I'm anxiously awaiting my new WRX. I thought I had bought one paint, but the dealer called today and told me that vehicle was "not available" whatever that means. So I'm hoping to get my 2nd choice in color in a day or two. It's all good. I drove all the hot hatches, and the WRX won hands down. It wasn't even close.
I've driven VW Rabbit/Golfs/GTi for over 30 years. I loved the engineering, the performance, the handling. I hated the reliability and the VAG corporate policy of punishing anyone who dared to buy replacement parts. I've had VW parts desk supervisors offer unsolicited apologies for being ripped off on parts. In VW forums, they are always called "stealerships." I haven't seen that term here, or in other forums.
My test drives in the VW GTi was a joke; the car hasn't changed at all in over 12 years. The Ford Focus ST and MazdaSpeed3 were at least interesting. I had a Ford Pinto "rolling stove" model and never forgot it. The ST was way better performance than the pushrod mill in the Pinto but the idea of having a car controlled by Microsoft basically killed the deal. The ST was OK to drive but not nearly as controlled and powerful as the WRX. The Mazda had technically more HP but unless you drive the streets with the tach over 4k they mean nothing. The low-end torque and grip of the WRX won easily.
I sprung for the dealer fog lights even though I know they don't get the best reviews. I'm old and lazy. It's better to have fogs than not not to have them while you research the very best ones.
I'm planning on winter tires on steelies, 215/55R16 XL Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Blackwall unless I get convincing advice otherwise.
Team O'Neill looks like they will give me 2 days of rally training in their Imprezza for a hefty fee. I thought about training after buying the last Golf, lots of things have changed. The WRX with its AWD and other tech is like nothing I've ever driven, it seems to me that a few (very expensive) days being taught by pros would be money well spent.
I'm thinking of a CAI but not much else in terms of mods, at least not until I drive it few months. I welcome any opinions. Bring it on!