2024 Subaru WRX TR Slips On Its Track Shoes, But Still Gets The Kids To School On-time

Subaru knows its customers well.  When adventurous Outback owners said they wanted more off-road capability, they received the Wilderness edition with 9.5” of ground clearance, dual-function X-Mode, and off-road tires.  And, as WRX owners ask for enhanced track performance, especially those fond of weekend autocrossing, we get the 2024 WRX TR.  But, can it still get the kids to school?

Track Ready, Commuter Capable

“TR” means it’s a little more track ready.  Stiffer springs and revised damping rates enhance body control and steering response.  New 19-inch dark alloy wheels with Bridgestone Potenza S007 summer tires grip pavement like a weld to steel.  Retuned steering enriches road feel.  Brembo brakes with red calipers halt this party toot sweet.  Heated Recaro Ultrasuede™ front seats grip passengers by the ribs while moonroofs were deleted to save weight.

Yet, all of the attributes that customers love about the WRX remain.  From the outside, it cribs familiar Subaru styling cues with wide gray grille, angry LED headlamps, and gray wheelwell cladding attached to a tidy sport sedan with chiseled sculpting.  Notice the hood scoop, gray lower body trim, 19” wheels with Bridgestone Potenza summer tires, and subtle rear spoiler that promise sensible daily transportation plus big grins when traffic opens.

The interior is pure Subaru with its tablet-style touchscreen, analog gauges, and thick leather-wrapped steering wheel.  Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enable quick easy phone connections.  Some may not love the touchscreen and its menus, but I find it easy to navigate for audio, phone, climate and navigation.  Redundant physical controls for temperature, defroster, volume and tuning add convenience.  The 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is decent, but not brilliant.

Let’s get on the road.  Lurking beneath the wide hoodscoop is an intercooler for the 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 271 horsepower, 258 lb.-ft. of torque, and 19/26-MPG city/highway when equipped with our car’s six-speed manual transmission.  A taller sixth gear is needed to enhance fuel economy, but the Porsche-style horizontally-opposed engine keeps weight low in the chassis for crisp handling.  Tap the turbo for 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

A Firmly Safe Ride

Owning a Subaru is about safety too.  Beyond the security of all-wheel-drive, the WRX was updated with Subaru’s latest three-camera “Eyesight” system that enables automatic emergency steering, automatic braking, adaptive cruise, and lane keep assist.  Blind spot warning and rear cross path detection further protect humans.

A few points.  I wouldn’t say the TR’s suspension is too firm for daily driving, but it’s bloody close.  I found the seats comfortable on a two-hour drive, but larger occupants may not.  On the plus side, torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive shifts power imperceptibly and allows drivers to sharpen corners whether enjoying a nice two-lane backroad or tearing between cones on a track.

My biggest problem was self-induced.  I ran over a nail.  I realized this when the tire pressure monitor showed 12 psi in the rear tire.  My first thought was “bad sensor”, but an old-school tire gauge confirmed it.  There’s no spare, but the included tire inflator that plugs into the cigarette lighter was quick and easy.  It took a couple of days for FedEx to drop a replacement tire, but Falcone Subaru in Indianapolis had me rolling quickly.

Like a sports hero who took etiquette classes, the WRX does almost everything well.  It’s the all-weather performance car that can drop your kids at school before roaring off to work.  It’s also relatively affordable.  A base WRX starts at $32,735, but came to $41,655 in TR trim.  Competitors include the Ford Mustang, Acura Integra, Toyota GR Corolla, and Hyundai Elantra N.

Storm Forward!

Send comments to Casey at [email protected]; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

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