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Hello, I just joined the community 'cuz I'm thinking of getting a WRX but could use a lot of advice. I'm 42, have a 8 and 11 y/o and a cool wife that is fine with whatever I decide to get (but it has to be Auto cuz she can't drive stick). Our primary vehicle is a Lexus RX350 which will soon be replaced by an Infiniti QX60 for the 3rd row seating. Our other "put miles on" car is a 2013 Hyundai Sonata which has to be one of the most boring to drive, cookie-cutter cars out there but we bought it when gas prices were high.

I've been wanting something fun and have come close to buying a C7 Vette a couple times over the past 2 years but it's just too impractical since I couldn't even take my 2 kids with me. I've also looked at the 4-door Vette, the CTS-V and that's an option. However, we have decided we are getting a 2nd home in Western NC near Asheville which is one of the main reasons we want something sporty and fun since we can't do much with a sports car here in Clearwater (Tampa), FL where it’s totally flat and all roads are on a grid (straight). On our most recent trip home shopping in NC I rented a Hemi with paddle shifters and found some great dirt roads for some Rally-esque fun. This got me thinking that a more rally-based vehicle that is good both on and off road would make more sense than a really low, road only sports car.

I’ve never owned a Subaru but know they are well built cars that dominated the Rally scene for a long time. My one hesitation is if doing performance mods on a WRX is going to make it more boy racer/fast and furious vs a solid
all-around car that’s equally cable as a daily driver and pushing it on Tail of the Dragon or Western Carolinas mountain dirt roads. I definitely don’t want to be associated with the guy in the beat old civic with rims that cost 2x what his car is worth and a big can on the back that gives the illusion of speed even though it takes him 13 seconds to go 0-60. Please help convince me that this Japanese car isn’t that stereotypical young kid’s ricer. I don’t mean to offend anyone that’s into that scene but I own two companies and there may be times when my wife needs the SUV and I’ll be taking clients in it so my goal is a sleeper of a vehicle that behaves like a normal sedan until I romp on the pedal and it comes alive.

So here are some of my questions:

1. How good is the performance in these for what I want to do? I imagine a stock Vette would smoke one of these since it’s 2x the price but pure speed will only get me into trouble with tickets and the type of driving I want to do is slower speeds but aggressive curves with short bursts of acceleration in between so I understand why even a Miata can be a blast in the twisties.

2. Can I add a decent amount of HP without it sounding like Fast and Furious when driven mellow? Are there some aftermarket options for maybe a stage 2 kit that still keeps it a sleeper until you get on it? Does the Cobb AP allow you to easily change maps to where it tones everything down and focuses a little more on mileage when daily driving it in Tampa but still allows me to dial up a more aggressive tune (both performance and sound) when “playing” up in the mountains?

2.5 How would a stage 2 effect mpg, drivability and reliability for a daily driver and is it even necessary for the weekend warrior?

3 How is the Auto with paddle shifters? I know the Vette’s auto is even faster than the manual but it doesn’t appear to be that way with the CVT on the WRX. How dependable and strong is the CVT and are there any issues with modding it within reason?

4. I believe I read that the newer WRX are a little lower than previous ones but is the stock suspension and clearance still solid for well-maintained dirt roads? If not, is there a good suspension mod you’d recommend that would give me the adjustability between dirt, roads, and still be smooth for daily driving? I don’t plan on racing so I’m hoping the stock suspension is sufficient due to the WRX’s Rally heritage but I don’t know how much of that Subaru has retained through the years since I’ve just started researching them.

5. I understand this isn’t a luxury car but is it fairly nice inside if I get one with leather seats? The cloth interior and all plastic everything in our Hyundai Sonata is so crappy compared to our Lexus so I’m hoping for something in between.

6. What other vehicles should I research that would fit my needs? I know the Mitsubishi EVO is solid but maybe a little more Rally and less dd, plus it has that ugly wing on the back that screams Fast and Furious. Ford Focus RS?

Thanks so much for your help!
 

· I Drink & I Know Things
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Hello and welcome!
I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible...feel free to ask follow-ups. Remember we all have varying opinions so be sure to do your own research as well. That's my disclaimer. I'm 38 and on my 9th car FWIW.

1. The performance is above average, but it's no drag racer by any means. The stock power curve is funky and takes some getting used to. It will serve the purpose you're looking for though. This car is way more fun in the twisties. It's something they did a great job of improving with the latest model. The power and speed is fun enough, but not brag worthy in stock form. The backseat is actually quite roomy for the kiddos or even smaller-avg size adults.

2. Yes, there are a ton of mods you can do. However, the CVT has a couple weak points that once a certain HP number is achieved will require $ spent. Mainly the TQ converter and the lines. If you're going to plan on a stage 2 build, you will probably want to invest in an aux trans cooler. Temps are a factor. There are some good builds out there...check Bellipoten's build in NASIOC.
By the way...flooring the CVT is NOT the best for acceleration. You need to modulate the throttle a bit for best get up and go. You'll see if you test drive one...it's interesting.
If you go stage 2, I'd try to keep it conservative.

2.5. Most likely a pro tune will give you better drivability. As I stated...the stock tune is a bit funky. Reliability...that's a risk with any power modification. If you have the $ to support it...have fun. MPGs will be affected if you adjust the ECU in any way...at stage 2 probably adversely, but I wouldn't say anything too terrible. I've even seen MPGs go up in some stage 1, stage 1+ scenarios...go figure.

3. The paddle shifters are fun for about 10 minutes honestly. I rarely use them. If you're driving in the mountains with no traffic by all means, use them in S# mode and have fun! Otherwise...meh.

4. 4.9" of ground clearance. It IS a little low. Smooth dirt roads...sure. It's NOT an off road vehicle and please don't think it's a rally car. Those are a half million dollars.

5. The interior isn't horrible, but it's not great either. It's better than an EVOs, but not as nice as a GTI/Golf R. The materials are vastly improved over previous models, but you WILL get some squeaks and rattles here and there after not too long. I have 6k miles on mine. I have two rattles already. Our Forester XT also has 2 rattles. In similar areas. Get the Limited for optimal materials and external goodies to help dress it up a bit.

6. If you're interested in an EVO, you will be disappointed by the interior. The driving experience is also a bit rougher around the edges. It's a great car for fun though. Get a 2014 or older though. You lost the Recaros for the 2015. I'm not a Focus fan and I don't like the interior at all. I've never driven one...only had a quick ride in an ST. It was meh in my opinion. I have no opinion about the RS.

Happy shopping!

EDIT: also FWIW...this is my second WRX and my most recent car was a 2013 Infiniti G37x coupe.
 

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1. How good is the performance in these for what I want to do? I imagine a stock Vette would smoke one of these since it’s 2x the price but pure speed will only get me into trouble with tickets and the type of driving I want to do is slower speeds but aggressive curves with short bursts of acceleration in between so I understand why even a Miata can be a blast in the twisties.
Depends which model of vette and year you're talking about. the performance is good if you stay in the powerband(but you're going to have a paddle shift so disregard). I have loads of fun in my Sti.

2. Can I add a decent amount of HP without it sounding like Fast and Furious when driven mellow? Are there some aftermarket options for maybe a stage 2 kit that still keeps it a sleeper until you get on it? Does the Cobb AP allow you to easily change maps to where it tones everything down and focuses a little more on mileage when daily driving it in Tampa but still allows me to dial up a more aggressive tune (both performance and sound) when “playing” up in the mountains?
there are OTS maps on cobb ap for MPG, as far as sleeper option it depends how much hp gain you're trying to achieve and how little a sound you want but most likely the answer is no.

2.5 How would a stage 2 effect mpg, drivability and reliability for a daily driver and is it even necessary for the weekend warrior?
I have a stage 3 sti DD and it does just fine, maybe like 15-20 mpg depending on driving.

3 How is the Auto with paddle shifters? I know the Vette’s auto is even faster than the manual but it doesn’t appear to be that way with the CVT on the WRX. How dependable and strong is the CVT and are there any issues with modding it within reason?
You keep comparing this car to a vette..... The VETTE is a completely different vehicle in every way and I would never buy a paddle shift vette.

4. I believe I read that the newer WRX are a little lower than previous ones but is the stock suspension and clearance still solid for well-maintained dirt roads? If not, is there a good suspension mod you’d recommend that would give me the adjustability between dirt, roads, and still be smooth for daily driving? I don’t plan on racing so I’m hoping the stock suspension is sufficient due to the WRX’s Rally heritage but I don’t know how much of that Subaru has retained through the years since I’ve just started researching them.
The clearance is just fine

5. I understand this isn’t a luxury car but is it fairly nice inside if I get one with leather seats? The cloth interior and all plastic everything in our Hyundai Sonata is so crappy compared to our Lexus so I’m hoping for something in between.
It is NOT nice inside, a lot of cheap plastic and random cheap pieces. You're buying it for the performance and handling and maybe some ok seats.

6. What other vehicles should I research that would fit my needs? I know the Mitsubishi EVO is solid but maybe a little more Rally and less dd, plus it has that ugly wing on the back that screams Fast and Furious. Ford Focus RS?
I don't think the Evo screams fast and the furious at'll. It all depends on price, how much power, lux, maintenance, everything. Go buy a GTR you can fit a family in there and "smoke" just about anything that comes your way.

Thanks so much for your help!
 

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Hello, I just joined the community 'cuz I'm thinking of getting a WRX but could use a lot of advice. I'm 42, have a 8 and 11 y/o and a cool wife that is fine with whatever I decide to get (but it has to be Auto cuz she can't drive stick). Our primary vehicle is a Lexus RX350 which will soon be replaced by an Infiniti QX60 for the 3rd row seating. Our other "put miles on" car is a 2013 Hyundai Sonata which has to be one of the most boring to drive, cookie-cutter cars out there but we bought it when gas prices were high.

I've been wanting something fun and have come close to buying a C7 Vette a couple times over the past 2 years but it's just too impractical since I couldn't even take my 2 kids with me. I've also looked at the 4-door Vette, the CTS-V and that's an option. However, we have decided we are getting a 2nd home in Western NC near Asheville which is one of the main reasons we want something sporty and fun since we can't do much with a sports car here in Clearwater (Tampa), FL where it’s totally flat and all roads are on a grid (straight). On our most recent trip home shopping in NC I rented a Hemi with paddle shifters and found some great dirt roads for some Rally-esque fun. This got me thinking that a more rally-based vehicle that is good both on and off road would make more sense than a really low, road only sports car.

I’ve never owned a Subaru but know they are well built cars that dominated the Rally scene for a long time. My one hesitation is if doing performance mods on a WRX is going to make it more boy racer/fast and furious vs a solid
all-around car that’s equally cable as a daily driver and pushing it on Tail of the Dragon or Western Carolinas mountain dirt roads. I definitely don’t want to be associated with the guy in the beat old civic with rims that cost 2x what his car is worth and a big can on the back that gives the illusion of speed even though it takes him 13 seconds to go 0-60. Please help convince me that this Japanese car isn’t that stereotypical young kid’s ricer. I don’t mean to offend anyone that’s into that scene but I own two companies and there may be times when my wife needs the SUV and I’ll be taking clients in it so my goal is a sleeper of a vehicle that behaves like a normal sedan until I romp on the pedal and it comes alive.

So here are some of my questions:

1. How good is the performance in these for what I want to do? I imagine a stock Vette would smoke one of these since it’s 2x the price but pure speed will only get me into trouble with tickets and the type of driving I want to do is slower speeds but aggressive curves with short bursts of acceleration in between so I understand why even a Miata can be a blast in the twisties.

2. Can I add a decent amount of HP without it sounding like Fast and Furious when driven mellow? Are there some aftermarket options for maybe a stage 2 kit that still keeps it a sleeper until you get on it? Does the Cobb AP allow you to easily change maps to where it tones everything down and focuses a little more on mileage when daily driving it in Tampa but still allows me to dial up a more aggressive tune (both performance and sound) when “playing” up in the mountains?

2.5 How would a stage 2 effect mpg, drivability and reliability for a daily driver and is it even necessary for the weekend warrior?

3 How is the Auto with paddle shifters? I know the Vette’s auto is even faster than the manual but it doesn’t appear to be that way with the CVT on the WRX. How dependable and strong is the CVT and are there any issues with modding it within reason?

4. I believe I read that the newer WRX are a little lower than previous ones but is the stock suspension and clearance still solid for well-maintained dirt roads? If not, is there a good suspension mod you’d recommend that would give me the adjustability between dirt, roads, and still be smooth for daily driving? I don’t plan on racing so I’m hoping the stock suspension is sufficient due to the WRX’s Rally heritage but I don’t know how much of that Subaru has retained through the years since I’ve just started researching them.

5. I understand this isn’t a luxury car but is it fairly nice inside if I get one with leather seats? The cloth interior and all plastic everything in our Hyundai Sonata is so crappy compared to our Lexus so I’m hoping for something in between.

6. What other vehicles should I research that would fit my needs? I know the Mitsubishi EVO is solid but maybe a little more Rally and less dd, plus it has that ugly wing on the back that screams Fast and Furious. Ford Focus RS?

Thanks so much for your help!
 

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Hi,
For what it's worth I think it's always a good idea how to learn how to drive a stick. It may turn up in an emergency that the only car available is a stick. It's really not too hard and once you learn you'll further understand why some people prefer a stick over an automatic. So much more fun and having the ability to instantly downshift going into a turn is a nice plus. Starting off in 2nd gear on a snowy patch of the road also comes in handy. Just my option of course but when I learned it opened up a whole new driving experience for me. Take care and drive safe! Rob
 
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