The ubiquitous star of the World Rally Championship circuit and edgy X-Games competition has brought more excitement and performance to the model you and I can call a daily driver.
In 2008, Subaru redesigned and rebuilt the Impreza lineup, the model line used for the aforementioned racing circuits. For 2009, the WRX team worked toward a goal termed “Kyo-Ka” (translated from Japanese as “strengthening”) to make the mid-level Impreza model even more appealing to factory tuner aficionados.
Building up from the all-new platform introduced in 2008, Subaru engineers have given WRX significantly enhanced suspension tuning, stiffer spring rates, larger stabilizer bars and re-tuned suspension damping. They have also added a new damper valve to the steering gearbox for much improved steering feel and better response.
The WRX is better balanced this year as well, thanks to lowering the engine mounting height, and of course being a Subaru, WRX features standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive keeping this little rocket glued to road at all times. If you were to look up “corners on a dime” in wikipedia they would probably have a picture of the Impreza WRX listed there.
Powering the new WRX is Subaru’s great little 2.5-liter “Boxer” four-cylinder engine whose larger intercooled turbocharger boosts power to 265 ponies and 244 lb. ft. of torque while fuel economy remains nearly the same as in 2008. The ’09 motor also benefits from a larger-diameter exhaust with low-density catalyst for reduced backpressures.
While the base Impreza can be ordered with an automatic transmission, a five-speed manual gearbox is the only way to go for WRX. Shifts are solid and tight and the clutch will not wear out your left calf muscle even in stop and go traffic. The WRX manual transmission also features the automaker’s anti-rollback technology so hill starts are a snap as well.
At each corner of the WRX is a 17-inch, gray-painted alloy wheel with wider 225/45R17 summer performance tires. Braking is accomplished thanks to standard four-channel ABS on four-wheel disc brakes, with WRX models getting larger front units over base Imprezas.
The 2009 WRX drives like a dream and despite the performance features is surprisingly smooth around town and on the highway. As with most turbocharged cars it does take a moment for boost pressure to build, but once it hits the cylinders you had better be hanging on.
Thanks to a set of performance bucket seats up front, driver and front passenger are held in place nicely when the steering wheel starts to turn at speed. Interior room is surprisingly large with plenty of headroom in the rear seat area for adults.
Inside we also find the latest in automotive technology such as Satellite radio and GPS navigation as well as surround sound audio and auxiliary input jacks.
Safety equipment is aplenty with side-curtain airbags standard for 2009 and Subaru uses ring shaped frame reinforced body technology to protect all occupants. Vehicle dynamics control is also standard, designed to keep the WRX between the ditches.
WRX arrives on both sedan and five-door configurations of the 2009 Impreza, with our recent tester being of the latter style.
Pricing for the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX five-door begins at $25,495 with our tester coming in with a final MSRP of $26,835.
Domo arigato Kyo-Ka.