the WRX one of the few performance cars that isn’t fazed by rain or dirt.

While it may be able to tangle with BMWs and Porsches, the WRX is still a compact car, and that’s reflected in its fairly thrifty fuel consumption. With the six-speed manual, it gets an EPA-rated 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway),* and 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway) with the CVT.*

Next up is the Subaru WRX STI. It's the most performance-focused version available, and it comes packing a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. The STI also sports a beefed up six-speed manual, and it's the only transmission available. An EPA fuel economy rating for the STI is 19 mpg combined (17 city, 24 highway).*

Features 

The 2017 Subaru WRX is available only as a four-door, five-seat sedan. It comes in five trim levels split between the standard WRX and the more powerful WRX ST, with prices starting at $26,695.**

The WRX may be based on Subaru’s entry-level Impreza, but it features a much higher level of standard equipment, including a flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, STARLINK™ system with 6.2-inch display screen, automatic climate control, high-grip cloth upholstery with red stitching, 17-inch alloy wheels, and more.

Upgrading to the WRX Premium model nets all of the standard features from the base WRX, as well as a rear spoiler, fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, Subaru’s SI-Drive control system (for CVT-equipped models), sunroof, and an All-Weather Package, which includes heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, and windshield wiper de-icer.

The top WRX model is the Limited, which incorporates all of the applicable standard features from the base model and adds an upgraded STARLINK™ system with 7.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, and voice-activated controls, an eight-way power driver’s seat, leather interior, LED headlights, nine-speaker harman/kardon® audio system, dual USB ports, welcome lighting, and more.

WRX STI base models come with all the WRX Premium's features except the sunroof. It also comes with Brembo® brakes, front and rear limited-slip differentials, driver-selectable modes for the center differential, a more aggressively tuned suspension, and dual-zone climate control. 

The STI Limited adds the WRX Premium's sunroof and unique 18-inch BBS wheels, keyless entry/ignition, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and premium audio system with navigation. 

There are also several dealer-installed options available for both the WRX and STI, including a performance exhaust (for the base WRX), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, short-throw shifter, various carbon fiber trim, unique shift knobs, and interior lighting accents. Ask Herb Gordon Subaru for more details on these dealer-installed options. 

Design 

The 2017 Subaru WRX still offers the practicality of a compact sedan, but with the attitude of a true performance car. 

To elevate the WRX from its humble origins, Subaru has added front and rear bumpers with integrated spoilers—plus a distinctive side scoop—that are all meant to improve aerodynamics. The aluminum hood adds to the coolness factor with a functional scoop that feeds air to the top-mounted intercooler. At the back, the quad tailpipes will probably become a familiar sight to anyone looking to race this rally rocket.

On the inside, the WRX gets a touch of sportiness in the form of a leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed steering wheel, leather-wrapped shifter, and a special high-grip interior fabric with red stitching. The WRX also sports some great tech, thanks to a standard 6.2-inch LCD screen and an available 7.0-inch touchscreen.

Hauling boxes of Ikea furniture while power sliding is totally possible thanks to a 60/60 split-folding rear seatback. The WRX offers a maximum 96.6 cubic-feet of passenger space and 12.0 cubic-feet of trunk space.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Subaru WRX includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, front, front-side, side-curtain, and driver’s knee airbags, whiplash-reducing front seats. Subaru’s Rear Vision Detection System is also available as an option, incorporating blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert.

The EyeSight® camera-based safety system is also available. It uses a camera mounted on the windshield to enable adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a low-speed collision-avoidance braking system.

Verdict

Despite its sporty character, the 2017 Subaru WRX is a performance car that is also practical enough to drive every day. 

For more information, or to schedule a test drive, be sure to contact us online or visit Herb Gordon Subaru at 3161 Automobile Blvd, Silver Spring, MD 20904.

*EPA-estimated fuel economy. Actual mileage may vary.

**Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.

Image Credit: Subaru