This year’s Subaru WRX, as usual, is a fast, fun sportscar that doubles as a passenger sedan complete with All-Wheel Drive. Kind of an odd combination, sure, but this combo has worked and sold well for over a decade. (The WRX is the Subaru Impreza with a turbocharged engine.) It’s fun, it’s fast, it can really make you feel like you own the road ….. as long as you can successfully shift the gears manually.
In today’s busy world, who has time for a manual transmission, one that requires you to put down your coffee, engage the clutch with your left foot, grab the shift knob and hopefully not grind it into gear – and pay attention throughout the entire procedure? Cutting to the chase, if your car is for your daily commute with lotsa traffic, this car is not for you.
A manual transmission is standard on the 2016 WRX, which stands for World Rally eXperimental. Who knew, right? Such a transmission allows you to better control the car and enjoy all the speed and power this turbocharged 268-horsepower beauty has to offer. On curves and other fun road adventures, this car performs …. assuming you can shift the car.
Here’s some butch automotive lingo to ‘throw’ around at your next fetish party: the throw of a clutch is the length of the distance from the start to the end of a fully-engaged clutch pedal. In some cars, the clutch distance is short. In the WRX, the throw of the clutch is long, all the way to the floor boards. For the first few gears, you have to press the clutch all the way in or it won’t engage. The synchros on the WRX are so tight, you have to have almost the exact RPMs lined up or it won’t go into gear. It gets a little easier once you are up to speed and just managing the throttle. Still, be advised that the gear patterns are quite tight on this car.
That’s a lot of work if you will be using this car for transportation. Further adding to the hardship, there is a display on the dash that tells you what gear you are in. It works well until you decide to shift, at which point the screen goes blank until you get into any gear. That’s unfortunate, because I have been in cars where the shift display will show arrows to indicate which way to shift (up or down) based on your current speed and other factors.
One must-have feature for any manual transmission is something called Anti-Roll (Auntie Rollie?), and the WRX has it. It acts like a natural brake for the car when you are shifting on a hill or incline. Rather than allow the call to ‘roll’ during that brief moment when the car is out of gear, this system keeps you in place. But remember, you still have to pay attention. One more note of caution: Don’t drive this car after you’ve done your power-lifting workout for your legs and calves. Or after aerobics.
I will say this: the turbo is impressive and gives you some real power once you get up to speed. The car did seem a bit tinny at higher speeds, and that is a common complaint about the car. As with any turbo, there can be a lag in acceleration. If you have never driven a turbo before, take your time and get to know what your engine can do. This is great car with a great setup for mountain driving or any day for an enjoyable drive. This is not an everyday car, it’s not fun in traffic. The way it’s geared, you don’t have any power on the low end, or low gears, you just lurch along. This is not meant to be your only car, especially if you, like me and rest of the world, struggle to make your car payment.
I also wasn’t crazy about the interior though it wasn’t bad. There is, however, plenty of room in the back seat; I got a big bear named Cubby in the back seat with ease. And the trunk is big too, almost enough to hold two people (but please don’t). AWD is standard, and that is possibly the best accessory you will ever need in a car if you live where the weather and the men can sometimes be a little rough.
Two words to sum up the 2016 WRX: tight and responsive. If only the rest of gay life could be like that …..