2012 Subaru WRX vs. Its Competition

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX - STI 4-door Man Front Exterior View
John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor

The sole all-wheel competition for the Subaru STI is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, or Evo.

It's a sharper, edgier drive than the STI, notable especially for its superb Twin Clutch automatic manual gearbox.

In most circumstances, though, the extra refinement of the STI is more than welcome--drivers won't end up feeling so ragged after longer journeys where the performance can't actually be used.

Moving down one notch, the WRX competes with the Mitsubishi Ralliart, though the WRX is both faster and much more pleasant inside.

Other competitors, like the Mazda MazdaSpeed3, have to make do with front-wheel drive--and the same applies to the Volkswagen GTI as well.

Both of those vehicles are only offered as five-door hatchbacks; the GTI wins on refinement, the MazdaSpeed3 for sheer fun.

Other, less likely alternatives include the performances versions of the Nissan Sentra (the SE-R Spec.V) and the Honda Civic (Si), all new for 2012.

They're not turbocharged, and return far better fuel economy than the rather thirsty Subarus.

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX - STI 4-door Man Front Exterior View2012 Subaru WRX
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2012 Mazda MAZDA3 with SkyActiv2012 Mazda MAZDA3
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2011 Mitsubishi Lancer 5dr HB TC-SST Ralliart AWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 Mitsubishi Lancer
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2011 Volkswagen GTI2012 Volkswagen GTI
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Quick Specs
Both the 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX and STI are fun, quick, and tractable in any driving situation; they're large enough for a family, remarkably practical, and their only downsides are the lack of an automatic and lousy fuel economy.
With its new Skyactive powertrains, the 2012 Mazda3 is the eco-conscious choice that sure doesn't drive like one.
The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer family has a little more panache than most compacts, but it's missing some of the finer details.
It isn't the fastest or flashiest sporty hatchback around, but the 2012 Volkswagen GTI may well be the most balanced, carrying forward its legacy into the 21st century.
MSRP From   
Gas Mileage   
18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy
N/AGas I4Gas I4Turbocharged Gas I4
EPA Class   
N/ACompactCompactCompact Cars
Style Name   
N/A4-Door Sedan Manual i SV4-Door Sedan Manual DE FWD2-Door HB Manual
N/AFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity   
Passenger Doors   
Body Style   
N/A4 Door Sedan4 Door SedanHatchback
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Subaru WRX vs. 2012 Mazda MAZDA32012 Subaru WRX vs. 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer2012 Subaru WRX vs. 2012 Volkswagen GTI