TIM KAUGER
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2017 WRX: A quick long term review

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I've been on the hunt for change recently. I'm still not sure of the scale; maybe it's moving to Maine, or maybe it's just taking more weekend trips. The craving for unpredictability and escaping the comfort zone is strong, and the pull of it grows almost every day.

Even still, I enjoy being rooted in some semblance of routine and stability.

Enter the '17 Subaru WRX, which I've named Shiloh. I can explain: the MySubaru app prompted me for a name, and it’s the best I came up with after two IPAs at a craft brewery. Silver = Shiloh? The movie I watched with my 4th grade class, and because I dig alliteration? Checks out.

The car is comfortable with anything I ask of it, be it the ride to the train station, the occasional sojourn down a dirt road, or a few fast corners outside of town. It’s hard to ask for much more at this point.

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the bad

I won’t mince words: the factory engine tune is garbage. Sorry, Subaru; after about seven months with the car, I could stands no more. Throttle response was grabby and the turbo, while delivering a nice kick in the gut initially, would peter out long before the shift near redline. I decided to remedy that with a Cobb Accessport, paired initially with Cobb's own Stage 1 tune followed by MAP's Stage 1 map. The result? It’s a completely different car. Reliability and gas mileage remain unaffected (almost bettered) while the car gains a well-deserved power bump and a much more progressive power curve. The question (which I asked in my initial review) remains: why didn't Subaru tune this car like this from the factory? We'll never know, but it’s tuned now, and it's much better for it.

Beyond that, the car has needed a little work. The driver’s door window seal got a bit lazy, the battery went weak in the knees, and one of the front struts was doing as much popping and creaking as shock absorption. All three were replaced under warranty.

Oh, and if you turn the car off while listening to an “explicit” SiriusXM channel, the car will automatically tune to the clean SiriusXM preview channel when the car restarts. What a relief to the four remaining people in the world who can’t handle the word “shit”.

the good

I can’t say much without echoing my thoughts in the original review. Winter was an absolute blast in the snow, and the WRX has nary a complaint (apart from the few bits mentioned above) when driving in any circumstance. The few modifications I’ve made certainly serve to fill a few gaps in the car’s personality, but they’re not strictly needed. If you’re in the market and don’t want to change the car, it’ll do just fine for your needs. I suppose I got melodramatic about the tune (I didn’t, it’s pretty bad).

The novelty has worn off, as it does with any car. In its place is that sense of familiarity I need, as more adventures and atypical journeys arise. If anything, my driving style has gotten a little too aggressive thanks to the WRX’s speed and agility; I’ve just paid my first ever speeding ticket. It was a doozy, but the driving leading up to it was great.

the verdict

I’m embracing changes. Wherever those changes take me, I wouldn't want any other car, because it’s comfortable, reliable, efficient and so damn fast.  

Except if Subaru starts making it in a hatchback again. Then I want that.

AutomotiveTim KaugerComment