I decided to sell my 2001 Volvo S60 T5 last summer, basically because it was becoming too costly to maintain. I spent $3-4K each of the last two years on it and it only had 80K miles. Needless to say it was a fun car to drive but not worth the money.
I originally started looking at the Audi A3 and the BMW 325xi. I wanted something sporty with all wheel drive for Tahoe in the winter. But my biggest concern with Audi and BMW was that they would be as expensive as Volvo to maintain, maybe even more expensive. That is when a friend recommended that I check out the WRX.
I came across this website while researching the WRX and it honestly pushed me further in the direction of purchasing one. I ended up purchasing a new 09 WRX Premium back in August. Probably wasn't the best timing with Car for Clunkers going on, but I got 0% financing and only paid a couple hundred over invoice (and saved $20K+ over the BMW 335xi that I was considering).
At first I was a little concerned about having a manual transmission since I live in San Francisco, but I also ride a motorcycle, so I figured I should be able to handle it. With the exception of one incident where I burned the clutch pretty badly on a steep hill, I haven't had any issues. Good thing the warranty covers one new clutch
So far I've put about ~2,700 miles on the car.
What I like:
+3-4K RPMs in 3rd gear and 4-5K RPMs in 4th gear. I'm no car expert and I don't even know when the torque & HP is supposed to be best, but those ranges feel the best to me
+AWD & handling - Wow this is my first AWD car and I can definitely feel the difference. Combined with the manual transmission. I'm looking forward to driving in the snow.
+Versatility - This car is perfect for my lifestyle: living in the city, going to Tahoe, the beach, etc., commuting on the freeway. Super fun to drive, easy to park, can load up all my toys (bike, snowboard, hockey gear, etc.)
+The car feels like it's getting more powerful as I put more miles on it. Part of it is probably that I'm getting better with the clutch, but I also think the car is getting faster...
What I don't like:
+The interior - it's too cheap feeling, so one thing I'm doing is upgrading the seats to leather. The doors feel especially cheap and prone to getting marked up. Any recommendations for improving their durability?
+Lack of lumbar support - I took a road trip to Yosemite and the lack of lumbar support was painful after just a couple hours. I've looked around on this site for recommendations, but haven't seen much besides "use a pillow"
+Stereo sucks - I can't believe they call it the premium sound package. I hate to hear what they think is mediocre.
Extras on the car:
Dim Mirror w/Homelink
Short Throw Shifter
What I'm planning short term:
Body Side Molding - do you guys think this looks good/bad?
Bike & Snowboard rack - any recommendations?
ClearShield Paint Protection - do you guys think this is worth it?
New Stereo Amp & Head Unit - want to get more power to the speakers, but not really interested in a subwoofer (not my style), any recommendations?
Tail light covers - just ordered the red Harmon Motive Rear Lamp Overlay Kit (found out about this from a post by Big Sky, thanks!)
What I'm planning long term:
Suspension & brake upgrades*
Stage 1 tune*
*post warranty expiration (probably...maybe...)
Overall I'm loving my new Rex. I went out of town for two weeks on business and couldn't wait to get back home and go for a ride