The WRX Wagon is the best car made for ME at ANY price. I'm not saying its the best for YOU. This statement is based on the following criteria. You are requested to follow this criteria when refuting my claim.
1. I can only afford to have one car. I know I said any price, but I mean any price for a single car - not any price for a stable of cars. Plus I live in the US, so cars not sold in the US aren't eligible. Though I'd like to hear about them.
2. I REALLY like performance. I must have a high performance vehicle. It has to handle, accelerate and brake extremely well. I drive a lot of twisty mountain rods, so how it handles these is the litmus test for me, not a drag strip, auto-x course or even a wide-open road course.
3. I live in snow country and do a lot of skiing. Plus I really like to drive fast in the snow - for me this goes along with #2. If it doesn't kick butt in the snow it's not for me.
4. I have a family including a large dog. I have to have a practical car that can carry a lot of stuff.
So lessee - #3 immediately rules out anything that is RWD. You can get away with RWD in the snow, but it will never "kick butt". "Oh it has traction control and will get you where you need to go" doesn't cut it. FWD fits the bill, but I think goes against #2. Not that there aren't some great FWD cars out there, just that they really start to struggle in the handling department over 200hp. As far as I know, there isn't a FWD car quicker than the WRX sold in America.
#4 basically rules out Coupes, Sedans and two seaters. I guess a big sedan with fold-down rear seats would work but not as well.
The WRX fills number 2 quite nicely, despite what some haters have to say. You think the WRX is slow and handles poorly? I say you're just plain wrong. Sure there are cars that are faster and handle better, but not many! A few mods and it can take on just about anything on the road.
The WRX fills #3 better than just about any car out there. Lessee, a couple of Audis, a couple of BMWs. That's about it as far as anything that is performance oriented at all. I've never heard good things about Carrera 4s in the snow - though I bet it would do well if you put some skinny tires on it. Trucks don't fill any of the other requirements plus the roads I drive on are plowed so I never have to go through more than a foot of snow - ground clearance isn't a problem. And even in the snow, the high center of gravity hurts a truck's handling. Give me an AWD car any day.
So about the only thing that comes to mind for competition is the Audi S4 Avant. But while the sedan has comparable performance to the WRX, the Avant (wagon) is A LOT heavier, and as a result, performance suffers. I think there are a couple of new Audis that are as fast or faster than the WRX, but they are quite large, and for me that goes against parameter #2. Luxury is not on my list of parameters. The WRX already has too many heavy gadgets for me. I don't want any more.
Nothing else can compete with the total package.
And all for only $24,000. A price that I can actually afford in reality.