2009 Subaru WRX vs. Its Competition

2009 Subaru WRX

The MazdaSpeed3 is a sharply styled beast with similar turbo thrills, less turbo lag, and an equally roomy interior; economy is surprising, but front-wheel drive only means that torque steer can give unpleasant driving surprises—especially on less-than-perfect pavement.

Mitsubishi's turbocharged Lancer Ralliart is nearly as fast as the legendary Evo and a good match for the WRX, but its interior doesn't match the WRX's quality, and it, too, suffers from turbo lag.

The Chevrolet Cobalt SS is a surprisingly good performer, but also front-wheel drive; GM's new direct-injected turbo four is blistering and refined, handling is grin-inducing, and the low-rent interior is Avis abysmal.

Dodge's Caliber SRT4 melds a roomy, convenient hatch layout with good performance stats, but refinement is sorely lacking in every sense and the interior is down there with the Cobalt's.

The STi directly competes with the BMW 1-Series and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Compared to the STi, the Evolution is hard-edged, with a firmer ride but handling that's crisper in the tightest corners; the experience is a bit twitchy, and ride quality is barely good enough for daily driving.

The Evolution also has the advantage of a wonderful automatic-clutch manual transmission that's our favorite manu-matic option to date.

The 135i is a worthy competitor, but it has a somewhat cramped interior and rides like a bigger, heavier car; it's remarkably close in size to the 3-Series, and between the two TheCarConnection.com prefers the 3.

2009 Subaru WRX2009 Subaru WRXBrowse Used Listings2009 Chevrolet Cobalt LS2009 Chevrolet CobaltBrowse Used Listings2009 Mitsubishi Lancer DE2009 Mitsubishi LancerBrowse Used Listings2008 Dodge Caliber SE2008 Dodge CaliberBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
8.2
The 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX is a niche model that won't appeal to everyone; it's extremely entertaining, remarkably comfortable, and very safe, but might disappoint those who value refinement and frugality for the daily grind.
6.6
The price is right for the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt, yet most of its competitors offer a better overall value.
7.6
Mitsubishi refers to the 2009 Lancer not as an economy car but as a "compact sport sedan," and its appearance and equipment—especially for the top GTS model—support this designation.
7.0
The Caliber has a very practical layout and quite a few innovative features to get excited about, but it's lacking in driving enjoyment or refinement--even compared to its low-priced competition.
MSRP From   
N/A$14,990$14,540$14,965
Gas Mileage   
22 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy
Engine   
N/AGas 4-CylGas I4Gas I4
EPA Class   
N/ASubcompactCompactMid-size
Style Name   
N/A4-Door Sedan Base4-Door Sedan Manual DE4-Door HB SE FWD
Drivetrain   
N/AFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity   
N/A555
Passenger Doors   
N/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style   
N/A4 Door Sedan4 Door SedanHatchback
Transmission   
N/AManualManualManual