The WRX has been a favorite for its low cost and near-rally car specs. The 2011 model is a good compromise between cornering performance and every day comfort.
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Subaru offers the WRX in hatchback and sedan formats. As the engine uses a fairly powerful turbocharger, the big scoop in the hood is necessary.
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The WRX's 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine produces 265 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque. The 14.2 PSI turbocharger results in some turbo lag, but gives the car plenty of power once spooled up.
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With its high roofline, the WRX offers ample passenger space front and back, contributing to its everyday practicality.
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Subaru's all-wheel-drive system defaults to a 50-50 distribution of torque between front and rear wheels. The system is capable of sending 100 percent of torque front or rear, depending on conditions.
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For 2011, Subaru increased the WRX's track by 1.5 inches, making it match the STI's. The increased width helps out handling, adding to the performance side of the WRX equation.
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The hatchback version of the WRX has ample and versatile cargo space, something we like about this style of car.
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Although not upscale, the cabin materials and interior design of the WRX are very nice. For 2011, Subaru updated the navigation system, giving it a Bluetooth phone system.
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The steering is a nice compromise for good handling and everyday use. It is not too twitchy, yet still responds precisely under pressure.
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Subaru does not bother putting a turbo pressure gauge on the instrument cluster, in keeping with its daily driver mission.
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Although we like most of the power-train tech, this gearbox is terrible. A five speed, the gate has no precision. We would also prefer closer ratios to get better use out of the turbo.
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The navigation system is DVD-driven, and very basic. It shows 2D maps only, and there is no external data, such as traffic or weather.
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The touch-screen keyboard is easy to use, but Subaru locks out destination entry while the car is underway.
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The Bluetooth phone system works very well, and accepts transferred contact list entries from a paired phone.
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The CD/DVD slot is hidden behind the LCD, which is not the best arrangement. It plays MP3 CDs and DVDs.
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The auxiliary input not only includes audio, but also has a composite video jack.
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We were impressed with the wide array of audio tuning available in this head unit, but the car's six speakers are not really up to the task of fine audio reproduction.
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