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2013 Subaru Impreza WRX 4-door Review

2013 Subaru Impreza WRX 4-door Review
A living legend
Legends are built over time. Most require decades, generations even, to become part of the mass collective psyche. Others take no time at all. These are rare, especially when they spawn from modest backgrounds.

The Subaru WRX, like the Mitsubishi EVO, became the stuff of legends in less than half a decade. What’s more, their rivalry on the world platform that is the World Rallye Championship transformed them into pukka objects of desire.

The current 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX, although desirable, makes my skin crawl, particularly in the tested sedan bodystyle. Beyond the awful sheet metal lies a willing, fun, and rewarding car that aims to please its driver. Plenty powerful and fast, its AWD system makes this car a phenomenal four-season means of transportation where the amount of fuel in the tank is the only thing that can slow it down.


What is a Subaru Impreza WRX?
The 2013 Subaru WRX is the next to last step in Subaru’s echelon of performance cars. The WRX STI lays claim to that spot. The WRX is available as a sedan or a hatchback, and can be had with one option package that includes such useless items as leather and a sunroof.

The WRX made its debut in North America in 2001 as a 2002, and immediately spawned a diehard cult following in which you can count Miranda, Marie-Laurence, René and moi-même as we all own a WRX from one generation or another.

Technicalities
The 2013 Impreza WRX is motivated by a turbocharged 2.5L flat-4 which generates 265 hp and 244 lb-ft of torque. The STI gains a further 40 hp and 46 torques.

A basic (and as tested) WRX sedan retails for $32,495. A worthwhile extra $900 will get you the hatchback. The aforementioned Limited Package tacks on a supplemental $3,000. The STI requires $4,700 over the base Rex.

All Subaru products are equipped with symmetrical AWD which uses a viscous-coupling limited-slip centre differential. The WRX is aided by a shot-peen, open-type

2013 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan engine
The 2013 Impreza WRX is motivated by a turbocharged 2.5L flat-4 which generates 265 hp and 244 lb-ft of torque. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Driving the Subaru Impreza WRX
The 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX is as close to an all-terrain performance car as one could ever expect. Unlike the EVO/Ralliart or Golf R, the WRX’s independent suspension provides ample travel for skipping snow banks, playing in the dirt, and soaking up potholes.

Two things come about because of the suspension’s tuning: The first is an impressively comfortable ride that equals in some ways to that of the Golf R, but that is far more pleasant than the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart’s. The other outcome is a very safe handling car. Bodyroll is pronounced yet controlled which indicates to the hard-pushing driver that the edge of traction is nearing. The Mitsus are not as forgiving, but might be a little more fun.

The big flat-4 is boosted at 13.3 psi (0.92 bar) and comes to life around 3,000 rpm. At 4,000 rpm, torque is full-on then comes max horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The 2013 WRX is very quick and covers the ton in 5.4 seconds.

Once the initial lag has passed, the Rex shoots forward with authority but without a sufficient amount of H4 noise. This can be helped simply with the proper installation of an aftermarket axle-back exhaust system.

Working the 5-speed manual box requires a firm hand and precise determination. The cogs are well geared, however, and I’m only writing it because if I don’t readers will wonder: The WRX needs a 6th gear. My guess is that the next WRX -- the concept displayed at the NYIAS -- will bring forth this sorely lacking branch to the lever’s travel.

Most Subarus have less than ideal steering feel and response. Sadly, the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX does not escape this issue and I’m also not pleased with the middle pedal as travel is too long and bite is less than I’d like it to be.

2013 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan shifter
Working the 5-speed manual box requires a firm hand and precise determination. The cogs are well geared, however, and I’m only writing it because if I don’t readers will wonder: The WRX needs a 6th gear. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Inside and out of the Subaru Impreza WRX
I don’t like this car’s looks. I would (exceptionally) take it with a hatch. I’ve said this countless times since 2008, therefore, I’ll waste no more space on this subject.

The 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX’s cabin is no better. The ergonomics are simple, fit and finish are fair, and the seats are fine. Oh, and the shifter is cheap and ugly, too.

2013 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan driver's cockpit
The ergonomics are simple, fit and finish are fair, and the seats are fine. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Comparing the Subaru Impreza WRX
The 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX is sadly part of a dying breed of quasi-affordable compact performance cars that includes my beloved VW Golf R. The WRX is the most attainable when power/price ratio is considered and this ensures, in part, its continued success.

What will help is the coming of the next WRX which is sure to make enthusiast drool some more.

By Mathieu St-Pierre,

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