2019 Subaru WRX Introduction

For a compact car that promises stirring performance, well beyond the customary, the subtly-styled WRX doesn’t necessarily attract much attention. Not unless it’s the racier and more potent WRX STI, rendition, that is, with a big, towering wing tacked onto its trunk lid. Visually, that one is hard to miss, but the wing can be deleted if desired.

For the 2019 model year, the WRX gets a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. All trim levels with a CVT include Subaru’s “EyeSight” driver-assist technology, including automatic emergency braking, as standard equipment. The higher-performance WRX STI gains a more powerful engine, with free-flow exhaust system.

A new Series.Gray edition, finished in Cool Gray Khaki with Recaro seats and upgraded brakes, has joined the lineup. Only a thousand were to be produced: 750 WRX and 250 WRX STI.

Last redesigned for 2015, the WRX shares some styling and interior elements with Subaru’s previous-generation Impreza. Base, Premium, and Limited trim levels are offered for the WRX. The WRX STI comes only in base and Limited form.

Beneath the WRX hood, a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder engine produces 268 horsepower, with 258 pound-feet of torque. Either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) may be installed. The two transmissions differ in their distribution of power: mechanical with manual, or electronic with the CVT.

In the WRX STI, a bigger (2.5-liter) turbo four generates 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet, mating with a 6-speed manual transmission. As expected in a performance-oriented machine, the STI gets a modified suspension along with Brembo brakes. Its all-wheel-drive system includes a driver-adjustable center differential.

Though incomplete, the WRX’s safety record is impressive. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2018 WRX as a Top Safety Pick+ when fitted with LED headlights and a suite of collision-avoidance technology: namely, the EyeSight group, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Those features are standard on any WRX with the optional CVT, but not available with a manual transmission.

At federal government level, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash-tested the WRX. However, the 2019 Subaru Impreza, which shares its platform and basic structure with the WRX, earned five-star ratings overall, as well as for frontal and side impacts.

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