The 2015 Subaru WRX STI is one of the hottest performance cars on sale today, and we recently got the chance to drive it. Fully redesigned for the latest model year, the 2015 STI boasts a new look, new interior, improved suspension and a stiffer body, which are some major changes for a car with so many enthusiasts. So how does the sedan stack up? After spending a week behind the wheel, these are our thoughts.
Fun, Fun, Fun
Most of our staffers who drove the latest STI came away thinking, simply, that this car is lots of fun. While it has a few quirks, which we'll address below, we ultimately had a fantastic time behind the wheel of the monstrously powerful 2015 Subaru WRX STI sport sedan.
To explain why, let's start with acceleration. In a word, this car is fast. With over 300 horsepower, all-wheel drive and a standard 6-speed manual transmission, the STI is one of the quickest cars on the road. Kris, one of our staffers, reported that one passenger said it's the only car she's ever felt carsick in; but in this case, we think that might be a compliment.
Surprisingly, the WRX STI handles even better than it accelerates. One driver, Ben, remarked on the car's amazing road grip, explaining that the car was firmly planted to the ground no matter how hard he took an off-ramp. Kris mentioned a similar experience, noting that the sedan's stability and responsiveness increased with its speed. That's high praise from two experienced drivers -- especially for a car like the STI, which started its life as a simple compact sedan.
Looks Great, Too
In addition to being a fun ride, we also happen to think the STI is very attractive. That's not necessarily something we'd say about its predecessor, the somewhat awkward-looking Impreza, but once the sedan's fenders are flared and the body kit is added to convert the Impreza into an STI, the entire car becomes much better-looking.
Our only gripe about the STI's styling is the wing. While it's been a hallmark of the high-performance Subaru for years, we (and many of those who rode with us) think it looks ridiculous. Kris noted that there are even a few functional issues with the wing, including that it cuts down on rear visibility and makes the trunk much heavier and harder to open and close. The wing is the first thing we'd remove if we were buying an STI, though we recognize that many drivers like its high-performance notoriety.
Interior Pros and Cons
Climb inside and you can immediately tell that Subaru has devoted some serious effort to improving the STI's cabin. Last year's cheap plastics have been replaced by better materials on nearly every visible surface. One of our drivers, Dwight, confirmed this, noting that the interior features good touch points and a good mixture of materials, though he did suggest that the driver's seat could've been a bit more supportive around corners.
Seats weren't our only gripe with the STI's interior. Several complaints centered around the sporty Subaru's backup camera. While that may seem like a trivial matter on a purpose-built performance car, the camera comes in handy because of the dramatic way in which the wing cuts down on rear visibility. Ben noted that the camera was too small, while Dwight added that it's too far away from the driver. And more than one driver pointed out the fact that the A-pillar further impedes this car's visibility from the driver's seat.
Another issue: the stereo. While materials have improved, and the overall sound quality was great, Kris expressed disappointment -- disbelief, really -- in the car's lack of touchscreen. That's a legitimate concern, especially considering our test car's base price, which hovered around $35,000 with shipping. At this price point, we've come to expect a few more luxuries.
The 2015 Subary WRX STI isn't about luxuries. This sedan's all about the driving experience, which is where it truly delivers. Though we lodged a few complaints about the interior, the equipment and the visibility, there were no complaints about the experience of driving the STI -- and for those interested in this car, that's the main reason they'll end up signing the papers.