The Subaru WRX has always been dogged by a perception pretty much grounded in reality: it looks exactly like a car where most of the development money was spent on the drivetrain.
It's not quite as bleak as that sounds, but the WRX is no pageant queen, though it is dolled up from the basic Impreza sheetmetal that bowed in 2012. It's gone more subtle and discreet, just like the rest of the Subaru lineup. For the WRX, Subaru takes that basic outline and adds more massive air intakes--have they ever been this big?--and many, many other subtle changes. Outside of the roof and trunk lid, every metal panel's been tweaked to look wider and bolder. And still, the WRX is nowhere near as kit-car-like as it was a decade ago.
It's also no longer a hatchback: in order to put all that money into the drivetrain, Subaru's dropped the WRX hatchback, and says it won't be back.
The cabin's functional and straightforward, as in the Impreza. There's some mild relief from past WRXs and Imprezas: the dash isn't so fashionable as in a Sonic or Cruze or Elantra, but it's at least functionally well conceived, with a cowl over the primary gauges and a smaller one over the multi-function LCD display that rests in the middle of the dash. There's some light matte-silver painted trim to break up the vast expanses of black, and for the most part it comes off handsomely if generically.