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2017 Subaru WRX Review

With its potent engines, nimble handling, and standard all-wheel drive, the 2017 Subaru WRX stands out from its compact car rivals as one of the most athletic cars in the class. Higher ownership costs and a below-average predicted reliability rating contribute to its low ranking.

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Sharp handling
  • Potent engines
  • Unimpressive interior materials
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Subpar predicted reliability rating




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 7.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.3
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Subaru WRX Overview

Is the 2017 Subaru WRX a Good Used Car?

In terms of athletic performance, the Subaru WRX is outstanding. It also earns terrific crash test ratings. However, when you take into account other elements – including predicted reliability, cabin materials, and fuel economy – the WRX falls short of many others in the compact car class.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Subaru WRX in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 23 professional Subaru WRX reviews.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2017 Subaru WRX?

With an average price of around $28,400, the 2017 Subaru WRX tends to be more expensive than most other compact cars, including the 2017 Volkswagen GTI. This data is based on more than 400 listings for the 2017 WRX on our used car site. Factors such as a vehicle’s trim level, mileage, and condition affect its price. As a result, you can expect to see WRX prices range from about $22,500 to $35,000.

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How Much Does the 2017 Subaru WRX Cost to Own?

Over the course of five years, we estimate that you'll pay approximately $28,200 to insure, repair, maintain, and fuel a 2017 WRX. These same expenses add up to only $22,700 for a 2017 Subaru Impreza (about $5,600 less).

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New WRX?

The WRX was refreshed for 2018. Subaru tweaked the WRX’s front-end styling and retuned its suspension system so that it does a better job of absorbing bumps in the pavement. There are also new options in the 2018 WRX, such as Recaro front seats, a new performance package, and more tech added for the EyeSight safety package.

Expect to pay more for these changes, though, with the MSRP of a new WRX starting just under $27,000. In comparison, used listings for 2017 WRXs on our site start as low as $22,500. If the updates for 2018 aren't must-haves, consider saving quite a bit of money by purchasing a used WRX instead. 

Read about the new Subaru WRX »

Spirited drivers may want to consider the sporty 2018 Mazda3. It's peppy, agile, and upscale, and it comes in both sedan ($18,095) and hatchback ($19,345) body styles. For those who don't need a lot of interior space, the 2018 Subaru BRZ is also a blast. This two-door coupe is energetic and responsive, but it's the only Subaru not available with all-wheel drive. Prices start at $25,595.

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Which Model Year of the Subaru WRX Is Best? 

Subaru launched the fourth-generation WRX for the 2015 model year. Between now and then, its scores have changed very little in our rankings, leaving you free to select from any model year without worry. That said, we recommend 2016 and newer WRXs, as these come standard with the Starlink touch-screen infotainment system. A number of advanced safety systems were also first offered on 2016 WRX models, including lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 WRX »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Subaru WRX?

The 2017 WRX has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about WRX reliability »

2017 Subaru WRX Recalls

No recalls have been issued on the 2017 WRX as of this review.

See more information on Subaru WRX safety recalls »

Which Used Subaru WRX Model Is Right for Me?

Subaru offered the 2017 WRX in five trim levels: WRX, WRX Premium, WRX Limited, WRX STI, and WRX STI Limited. The base WRX comes standard with features like a rearview camera and a nicely equipped infotainment system.

For the best combination of value and performance-inspired features, we recommend the Premium trim level. Unlike the base WRX – which comes only with a six-speed manual transmission – the Sport Lineartonic CVT (a type of automatic transmission) is available in the WRX Premium. This edition also comes with 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, fog lights, a sunroof, and the all-weather package.

The two Subaru WRX STI models are rally-inspired cars with upgrades like a stronger turbocharged engine, a large trunk spoiler, and Brembo performance brakes. These high-performance editions also feature a number of sporty styling enhancements, and tend to cost quite a bit more than non-STI models.   

See 2017 Subaru WRX trims and specs »

What Does Subaru's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Subaru offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Subaru extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. Subaru provides no additional coverage for CPO vehicles, so buyers receive the remainder of the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty. However, buyers can purchase additional coverage. Every CPO Subaru must pass a 152-point inspection. Additional benefits like owner loyalty discounts, a one-year Starlink Safety Plus trial subscription, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Subaru warranty page carefully.

Subaru’s CPO program isn’t particularly robust, according to our analysis. Among affordable automakers, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and many others have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the WRX?

The 2017 WRX performed splendidly in every Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the organization. The IIHS also notes that WRX models outfitted with the optional EyeSight Driver Assistance package offer a Superior level of front crash prevention.

Every WRX comes with a rearview camera. Some WRX Limited models also include the optional EyeSight package. This bundles together a pre-collision braking system, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure and sway warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Available upgrades include blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking.

See WRX safety scores »

2017 Subaru WRX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Subaru WRX or 2017 Subaru Impreza?

The 2017 Subaru Impreza and its sporty spinoff, the WRX, are equally good compact cars. Both have excellent safety scores, but they also share the same below-average predicted reliability rating. Out of the two, the WRX offers more excitement, while the Impreza is significantly cheaper to buy and own.

Which Is Better: 2017 Subaru WRX or 2017 Volkswagen GTI?

If you are looking for an athletic small car, you'll get lots of satisfaction from either a 2017 Volkswagen GTI or a Subaru WRX. Of the two, the GTI tends to be less expensive to buy (by an average of $5,400) and it has higher-quality interior materials. You'll get more horsepower with the Subaru's engines, on the other hand, and its IIHS safety scores are markedly better.

Which Is Better: 2017 Subaru WRX or 2017 Honda Civic?

The 2017 Honda Civic's engines don't quite match the Subaru WRX's when it comes to its horsepower rating, but the Civic is still agile and fun to drive. It has lots to offer, including spacious seats, a large amount of cargo space, top-notch safety scores, above-average predicted reliability, and an outstanding fuel economy rating. For these reason, the Civic is also a better fit for families than the WRX.

Compare the WRX, Impreza, and GTI »

2017 WRX Performance

How Does the 2017 Subaru WRX Drive?

The WRX's standard powertrain – a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission – is one of the most powerful base setups in the class. The WRX STI is even more powerful, with its turbocharged 2.5-liter engine raising the output from 268 to 305 horsepower. All-wheel drive comes standard in every WRX, which adds extra grip. Also, an automatic transmission is optional on non-STI models. The suspension system keeps the car nicely in check, with WRX models offering extra comfort over coarse highways. STI models have more athletic handling, along with a stiffer ride.

Does the 2017 Subaru WRX Get Good Gas Mileage?

The WRX may have the most potent base engine among compact cars, but it's also the thirstiest. It earns 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with the base engine and the automatic transmission, which is one of the lowest ratings in the class.

Read more about WRX performance »

2017 WRX Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 WRX Seat?

The WRX seats up to five people on standard cloth upholstery. It's comfortable even on cross-country road trips, with plenty of room all around. Plus, the WRX's slim roof pillars makes for a wide-open view of the scenery. Front sport seats come standard. For a posher ride, look for a WRX with leather upholstery. Heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver's seat are also available.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Subaru WRX?

The WRX has three top tether anchors and two sets of lower anchors. Its middle seat can also borrow lower anchors from its neighboring seats, provided they aren't already in use. Models built from February 2017 onward earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for LATCH ease of use. In earlier WRX models, the lower anchors are harder to move around when installing a car seat, knocking its IIHS rating down to Marginal.

2017 Subaru WRX Features

The WRX’s easy-to-use infotainment system features the straightforward Starlink interface, a 6.2-inch touch screen, HD Radio, and satellite radio. Options include a navigation system, a 7-inch touch screen, and a Harman Kardon sound system.

See 2017 Subaru WRX specs »

Read more about WRX interior »

2017 Subaru WRX Dimensions

Subaru WRX Cargo Space

The WRX's 12-cubic-foot trunk is one of the smallest in the compact car class. In comparison, the 2017 Honda Civic sedan has a 15-cubic-foot trunk, and the 2017 Volkswagen GTI hatchback offers a whopping 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Subaru WRX Length and Weight

The WRX is 15.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,272 to 3,470 pounds, depending on the configuration.

Where Was the 2017 Subaru WRX Built?

Subaru built the 2017 WRX in Japan.


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