The 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX and STI are direct rivals to the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and Evolution.
Relative to the Evo, the STI has a much smoother and quieter ride, along with a roomier, more comfortable interior.
That said, even if the STI is as fast as the Evo, its more refined feel might spoil the edgy, go-fast sensation that some are seeking in a vehicle such as these.
The Twin Clutch gearbox in the Evo remains a standout in this class—the WRX and STI don't even offer an automatic option—and makes it more fun as a track toy, thanks to its quick shifts, done so well as to not interrupt the tires' grip.
The Volkswagen GTI and MazdaSpeed3 have front-wheel drive, which limits their appeal in some respects, even though they're both a blast to drive.
The Speed3 feels more like a tuner special, with sharp reflexes and a powerful turbo engine, yet it manages impressive interior comfort and refinement; the GTI, on the other hand, is the more sophisticated choice, with an almost luxurious interior.
Another more sophisticated-feeling choice is the BMW 1-Series M (!M), which is by some accounts one of the best, most fun-to-drive track vehicles at any price.
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|2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution / RalliartBrowse Used Listings||2012 BMW 1-SeriesBrowse Used Listings||2012 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings||2012 Subaru ImprezaBrowse Used Listings||2012 Volkswagen GTIBrowse Used Listings|
|17 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||25 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy|
|Turbocharged Gas I4||Gas I6||Gas I4||Gas Flat 4||Turbocharged Gas I4|
|Compact||Subcompact||Compact||Compact Cars||Compact Cars|
|4-Door Sedan Manual GSR||2-Door Coupe 128i SULEV||4-Door Sedan Manual i SV||4-Door Manual 2.0i||2-Door HB Manual|
|All Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Sedan||2 Door Coupe||4 Door Sedan||Sedan||Hatchback|