One Week With the 2020 Subaru WRX Premium Series White
When you can only have one car to do it all, is this special-edition WRX your best bet?
Plenty of new cars are quicker than the 2020 Subaru WRX Series White. There are also cars sharper, cars that sound better, cars that are more affordable, and cars with more caché. But for an enthusiast with $35,000 to spend, a need for four doors, and a modicum of practicality, there simply may not be a better car on the market than a 2020 Subaru WRX Series White sedan.
2020 Subaru WRX Series White: Pricing and Equipment
Our 2020 Subaru WRX Series White tester came to us with an MSRP of $35,259. That factors in the standard Premium's base price of $29,795, plus a mandatory destination and delivery fee of $900, plus the $4,200 Series White package (internally known as Option Package 14). Included in this special package are Ceramic White paint, red Brembo brakes, Recaro front sport seats, sport suspension with Bilstein dampers, black exterior trim, bronze-finish 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, and eight-way adjustable front seats. Body side molding was an extra $268, and a bumper applique was $96.
And of course, this includes the WRX's venerable beating heart, a 268-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four engine, in our case paired with a six-speed manual transmission. That power is split among all four wheels with Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, making for a potent and seriously grippy sport sedan.
2020 Subaru WRX Series White: Interior
Inside, the 2020 Subaru WRX Series White is fairly well equipped for its price, with a 7.0-inch center touchscreen display that includes Subaru's Starlink range of functions, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Heated front seats, automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, and a rearview camera are all included.
Ergonomics are one of the WRX's strong points, and we had no trouble quickly finding a comfortable driving position in the front Recaro buckets. The WRX isn't a large car, but the rear seats are spacious enough for full-size adults on cross-town jaunts, and the trunk has 12 cubic feet of capacity with the rear seats upright. Our slicktop WRX had no sunroof, giving two extra inches of headroom up front compared to a sunroof-equipped car (plus the advantage of not having all that heavy glass up on the car's roof).
2020 Subaru WRX Series White: Exterior Design
While some may complain that the WRX in non-STI form doesn't look aggressive enough, we appreciated the low-key Ceramic White paint and low-profile rear lip spoiler, especially when matched with the Series White bronze alloy wheels and red Brembo brake calipers. It's definitely a subtle performance look and, with a careful de-badging, the 2020 Subaru WRX Series White would make for an excellent sleeper. As it was, we got very little attention from other performance cars, which wouldn't have been the case in say, a red WRX STI.
2020 Subaru WRX Series White: Driving Performance
As good as the WRX Series White looks, we were even more impressed with the way it drives. There's a certain familiarity that comes with climbing behind a WRX of nearly any generation: the way the shifter operates through its throws, the relatively light steering effort that betrays the massively stable and grippy chassis, and the excellent driving position and frontal visibility—courtesy of fairly thin and well-placed A-pillars—that inspires confidence on twisty back roads with limited view of the route ahead.
Setting off on some of our favorite roads, we reveled in the powertrain. With 268 horsepower, the WRX doesn't feel rocket-ship fast as it once did to us years ago, and there's a bit of lag while you wait for the turbo to spool during around-town driving. But the car's meaty torque curve and all-wheel drive mean you can really make the most of what the car does have. As it sits, the WRX feels well balanced with a typical tendency toward understeer if you overcook a turn, but it's otherwise neutral overall, allowing for safe and tidy little four-wheel drifts.
We were also very impressed with the Brembo brakes, unique to this Series White trim level. Compared to the standard brakes, these have 0.4-inch larger discs up front with four-piston calipers as opposed to two-piston units. Out back, the Brembo discs are nearly a full inch larger in diameter, with twin-piston calipers replacing stock single-piston items. Brake pedal feel is excellent, not over boosted, with terrific modulation and not a single hint of fade when used fairly hard during spirited driving.
Especially on unfamiliar roads, the WRX is still a very quick, confidence-inspiring car. With ample power when then engine is kept on boil, and plenty of grip from the chassis and tires, it's a car that's always on the driver's side and which feels like it would take some seriously boneheaded driving to put a wheel wrong. The only gripe we have is that the clutch, similar to many other WRX models we've driven, is a bit vague in operation. Paired with the automatic hill hold feature (Incline Start Assist in Subie speak), we found ourselves sometimes using slightly too much or too little throttle to get moving, though we never did manage to stall the car completely.
Other gripes? While interior materials are fine for the WRX's segment, it's clear most of the money is given to the powertrain, leaving the cabin feeling a little less than premium. Then again, in the tradition of so many great performance car specials, it's not something to get hung up on when the car is so much fun to drive.
With the average price of new cars in general today hovering in the $30,000 range, the 2020 Subaru WRX Series White represents excellent value. And now that this generation of WRX is coming to an end with a replacement not yet completed, this is just about your last chance to put one in your garage. If you need the practicality of four doors and a decently sized trunk, plus the all-weather capability of all-wheel drive, and dream of owning a car that excites you, the WRX remains a no-brainer enthusiast's pick in a sea of boring cars. Just act quick if you're partial to the 2020 Subaru WRX Series White special edition package, as just 500 are available to buy in the U.S.
|2020 SUBARU WRX PREMIUM SERIES WHITE SPECIFICATIONS|
|PRICE||$34,895/$35,259 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve flat-4/268 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 2,000-5,200 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||21/27 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||180.9 x 70.7 x 58.1 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.0 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||150 mph (est)|