For 2011, the WRX had a new audio system. According to Subaru, there was a single-disc CD player, auxiliary input jack; Bluetooth hands-free calling; iPod control capability; USB port and satellite radio.
My only quibble was that I had to go through the menu to get to the phone and then connection directions were not all that clear. I expect that to be improved with the next change in electronic platforms.
Sticking to its sporty persona, the pedals were rubber studded aluminum and the steering wheel was wrapped in leather and had the same red stitching that defined the seats.
The center stack was simple with the climate controls beneath the navigation screen. The rest of the controls were on either side of the screen. It made for a really simple, what I call “dual wave,” with each wave being in front of the driver and front seat passenger.By FRANK S. WASHINGTON
DETROIT – Subaru’s 2011 Impreza WRX was boxy, bulbous, round, stubby and it had a hood scoop. On paper that might not sound good but in three dimensions the WRX looked like a mean street machine.
This model year, Subaru engineers made the four door sedan wider; they did the same for the five-door hatchback. I had the former and though it had not been lowered, the car looked like it was hugging the ground.
All WRXs are powered by 265 horsepower turbo charged 2.5-liter four cylinder boxer engines mated to five-speed manual transmissions. The power plants produce 244 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.
The quad exhaust pipes overstated the performance of my test car but that was all right with me. The WRX would not peel a lot of pavement or leave a lot of rubber on it; not that I tried either. But the car had a lot of spunk and what was better, it looked like it had more than a four cylinder engine under the hood.
Amid rising gasoline prices, the four cylinder engine was not a bad thing. My test vehicle had a 19/25 mpg EPA rating in city and highway driving. Coupled with a 16.9 gallon fuel tank, it had a pretty good range especially on the highway.
The car handled pretty well. It didn’t have the preciseness of a Porsche, but it didn’t have the price tag either. With a base price of $25,495, it was a reasonable amount of money for a well-built sporty sedan.
Expressway driving was effortless. Maneuvering was good, lane changes were not like playing dodge ball. The sight lines were uninhibited and though it was a small midsize sedan, my test car never seemed undersized.
The Macpherson struts in the front and wishbone rear suspension were tuned to provide a softer ride, but it wasn’t as though I couldn’t feel the road or what the car was doing. In fact, I found the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX a lot of fun to drive.
Most times I check out the back seat of a test car. The Subaru WRX’s was spacious; there was plenty of head room. It seemed to me that two adults could be quite comfortable in the back seat. It can take three in a crunch but I would not want to be on the hump or straddle the drive train tunnel.
Before I forget, the WRX had all wheel drive. Subaru may be the lone manufacturer that has an all-wheel-drive lineup. In other words, you can’t buy a Subaru without all-wheel-drive.
On the WRX, the all-wheel-drive system splits the torque 50-50 between the front and rear wheels. The system can send 100 percent of the torque fore or aft depending on wheel slippage. That’s great for inclement weather and it is really good for handling.
In short, the Subaru Impreza WRX was a fun car that had an abundance of practicality for everyday driving.
Frank S. Washington is managing partner/editor of AboutThatCar.com and AboutThatCarBlog.com.