Viscerally appealing, the all-wheel-drive 2019 Subaru WRX is a high-performance sports sedan with a starting price below $30,000. With standard EyeSight Driver Assist technology on the WRX Premium and WRX Limited with CVT, plus a new limited-edition Series.Gray model and a slightly more powerful STI, the 2019 WRX lineup is safer and more capable than ever.
You'll Like The 2019 Subaru WRX If...
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, New England or any area with inclement weather, the Subaru WRX and STI shine, thanks to sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems. But given their 4-season utility, room for five and legitimate trunk, these Subies are a smart but fun choice in any area.
You May Not Like The 2019 Subaru WRX If...
If you want the versatility of a hatchback, forget about the Subaru WRX and STI, both of which are strictly 4-door sedans. You may also not like the grumbly character of the flat-4 engines; Subaru fans love it; others call the sound "agricultural."
Updates for 2019 include a new limited-edition Series.Gray model with black wheels. Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system has been upgraded on all models; EyeSight Driver Assist Technology has been made standard on the WRX Premium and WRX Limited; and base WRXs get dual rear USB ports.
Last year, Subaru upgraded the WRX interior with better materials, additional insulation and thicker side glass to keep out unwanted noise. The optional heated Recaro sport seats are comfortable and hold you in place during hard cornering, but their bolsters aren’t overly aggressive. Outward vision is excellent, and it’s fun to look out over the WRX’s huge hood scoop. A tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel is standard, and although the WRX seats five comfortably, the Honda Civic Si has more rear legroom. All controls are simple, well placed and attractive. We like the flat-bottom steering wheel and red stitching.
Don’t expect any substantive changes to the WRX exterior this year. In 2018, the Subaru WRX received a larger lower grille to complement its wide upper grille and functional hood scoop. We like the flared fenders of the WRX and the STI, as well as the rear bumper and four large exhaust outlets. Only the STI gets 19-inch wheels and the huge rear spoiler, which Subaru says aids downforce and stability. If you want the STI’s horsepower without that huge wing on the decklid, an optional low-profile trunk spoiler is available on the STI Limited. The STI also gets Brembo brakes with cross-drilled rotors and yellow calipers.
No other engines sound like Subaru’s boxer 4-cylinder and you can hear the WRX’s signature <i>thrum</i> from a few blocks away. The turbocharged 2.0-liter version in the WRX makes plenty of power and likes to rev to its 6,700-rpm redline. With the standard 6-speed manual transmission, which features tightly spaced gears and a short-throw shifter, the WRX can hit 60 mph in less than six seconds. The additional power from the STI’s 2.5-liter is obvious, propelling the car to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Best of all, both cars are comfortable enough for the daily commute, but they’re quite visceral. You hear the horizontally opposed engine; you feel the road’s surface. Few cars are this fun to drive. While the steering effort is high, there’s good feel, and the all-wheel-drive system provides astonishing grip. WRXs with a manual transmission have a viscous-coupling center differential; models equipped with the CVT automatic have a planetary gear center diff and a hydraulic transfer clutch.
Given its performance, all-weather capabilities and generous amenities, the 2019 Subaru WRX sedan is priced attractively. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at just over $28,000, which includes a destination charge of $885. While the Honda Civic Si sedan costs less, it’s a front-driver with “only” 205 horsepower. A WRX Premium lists for just over $30,000, while a WRX Limited with the CVT automatic transmission will cost you nearly $35,000. The more powerful Subaru WRX STI starts at around $37,500, which puts it in the same ballpark as the Honda Civic Type R, the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS. A WRX STI Limited, the top model, costs nearly $42,000. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price tool to ensure you get the best deal on your next car. Down the road, we expect the 5-year resale values for the 2019 Subaru WRX and STI to be topped only by Honda’s impressive Civic Si.
Standard features on the 2019 Subaru WRX include a 6-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, a rearview camera and a new multimedia information system with a 6.5-inch high-resolution touch screen. Called Starlink, it offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth and voice-activated controls. EyeSight Driver Assist technology is standard on the WRX Premium and Limited with CVT. It includes Auto Vehicle Hold, EyeSight Assist Monitor, and an electronic parking brake. The STI has more standard amenities, highlighted by its powerful engine, 19-inch wheels and trick rally-bred center differential.
EyeSight Driver Assist -- which includes pre-collision brake assist, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning -- is optional on the WRX Premium, but standard on models equipped with the also-optional CVT automatic transmission. The WRX Limited also is available with EyeSight Driver Assist, as well as the Starlink multimedia system with a 7-inch touch screen and a 9-speaker harman/kardon stereo that has a 440-watt amplifier. As for the STI, its most notable options are Recaro sport seats and push-button start. Also, the STI Limited model is available with a low-profile rear spoiler.
EYESIGHT SAFETY SYSTEMS
Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is now standard on the WRX Premium and WRX Limited with the CVT automatic transmission. EyeSight includes Lane Keep Assist, Active Cruise Control and a pre-collision system that automatically applies the brakes to avoid potential accidents.
THE PREMIUM SERIES.GRAY MODEL
Only 750 of these limited-edition WRXs will be available, each painted Cool Gray Khaki and wearing black 18-in. alloy wheels. The car is based on the WRX Premium, which includes the Performance Package with Ultrasuede-trimmed Recaro seats, an 8-way-power driver’s seat, special front brake pads, moonroof delete, active LED headlights and push-button start. Price: $33,480. Subaru is also building 250 Premium Series.Gray WRX STIs for 2019.
Under the Hood
That scoop in the aluminum hood is functional, feeding air to the intercooler and cooling the intake charge before it enters the WRX’s all-aluminum horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine to add horsepower. In the WRX, the engine displaces 2.0 liters and cranks out 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm thanks to a turbocharger. In the STI, the engine grows to 2.5 liters, and its output peaks now at 310 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Both engines are backed by a 6-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive, although a CVT automatic transmission is available on the WRX Limited trim level. Unfortunately, fuel economy is not great -- the WRX is rated by the EPA at 21-mpg city/27-mpg highway, the STI at 17/22. Both engines require premium fuel.
2.0-liter turbocharged flat-4
268 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/27 mpg (manual), 18/24 mpg (automatic)
2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4
310 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
290 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg
The 2019 Subaru WRX, an all-wheel-drive sports sedan with a starting price below $30,000, is a high-performance bargain. As before, two models are offered: the 2.0-liter 268-horsepower WRX and the 2.5-liter 310-horsepower WRX STI, which has gained five horsepower for 2019 thanks to a new intake and improved exhaust. Both of these turbocharged flat-4 engines mate to a standard 6-speed manual transmission; a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available only in the WRX. The Subaru WRX competes with the Honda Civic Si sedan and hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST The more powerful STI scraps with the all-wheel-drive VW Golf R, the Ford Focus RS and the Honda Civic Type R.