2015 Subaru WRX – Welcome to the family

2015 Subaru WRX

2015 Subaru WRX

The hood scoop is the tell-tale sign this is a 2015 WRX

The hood scoop is the tell-tale sign this is a 2015 WRX

I didn’t intend to buy a new car.  My circle of friends know I’m a cheapskate at heart, but sometimes happenstance, or the unstoppable force of fate or  karma rolls the dice in our lives, and whatever happens, just happens.

CarAndRider readers know I’ve been on a recent tear to simplify life, first selling off our beloved, but aging 2000 Mercedes-Benz E430 4Matic.  The next vehicle to go was my 1990 Ducati 906 Paso, a fiery, barking loud Italian V-twin that I’ve owned since new.  Recently, we passed on our 2007 Mazda3 GT to daughter Jenn who is scheduled to retire a twelve-year-old Toyota Corolla S.

Last week, I got serious about shopping for a ‘new’ car.  Frankly, I prefer to buy nice, low mileage, pre-owned cars, and let the previous owner take the first couple of years of depreciation.

Long story short

I’ll post the long version of buying the WRX later.  I had tested the WRX by myself a few days earlier, but ruled it out because Ingrid and I had been talking about the practicality of a CUV/SUV.  Ingrid and I tested the new 2015 Forester XT and the all-new-for 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R. After driving these, we agreed we liked the pre-owned 2014 Lexus IS250 AWD and a 2014 Audi A4 – both priced in the mid-$40k range – more thant the Forester XT.  Subaru City hadn’t prepped a just-arrived 2015 Outback 3.6R yet, so we drove a 2014 Outback 3.6R, and liked its firmer, almost Germanic steering feel and suspension to the Forester’s.

Leaving the store, sales manager Peter Brown asked my opinion of the three Subarus I had driven.  I told him we preferred the 2014 Outback 3.6R over the 2015 Forester XT.  “What about the WRX?”, he asked.  “We’ll sell you that demo unit at a very good price.”

That caught my attention.  My brain is hard-wired to lock in on ‘deals’, and the offered selling price was very good.  After lunch, I returned to the store and bought the car.

2015 Subaru WRX Sport-tech package with CVT automatic transmission

Our ‘new’ car is a 2015 Subaru WRX with the top-of-the-range Sport-tech package.  The car is fully equipped and thee is only one option available, a CVT automatic transmission.  Its colour is “Galaxy Blue Silica” (where do the marketing guys come up with these names?) with a black leather interior.

2015 Subaru WRX Specs

  • Subaru WRX Sport-tech with CVT automatic transmission,  MSRP $36,795 (+$1,650 PDI/Freight, +$545 other fees, +$100 AC tax, +$20 Alberta tire tax)
  • Engine:  2.0-litre DOHC direct-injected, intercooled, twin-scroll turbocharged H-4 ‘boxer’ 4-cylinder
  • Power – 268 horsepower @ 5600 rpm; 250 lb-ft @ 2000-5200 rpm
  • Fuel economy rating:  12.4/9.4 L/100 km city/hwy
  • Roadholding – 0.97g (Road & Track)
  • 0-60 mph 0 4.8 sec. (6-speed manual transmission, Car and Driver)
  • 1/4-mile – 13.6 sec. (6-speed manual transmission, Car and Driver)
Front wheel well vent and side sill skirts are styling cures unique distinguish the WRX from run of the mill Imrezas

Front wheel well vent and side sill skirts are styling cues distinguish the WRX from run of the mill Imrezas

OEM tires are Dunlop Maxx high performance summers on 17-in. alloy wheels

Fog lights with clear front turn signals stacked on top give a somewhat unusual, but unique look

IMG_6654 (1024x683)

First impressions

We’ve had the new WRX only a few days, but there’s no hiding this car’s rally breeding.  On Edmonton’s woefully potholed roads, the WRX is a stiff-legged rally rocket.  “Bump, bump” says Ingrid, to nobody in particular as we drive through the city.  Various motor journalists have described the ride as ‘firm’ and that’s being polite.  Truth be told, the WRX rides hard, but that suspension rewards you the instant you clip the apex of a fast corner, or even blitzing through Edmonton’s traffic circles.

Interior quality is very good and a nice improvement over the previous generation.  Materials are soft to the touch and they have that nice, satin finish, thankfully a vastly superior look to the hard, shiny plastic bits of the previous generation.

As for the CVT transmission, I’m likely the only automotive writer north of the 49th parallel that has consistently voiced my preference for CVT automatic transmissions.  Virtually all Canadian auto journalists have whined, complained and criticized CVT transmissions for failing to give that traditional ‘gear-shift feel’ of a traditional transmission.  Balderdash!  I’ll take a CVT transmission for its superior fuel economy any day.

And the WRX’s CVT is a gem.  There are three transmission modes:  “I” (for “Intelligent”, which is really Subaru’s name for what everybody else calls “Eco” or economy mode; “S” for Sport, which emulates a 6-speed automatic; and “S#” or S “Sharp”, which emulates an 8-speed automatic.  I leave the transmission in “I” and reap the benefits of seamlessly smooth acceleration and optimal fuel economy.

Fuel economy – real world driving beats official rating

Here’s the kicker.  The 2015 Subaru WRX automatic looks like a dog when examining the official fuel economy rating, 12.4/9.4 L/100 km city/highway.  However, NRCan’s new testing procedure, which has recently been modified so that the ratings more accurately reflect real world driving, have been especially hard on Subaru.  The official 9.4 L/100 km highway rating is not very good.

But I easily beat that on a recent trip to Calgary.  Carefully filling the car before entering the highway, cruising at an indicated 122 km/h for 288 km and refueling immediately upon exiting the highway, the 2015 WRX used 19.892 L of Husky brand premium unleaded.  That works out to an impressive 6.90 L/100 km (or 40.9 imperial mpg!)  For now, I’m really impressed.

More later.




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