2009 Subaru Impreza WRX - STI Photo
8.2 out of 10
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Expert reviewers at TheCarConnection.com consulted what the most authoritative auto critics have written about the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX to produce this conclusive review. TheCarConnection.com editors also drove the Subaru Impreza WRX, and its high-performance variant, the WRX STI in order to interweave their expert opinion and help you make the right decision on a new vehicle.


  • Furious high-rev power, especially from STi
  • Comfortable, pleasant interior
  • Great steering feel
  • Compliant ride
  • All-wheel-drive versatility
  • Roomy backseat with great headroom


  • Engine noise at higher rpm
  • Ropy shifter (manual transmission)
  • Fuel economy
  • Optional automatic has only four ratios
  • STi is priced like a BMW

The 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX has been substantially fortified after rally fans cried foul with the release of the '08 redesign. The '08 had morphed into a cushy GT with not particularly impressive power or traction; the '09 gains 41 horsepower, wider wheels/tires, and some stout anti-roll bars to right those wrongs. The '08 redesign's bonuses are still there: hugely improved interior feel and style, and a ride that magically blends comfort with tenacious handling.

Styling on the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX sedan is ho-hum; the hatchback speaks to the sporty rally history with more cohesion. Still, with each successive redesign, the WRX seems to stray further from its angry, purposeful origins and closer to the amorphous world of the kinda-cute, kinda-ugly small car. A mammoth (but blessedly functional) hood scoop signals the insane levels of boost and thrust this little rocket contains, but it flutters curiously at speed.

Just one engine powers the Subaru Impreza WRX: the trademark horizontally opposed (flat) four-cylinder. At 2.5 liters and with 16 valves and dual overhead cams, the engine features a larger turbo for '09 that huffs out an additional 41 horses for a total of 265 hp. Alas, bigger turbos take longer to spool up, and as such, the engine can feel a bit lifeless below 3,500 rpm. Above that speed, however, the engine will happily shove your cheeks back to your ears. Thankfully, only a five-speed manual transmission is offered, a good ally to keep the engine on boost.

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