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MSRP: $27,195 - 41,395

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Subaru WRX ranked #12 in Compact Cars. Currently the Subaru WRX has a score of 7.4 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 39 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 6.6
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Subaru WRX Review

The 2019 Subaru WRX is significantly more athletic than the average compact car, but that's about all it has going for it. Most class rivals are more practical and more upscale, which is why this Subaru finishes near the bottom of our compact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Adept handling
  • Spacious seats
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • High price
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Competitors have more-upscale interiors
  • Poor predicted reliability rating

New for 2019

  • Expanded feature availability for some trims
  • Updated infotainment system
  • WRX STI gets 5 more horsepower

Is the Subaru WRX a Good Car?

The Subaru WRX is a decent car that's propped up by its athleticism. It handles well and features strong engines, particularly in the performance-oriented STI trim. It also earns a good safety score and features easy-to-use infotainment technology.

That all sounds great, until you consider the WRX's weaknesses. It's less fuel efficient than almost every other compact car, and it gets the lowest possible predicted reliability rating. Trunk space is another area where the WRX trails the competition.

Should I Buy the Subaru WRX?

Even if you're looking for driving enjoyment, there are other compact cars that can keep up with the WRX. This Subaru also has a much higher base price than most rivals, making it a poor value. Instead of this Subaru, you should look to more well-rounded alternatives like the Honda Civic and Mazda3.

Compare the WRX, Civic, and Mazda3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru WRX?

The 2019 WRX belongs to a generation that began with the car's debut for the 2015 model year (prior to 2015, Subaru made an Impreza WRX but not a standalone WRX model). For 2019, the WRX gets a larger standard touch screen (6.5 inches, up from 6.2 inches) and now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. STI models get an additional 5 horsepower.

The 2018 WRX received an updated front fascia, improved cabin materials, and available Recaro front seats. The refresh also included a retuned suspension and improved shifting and steering feel, which results in better handling and performance. 

You can potentially save thousands by shopping for a used WRX. Just know that you'd miss out on the newer models' improvements. If you are interested in a used car, read our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 Subaru WRX. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn more about savings on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 WRX »

We Did the Research for You: 39 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current WRX generation, which runs from 2015 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Subaru WRX Cost?

This Subaru starts at just over $27,000, making it far more expensive than every other nonhybrid compact car. There are four trim levels above the base trim, with the range-topping STI Limited starting above $41,000. That's one of the most expensive top trims in the class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru WRX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Subaru WRX or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic is available in coupe, sedan, and hatchback body styles, all of which have more cargo space than the WRX. The Civic's cabin is upscale, and it offers plenty of tech features. With the Civic Si and Civic Type R, this Honda offers a couple performance-tuned trims. Si models put out 205 horsepower (a good jump from the max of 180 in other models), while the Type R manages 306 horses. Like the WRX's higher trims, the Civic's sport-tuned models offer a manual gearbox as the sole transmission. The Civic finishes much higher in our class rankings, and it's the better choice here.

Which Is Better: Subaru WRX or Mazda3?

The Mazda3 is one of the few cars that rival the WRX's nimble handling. The Subaru has stronger engines, but the Mazda accelerates quickly, and it gets better gas mileage than the WRX. The Mazda3's cabin is one of the best in the class, with upscale materials and comfortable, supportive seats. The Mazda3 comes in sedan and hatchback body styles, and both offer more cargo room than the WRX. All things considered, you're better off with the Mazda. It matches many of the Subaru's strengths, but it adds more value in other areas.

Compare the WRX, Civic, and Mazda3 »

WRX Interior

How Many People Does the WRX Seat?

The WRX seats five people. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, and the driver will enjoy good visibility. The rear seats also impress. They're comfortable and spacious enough for even tall adults.

WRX and Child Car Seats

The WRX provides two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The system earns an Acceptable rating (the second-highest rating) for its ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

WRX Interior Quality

Inside, the WRX looks good and uses some high-quality materials. However, many compact cars feel more upscale.

WRX Cargo Space

This Subaru provides 12 cubic feet of trunk space, which is enough for about nine grocery bags. Most other compact cars have more cargo space, and many are also available in hatchback body styles.

WRX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The WRX comes standard with the StarLink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Available features include a moonroof, an upgraded StarLink system with a 7-inch touch screen, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and navigation.

The StarLink system includes new features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto following its 2019 update. Beyond that, it's the same user-friendly system it's always been, with easily navigable menus and a responsive touch screen.

Read more about interior »

WRX Performance

WRX Engine: Do You Feel the Need?

Whether you stick with the WRX's 268-horsepower turbo-four base engine or opt for the STI model's 310-horsepower turbo-four, this Subaru has plenty of pickup and ample power for most driving situations. Few class rivals offer engines with as much horsepower.

WRX Gas Mileage: Definitely a Con

Even in its most efficient setup – with the base engine and manual transmission – the WRX lags behind class rivals in the fuel economy department. It earns 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

On top of being less efficient than rivals, the WRX also requires premium gasoline. Compared to rivals like the Honda Civic and Mazda3, you'll spend $900 to $1,000 more per year on gas driving the Subaru.

WRX Ride and Handling: Buttoned Down

If you want a fun-to-drive car, the WRX belongs near the top of your list. It is agile and has plenty of road grip, making it more athletic than most competitors. The suspension is a bit firm, but the ride is generally pleasant.

Read more about performance »

WRX Reliability

Is the Subaru WRX Reliable?

The 2019 WRX earns a poor predicted reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power. That's the lowest predicted reliability rating a car can receive.

Subaru WRX Warranty

The Subaru WRX comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

WRX Safety

WRX Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2019 WRX a Top Safety Pick+, giving it the highest rating of Good in all crash tests. WRX trims  equipped with EyeSight Driver assist have headlights with a Good rating for outward visibility. 

WRX Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the WRX. Available active safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pre-collision braking, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, and Subaru's StarLink Safety and Security telematics system. Some of these features are part of Subaru's EyeSight suite of driver assistance technology.

Read more about safety »

Which Subaru WRX Model Is Right for Me?

You have five choices when picking a WRX trim: base, Premium, Limited, STI, and STI Limited. The performance-oriented STI models are more powerful and have some performance-related upgrades, making them ideal for buyers seeking a fun driving experience. If you’re OK with the less-powerful engine (which still has more horsepower than many rivals’ engines), then the WRX Limited makes a great choice. It’s available with plenty of comfort and convenience features, and it costs thousands less than the STI trims.

Subaru WRX

The WRX has a base price of $27,195. It comes with a 268-horsepower turbo-four engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and all-wheel drive. Standard features include automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and the StarLink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

The base WRX doesn’t offer any option packages or notable available features. You can add several styling accessories, the most expensive of which cost a few hundred dollars.

Subaru WRX Premium

The WRX Premium starts at $29,495. In addition to the base trim's features, the Premium comes with a moonroof, heated front seats, and an upgraded StarLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.

You can add a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for $1,900. For $2,050, you can add the Performance package, which includes Recaro sport seats, though you'll lose the moonroof.

Subaru WRX Limited

The WRX Limited has a starting price of $31,795. In addition to the lower trims' features, the Limited comes with push-button start, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

A CVT is available for $1,900, and an option package that includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded StarLink system with a Harman Kardon audio system and navigation is available for $2,100.

Subaru WRX STI

The WRX STI starts at $36,595. The STI comes with a 310-horsepower turbo-four engine, a high-performance sport suspension, a rally-inspired rear spoiler, and Brembo brakes. Along with the base model, this is the only trim that doesn’t come standard with a moonroof.

Standard features in the STI include suede and leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control. There’s one option package available for $2,500, which adds keyless entry, push-button start, and Recaro sport seats.

Subaru WRX STI Limited

The WRX STI Limited has a starting price of $41,395. The STI Limited comes with Recaro sport seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded StarLink system with navigation and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. There aren’t any notable features available for the STI Limited, but you can get some styling upgrades.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2019 Subaru WRX specs and trims »

The Final Call

Despite its exciting performance, the 2019 Subaru WRX isn't quite as well-rounded as other compact cars, which is why it finishes near the bottom of the class rankings. Though it delivers excellent performance, the same can be said about multiple rivals, and many other compact cars have fewer shortcomings than the WRX. Though this Subaru is an intriguing option, there are several better choices out there.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • We do recommend checking out some rivals. Competitors such as the Honda Civic Si and Type R, as well as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R, have superior fuel economy and interiors that are quieter and better-looking. Hyundai's out with a new Veloster, too. For an affordable all-weather sport sedan, though, the 2019 WRX is hard to beat." -- Edmunds
  • "Unlike many cars in this class, the new Subaru WRX and STI are a blast to drive, rain, snow or shine, thanks to their sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems. If you like your speed balanced with 4-season usability, room for five and a sizable trunk, you'll like these turbocharged sedans." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "While there are only a handful of affordable, high-performance all-wheel-drive compacts to choose from, the 2017 Subaru WRX and WRX STI rank among the best for performance, reliability and affordability. … [It's] blessed with a roomy rear seat, a comfortable interior and a big trunk, making the WRX sedan a remarkably versatile sports car." -- Autotrader (2017)
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