Last night I got to briefly drive a MSP that a friend of mine recently got. It's a nice car.
Kick A$$ stereo!
I like the orange. It's unique.
Handling felt very good although I didn't push it.
Brakes felt very nice.
Smooth gear shifts.
For a sedan, the rear seats fold down.
The gear shift is WAY too low. I think the knob was almost below my thigh.
Lack of power.
FWD Torque steer.
Comparison to my '03 Stock Wagon:
Stereo - MSP all the way although I am very happy with my stero setup. One thing I didn't like about the MSP stereo is that there are too many lights and it looks very busy.
Brakes - MSP. They had a nicer feel although I wasn't doing any performance driving.
M/T - This is a toss-up. I think the MSP shifts felt smoother with no nochiness but the shift knob was wayyyyy too low. I have the Factory SSK and will add the Kartboy bushings and I'm pretty happy with it but it is a bit notchy at times.
Handling - MSP. My friend described it as a FWD miata, which is a pretty good compliment. Obviously, the WRX has a looser suspension for multiple terrains. Also, I haven't swapped out my rear sway yet. Still, the Racing Beat suspension setup has a very nice feel to it. The AWD of the WRX does help and I think it can be made to handle as well as the MSP.
Interior Comfort - WRX (to me). I think the seats in my WRX have a much nicer feel and better support. The stereo on the MSP is a little complicated compared to my easy to use 6 disk changer but you've got to love the MP3 playback ability. My WRX has a boost gauge while the MSP doesn't. Not a big deal stock but I like to see what's going on.
Power - WRX. The small boost numbers on the MSP do not, in any way, compare to the push of the WRX under full boost.
Functionality - I have a wagon, Need I say anymore?
Modability - I think the WRX wins hands down, as it has been around a little bit and is a favorite among the SCC tuner group.
Overall, if power wasn't a driving goal and I had to choose between a MSP and a WRX Sedan, I might save a few thousand and get the MSP. Especially if I didn't plan to make any modifications. Personally, I love the AWD of the Subaru and the wagon functionality is a must.