2009 Subaru Impreza WRX Premium

Andrew Trahan

Very often, the cars we receive from manufacturers are loaded up with equipment beyond what the average customer would order. It's enjoyable, no doubt, but sometimes I wonder if I'd have liked a car as much if it lacked some of the extras.

So it was nice of Subaru, after giving us a week with an SPT-enhanced WRX, to furnish us a control sample. And I can happily report that I enjoyed this basic version even more than the more expensive model.

Whereas the first WRX had a loud, booming note thanks to its $800 performance exhaust system, the standard version putters along like a humble, four-cylinder compact. That is, until you lay into the go pedal. Then the sound of a wailing turbo mixes with the rising hum of Subaru's venerable boxer-engine. Not a bad sound, to be sure.

Likewise, I found myself enjoying the smooth, if long throws of the standard five-speed manual more than I had the short, yet somewhat balky action of the STI-sourced shifter in the SPT version. There goes another $500. Otherwise, the drive experience was identical. Same lusty build up of turbocharged thrust, same willingness to step out and drift slightly through corners before clawing out a perfect line.

Alas, our vanilla WRX still comes in at a rather high $30k, but take away a few more options that don't affect performance, like navigation, a sunroof, and the fancy stereo, and you have a 265-hp, all-wheel-drive car with the added versatility of a hatch-back for just a bit more than $26,000 (you can save another $500 if you're willing to drive around in a goofy looking sedan).

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles