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COMFORT AND QUALITY | 8 out of 10
“Build quality is impressive, especially considering the price”
“neither model could be described as refined”
The new 2008 Subaru WRX sedan provides much more space than the model it replaces, and although the hatchback is slightly shorter, it’s now taller, with more headroom. “The added interior space is evident in both body styles, but you’re still not going to confuse the back seats with a stretched-out Barcalounger,” remarks Automobile.
Edmunds applauds the space available in the hatchback: “The five-door decision pays dividends on the run up to Grandma’s house, as the five of us, plus baggage, fit with ease. With fewer aboard, the 60/40-split rear seats fold down — a first for the STI — opening up some 44 cubic feet of cargo space.” The reviewer points to the telescoping steering wheel and height-adjustable seats and highlights the attractive “artificial suede and leather” upholstery, but says, “we can see how hard-core track-day addicts might want something more suitable for high-G maneuvers.”
Cars.com reports that the better ride quality makes a huge difference: “The previous generation’s taut ride quality has been tamed somewhat, improving its already reasonable day-to-day livability. Along with the car’s significantly quieter cabin, this makes for a more refined experience." However, Autoblog praises the enjoyable mechanical sound of the boxer engine and says, “At highway speeds, there is plenty of wind and mechanical noise.” The reviewer muses, “Since when did 4-cylinder turbo boxers sound this characterful and just plain special?”
The WRX may be considerably quieter than the STI, as Cars.com describes the WRX’s interior as “quiet enough at idle that one time I didn't even realize it was running.”
Autoblog finds plenty to fault with the interior, sniping that “the materials would look at home inside a $12,000 Chevy Aveo.” The reviewer notes plastics that “are hard and shiny in some places,” but likes the grip of the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Car and Driver has good things to say about the STI, though, mentioning the “enveloping bucket seats and a higher grade of interior finish.”
Cars.com also likes the sport seats in the WRX, deeming them “comfortable and supportive, with modern tight-weave fabric and sky-blue stitching”; labels the faux-metal trim “inoffensive”; and compliments the look and location of the instruments. “The optional navigation system is right below it—nice and high and with a touch-screen interface. Well done."
There are few complaints about build quality, such as rattles, seams, or panel fit. “The materials feel good, and the entire package is both practical and functional,” commends Automobile.
TheCarConnection.com’s editors appreciate the added space and upgraded seating in the 2008 Subaru WRX and STI. In the WRX, the interior feels impressive, with better materials and surfaces than other vehicles in its class, but the STI, with a sticker price approaching $40,000, still does not stand out for its interior or relative comfort.
The 2008 Subaru WRX has more efficient interior space, though the materials used aren’t the favorite of all reviewers.