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Project Car SOTU: Subaru WRX

Ross Ballot August 7, 2017 Featured, Project Car SOTU, Project Cars 2 Comments

I’ve been posting a lot test-drive reviews lately, and not without weight to them. It’s probably been easy to pick up on, but it’s time to spell it out: I’m shopping for a possible replacement for my WRX. Not yet entirely sold on getting rid of it, I’m simply driving cars that are on my short list and deciding if they would work for me or not.

Not that the WRX is much of a project car, and thus doesn’t totally fit the PCSOTU bill, but should it stay in my possession there will be some tinkering done to make it better suit my wants and needs. A great car it might be, but it is not without shortcomings.

Even though we checked in on the WRX just a few weeks ago, let’s take a quick look at where I’m at with the car and if that happens to be any closer to making a decision. Hit the jump to read more.

Little has changed from where we were a year ago with the WRX. It has a front plate mount that doesn’t ruin the bumper, Rokblokz mud flaps, Weathertech floor mats (absolutely vital), and a Borla cat-back exhaust. As-is, the car is a fantastic all-around not only for hooning but also for day-to-day nonsense. And as much as I might have complaints about things like the ride quality, seats, stereo, and lack of sound deadening, the WRX truly does strike a great balance of sporty and practical. It’s things like driving around in boring day-to-day life then spending a Sunday autocrossing it hard to sell.

As I touched on in the one-year update, selling the WRX is definitely a consideration. As great as it is for my “needs,” it’s still harsher than I would like for a car spend 2.5+ hours in every day. I’m not alone on this, with many 2015+ WRX owners having dumped their cars within a year or two of buying them, but, as I’ve mentioned before, I bought the Subaru before my spine was a continuous source of pain and aggravation. Since this development took over my life, driving the WRX has simply become less enjoyable and in turn more of a chore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a blast, but I’m driving the Stormtrooper 4Runner with increasing frequency so as to ease up on the abuse that my back sees. You don’t really get how harsh the WRX can be until you spend ~2.5 hours in it five days a week while driving on the horrid NY/CT roads. It puts things in perspective: as much as you might love a car, and as much as you might not want to sell it, sometimes life just doesn’t work the way you want it to.

Not that I’m in a rush or anything, but this spring/summer seemed like a good time to explore the options for a replacement so I know what to hone in on once the decision is made. I’ve driven a boatload of cars already: GTO, 370Z (mainly for shits), an LS2 C6 Corvette, a C5Z06, a stick-shift GTI, a DSG GTI, a Camaro SS, an S197 5.0 Mustang, and three S550 Mustang GTs. There’s still a few more to drive: LS3 C6, CTS-V (V1 and V2), G8 GT, Mk.VI GTI and R32, and maybe others. Deciding on a car is never easy; deciding on a car to replace a car that you love is unquestionably difficult.

But if nothing presents itself that wins me over like the WRX did, I’m happy to keep it. With some simple-ish modifications, it’ll genuinely be just about perfect for my life and what it demands of a car (commuting, road trips, autocross, etc.). I’d add smaller wheels to drop weight and increase the height of the sidewall (for ride quality), re-stuff the seat to make it softer, find some beefier sway bars and end links, add a Perrin shift-stop to tighten up the linkage a bit, and possibly do an Accessport down the road. Nothing crazy, just simple things to make it more enjoyable. A warranty is, after all, a sincerely nice safety cushion to be able to fall back on if (or when) the need arises.

Gas mileage and range remain fantastic

At the end of the day, the 2017 Subaru WRX checks a lot of boxes and boasts a résumé that few others can match. It just so happens that it’s credentials aren’t as perfectly suited to my body as they once were, and as such other options need to be considered. But when it comes down to it I do still love the WRX, and there’s a good chance a year from now I’ll write a post for PCSOTU 2018 saying the same damn thing.

  • bbob

    why not get some softer dampers to ease the harshness a little?

    • Ross Ballot

      That’s on the table for when they need replacing, but for now…that’s $$$ I don’t *need* to spend