This afternoon I just picked up my DGM 5-door 2011 WRX Premium, and I spent just a few hours behind the wheels of the car. So far it's been pretty nice! But I thought it might be interesting for some of you to see a super short comparison between my previous ride, 2008 RX8 GT and this shiny new 2011 WRX hatch. I'll for sure post more details as I go with the new car...
I know the WRX has pretty decent (although not top-notch) sport suspension setup, and I've heard a lot of good things about it on this forum (and on NASIOC, too). But compared to RX8, it has a LONG WAY to go. The car just doesn't feel tight enough. Not just the stiffness part (which is actually on par with RX8), but also the steering wheel accuracy. The steering wheel on the RX8 is much heavier and much more accurate, so even super tiny movements on the steering wheel can be felt on the car. And on the WRX, it feels like a ford truck (of course it's much better than that, but it's just a comparison), where the steering wheel isn't as sensitive. It's not THAT bad, but it's definitely noticeable. As a result, going in and out of corners in the WRX does not provide me with the same level of confidence as I had with the 8.
Transmission-wise, the switch to WRX is a step backward. Although the WRX has the STI short throw shifter, it's nowhere near that on the RX8. The throw is still too long, and the feeling of changing gears is not crystal clear. I've learnt that the gears get better over time in the WRX, so I'll just wait and see.
To be honest, I haven't been able to test out the full potential of the WRX power yet --- since it only has 60 miles on it. I'll have to patiently wait until the break-in period is (at least almost) over before I can draw a conclusion. But the power is definitely plentiful. At the range of 4k - 5k I can feel the power of the turbo significantly, and it's very enjoyable! At this range, I think the power is similar to what RX 8 has from 4k - 6k. But RX8, on the other hand, has a much wider power band (redlining at 9.5k!) so the acceleration could be very smooth and powerful (and I do miss that!). But again, I'm still in the break-in period. So I'm sure I'll get to learn the incredible torque that this H4 has.
A lot of people have commented on the interior of WRX's, and most of them were complaining about the cheap materials used. But I found the interior quality to be pretty decent, definitely on par (if not better designed) than the RX8. Sound system is definitely not as good as the BOSE in the RX8, but everything else (bluetooth connectivity, voice control, USB, MPG display, etc) is very nicely done. And I do like this interior a lot. I do like the (non-leather) seats a lot, as I didn't like them too much in my RX8. The leather seats tend to get too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
4. Everything else
The space is definitely great. There was literally no trunk space in the 8, so WRX wins totally in the practicality department. And the four doors plus full-sized seats are definitely a nice upgrade. Even the front seats feel larger and more comfortable as well! Also, I love the exterior design of the car. The 08-10 model years were not so good, but this time Subaru definitely got it done in the right way. I had to turn my head back several times when I left it on the parking lot.
To summarize, there are pros and cons in my switch, and generally I'm very happy about this change. All right, this is pretty much it so far! This post was meant to be short, and I guess it's already getting too long. ;-) Anyways, I'll keep posting my other observations later on as I get more used to the car.
If there's any question, please feel free to ask. :-)