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Review and photos by Mike Schlee

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As with any tidbit of information that may appear biased, this review needs a disclaimer. Chances are this review may turn out one-sided. During my week with the 2013 Subaru WRX Sedan, I swore to myself I would be impartial and display Swiss levels of neutrality; but deep down, my inner Subaru “fanboi” tried his hardest to make an appearance. Phrases like “this interior isn’t out-of-date, it is retro chic” would circulate inside my head before I returned to my senses and realized a spade is a spade; the interior is old. Oh, and while I am embarking on an editorial confessional, I guess I better fess up to the fact that I also use to own a WRX until less than a year ago—a 2010 Limited Hatchback model.

2013 SUBARU WRX. Click image to enlarge

For 2013, the Subaru WRX is still based on the previous ‘GR’ Impreza platform and not the all new GP/GJ Impreza that debuted in 2012. Being based on a chassis that is now in its sixth model year, Subaru has made periodic improvements to the WRX to keep it relevant, like the addition of the 265 hp motor in 2009 and the standard wide-body refresh in 2011.  But it is now 2013, and it is safe to say the WRX is showing its age and an all-new version should show up in a year or two.  Until that day, we will continue to get this completely unrefined but solid, high-performing vehicle—the automotive equivalent to a 10-kg sledgehammer.

At the heart of any good WRX is a turbocharged Boxer four-cylinder engine.  The 2013 WRX continues to feature the most powerful flat-4 engine ever installed in a WRX; the 2.5L EJ255 engine unleashing 265 hp, 244 lb-ft of torque to all fours wheels through Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.  Combined with the only transmission choice, a five-speed manual, the 1,455-kg WRX can rip from a dead stop to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds according to Subaru’s website, although, some U.S. magazines have been able to hit 96 km/h (60 mph) in 4.7 seconds thanks to calculated clutch abuse.

Hammer the WRX up to its 13.3 PSI boost peak, and the engine erupts into a symphony of intake, turbocharger, and exhaust noises.  When the WRX went wide-body in 2011, the standard single tip exhaust was replaced by the STI’s quad-tip, dual exhaust system.  This new exhaust setup is louder than the old single outlet exhaust and gives the WRX a bit more Boxer-rumble at low rpms.  It is still nowhere near the levels of an aftermarket exhaust system, but a nice addition compared to the old pre-2010 exhaust.

Keep off the addicting boost and the WRX will return acceptable fuel consumption.  Officially rated at 11.1 L/100 km in the city and 8.0 L/100 km on the highway, I was able to achieve an average of 11.2 L/100 km during my week with the car.  Not bad for a very green car in the winter; the odometer read 160 km when I picked it up and 575 km when I dropped it off.  I broke in my 2010 WRX from new and found fuel economy kept improving until hitting around 5,000 km on the odometer.  I averaged 10.0 L/100 km in that WRX and would expect the same in this car once it has a few more thousand clicks on it.

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