The Subaru WRX is well-known for its rally-racing roots, powerful turbocharged engine, and impressive handling prowess. Due to its high-performance versatility, the WRX has long been heralded as the go-to sport compact sedan as it provides a great value for anyone in search of a car that’s more exciting than a Toyota Corolla.
But what if you don’t care for all the driver-assist features like blind-spot detection, automatic headlights, or even a moonroof? Then the base Subaru WRX is all you need in a sport compact sedan.
2.0-liter turbocharged engine
The base WRX is powered by the same engine as every other WRX in the lineup; a 2.0-liter, turbocharged BOXER four-cylinder engine. The engine produces 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is capable of 21 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway.
The sole transmission choice at the bottom trim level is a six-speed manual transmission, however, it was meant to be a driver’s car, after all. With this transmission, you can expect 0-60 times of about 5.5 seconds, according to Car and Driver, and lots of fun during the daily drive.
Just note that turbo lag does exist as Car and Driver did find some hesitation upon acceleration, which made the power delivery feel like an “on-again, off-again” affair that was followed by a “surge of unexpected acceleration.”
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
As you would expect, the base WRX comes with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system that helps the car grip the road in just about any driving situation.
Coupled with the all-wheel-drive system is the vehicle dynamic control with active torque vectoring, in which the system brakes and sends less torque to the inside wheels while providing more torque to the outside wheels during a turn.
By doing this, the WRX is able to get through just about any turn without too much over or understeer.
While performance is the main part of why you buy a car like the WRX, the interior car is what you will end up seeing the most on a day-to-day basis. And if you buy this car for performance driving, then the interior will not disappoint.
As such, the base WRX’s interior is a nice, no-frills place to be. There are full-cloth seats with red-contrast stitching and good bolstering, soft-touch materials on the door panels, and aluminum-covered pedals that are perfectly spaced to do your heel-toe dance.
Sitting in the driver’s seat reveals a nicely padded, contrast-stitched flat-bottom steering wheel, analog gauges that sit right in the line of sight of the driver, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen display that takes care of the infotainment including Apple Carplay/Android Auto.
The backseat area has enough room for three passengers, however, don’t be surprised if they complain about the heat on hot days due to the lack of air vents back there.
The exterior of the base WRX looks the same as the others in the line, however, it does incorporate dark gray 17-inch wheels as opposed to the larger 18-inch wheels found on the Premium and Limited trim levels.
The base model still has the same underbody spoilers and low-profile trunk spoiler like the other trims as well. No worries about any huge shopping-cart style wings here. Get the WRX STi if you want something like that, but it will cost you.
Speaking of cost, the base Subaru WRX is priced around $27,000, however with some finagling and haggling, we suspect that you could probably get one for around $25,000.
With all this value, we would say that the base Subaru WRX is perhaps the best sport sedan for anyone that’s into being a minimalist. There’s no fancy instrument panel screens or driver-assist features to distract you; just pure driving fulfillment.