Bye bye BRZ, hello WRX!
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This is a discussion on Bye bye BRZ, hello WRX! within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I never thought I would find myself posting on a WRX forum having bought a BRZ back in June of ...

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    Bye bye BRZ, hello WRX!

    I never thought I would find myself posting on a WRX forum having bought a BRZ back in June of 2013. First of all, the BRZ is a very special car to me. I have owned lots of cars over the years including (but not limited to) 3 RX-7's (three different generations), a Speed3, a BMW 325i, a Jetta VR6, a GTI, a Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and the most recently the BRZ. For the record the BRZ rates right up there as one of the most special cars I have ever owned just behind two of my RX-7's (87 turbo, and a 93). I will miss it very much but the WRX, I am happy to say, is growing on me quickly. Very quickly

    So why am I here? Well, I have a wonderful wife and three great kids (ages 8, 6, and 3). Our other vehicle is a 2013 Honda Odyssey that I purchased before the BRZ and we owned a 2006 Odyssey prior to the 2013 Odyssey. Prior to this my car was strictly a commuter car to work and a grocery getter when either my wife and I don't have the kids. I test drove the BRZ and feel in love and, after talking to the wife, brought it home in June. Okay, I knew the backseat was a joke but the 7 and 5 year old at the time could fit in the back in their booster seats even though there is little to no legroom behind my drivers seat. But they only rode in the car every blue moon. Maybe a couple times a month. No biggie. The trips were short and they liked the car and did not complain.

    Fast forward to September. The 7 year old has turned 8 and has grown about 4". The 5 year old is almost 6 and she has also grown about 3". The 8 year old is accepted into a masters black belt karate program that means I will be driving him 3 nights a week in my car and once on Saturday's. I can still make this work I tell myself in the BRZ. Then my 5 year old is just kicking butt in karate and also want to join the black belt program. Yikes. And the meantime my wife is a hardcore runner and is training 3-4 days a week in the evenings and I really don't want to be driving a minivan 4 nights a week. The BRZ was just not working with kids and I realize it is only getting worse. The kids are only going to keep growing, and our life is only going to get busier as the 3 year old is now in dance and swimming...

    My wife has been a great sport about the BRZ but the hints were there that it is not practical. My wife knows how much I love the car, but it is not going to work and not being able to fit the whole family in our second car in a pinch could bite us down the road. So I talk to my wife and she agrees that it is probably better to sell it sooner than later and get something that is practical but still sporty. Target budget is $27K or less, and the search begins. I am a car guy and have been very impressed with all the Ford Focus ST reviews I have read and so I started doing research online and find some great deals out there right now on Focus ST's. The top of the line model is selling for $25-26K and so I stop in at the closest Ford dealer and give one a spin. You can read about it here:
    drove a '13 Focus ST today

    I just was not impressed. In fact, it left me rather sad to think I would have to give up the BRZ for something like a Focus ST. So begins the search for a 2014 WRX hatchback. I live in Minnesota (about 20 miles outside Minneapolis where I work) and it has been snowing a ton. On top of that WRX's have always been hard to get here even in the summer (Subaru keeps the supply low and the demand is always steady). I find a local dealer that has a 2014 hatch in premium trim online. I call and speak to the WRX sales expert and he is awesome. Been selling them since they first came out and he races them in rally races. Really cool guy and he gives me a lot of information on the 2015 (I was thinking about waiting) since he was flown out by Subaru to the press events in California I was able to pick his brain on the 2015 vs the 2014 (handling, interior, seats, engine, etc). The big issue for me is that I really wanted a hatchback and of course Subaru is only making sedans for the 2015 with no promise of a hatchback in the near future (which is very disappointing). He said the hatch I found online may be bought already but the deal may fall through due to financing issues. He told me he would call me back later that day if it was available. He called me back right before close and told me it was available and the deal fell through. He said he had another guy interested (this was a Friday) but that he was there first thing in the morning if I wanted to come by and test drive and he told me he looked into my car and that $24K was doable on the trade (suck it Superior Ford in Plymouth). I told him I will be there first thing. Well, I was literally 5 minutes from the dealer when he texted me to tell me the other guy was there before they even opened and bought the car... Dang! He did not have any more WRX's left but promised to try and find one for me or let me know when more come in.

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    Continued...

    So I took matters into my own hands and searched. Not a single dealer had a 5 door WRX, and only a couple sedans were available but not in the trim I wanted (they were Limited's and I wanted a base or Premium). Then I found a 2014 hatch base model 55 miles away. Called the Internet sales manager and he told me he was pretty sure it was just sold to a customer and that he just sold his only other WRX which was a Premium base. He got my info and told me he will call me back (he was busy) when he can track down when he has more coming in. Well he calls me back to tell me the customer how was going to buy the WRX hatch fell through and it is available. I put a refundable deposit down and told him I would be there first thing Monday (they were closed the next day).

    I arrived Monday AM (of course it was snowing) and chatted with the sales manager and he was a really nice guy. He was no pressure and gave me the keys to the car and told me to come back and to take as long as I want. So I took it out for about an hour and really got a feel for the car. I took it to an empty parking lot and wanted to see how it handled sharp turns, how it braked, and how it accelerated and check the turning radius. I also wanted to check the backseat and brought two booster seats with me to see how the kids would fit. Here are my thoughts on the 2014 WRX hatch:

    - Exterior. I know this is subjective but I have always liked the look of the WRX hatchbacks. When you look at it, there is no mistaking it for a regular Impreza hatch. From the wide body to the hood scoop to the rear spoiler. I know some people think it is has too much going on, but I really like it and the fact that I think it still looks as good today as when I first saw this body style a number of years back says a lot about how I feel it is aging. This car was Ice Silver Metallic which I did not mind. Not my first choice, but my BRZ was WRB and our minivan was white so I wanted something different. I have not owned a silver vehicle in a long time and that was one we bought for my wife that I rarely drove.

    - Engine. I am a boxer fan. I like the sound of them and the 2.5 has some serious pull. The WRX is just such a different animal than my BRZ. 68 more hp and almost 100 more ft lbs of torque. But it is really more than that on the streets because the BRX is losing a big chunk of that hp and torque at the wheels because it is RWD vs AWD (at least the stock dynos I have seen seem to confirm this). Power is not as linear as the Focus ST, but turbo lag is not noticeable and man this car can pull hard. I was not pushing it really hard since I did not own it, but the AWD really keeps the car planted and even with some light snow on the ground and summer tires I was not having much tire spin vs the Focus ST. I really wish the BRZ was offered with an engine of this caliber....

    - Handling/driver feel. Okay the WRX is not a BRZ. You sit up much higher (the Focus ST felt even higher to me) and it simply does not have the center of gravity the BRZ has. The handling is not as sharp as my BRZ, but the WRX is not bad either. Wait, what is that I feel, driver feedback? Yes! Unlike the Focus ST which felt very artificial and numb to me, you can feel what it happening at the wheels of the WRX and the steering gives you feedback. Yes, there is some body roll (none in the BRZ and I don't remember any in the Focus ST). Yes, the car does have a tendency to understeer a little. But it is very controlled and you can really push the car and it has very predictable manners. I know I can add some better sway bars and tone down the body roll and understeer. But overall, I like it. It is not the BRZ. You are not going to rotate the back end out with AWD. It does not have the handling of the BRZ. But is not bad either and is a different animal with all that power. Trade-off for sure...

    - Brakes and gearbox. I like the brakes in this car. They are very responsive and there is some feedback in there vs the Focus ST which were a little to sensitive to me. This particular WRX already had a short shifter installed and maybe I was expecting the worst, but the gearbox was not bad at all. It is not as good as the six speed Asin in the BRZ, but I liked it better than the Focus ST. I am sure the short shifter really helped here, and to be fair to the Focus ST, that car also has short shifter options which I would have 100% bought. But the shifter had decent throws and was not vague at all. I have yet to miss a gear, even when rowing quickly through the grearbox. I like the clutch in the WRX a lot more than the BRZ which just can wear on you during a long commute. No issues there. Pedal placement is great, I have no problems at all with the brakes or gearbox outside of wanting to upgrade the handle on the shifter (this thing looks and feels like it came from an 80's pickup truck).

    - Interior. Again, I think I was expecting the worst but some of these reviews, I feel, are overly harsh on the WRX. Yes there are some hard plastics. Yes the radio looks ancient. The base WRX cannot hold a candle to the cheaper Focus ST ST2 and ST3 models that are fully loaded for the $22-26K range (street price). But I don't care. Because everything is intuitive to me. It has everything I need and I much prefer the buttons to the touch screens in my BRZ and Ford. I don't want nav in my car because I almost always use Google maps turn by turn on my phone which I find to be superior to any car nav I have owned. The WRX has full bluetooth integration and it works great. The radio sounds really bad though. I thought the BRZ radio was poor but the WRX has it beat.. Focus ST has a much better sound system, but I am not buying a car for the radio. That can be addressed aftermarket anyway which I prefer. All the other controls are where I expect them to be and everything is functional and simple. Most of the material on the dash are actually have a good feel to them, and the steering wheel is great. I love the size, and yes it has some buttons, but they are intuitive and easy to use. The BRZ has none, and I realize how much I have missed the volume and phone controls because the touchscreen in the BRZ is just terrible. The WRX clearly has more legroom in the front that the Focus ST which results in not having to put my seat as far back and that leaves tons of legroom for the kids and even full sized adults in the back. Very happy with the legroom in both rows of seats. The WRX passes the carseat/booster challenge and yes I can fit all three kids in the back row in a pinch (would not want to do this everyday). The two bigger kids will fit great even into their teens. And there is still a good amount of room in the rear trunk/hatch area too. Love the flexibility with the rear seats folded down too. One more thing, the front seats are not nearly as good as the Recaro's in the ST or the alcantara/leather seats in my BRZ. But they are actually pretty good and even after my hour test drive I have no back fatigue and I like them.

    At the end of my test drive I have a smile on my face that I just did not have with the Focus ST. The WRX just suits me better and I know it instantly. I don't want to make this a BRZ vs a WRX post. They are two very different cars that do very different things. But I would be remiss if I did not say that it was still very difficult to give up the BRZ. It is such a special car that most people who have not actually driven one don't get when the look at the specs. I am hoping I can pick up a used FR-S or BRZ down the road on the cheap as a third car, but it is not all bad. The WRX is a great car. The power is just tremendous. The AWD just makes so much sense living in Minnesota. The hatchback is just so practical for a family of five, and having a usable backseat will make a huge difference with the kids.

    The dealer and I negotiate on my trade and the WRX price (and he did not have to budge even off MSRP because of the demand, especially for the hatches). I am happy with the numbers and that the dealer was willing to do some give and take with me. Trade in with my car was very fair. I had the dealer take the Blizzaks off the BRZ and put the OEM tires back on and then put the Blizzaks WS-70's on the WRX. The WRX is amazing in the snow with the AWD and the Blizzaks. It is so planted whereas the BRZ loved to swing the rear end out (which is a blast).

    I have only had the car a few days now, so I will post some follow-up reports. I do want to add sway bars this summer and also do something about the radio at some point, but for now I just want to enjoy the car and get used to it. I really debated waiting for the 2015, but the lack of a hatchback was a deal breaker especially based on the sedan pics and videos I have seen of the 2015 which just did nothing for me. No regrets so far And hey, I with the resale value I can upgrade in a couple years if the newer model is really that good (and they work out the kinks) but I think with the suspension mods that 2014 has available it will improve the handling for not that much money.

    I have some crappy pics to share but will post some better ones latter as I can take them:





    My BRZ next to the Focus ST I was test driving:


  4. #3
    Moderator T0rque's Avatar
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    welcome..


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    Registered User wreckingball man's Avatar
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    Welcome. I'll have to read your post(s) in sections. Just kidding

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    Welcome! Your rex looks gorgeous
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    Registered User Ampliified's Avatar
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    Welcome touching story glad you choose a WRX welcome to the club!
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    Registered User ProZach626's Avatar
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    cliff notes?

    Welcome. I hope you like the WRX.

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    Registered User Chief_WRX's Avatar
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    Welcome, great color choice.

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    Registered User King Cobra's Avatar
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    I didn't read the whole passage but sounds like me I bought a13 brz in June and just traded up on a wrx hatch. Welcome mang.

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    I love you WRX man , just couldnt read read the whole thing, welcome

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    Thanks everyone! Sorry for the diatribe, I was just writing all my thoughts.

    Cliff note version:
    Bought a BRZ, thought it could work with the kids as my car was mostly a commuter car
    More and more I finding myself shuttling kids
    BRZ backseat is a joke
    Traded it in for a WRX

    Miss the BRZ, but love the WRX at the same time.
    Different cars, different fun....

  13. #12
    Registered User King Cobra's Avatar
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    agreed thill, mine was simular reason not kids but needed something for my dog who couldn't fit in my brz at all. glad your happy with your bye man thats always a plus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by King Cobra View Post
    agreed thill, mine was simular reason not kids but needed something for my dog who couldn't fit in my brz at all. glad your happy with your bye man thats always a plus.
    Did you buy a WRX as well? Also love the picture, I am ex Army.

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