2010 WRX vs. 2012 Mustang GT
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This is a discussion on 2010 WRX vs. 2012 Mustang GT within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; So, I took the plunge and traded in my 2010 WRX for a new 2012 Ford Mustang GT Premium (+ ...

  1. #1
    Registered User gimli's Avatar
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    2010 WRX vs. 2012 Mustang GT

    So, I took the plunge and traded in my 2010 WRX for a new 2012 Ford Mustang GT Premium (+ Brembo and 3.73 gear limited slip packages). I ended up getting $24,700 for my trade, which is slightly more than I paid for it new. My WRX had low miles, was in pristine condition, and the earthquake in Japan jacked up demand in my area. It was a good economic opportunity to get a nice trade for something different in my driving experience.

    I decided to write this comparison while both cars are fresh in my mind. I try to be as unbiased as possible, not trying to justify my purchase. I am a fan of both cars and wish I could have both (but can only afford one).

    So, where do I start? Ah, getting in the car: The GT premium's interior is very nice and has a lot more stuff than my base WRX. There is clearly a difference in style with the WRX being more modern and the Mustang more classic. The Mustang's seats are softer and more comfortable, but they lack some bolstering. There is plenty of room for my 6'5" self (plus a helmet), and my kids can sit comfortably behind me (I couldn't say this about the Camaro SS I tested around the time of purchase). The Shaker stereo is a lot better than the stock WRX one. However, despite the Mustang’s more features and amenities, the Mustang’s HVAC system is completely manual and not semi-automatic like the WRX’s.

    The Mustang’s steering wheel is quite large, perhaps a little too much. Once rolling, the steering feels solid. More so than the Subaru's, and of earlier Mustangs I drove. I would dare to say it reminded me of some German cars I drove Unlike my WRX with SPT exhaust, the Mustang cruises quietly, though the glorious soundtrack comes alive when throttling it. The Mustang’s clutch is pure sex; much, much better than the WRX’s. It was plug and play for me, who usually has and adjustment period with different car’s clutches. Immediately I was launching and shifting better than I did in my Subaru I owned for 2 years. The Mustang’s shifter was nice too: short throws and nice engagements, although 1st to 2nd can be scrappy sometimes. Occasionally, an annoying “skip shift” feature may rear its ugly head and shift to 4th when you want 2nd. Luckily, this disappears with tuning or you can have your dealer disable it.

    The Mustang feels big, though, even bigger than the aforementioned older (90's) Mustangs. It also has some reduced visibility spots, like with the tiny rear windows and over the long/wide hood up front. I did some autocross on this car already and it was hard to see the cones. I knocked quite a few of them :/.

    Which brings me to the performance side: Power-wise, there is a lot more power in low and high RPM’s, but surprisingly to me I could not tell much difference in the mid range (2K-4K) between the 412 HP Mustang and my stage 1 WRX. On an onramp stretch marked by a pylon that is (very rough estimate) about 1/6 mile long, I hit around 80 mph with both vehicles, so it’s a tie; though beyond that the Mustang will go faster. However, keep in mind that this is mod vs. stock, so I got a feeling that for the same amount of $ in mods the Mustang will be a lot faster. Also, on normal city driving, there is so much power in all gears down low that I don’t need to shift as much as in the WRX. I do most of my launches at 2nd and shift to 4th and 5th, and go uphill 35 MPH in 5th gear with power to spare where the WRX would probably be close to stalling.

    Handling wise, I won’t get into the obvious RWD vs AWD differences. However, I should say that the Subaru’s lighter weight, better visibility, and smaller steering wheel make it feel more nimble around the cones/curves. Lack of seat bolstering also may hinder some performance for the Mustang during autocross. Suspensions are comparable for both cars: a compromise between soft and hard IMO. However, the Mustang’s rear axle suspension is noticeable over large bumps (and scary sometimes).

    The Brembo package affords the Mustang excellent braking, though I haven’t pushed the WRX’s brakes to the point of fade so I can’t compare there. The tires that come with the Mustang’s Brembo package are excellent; better in Autocross than the WRX’s OEM ones. However, it would still be nice to upgrade them to some DOT’s for racing, but the huge Brembos really reduce the tire/wheel choices while increasing the prices

    Fuel economy: I get 25 mpg on the highway with the Mustang vs. 24 with the WRX. However, on my city driving, there is a much different story: 19 for the WRX vs. 14 for the Mustang. I think Ford underestimated city mpg. Then again, my 3.73 gears and lead foot may not be helping much.

    And finally, here are some other nitpicks about the Mustang:
    • When you open the doors, the window rolls down a little. This leads to an ugly clunk when you close them. Nothing like a nice German-style thud upon closing the door
    • Some of the interior surfaces are reflective: This leads to some interior glare problems at certain times in sunny days, and also some surfaces getting very hot in the summer.
    • Ford’s Sync has issues communicating with my old iPod. Newer iPods or smartphones connect well via Bluetooth.
    • Like every Ford I ever drove, turning signals are prone to disengaging at the slightest turn of the wheel.
    • The glove compartment and map pockets are tiny and useless
    • There is a compartment latch right where I like to rest my right elbow, so I tend to open it inadvertently. Also, it is metallic so it gets very hot in the summer.

    Minor things that I can live with, and I could also nitpick about the WRX as well (stereo, hanging revs, clutch/shifter, etc), but it is not really the scope here. So there it is. Two great cars. It was great to drive the WRX, and I will miss her. I will remain a fan/admirer of Subarus. Together with the American V8, the boxer rumble is the sweetest sound on earth.

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  3. #2
    Wants to Sell His Honyota Civilander..Any Takers? BigDaddyRex's Avatar
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    Nice comparo - good luck with the car. I really like what they have done with the new ones. My biggest gripe is the astounding number of Mustangs I see in my area. It seems like between the Mustangs, the Camaros and the Charger/Challengers I don't go 5 minutes (I though long and hard about that figure to be sure it's accurate) without seeing one. Most are driven by older drivers who can afford the price, but I imagine in 4-5 years the roads are going to be littered with them - and likely they will be more modded by the second owners. Could be a real rebirth of that seventies stretch when everyone was modding sixties muscle. Still - I put the Mustang at the head of the new muscle car class - have a blast!
    - Chris
    2011 WRX DGM (The Fastest Color) 5DR
    Cobb AP Stage 2 93, Cobb DP, RAs, STS (the dream comes true ...)

  4. #3
    Registered User SamXp's Avatar
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    Nice trade in! My brother has a 2011 GT and your review makes me want a Stage 1 even more for my car because right now the difference is night and day between his car and mine, at any RPM. Stomp on it at any rpm above 2500 and the car is viciously fast compared to the moderate pull the WRX manages.

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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    I Support ClubWRX
    Good luck with the new car, and thanks for the writeup. Nice to get first-hand driver's comments.
    --Ray
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    Nice choice, I test drove one when out shopping for my wrx. I agree on the size, most of my fun driving is on narrow, rough, bumpy back roads and the additional width vs a wrx was a bit unnerving and ultimately made the wrx a more fun (possibly faster), and certainly safer choice for me. If there was any chance of me heading to more that 1-2 auto-x a year or even a single track day, I'd have picked the GT. It's probably too much car for my skills though.

    Have fun with it!

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    I have a hard time believing you got almost $25k on your 10 wrx..... not being a hater, but these days most dealers DO NOT use the kelley blue book, they use that other one (forget the name)the one that gives much less than kelley... Especially a Ford dealer.... well if its true, someone is getting in big trouble from their manager!! and you ended getting more on trade than what you paid for car new? are you saying what you paid OTD after everything?? If so, that's a first for me....

    anyhow, the mustang gt is def a higher performance car than either wrx or sti!!!

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    Excellent, have fun with it.

    Be sure to take very good care of the transmission -- there's a lot of horror stories out there of multiple issues with the new Getrag in the 2011 and 2012 Mustangs.

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    Registered User sjcurtis's Avatar
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    I test drove the new 2011Mustang GT and I have to say it is the best mustang ever made and I will agree with you about the clutch and tranny, it feels like it knows what gear you want before you do. I think the only reason I wouldn't want one is the fact that everybody has one.

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    Registered User Venom351R's Avatar
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    The new 5.0 mustangs are sick. As much as I'd like to have one I'd have a hard time giving up my 94 Cobra. At least I can say I have the best of both worlds now
    2007 WRX STI- Stock 13.8@102

  11. #10
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    I hope you will keep us updated with your impressions as time goes on. I just bought a 2011 WRX but the Mustang GT was a close contender. I think they're both awesome cars.

  12. #11
    Registered User Eric05mx's Avatar
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    I drove a 2011 Mustang GT last week and really like the car. Nice top end pull with that V8. Only had an intake, exhaust, tune, and drag radials. Runs 11.8's consistent in the 1/4 mile with a best of 11.64 last week in this cool weather.
    2012 WRX ice silver metallic
    Protuned by Agile Auto 315whp/342wtq @ 20.5psi

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    I'm not a Ford fan but feel the Mustang is the best bang for the buck out there. However, I drive my car on a daily basis and the big thing that was not mentioned here is that the Mustang cannot compare to the WRX in bad weather. For a second car or a warm client the Mustang is a great car. Has anybody tried to drive a new Mustang in the snow, just curious?
    Great write up!

  14. #13
    Registered User Eric05mx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turboman38 View Post
    I'm not a Ford fan but feel the Mustang is the best bang for the buck out there. However, I drive my car on a daily basis and the big thing that was not mentioned here is that the Mustang cannot compare to the WRX in bad weather. For a second car or a warm client the Mustang is a great car. Has anybody tried to drive a new Mustang in the snow, just curious?
    Great write up!
    True, the Mustang would make a much better second car than a DD. I'm sure you could drive it in the snow with winter tires but it's still not going to perform like an awd car with winter rubber.
    2012 WRX ice silver metallic
    Protuned by Agile Auto 315whp/342wtq @ 20.5psi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric05mx View Post
    True, the Mustang would make a much better second car than a DD. I'm sure you could drive it in the snow with winter tires but it's still not going to perform like an awd car with winter rubber.
    Not to mention passenger space, cargo space, and visibility. My WRX replaced a coupe, and one of the factors in my decision was that the WRX would be a big upgrade in day to day usability, even in good weather (where I am, we really only have good weather ). I don't drive friends around often, but I drive my dog around all the time, and I'm absolutely loving having rear doors (this my my first car that has more than 2 or 3 doors) and the large cargo opening of the hatch is awesome too.

    I think the Mustang is a better bang-for-the-buck in terms of sheer performance (although it is more expensive for similar "DD perceived performance" IMO), but I think the WRX is a more balanced all around vehicle.

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    I am very happy to see this thread! I have posted a couple times between suby forums and stang forums a topic asking why the 2011 wrx or 2012 gt should be my next car and every member (minus a hand full of non-biased members) responded to buy the car of the forum I was posting in!)

    I currently own a 2001 s 10 4x4 (149k miles, has the 4.3 so it gets a lousy 12mpg city) and a 2003 ford focus SVT with 70k as my DD (gets 23-24 city/28 highway).

    I have wanted a mustang since I was about 13 or 14 (25 now) as I have always been in love with v8's. On the other hand I have REALLY grown to love hatchbacks. Being AWD and turbo (not to mention the sexy wide body on the 2011) the WRX just makes sense. I would get the base model of either car (25k wrx, 29k mustang and the payments would be roughly 385 wrx and 420 on the mustang. Seems like wrx's sell for pretty close to sticker where as I have emailed a few local dealers to get a 2012 GT (base, so 30k sticker) for ~28k OTD!

    My problem is I live in N. Illinois so for 3-4 months out of the year we have snow on the ground (from a couple inches to last years blizzard, a couple of feet). Having the truck in the winter is awesome with the 4wd. I also have winter tires for my SVT so it gets around decently well in snow.

    Obviously the wrx with some snow's will be a no brainer in the winter (or any inclement weather for that matter) where as the mustang would be a real problem. I have heard a mustang with dedicated snow tires and some weight in the back is actually not too bad. I had considered keeping the s10 for winter duty but that means I have to continue with two insurance policies (was hoping to private party both s10 @ 3500 and the SVT @ 4000 to put down on either new car).

    With either car I would probably only do VERY basic mods (mustang would be exhaust and tune, wrx would be stage 1 AP with cat back). I very much enjoy having my warranties and I know suby can be very difficult when it comes time to do warranty work on a motor with a DP or FMIC. On the same note the GT's are having tranny problems and cylinder 8 issues so I would not want to do more than catback/tune on that car either.

    I am 25 and a homeowner and my insurance for a 2012 GT shockingly only goes up 50 bucks every 6 months! The wrx raises it only 20 (from the 296 im currently paying for full coverage on the SVT).

    Fuel economy does not really matter as I live 1 mile from my current workplace, so aside from the 2 minute commute my travel is mostly leisurely driving around town or short trips. I also have a motorcycle which I put a couple thousand miles on a year.

    So.. to the OP... I see you are in Iowa... what are your plans for the winter with the GT? Being you have the brembo package with 19 inch summers I am guessing snow tires or another vehicle? Did you have snow tires on the wrx or did you run the OE dunlop summers?

    Sorry for the monstrous threadjack! I am just happy to find someone who has owned both cars I am currently cross-shopping!!

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