I don't think people these days properly appreciate the sheer quantity of really fast and affordable cars presently on the market. Recession and fuel concerns notwithstanding, a guy or gal of reasonable means can choose from more than a dozen performance machines that will carve corners and do sub-six second 0-to-60-mph times without breaking a sweat. As a result of this veritable cornucopia of Ford Mustangs, Nissan 370Zs, and Dodge Chargers, some really good cars somehow become lost in the mix.
I think the current WRX is a perfect example of such a car. It is more or less dismissed by many enthusiasts for a variety of reasons - not as hardcore as the original, not close enough to the mighty STI, not enough power - that miss the fact that this is a whole lot of fun for not a lot of money.
Our tester, loaded with $32,779 in tasty go-fast options, was a total blast on the back roads. Precise, nicely weighted steering matches up with a similarly well-weighted clutch pedal for a wonderful tactile experience. As Phil noted, it's easy to get the back end to step out, but all you have to do to rein it in is stab the throttle a bit and let all-wheel drive sort everything out. Add in a wonderful, snarling exhaust note, and you have a car that allows you to pretend you know what you're doing without getting into too much trouble.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor