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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings everyone, new here. I'm shopping for a new WRX, and was wondering if there are any "older" WRX owners here, and if there are, would greatly appreciate your experiences with the car.

I'm 60(ish), have been a gearhead my entire life. I've owned 105 cars over 45 years of driving, almost all being sports/sporty cars of some kind with manual transmissions. Until recently the only Subaru I've had was a 1976 DL Coupe I had back in the early 1980's in grad school. We recently bought a new Crosstrek for my wife. I was so impressed with the engineering, design, and quality of construction of the car that it inspired me to consider a WRX for my next car.

Having recently moved to New England, I need a 'practical' car that will go in the snow, which means AWD or FWD. I'm drawn to the WRX, which I think (hope?) will be both usable in inclement weather, but (of course) is a blast to drive. Being on the wrong side of 60, I'm a little concerned what the car will be like to live with on a daily basis. It feels great on a 15 minute test drive, but how comfortable will it be on multi-hour highway trips?

Any experiences and comments from "older" drivers would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 

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I'm 55. Mostly owned pickups, so I'm not accustomed to a refined driving experience. I don't have any problems with the ride or the noise level. Lots of highway trips between Cleveland and Chicago (5-6 hrs) without a problem. AWD + Blizzaks make the January & February trips a breeze too.
 

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Not sure if I count as an "older" or "younger" driver at 48 years of age . . . guess it depends if you're 20 something or 70 something.

To answer your question . . . I find the WRX to be a nice mix of fun and practical. I drive 1 1/2 hours to and from work each day and the WRX always gets me there (just be sure to get winter tires since it comes with summer tires.) I'm also an avid sledder . . . throw on a pair of winter tires and it's as close to riding a snowmobile that you'll find on four wheels.

That said . . . if my wife and I are traveling to visit my brother in law or mother in law in CT we tend to take her Legacy as it is more of a "cruiser" . . . it rides better and is a little more luxurious and just plain comfortable.

I should add that I suspect I am a bit atypical of many car owners these days . . . my main criteria for a car is reliability, safety and a fun drive. I have never been all about the luxury interior or latest electronic doo-dads. I mean to say I wouldn't want to drive sitting on a milk crate with a bucket of hot coals to keep me warm and an 8-track player . . . but I don't have a need for Recaro seats, multi-zone heating or a high winder stereo compatible with the various streaming radio services. Rather . . . give me a safe, reliable car that has a bit of zip and that makes me smile every time I fire it up . . .
 

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Search the forums. Many older drivers here. Differing opinions. I find the ride to be ROUGH. But the roads make a huge difference. Good roads, hour long trips are very tolerable. Bad roads, short commutes fill the bladder....
 

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50 here, just came from a 2015 Mustang GT. I live in the northeast and needed to get back to a four door. I find that the WRX is still plenty of fun and the HP is actually able to be used. It will never compare to the raw power and V8 sound of the GT but im gonna save a lot on tires haha. As far as long drives i have not gotten to experience anything over an hour, im sure a Lexus F sport or BMW Xdrive would be a nicer AWD in that instance but depends on what you feel comfortable with spending.

PS. if you are in New England i highly suggest an immediate replacement of the factory tires if they are the high performance summer tires. i was able to work out a deal with the dealership to put on Michelin Pilot Sport all seasons before i took delivery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone! I greatly appreciate your comments.

Firefighterjake, my criteria for cars are very similar to yours - reliability is #1, followed by safety and being fun to drive. Life is too short to deal with the headaches of a car that is constantly breaking down or is high maintenance (like, it seems, many contemporary German cars). I also don't need the latest gizmos and frippery, but at this point in my life (being on the wrong side of 60), a modicum of comfort is appreciated.

rqjoe, thank you for your observation. I appreciate and want all perspectives. Are your comments on the WRX, or STI?

sumguy, my other car is a 2015 Mustang GT. I don't plan to give it up - yet - but even though it only has 7k miles, the quality control and reliability aren't the greatest in the world, so it's probably not going to be something I'll keep for the rest of my life (but 435 hp is fun to drive). We're on the same page, if I buy the WRX I plan to swap the tires for Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ all-seasons before driving it off the lot (though I haven't found any dealers willing to give me any kind of credit for the original equipment summer tires, so I guess I'd put them on craigslist).

Thanks again!
 

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58 here with a 2015 STI. We don't get the snow here in OK as you do, but I haven't experienced any really problems running a set of all seasons during the colder months. I'd say hang onto the summer tires and swap back once the temps warm up. That's what I do anyway. Summer tires aren't good below 40 degrees.

The ride in mine is pretty rough and you do get road noise, but I wasn't surprised when I traded my Xterra for it considering the suspension is tuned more for performance than comfort. Having said that, I've taken it on a few road trips and don't have any complaints. I'm not sure if there's much difference between the WRX and STI suspension, if any. Someone more knowledgeable might weigh in on that topic.
 

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agree with you OP, GT is a blast but i also was not impressed with the reliability or QC. it was in the shop waaaay to much for the 4 years i had it
 

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I'm not sure if there's much difference between the WRX and STI suspension, if any. Someone more knowledgeable might weigh in on that topic.
Comparing the base model WRX with the base model STI, the damping and spring rates are very similar. The STI has mono-tube struts vs. the WRX twin-tube, a tad bit more low-speed damping and minutely increased rear spring rate. Do these contribute to any real "feel" differences on the road? Probably not. I suspect all the reports that the STI had a rougher ride were due to cognitive bias more than anything. Both models ride rough.
 

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As said, the roads will play a big part in the ride quality. Here in the northeast, you sometimes deal with concrete Interstates, which have expansion joints. Those SUCK in a performance Subaru. On reasonable tarmac roadways, as long as you aren't suffering from a physical ailment (e.g., bad back), if you're familiar with the ride of a performance vehicle, the WRX/STI is not going to be a problem. I see a retirement-age lady daily driving a 2015+ WRX every so often on my commute into work (my travel time can vary by 60-90 minutes day to day).
 

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but how comfortable will it be on multi-hour highway trips?
Not at all. I really didn't like my 2016 WRX. Not only was it not all that comfortable, it was incredibly uninspiring. It's a great commuter car, but honestly, it's incredibly "meh" when it comes to longer trips. However, it does depend on what you consider comfortable. It's more comfortable than my 06 WRX, but nowhere near as comfortable as my 2018 F150. So, if you can deal with lots of road noise, quazi-sporty suspension and an overwhelmingly 'meh' 2.0 turbo engine, it's a great car.
 

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Older WRX owner with an old WRX here that I have had for many years. in spite of stiffer Springs and bushing Replacements I've never found the ride to be too annoying but my model has great seats. My wife however has often complained on long trips especially when we nearly catch air coming onto an overpass with a dip lol. I will say I'm probably looking for something more plush in the future.

Interesting username OP... Are you associated with the boutique pedal company (I own several)?

Sent from my LGL164VL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
mycologist, thank you.

No, I have no association with any pedal company. My username just reflects my being an anti-technology Neo-Luddite curmudgeon with some (many?) things in life, and my preferences for things like manual transmissions (over silly Game-Boy floppy 'paddle shifters'), engines I can work on myself, vacuum tube audio equipment, mechanical watches, etc.
 

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This year marks 50 years of driving for me!

I was driving my 2002 Bugeye WRX Wagon 5MT until I was 62, and my 2008 Outback XT (turbo 5MT) until 63. Obviously the OBXT road better on the highway, but then the WRX was set up for autocross. Still, the WRX was a serious blast to drive, and the road noise and roughness did not bother me. I sure miss both of them!!!

I'm sure Joe will chime in here soon, as he's on his third WRX, and is just a bit younger than me.

The only manual transmission vehicles I have left are the 1958 MGA and 1965 Vespa 180 Super Sport. :)
 

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I'm just about to hit 52, so getting on the older side of the equation. Every vehicle is a compromise, and I find my '16 WRX premium to be a damn good one overall. It is very quick, handles well, has good mileage, is a great snow car, has a roomy interior and great visibility out, and is a pretty good value for the $ proposition. It's been pretty reliable overall, although the clutch has me concerned long term. My only "luxury" brand car was a '99 A4, and the WRX's interior is probably on a par with that. It is comfortable and always gets me where I'm going. On top of that, it makes me smile every time I look at it and especially every time I get behind the wheel. It's a lot of fun.

That said, it is not a luxury vehicle, and depending on what your frame of reference is, it may not feel that quick (it's faster than my '99 A4!). It is anything but quiet inside, but the ride is just fine. I find I prefer the ride and sound when I have my taller/narrower 17" winter studless wheel/tires on the car, although performance takes a hit.

I'd buy it again in a heartbeat, although I really do wish there was a hatchback version for dog/general practicality reasons. I'm pretty certain that a Crosstrek with the WRX engine/6 speed would have me trading in my sedan.
 

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I'm 48. The2016 WRX is a rough, noisy, raw ride. If the roads are pothole-ridden you will feel it - hear it. As someone who had and L4-L5 fusion, there are days when I wish I had gotten something with a softer suspension and better seats. But, when it comes time to really drive the car, that's where it shines. I have a 2016 premium with a stock suspension and on a dry road, my nerves give long before the car does. But, supposedly the road noise has been improved as of the 2018 model. I have mine better, but I installed all kinds of sound deadening and noise insulating vinyl to get there.

For someone who is 6'4" and 235 lbs, the seats are bad. However, the cloth seats are, IMHO, better than the leather. Although, I wish they had lumbar support.

The rest of the interior is...uninspiring. And, the OEM stereo is garbage if you appreciate anything better than FM stereo sound.

This is a true driver's car, so long as you tune away the rev hang driving the car is very good. Without tuning away the rev hang I would've gotten rid of the car long ago. It's impossible to consistently shift 1st-to-2nd aggressively without a tune/AccessPoint.

Hope this helps at least some!
 

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One last thing. With you living in New England, you need some winter tires. The all seasons will work in a pinch, but the WRX's AWD is mediocre, at best, in more than three inches of snow. Get a set of steelies, or some heavy alloys, and some winter tires, though, and it's a snow machine. Just be sure to drop down to 17" and get a higher profile, narrower winter tire. And, make sure the steelies you pick will clear the front brakes.
 

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mycologist, thank you.

No, I have no association with any pedal company. My username just reflects my being an anti-technology Neo-Luddite curmudgeon with some (many?) things in life, and my preferences for things like manual transmissions (over silly Game-Boy floppy 'paddle shifters'), engines I can work on myself, vacuum tube audio equipment, mechanical watches, etc.
You and I are kindred spirits!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
ChristopherWRX, thanks!

I would swap out the tires for Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ before even taking it off the lot. Living on the 'south coast' of MA, snowfalls here are generally light, so I think (hope?) the A/S should work OK (I'll find out...).

I took a WRX for another test drive, and you're right. I wouldn't call the leather seats in the Limited plush, but I think (again, maybe hope?) they'll be OK for me. I've driven basic cars my entire life. Never had a taste for 'luxury' cars (other than a 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado I had for a while in college). Reliability, safety, and fun to drive are my priorities, though being on the wrong side of 60, there has to be some modicum of comfort. The standard of comfort is now being able to 'manspread' in the car.

I raise my glass to you for enjoying analog audio equipment! The human ear evolved to hear analog sounds. I don't care how many bits digital sound may pack in, it's just not the same as analog. Music is meant to be heard in a continuous stream, not in machine-gun packets of information (even if it's tens of thousands per second). I have to admit, my aging ears can't appreciate a Marantz amplifier like I could 15 or 20 years ago, but I'll still take the soft glow of vacuum tubes over digital any day.
 
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