Getting a cheap sports car isn’t as difficult as some might think. True, it might not be as exciting as a Porsche, but the Ford Mustang Ecoboost isn’t slow by any means. You might even fall in love with some underrated contenders, like the Subaru WRX.
MotorTrend put the WRX near the top of its cheapest sports cars list. This sporty sedan retails for $27,495 and the top-tier STI Limited starts at $41,945. What makes the Subaru WRX such a worthy competitor compared to household names on MotorTrend’s list?
The Subaru WRX needs to build its reputation
The Chevy Camaro LT1 is obviously more popular than the WRX, but it’s over $10,000 more costly. However, it comes with an impressive V8 capable of 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. According to CarIndigo, it can reach 60 mph in as little as 4.1 seconds.
The Honda Civic Type R was also mentioned on MotorTrend’s list, a finalist for Best Driver’s Car of 2018. For its last year before a remodel, the Type R gets a 306-hp turbo-four with a six-speed manual transmission. The next-gen Type R will reportedly keep the manual gearbox, but sport an upgraded interior and powertrain.
According to MotorTrend, the cheapest sports car you can buy is the Mazda MX-5 Miata. According to Mazda, it retails for $26,830 and includes a peppy 184-hp four-cylinder engine. MotorTrend recommends spending extra for the Miata Club, which brings its price to $30,290 at minimum. Racing enhancements like Brembo brakes and aero kit can bring the Miata’s total to over $35,000.
How much does the Subaru WRX cost?
For just under $27,500 according to Subaru, the Subaru WRX gets a 268-hp turbo-four paired with a six-speed manual transmission. AWD is also standard, along with active torque vectoring and vehicle dynamic control for better handling. Smartphone integration is included, though the 6.5-inch touchscreen might be too small for some drivers.
The Subaru WRX Premium adds a bigger touchscreen and heated seats. The CVT is also optional starting on this trim, which many critics agree is a better match for the engine. With the CVT, drivers also get the advanced safety suite that is absent on the base model.
The WRX Limited can have even more safety upgrades, like rear cross-traffic alert, LED headlights, and blind-spot monitors. The seats on this model are trimmed with real leather and more adjustability options.
The Subaru WRX STI comes standard with an upgraded 310-hp turbo-four, but it can only be paired with the manual transmission. It also boasts a driver-controlled center differential, which can supply equal torque to the back and front wheels. Brembo brakes are standard on this model.
The WRX STI Limited has the same powertrain enhancements, plus extra interior goodies like leather seats and a premium audio system. It has every available safety feature, and it’s the only trim to offer either a rear or lip spoiler.
This sporty sedan’s pros and cons
The Subaru WRX is reportedly slow at first, but it doesn’t have much trouble keeping its momentum. Its handling is also engaging with confident brakes and cornering, plus a well-weighted steering wheel with plenty of feedback. However, the delay of the turbo boost can feel a little jarring to unfamiliar riders.
The ride is also predictably firm and the WRX doesn’t get the best gas mileage. On the lower trims, the WRX has disappointingly cheap interior components. Road noise is prevalent in all models.
However, even the cloth seats are quite comfortable and the infotainment screen’s layout is easy to understand. Altogether, the Subaru WRX is a well-rounded sports car that’s worth checking out.