2016 SUBARU WRX ADDS SAFETY, MEDIA UPGRADES
By Tom Crosby
After a full makeover last year, Subaru’s iconic WRX five passenger, four-door sedan – laced with racing DNA – adds for 2016 the company’s vaunted EyeSight safety package as an option along with upgraded media integration. The WRX remains one of those cars that whips around curves using all-wheel-drive all the time (Subaru’s marketing mantra), accelerates smoothly, and can make a racecar wannabe out of the average driver. And with ample head and legroom in the rear, it is now suitable for a family of four and versatile with a nice sized trunk that increases cargo space using 60/40 fold-down rear seats.
Our test drive sport-compact WRX Limited, top of three WRX trims, included the STARLINK navigation system, upgraded Harman Kardon audio, blind spot warning and rear camera functions plus EyeSight in a $4,095 combined option package, plus $1,200 for a Lineatronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The CVT, which can be driven in one of three STI performance enhancing modes, as well as normal S mode, can use manual paddles to increase gear shifts from six to eight for flawlessly smooth high-speed shifts. STI stands for Subaru Tecnica International, once the high-performance and motorsports development division of Fuji Heavy Industries, that competed in World Rally Championship races.
A more powerful WRX STI companion model tributes that heritage. This year 18-inch alloy wheels are standard, along with a front suspension that aids precise handling and road grip. Active torque vectoring controls yaw in curves to reduce understeer and enhance handling response.
Outside, a hood scoop and an integrated trunk spoiler provide a snazzy, sporty profile enhanced by the low ground clearance. Inside, soft black leather and trim provide a comfortable ambiance and a high-resolution 7-inch swipe/touch dashboard screen now offers smartphone connection to various apps and real-time traffic alerts. A booster gauge on top of the dash measures the turbo’s power inputs. Eyesight includes front collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance and independently operating, steering-responsive foglights to help illuminate curves. Also included are a Hill Holder function and a central console electronic parking brake.
Neat touches include metal gas/brake pedals and left footrest, an envelope band on driver extendable visor, a spare tire, an elevate center armrest (a $159 option), and easily manipulatable comfort controls beneath the dashboard screen.
With torsional rigidity increased 41 percent last year and the EyeSight system, the WRX receives top crash safety ratings.
LIKES: Handling, power, safety, profile
DISLIKES: Some minor road/wind noise
BOTTOM LINE: Attention-drawing, fun to drive and not many will own one
- Base price w/destination fee $31,190 (as tested $36,858)
- Curb weight 3,450 lbs.
- Wheelbase 104.3 inches
- Length 180.9 inches
- Width 70.7 inches
- Engine specs 2.0 liters, turbo-charged, intercooled, 4-cylinder
- Horsepower 268 hp at 5,600 rpm
- Torque 258 lbs.-ft. at 2,000-5,200 rpm
- Transmission CVT Lineatronic automatic with manual paddles
- EPA Rating 18 mpg city and 24 mpg hwy
- Range 15.9-gallon tank, premium recommended
- Performance 0-60 in 6 seconds