you guys are going way overboard on this: the Si is FWD and you'll probably walk out the door with one for $21K.
that's SRT-4 and Cobalt SS territory. In fact, it still undercuts the WRX by up to $6K depending on where you buy one.
in other words, for an extremely low price, you get a slick shifting 6speed, an 8000rpm redline, 200hp, a limited slip, a sweet interior, precise steering, and one of the best handling FWD cars out there short of a Mini. Not to mention good dependability.
If I couldn't afford a WRX i think the only obvious choice out there is the Civic Si considering its domestic competition.