WRX vs STi: a Direct Owner's Comparison
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This is a discussion on WRX vs STi: a Direct Owner's Comparison within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; So I've been a member of this site for quite a while and recently I made the decision to move ...

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    WRX vs STi: a Direct Owner's Comparison

    So I've been a member of this site for quite a while and recently I made the decision to move from a WRX to an STi. It took me a while to make the decision, partly because none of the posts I read gave me all the answers I was looking for. That's why I'm writing this.

    I had an OBP 05 WRX for a little over 2 years. It was the car I'd wanted since they released the WRX over here and I was psyched to finally own one. After 2 years I still loved it but I wanted more. Some of the soft edges were showing. Body roll, understeer, turbo lag. I meant to get stage 2 but after test driving a couple of STi's...my heart had made it's mind up. I debated because I had a perfectly good car and 2 years of the loan paid off. It was a great daily driver, good looking, quick. I tried to be faithful, but I was, as they say, tempted by the fuit of another.

    So a couple of weeks ago, after about 4 or 5 months of searching, I sold my car and bought a WRB 05 STi. It took about 5 minutes before my fears were put to rest and I knew I'd made the right decision. The drive home in my new car was over 500 miles and I've put about another 700 on since. I figured that was good enough for a side to side.

    Pros:

    -Engine: Read: Power. Of course this one is obvious but this is what it's all about. It's a huge step up from the 2.0l in the WRX. It revs faster, smoother and the torque is fantastic. The powerband is wider than Oprah at her fattest and gives it a ton of flexibility.

    -Handling: Probably a bigger step up than the power was. I love doubling the speeds posted on signs for sharp corners. Came with Falken Azenis RT615 and they grip and grip and grip. Less body roll (which I always hated in the WRX) and much improved turn in. I fairly regularly surpassed the limits of my WRX on the road. The powerslides were a lot of fun but not efficient. It'll take one hell of a crazy drive to surpass the STi's limits on a public road, if it ever happens at all.

    -Fuel Mileage: I'm pleasantly surprised here. I managed over 28 mpg on the highway on the way home and in my regular driving I'm getting the same as I did with my WRX. Unexpected but very welcome.

    -Daily Drivability: This is where I knew I'd be making some sacrifices. But thankfully they haven't been as big as I'd anticipated. Yeah, it rides quite a bit stiffer than the WRX. But maybe I've only owned crappy vehicles because I always thought the WRX's ride was pretty damn plush. The increased transfer of bumps into the cabin is more than worth the increased handling for me. It's noisier than the WRX by quite a bit too. But most of it's good noise. I can't believe how much louder the turbo spool and BPV sound in this car. Mmmm, boost. It's great, makes me rev the car until the Rev limiter flashes (another badass feature I'm in love with) time and time again just to hear it. Yeah road noise is increased too but if that really bugs me I just play my music louder. I do, however, miss the hell out of my moonroof (my 05 had the premium package).

    -Sexiness: Not even a comparison. People say the STi overstates it's purpose and I say God love it for that. Walking away from the car after a drive or to it when I'm about to get in, I can't help but think to myself, "You lucky bastard, you have an STi. 3 years ago this was a pipe dream/poster in your garage, now you're driving it home." Not to mention the blue and gold combo I have is far more attractive than the stealthy black of my WRX. Black looks nice, but after a couple of years it really tells to many stories about mistreatment and New England winters. It'll be a long time before I decide to invest in a black car again, knowing the maintenance it entails.

    Overall, I'm psyched about my choice. My smiles per mile quotient is way up and I think it's gonna stay that way for a long time. My WRX was a fantastic car, I don't want that to be misunderstood. I loved it and always will and I hope the next owner feels the same. But the STi is everything I loved about that car jacked up about 5 notches. She isn't the quietest or smoothest or easiest to get along with all the time. But neither was the homecoming queen and we all still wanted a piece of that. The STi isn't much different. It's raw, powerful and everything I had originally thought my WRX would prove to be. Long live uncivility.
    2005 WRB STi, protuned stage 2+

    We live for fun, not forever

    "Quantity has a quality all its own." –Josef Stalin

    I am Jack's 300 turbocharged horses.

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    Registered User 2:43AM's Avatar
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    Congrats on the purchase! May I ask what the price difference was between your old WRX (after sale) and the STI? Also, how many miles did the STI have on it?

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    No, you may not ask that. What the hell is wrong with you? Haha I'm kidding man. I originally paid $18,500 for my WRX 2 years ago with fewer than 7k miles on it. I sold it for $15,500 with 40k miles. I bought the STi for $21,000 with 25k miles on it. I lost some equity but the sale of my WRX allowed me to take out a smaller loan with a better interest rate so my monthly payment has gone down quite a bit which I'm psyched about.

    I just noticed I wrote Pros and no Cons. My girl was txting like crazy because I was late to meet her so I cut it short. Plus it's already a book. I'll try to add some later though.
    2005 WRB STi, protuned stage 2+

    We live for fun, not forever

    "Quantity has a quality all its own." –Josef Stalin

    I am Jack's 300 turbocharged horses.

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    Registered User 2:43AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PegGrinder33 View Post
    I bought the STi for $21,000 with 25k miles on it. I lost some equity but the sale of my WRX allowed me to take out a smaller loan with a better interest rate so my monthly payment has gone down quite a bit which I'm psyched about.

    Very smart of you. Many people in this country don't realize that payments and debt management are essential and should be thought of before making any big purchase decisions. Hmm, I wonder why the economy has been failing for the past 7 years? Credit and debt problems? Hmm...

    Anyway, good price on the STI, IMO. Low miles. They're too expensive in the Chicagoland area. And since $$$ was a big concern to me, I went with the mid-range, a WRX.

    According to all the posts, Stage 2 on your old WRX probably would have improved your opinion of the car. I can only imagine at this point, what it would be like. Perhaps someday!

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    Registered User airforceSTi's Avatar
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    great write-up! you just made me wish i could have the STisoo much more and i didn't think it was possible. Congrats on the purchase!!

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    Registered User Acrdys's Avatar
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    Glad your lovin your decision!


    My wrx is going to stay with me forever...
    Wish I had an STI but, the way I figure... I'm less than 1200$ away from getting a 6-speed swap.

    To me its like ditching my car for something better...
    meh can't explain it.
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    Administrator TheJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PegGrinder33 View Post
    ...the STi is everything I loved about that car jacked up ...
    I felt basically the same way when I went from my old bugeye to my STi. Congratulations.
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    Moderator YBNormal07's Avatar
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    Good write up and glad to see you are happy with the switch. One recommendation....if you like the STi now, invest the $1200 or so to go to stage II. It is night and day difference in the power department. You stated that the limits of the car are possibley high enought that power slides (such as you were able to do in the WRX) might be over the limit? Well, the stage II power will allow you to get to those limits again....and quickly. Very easy to hang the tail out with the boost in torque Stage II provides. IMHO...it was the best bang for the buck I've ever done in any of my rides. Look for used DP with HF cat, used Cobb AP and that is pretty much all it takes. You won't be sorry!
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    Quote Originally Posted by YBNormal07 View Post
    Good write up and glad to see you are happy with the switch. One recommendation....if you like the STi now, invest the $1200 or so to go to stage II. It is night and day difference in the power department. You stated that the limits of the car are possibley high enought that power slides (such as you were able to do in the WRX) might be over the limit? Well, the stage II power will allow you to get to those limits again....and quickly. Very easy to hang the tail out with the boost in torque Stage II provides. IMHO...it was the best bang for the buck I've ever done in any of my rides. Look for used DP with HF cat, used Cobb AP and that is pretty much all it takes. You won't be sorry!
    ^Truth.
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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I definitely plan on going Stage II, I'm just trying to savor the newness for a bit haha. I'm forcing myself to keep it stock (powerwise) through winter since I won't be using it much during that time anyway. But in the spring I'm throwing on the DP I already bought and flashing her.

    I have a few minutes here so I thought I'd add onto the already super long post with the cons list. Here we go.

    Cons:

    -Ride: Again, not a big deal for me but the car does ride pretty stiff if you're used to something less than a full on sports car. I don't think it's jarring but it's certainly more firm than my WRX.

    -Brakes: They're fantastic, don't get me wrong. At first I thought the firm pedal wasn't quite as easy to modulate as those in my WRX in normal driving. I'm getting used to it already and love the feel but it took a little while. But then there's brake dust. Owning an STi means fighting a constant battle that you will never win against dirty wheels. Gotta pay to play.

    -Noise: Road noise definitely makes its way through with more clarity than it did in my WRX but it's not a huge difference IMO. The upside is how great the engine sounds and the awareness it provides you with of your driving environment.

    -Strut Clunk: I didn't even know about this until I bought my STi. Now it's a small annoyance on a daily basis. If you don't know what it is, look it up. It can be taken care of (more like temporarily rectified) but it seems a foolish oversight on Subaru's part.

    -Amenities: I lost heated seats, a moonroof, heated mirrors and heated windshield wipers. I consider it a minor price for what I've gained...but I'd take those AND the STi in a heartbeat

    -Speeding tickets: I know it's only a matter of time. This car is fast as hell and it looks the part. My uncle, a veteran police officer, saw the car shortly after I got it and said to me, "You know what I see when I look at that car? Blue lights."

    -Paranoia: I think I love this car more than a human baby at this point and this causes some problems. Loud noises at night cause me to run to the driveway to check on my car. I park so far back in parking lots I'm considering bringing a bike with me to pedal to the store from my parking spot. If I park somewhere where I'm not able to view my car I take frequent smoking breaks to make sure it's ok. And I don't smoke. On top of that road construction pisses me off more because grated pavement causes a ton of little pieces of blacktop to fly into my car. Sigh, I'm gonna go listen to some Linkin Park to calm down.

    Bottom line: I love this car. I love this car twice as much as my WRX because it does everything twice as well. I didn't even talk about how HUGE the improvement is going from the so-so 5 speed to the fantastic 6 speed. I didn't talk about how many compliments I've already gotten while I'm driving. I was concerned about costs when I debated on the switch. YMMV, but my insurance went up about $12 a month, my fuel costs are the same and although some parts will be more expensive (like brakes), the overall maintenance costs are about the same between the two.

    If you're thinking about making the switch, it really depends on what you want. If you bought a WRX as a sensible, versatile car that also happens to be fast, stick with what you've got. You'll enjoy the softened edges and fantastic daily commuter traits. But if you, like me, bought a WRX because you couldn't afford an STi at the time and all you think about is performance and how your car stacks up to others on the road...well, it could be that you'll only be truly happy, as I've become, when you get into your car and stare straight ahead at the cherry blossom red logo that is guaranteed to make all seem right with the world.
    2005 WRB STi, protuned stage 2+

    We live for fun, not forever

    "Quantity has a quality all its own." –Josef Stalin

    I am Jack's 300 turbocharged horses.

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    Registered User shamrock's Avatar
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    Nice upgrade, but I love my 04 bugeye. Me just wants a sti drivetrain
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    Registered User Gilly Monster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shamrock View Post
    Nice upgrade, but I love my 04 bugeye. Me just wants a sti drivetrain
    +1 I love my 02 wrx, and really now just need a 6MT to complete it.

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    Awesome. Great write up.

    Forgive me because I am new to this, but besides the many extras, goodies and upgrades on the STI, won't a few mods (like EM, TBE, and possibly VF## turbo) make a WRX as powerful in HP than the stock STI?

    (I cover my head for fear of nasty remarks...)
    Last edited by 2:43AM; 09-20-2008 at 08:01 PM.

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    Administrator TheJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2:43AM View Post
    Awesome. Great write up.

    Forgive me because I am new to this, but besides the many extras, goodies and upgrades on the STI, won't a few mods (like EM, TBE, and possibly VF## turbo) make a WRX as powerful in HP than the stock STI?

    (I cover my head for fear of nasty remarks...)
    You sort of make it sound like those "extra goodies" don't count... When in fact many would argue that they matter more then the rated HP in stock form. Sure you can mod/tune the wrx to have similar power levels as the STi but you still won't have the far superior six speed, the braking and handling, dual AVCS, etc.

    You generally can not make a wrx that performs as well an STi for less money then if you just buy the STi to begin with. Even if you could, the unmolested STi would still have a manufacturers warranty.
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    ^^ What he said. Even though you can make a WRX as fast as a stock STi you're starting with a weaker base. Modding the STi gives you big gains as well and then you've got a really really fast car. Plus all of the other stuff. The suspension is way better stock, great set of rims, Brembo brakes that would cost over $3,000 to put on the car, 6 speed tranny that's much stronger than the 5 speed with a more advanced AWD system. Cooler interior with great luminescent gauges and rev limit buzzer.

    All in all it's not as simple as just adding more power to the WRX to create an equal vehicle. For those saying they love their WRX's, that's great. That's all that really matters. I despise SRT-4's but if you own one and it makes you happy wtf do you care what I think? For me, the STi is a better choice for all the reasons previously stated. That is all.
    2005 WRB STi, protuned stage 2+

    We live for fun, not forever

    "Quantity has a quality all its own." –Josef Stalin

    I am Jack's 300 turbocharged horses.

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