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 WRX||2009 Chevrolet Cobalt||2009 Mitsubishi Lancer||2008 Dodge Caliber|
|N/ABrowse Used Listings||$14,990Browse Used Listings||$14,540Browse Used Listings||$14,965Browse Used Listings|
|22 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy||19 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy|
|N/A||Gas 4-Cyl||Gas I4||Gas I4|
|N/A||4-Door Sedan Base||4-Door Sedan Manual DE||4-Door HB SE FWD|
|N/A||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|N/A||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||Hatchback|