2011 Subaru WRX Comfort & Quality

8.0
Comfort & Quality
Both the sedan and hatchback versions of the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX and STI (they're both now available in either style) offer seating for five, though larger adults may find long trips a bit of a struggle. Room in the back seat is better than you'd expect, with plenty of room for sub-six-footers. Taller adults will prefer the front seat, and since it's a performance car, the WRX and STI include quite supportive well-bolstered seats; the Alcantara-surfaced Recaros are the superior pick, though you should make sure you're alright with the placement of the fixed headrest. With the hatchback a bit shorter than the sedan, cargo space isn't abundant in either case—and the sedan's trunk isn't quite as useful as you might think because of a trunk floor that's uneven and sloped.

Slide behind the steering wheel of either the WRX or STI and you're greeted by a well-lit instrument cluster that's dominated by a large, centrally mounted tachometer. It's flanked on the right by a smaller speedo in Porsche fashion, and all the gauges are clearly marked and readable in an instant—gone are the tacky boy-racer and econo car designs of past generations. A pair of racing-style bucket seats is positioned up front, and while they are incredibly supportive, we did have some qualms. Namely, the seats come with a fixed headrest (the entire seatback is just one long piece) that some testers find uncomfortable.

Despite thick anti-roll bars and stiffer springs, both the WRX and STI soak up bumps, ruts, potholes, and coarse surfaces with aplomb. The ride is beautifully smooth and isolated; the handling is wonderfully direct and taut. At highway speeds, apart from a little engine rumble and wind noise from the side mirrors, things are very quiet in the cabin. The STI has a noticeably louder (lower, pulsating) exhaust note on startup that racer-types will love—and you'll notice it when driving hard—but in cruising it's never obtrusive.

Materials could use some improvement, but you won't be constantly punished for the performance capabilities of the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI; they have a comfortable ride and roomy interior.

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