Thursday, April 18, 2013

WR-Axed (With guest writer Robin McCaffrey)

Here's the thing.
My daily driver is a 2009 Impreza 2.5i. No, it isn't a WRX/STI, though I wish it was. But I still love the thing, and am glad I didn't purchase the car new.  It's sad to see power ratings go down from one year to another and Subaru did just that as they ditched the 2.5L boxer for their smaller more efficient 2.0L. What does this mean in a practical sense? Well hp has gone from 170 down to 148.  The enthusiast in me rages, while a more practical side kind of hems and haws at the 30% gain in fuel economy.
So what is Subaru's plan with all of this? Well previously Subaru has indicated that they wanted to separate the WRX and base model Impreza's. Sure, there is value in co-developing a sports car with an economy car.  Namely huge cost savings, and you'll also be left with some soul in the economy car. But that also works in reverse. The WRX is being limited by its more civil base model, and the base model isn't competitive with all of its respective economy competitors in terms of up front purchase price/features/fuel economy. Subaru knows this, I know this, and so do many Subaru enthusiasts. This is why, when Subaru announced that the two trim levels would be receiving their own distinct platforms, legions of us cheered. Finally, our base Impreza would be competitive (i.e. 30% fuel economy gains from the 3rd generation to the 4th generation), meanwhile the WRX continued on with the 3rd gen platform up until the end of the 2013 model year.  Subaru teased us with awesome style concepts such as the Advanced Tourer Concept, and more recently the 4th gen WRX Concept:
These two concept cars brought tears of joy to many Subaru enthusiasts worldwide.  Finally, a Subaru that has style, presence, and doesn't look like a Mazda 3/Corolla knockoff.  Hooray!
Then came the spy shots...
What is this?
True it's difficult to tell what it the car will look like without the vision distorting camouflage. But unless the vehicle is sporting fake mule body panels, this is no where close to the awesome concept cars we were teased with. Going by these shots, almost none of the styling cues that drove us crazy actually made it through to this iteration of the vehicle.
What are we left with? Broken promises. The new WRX is still just a base Impreza with a big hood scoop and a silly wing, and arguably smaller fender flares. Seeing as how the base impreza has been getting cheaper/efficient, this raises all sorts of terrible questions in the back of my head. The most glaring of questions being: is this a sign that the next WRX will actually be a step backward in terms of performance?
We don't know for sure yet, but it looks like we are in for another generation of bland/efficient appliances.
And that's the thing.



  1. I seriously doubt the 'Ring mule is indicative of the final product. Were I in charge at Subaru, I would intentionally deviate the running-gear mules from the final product, substantially, in order to build suspense and garner the 'Surprise' factor for the final product unveiling.

    Moreover, I quite like the 'Ring mule's look, as I'm not a huge fan of the overwrought and bloated 2013 Concept. WRX has always been the complete package: sportiness, practicality, affordability, and versatility. The Concept lost those core tenants somewhere in translation and I'm hoping the final product gets them back.

    - Desu-San-Desu (from Jalopnik)

    1. I sure hope you are correct. Yes the current and even past versions of the wrx are silly and I agree it needs a more coherent flowing design. But unifying it by making the car more bland isn't the direction I want them to flow in.