Real world comparison for a new DD:'12/'13 WRX and '13 SI
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This is a discussion on Real world comparison for a new DD:'12/'13 WRX and '13 SI within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I'm not looking to start the flame war between these two cars, or make the "oh, here we go again" ...

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    Real world comparison for a new DD:'12/'13 WRX and '13 SI

    I'm not looking to start the flame war between these two cars, or make the "oh, here we go again" topic, but I want personal honest opinions on what the pros/cons are of the WRX and SI. I have decided against the MS3 due to major reliability issues and the GTI because I just can't fit in it!

    Reason I am asking this question is because I will be on the market for a new DD in the next few months. I am 21 now with a decent job, so I want something fun to drive. I am wondering if all of you with the newer gen WRX can chime in on these questions, such as; decent on gas (not tree hugger decent, but good enough to where I still have a dollar or two at the end of the week), relaibility (i.e. noises, common problems, etc.), personal cost-to-own, price OTD, insurance prices/differences (if you have had both WRX and SI, this would help immensly), and most importantly, how fun is it to drive?

    Before these are answered, this is my common scenario. I live in Chicago, IL, so traffic is quite an issue. I am usually about 95/5 city/hwy so I always keep that in mind for gas concerns. I have only been to a track a couple times in my life, so I couldn't honestly say I would use it on the track often. I am looking more for something I can have fun with on weekends, but still DD durung the week. I would also need it for the awkward weather (especially winters here), but either a FWD or an AWD vehicle should do just fine for myself. I also have ~$10k to put down as well as a trade-in, so the $2-3k price difference won't break the bank.

    I know I am asking on a pro subie forum, so I am expecting little to no justice for the Si. I have posted this on a civic site as well just to try go get everything I can know about these cars, and what is best for me.

    Also, before anyone says that the '13s aren't out yet, I know that lol. I am just comparing the WRX to the '13 civic due to the "remodeling" that is to occur for the better interior. I would also wait for the '13s to be released before I buy anyway.

    Any help or info is greatly appreciated, thanks!

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    i just traded my 09 si for an 11 wrx and if i had to pick a between the two based soley on comfort i'd have to go with the si. si is more ergonomic, has much more interior room way better stereo with a bit better functionality. when you sit in the civic you have a much better view of the outside world the dash is low so your vantage point is better. that being said the wrx has a better build quality i have less rattles with the wrx you're already turbo with the wrx and it makes power differently than the civic, as far as winter goes i live in mass and while i can drive a fwd vehicle in the snow there is no real comparison even with summer tires on the awd wrx is far superior in snow crappy weather. basically there's something to be said for both they are both good cars and are different and i have not driven the newer si but personally i feel honda has and is half assing with the 2.4l engine. i have done lots of with b and k series engines and the 2.4 is really a torque motor and honda's are hp derived motor so the 2.0l is way better from my experience

    if your lookin for interior comfort based on the older versions i'd say honda, if youre looking for a better build quality wrx but they are both good cars but they're also just two different cars so it is hard to compare, also the wrx has a 15.4 gallon gas tank while the si has a 12 gallon tank, at least the 09 si anyway. the 12 si is supposed to have a much better transmission than prior years, they are known to have weak tranny's from 06, the wrx has a decent tranny as long as youre not beating on it with launches and slamming gears but remember awd feels the beating more than fwd because it goes to the drive train while the fwd will let the power just spin the tires. both good cars take your time drive both more than once and take your time making up your mind and if you have any question p.m. and i'll try to give my best opinion.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    The Subaru is going to probably be more fun to drive than the Civic. I prefer AWD/RWD over FWD; RWD doesn't work for me, as I wouldn't be able to get up my driveway in the winter. They are going to have different powerbands, so you should drive both to see which one suits your driving style more. During what I'd call "normal city driving", the Subaru is relatively tame (since you're not going to be in the meat of the powerband with the turbo spinning); when you get out in the country and can let the car stretch its legs, it's quite a bit of fun. I prefer the Subaru "community" to that of Honda. The Subaru comes in a hatch variant, which allows you to haul more stuff than an SI sedan.

    The Subaru requires premium fuel, so factor that into CTO when comparing it to the SI, if that has less strict requirements. On top of premium fuel, the mileage isn't great on these cars in stock form. The interior of the Subaru is lacking; for a car you're spending $20K+ on, it feels "cheap". The paint sucks; this has been a complaint for a decade. The stereo leaves a lot to be desired in the Subaru.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdmsubielvr View Post
    i just traded my 09 si for an 11 wrx and if i had to pick a between the two based soley on comfort i'd have to go with the si. si is more ergonomic, has much more interior room way better stereo with a bit better functionality. when you sit in the civic you have a much better view of the outside world the dash is low so your vantage point is better. that being said the wrx has a better build quality i have less rattles with the wrx you're already turbo with the wrx and it makes power differently than the civic, as far as winter goes i live in mass and while i can drive a fwd vehicle in the snow there is no real comparison even with summer tires on the awd wrx is far superior in snow crappy weather. basically there's something to be said for both they are both good cars and are different and i have not driven the newer si but personally i feel honda has and is half assing with the 2.4l engine. i have done lots of with b and k series engines and the 2.4 is really a torque motor and honda's are hp derived motor so the 2.0l is way better from my experience

    if your lookin for interior comfort based on the older versions i'd say honda, if youre looking for a better build quality wrx but they are both good cars but they're also just two different cars so it is hard to compare, also the wrx has a 15.4 gallon gas tank while the si has a 12 gallon tank, at least the 09 si anyway. the 12 si is supposed to have a much better transmission than prior years, they are known to have weak tranny's from 06, the wrx has a decent tranny as long as youre not beating on it with launches and slamming gears but remember awd feels the beating more than fwd because it goes to the drive train while the fwd will let the power just spin the tires. both good cars take your time drive both more than once and take your time making up your mind and if you have any question p.m. and i'll try to give my best opinion.
    Appreciate the detailed response. The thing for me is, I was looking at the Si as a superior vehicle due to the interior of the 8th gens. The new 9th gen uses the same material as the average children's play house, so I am not 100% sure it can be much better, if better at all, the the wrx. The only plus side is the stereo and the boost in torque from the last model.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257 View Post
    The Subaru is going to probably be more fun to drive than the Civic. I prefer AWD/RWD over FWD; RWD doesn't work for me, as I wouldn't be able to get up my driveway in the winter. They are going to have different powerbands, so you should drive both to see which one suits your driving style more. During what I'd call "normal city driving", the Subaru is relatively tame (since you're not going to be in the meat of the powerband with the turbo spinning); when you get out in the country and can let the car stretch its legs, it's quite a bit of fun. I prefer the Subaru "community" to that of Honda. The Subaru comes in a hatch variant, which allows you to haul more stuff than an SI sedan.

    The Subaru requires premium fuel, so factor that into CTO when comparing it to the SI, if that has less strict requirements. On top of premium fuel, the mileage isn't great on these cars in stock form. The interior of the Subaru is lacking; for a car you're spending $20K+ on, it feels "cheap". The paint sucks; this has been a complaint for a decade. The stereo leaves a lot to be desired in the Subaru.
    I've heard much about the interior/stereo quality. I'm not particularly picky on either because on every single car i have owned, I have put my own sound systems in. The biggest thing for me is comfort. I am a little tall and very much need some headroom. I do like to keep my cars very pristine, but if something happens beyond my control (door ding, paint problems, etc.), It won't really bother me as I am in it for the performance of the car most of all. As for the premium fuel, both require it. I won't mind paying an extra $3 each fill-up though (if I couldn't afford that, wouldn't be buying a sportier vehicle :P). I love the hatch compared to the coupe/sedan though. I had a focus SVT a few years back and loved that vehicle. Just hated the curb rash!


    As for my previous driving in sportier cars, I never really beat on them. I do get it up past 3-4k RPM a few times a week, but will maybe do a launch or two a month to get my high for the month. I am more into babying any car I have owned. I am also coming from a Ford Escape, so I have not driven anything relatively speed related for the past 3 years. I will test drive both, but really waiting on the '13s to come out to try to give the Honda a shot. They have really decreased their game and really have a lot needed to prove they still "have it". If not, I will test drive a subie, and will probably have a 99.9% of walking out the door with a deal done. I have always wanted a WRX since I understood what a car was. The only thing holding me back is myself wondering if it is practical enough for me.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broker
    The biggest thing for me is comfort. I am a little tall and very much need some headroom.
    For reference, I'm 6'3 ~250lbs.

    I've never had an issue with any of the cars, older models or newer. The comfort level is pretty much on par with other economy vehicles (the WRX is based off the Impreza, which is an economy vehicle), slightly little less due to the beefed-up suspension. My car is quite a bit harsher than a stock WRX, and I have never regretted it in the ~70K miles I've owned it. I've driven 500+ miles in a day many times, and shy of the typical stiffness you'd feel from driving any car that much, it's been fine.
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    I currently have a 04 RSX base which is a 5 speed but I have K-Pro, an Injen CAI, RBC intake manifold, Kidd Racing header, and an 05 Type-S exhaust. The base starts with lower horsepower but it made 173 whp, so that's pretty close to stock Si power. The gearing on that 5 speed is terrible though. I have driven 2.4 's and 2.0 's though, too, and the 6 speed and vtec make it a little more exciting. For me, the ergonomics on the RSX are terrible. I make the drive from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction along I-25 to I-70 quite a bit and after 4 hours it gets pretty uncomfortable. I'm 6'2 180 lbs.

    I also had an 08 WRX lease and when it ended, I bought a 2011 Rav4 Sport V6.

    Honestly, I miss the WRX a lot. I'm currently in the process of selling the RSX and I'm gonna trade the Rav in on a new 2012 WRX. I never had the ergonomic discomfort that I have in the RSX, plus the torque, turbo, and AWD in Colorado all make it so much better in my opinion...

    I think I will miss the RSX a lot but it's just too much money to dump in to it for it to be fast, plus the transmissions on the K-Series are trash. People on the ClubRSX forum routinely blow them up at 400 whp. At 400 whp a boosted honda will crap on a 400 whp wrx all day long but that doesn't do you much good if you only get 5 pulls before there's tranny oil all over the highway...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honda_K_Power View Post

    I think I will miss the RSX a lot but it's just too much money to dump in to it for it to be fast, plus the transmissions on the K-Series are trash. People on the ClubRSX forum routinely blow them up at 400 whp. At 400 whp a boosted honda will crap on a 400 whp wrx all day long but that doesn't do you much good if you only get 5 pulls before there's tranny oil all over the highway...
    I would never want that much power in a FWD... It would crap on the WRX from a roll thats about it, anything else its begging for traction.

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    My usual answer for comparisons:

    Drive both cars, back-to-back, if possible.
    Both are, as far as I am aware, wonderful candidates; it just depends upon what you want out of a vehicle, and your personal preferences about how the vehicle feels. We can give you empirical feedback, but car selection is a personal process.

    Honda's are great; I'll give them credit as one of the world's premiere engine builders. Build quality should also be excellent...though it seems like I've heard a few detractors in recent years, compared to the past. I'm not a fan of the way their engines make power; just a personal thing. I don't mind revving to 6000 in a sportbike to get some thrust, but in my car, I want it a lot sooner for daily driveability. Of course, the V8 guys would say the same thing comparing their cars to a Subaru, so it's all relative.

    IMO, the WRX remains a "Swiss Army Knife" that's great for a day-to-day vehicle. It's not "outstanding" at anything, really...there are faster cars, better cornering cars, larger, more comfortable, luxurious, practical...however, it does almost all of those things quite well, and that's quite useful to me.
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    Registered User Mike193's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257 View Post
    For reference, I'm 6'3 ~250lbs.

    I've never had an issue with any of the cars, older models or newer. The comfort level is pretty much on par with other economy vehicles (the WRX is based off the Impreza, which is an economy vehicle), slightly little less due to the beefed-up suspension. My car is quite a bit harsher than a stock WRX, and I have never regretted it in the ~70K miles I've owned it. I've driven 500+ miles in a day many times, and shy of the typical stiffness you'd feel from driving any car that much, it's been fine.
    I'm a young fat kid lol, im like 6'1 and 285, The longest ride ive ever took in my car was an hour and a half down the shore, we got there, no more then 5 minutes later i was happily back in the car driving down the road to the supermarket, I've never been uncomfortable inmy car. My mom has a E350 that she got a month after i got my permit. I can honestly say, I'm much more comfortable on the ride to my beach house in my STi then in the mercedez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broker View Post
    I am a little tall and very much need some headroom.
    I'm 6'4" 205 lbs and have more than enough room in my '12 base hatch. I test drove a premium (which has a sunroof) and could not believe how much headroom the car had for how [relatively] small it is. The base WRX has even more headroom. Plenty of leg room too. Some people rightfully complain about sitting too low in the new WRXs and not being able to see out as much as they like, but for someone tall it's a perfect fit.

    Also, as far as practicality, like Ray said, this car does it all. I'm the type of person that has too many hobbies to keep up with, and this car works very well with that lifestyle. If I want to go hiking out in the mountains on the weekend, it will get me there even on some of the beat up muddy roads. I can throw my bike in the back or on the roof, stick my kayak up on the roof, and take a trip up skiing without having to worry about snow either. The hatch holds my drum set with ease, while still not being bulky like an SUV, which is especially nice when driving and parking in the city. If this car got at least ~5 mpg more total, I could honestly not think of a better car [for me] in terms of all around use. I've come to terms with setting aside a bit more money for my car, and the satisfaction I get makes it plenty worth it. In the end, the Si just doesn't have that "X-factor" that I wanted.
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    If you are going to want to mod it down the road get the WRX. The new civics now a days are a pain to mod.

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    I came from a 04 RSX-S, so while the comparison is not totally up to date I will give you my thoughts anyways :P

    I too drive a heavily city biased commute during the week, and occasionally on the weekend I get to go have a little fun. The RSX/SI has a well balanced chassis, and I believe that the new ones continue that trend. The new engine also is a bit torquier, although it's still going to be more of a high RPM car. Someone had commented how the WRX is "tame" around the city until you get into boost. That is true, but that feeling was about twice as bad in my RSX, even after some modding.

    So, for the occasional spirited driving, I always had a lot of fun with the RSX. I am having more fun with the WRX though. It is much quicker from the factory in a straight line, and in the twisty hilly roads I am having a lot more fun with the WRX. Is it quicker around a curve than my 8 year old RSX was? Definitely. Would it definitely be noticeably quicker around a curve than a brand new SI? I dunno. However, I'm finding that the dynamics of an AWD car are a lot more fun than the RSX. There's no way to compare being able to correct a poor entry by giving more gas and pointing the wheel where I want to go to similar situation with FWD.

    The transmission in the RSX was much better than the WRX. That said, I kind of like not having to row as much anymore. When I do get to party on the backroads, I'm not having to change gears as much to stay in the power. Around town, same deal. I do intend to get a short shifter and bushings to improve the shifting feel, but again that is a lot cheaper than what would be needed to get an SI to the power/acceleration numbers of a WRX.

    Practicality: There's no SI 4 door hatchback, so the WRX wins here. Gas mileage is certainly not as good, with that much city driving don't expect more than the low low 20s. But as you yourself mentioned, if that's a deal breaker then you'd probably be looking at different cars. I'm probably spending maybe $50/55 a week now as opposed to $40/45.

    As far as weather goes, WRX all the way. I know that FWD is not bad in bad weather, but personally I've always found that once you're putting a decent amount of power through the front wheels, it's still not that great, especially not in the snow. One thing to consider though, is that the WRX comes with summer rubber from the factory, so you would have to spring for all seasons or winter tires as a second set.

    Comfort: Well, depends on your definition. The RSX definitely had nicer materials as far as the dash and such. If I were real concerned about that stuff, I would've looked at a GTI. I just took a road trip to Maine over the weekend, 450 miles each way. The WRX was very comfortable for 7-8 hours on the road, nothing beyond the normal aches and pains I would get in any car.

    Alright, that's enough novelization, those are my thoughts but in the end the best thing to do is go test drive both of them and see which you like better.
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    i'm only 6'1" both car have room but the 09 has more room than the subie i dont know about the 12 or newer but as far as i know they have even more room. but as before the best teller is back to back test drives and take your time when your on them too, no rush go for a cruise they have nothing else to do at the dealers anyway.

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    ohh and they both have interior rattles but being a stereo buy you should be able to take care of most of those

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    nice post..................
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