2014 Subaru WRX Review

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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Davis Adams Davis Adams Contributor

The 2014 Subaru WRX and STI lack an automatic transmission and decent fuel economy, but they're fun to drive in just about any weather, and they're comfortable for long commutes, too.

The Subaru WRX and STI are performance sedans and hatchbacks that have a few things in common with Subaru's Impreza. The body may be similar, but these cars are Subaru's fastest performers, thanks to a turbocharged four-cylinder and standard all-wheel drive.

Strong engines, excellent handling and traction from all four wheels make for a magical combination here. You can drive these cars spiritedly in snow, on gravel or down the highway, and they're happy in every instance. If you're shopping for a high-performance racer and live in the snow belt–or if you just have a hankerin' for rally races–chances are you can stop reading now. These are the cars you want to consider.

In case you don't, we'll dig deeper into why the WRX and STI work so well. With strong turbocharged flat-four engines, roomy interiors, a comfortable ride, and a good reputation for safety, these models continue to offer both strong performance and are an impressive value for the money.

Simply put, the Subaru WRX is quick, while the STI is even quicker. But there are plenty of other differences in the STI that make it a worthy upgrade for focused enthusiasts. Both models share the same 2.5-liter engine displacement, with the WRX making 265 hp and the STI getting a 305-hp version (and a six-speed manual versus a five-speed). But the STI's sharper tuning and Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) extracts the most from the powertrain and the chassis. Between sedans and hatchbacks, all else the same, performance is equally rewarding. There's one potential issue for some shoppers, though: No automatic transmissions are available. To many driving enthusiasts, that's how it should be.

The two engines are only 40 hp apart, but they're tuned quite differently. The WRX is more tractable in all-round usage, while the STI is harder to drive smoothly; it needs to be revved and driven hard to extract its potential.

The WRX and STI models both carry over to 2014 in sedan and hatchback body styles with no significant styling changes versus 2012. 2011 had been a big model year for these models; that's when the WRX got the wide-fender look that had been previously reserved for the top-performance STI. The WRX and STI remain divorced from the more pedestrian Impreza, which got a long list of changes last year that made those models more unanimously good-looking--albeit in a more mass-market kind of way. The down side of this separation is that the WRX and STI are left with interior trims and switchgear that now feel slightly behind-the-times.

The WRX comes in base, Premium, and Limited models, with navigation available at extra cost on Premium and Limited models. STI models come in base and Limited models, with navigation available on both. The STI hatchback is an exception; it's offered in a single trim. Top Limited models include a moonroof, fog lamps, heated power mirrors, a windshield-wiper de-icer, and heated leather seats. Aha Radio is now part of the navigation package for 2014, should opt for it.

 The racing-style bucket seats hold the driver and front passenger firmly in place, but the fixed headrests in the STI project forward at an uncomfortable angle.The STI models get fancier black Alcantara trim and upholstery with red stitching, front and rear, though the rear seats remain the standard-issue item from the regular Impreza. In either of these models, rear-seat space is remarkable for a compact car, with oceans of headroom even for those with tall torsos. Cargo space is respectable, but a rear seatback that won't fold completely flat and a trunk (in the sedan) with a floor that's not flat are sore points.

Considering they're performance models--with crisp handling response--both the WRX and STI handle bumps, potholes, and coarse surfaces with aplomb. We've noted some engine rumble and wind noise from the side mirrors, but otherwise it's very quiet in the cabin. The STI's considerably louder (lower and pulsating) exhaust note isn't obtrusive while cruising, though you'll notice it when accelerating.

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February 1, 2015
For 2014 Subaru WRX

Best car ever!

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Feels like you're driving on rails. Super responsive and a joy to drive.
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October 13, 2016
2016 Subaru WRX 4-Door Sedan Manual Limited

Good, safe car overall.

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Overall it is a good car. Safe, reliable and good gas mileage when it's driven sensibly. I get over 31mpg from a sportier car. Subaru is known for their safety and it doesn't lack on the WRX. I was considering... + More »
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June 13, 2016
2016 Subaru WRX 4-Door Sedan Manual Limited

fun to drive,great all weather beast

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great performance value for the money. a blast to drive. but for 33k i think it should have push to start / comfort access. the stereo stereo is low quality and difficult to hear over the excessive road noise-... + More »
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May 7, 2016
2016 Subaru WRX 4-Door Sedan CVT Limited

Amazing progress by Subaru

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I previously had a 2002 WRX for 15 years and it was rock solid in reliability with an acceptable if bare bones interior, and pretty good performance. Upgrading to a 2016 was an eye opener, Subaru now do a... + More »
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January 17, 2016
For 2016 Subaru WRX

I have my dream car -- an STi -- for 6 months now.

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My introduction to the WRX came in 2004, when I bought a black one. I didn't have enough money to get an STi. Fast forward more than a decade...this past July (2015), I was able to buy a 2016 STi Limited, and... + More »
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August 20, 2015
2016 Subaru WRX 4-Door Sedan CVT Premium

So much fun to drive who is looking at the inside of the car.

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I have been driving this car for several weeks now and absolutely love the performance. Acceleration and handling are astounding. Fuel economy is what you make it. The interior is well appointed, but had a few... + More »
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May 23, 2015
2015 Subaru WRX 4-Door Sedan CVT Limited

A four-door sedan that's a riot to drive....!

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Would have liked more performance options on the CVT WRX.....brakes, wheels and horsepower.
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April 28, 2015
2015 Subaru WRX 4-Door Sedan Manual

Power with great gas mileage

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While many may know about the WRX, this car is slightly different than previous models mainly due to the new Direct Injection engine. This in turn gives you the same great power as well as AWD that we all know... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2015 Subaru WRX 4-Door Sedan Manual Premium

More fun to drive than cars twice the price

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The redesign on this car makes it even more of a great value. The multifunction display gives you information on how you drive, performance, gas mileage, media and much more. It truly feels like I'm driving a... + More »
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February 9, 2015
For 2015 Subaru WRX

Fun and easy on the wallet

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Love that its practical, a manual, and it feels like a sports car. The base model gives all the performance and enough luxuries to warrant the price.
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