Bought 2016 WRX - Initial Impressions After 150 mi

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Well, yesterday, the day I'd been waiting for finally came, and I took delivery of my new 2016 WRX base model, that I had been waiting for almost a month to receive! This was the first car I've ever bought without walking into a dealership at all, and I highly recommend it. I'm not one that hates car dealerships or anything - as a matter of fact, I sold cars for a few years (2004-2008) at a Ford dealerships. But, buying online just makes it easy. I made up my mind that I wanted a new WRX, and that if I could get a decent deal on one, I'd buy it. So, I started e-mailing dealerships, asking for quotes on base WRXs. By the 2nd day, I had a quote that I could live with. It helped that the dealer I got it from did not charge a documentation fee (they're smart - they've realized that doc fees are a bone of contention and that people get a bad taste in their mouths at the mention of a doc fee), and offered to deliver the car on a truck from Little Rock to Nashville! Anyway, the point is that, for me, doing my shopping online was definitely the way to go. There were a couple of things that aggravated me, that the dealer did. I asked, both verbally, as well as a reminder via e-mail to the salesman, that the car not have a dealership advertising decal applied when it arrived, and that the car NOT be washed, or touched in any way, by anyone in their "detail" department. My reason for that was that the guys in the "detail" department at most dealerships are not detailers at all, but 9-buck-an-hour hired help who usually don't know the first thing about detailing a car, and, often times, end up doing more harm than good to the vehicles they "detail". For example, my sister and bro-in-law bought a brand-new 2014 Pathfinder, and the first time I laid eyes on it, I noticed that every square inch of the thing was all swirled to Hades and back. Not being "car people", my sis & bro-in-law didn't even notice it, so, not wanting to ruin their experience, I kept my mouth shut about it. Anyway, you get the point. Well, when the car arrived, I noticed that the tires had tire dressing on them, a bunch of which had ended up all over the sides of the car (at the dealer I worked for, the "detail" guys kept a bucket of dirty tire dressing with a paintbrush, and would liberally slop the stuff all over the tires and wheels, and, a lot of times, it would also end up all over the car, including inside, on the carpet, seats, steering wheel, seatbelts, etc.). The car also had a dealership decal on the back. OK, I thought, no big deal. He forgot to tell them not to "detail" it. I can get the decal off, etc... Then I look at the odometer and it has 54 miles, not the 5 miles the salesman told me over the phone. Immediately I'm imagining some 20-year-old dealership employee kid flogging the daylights out of the car. Oh well, what am I going to do? Refuse delivery of the car? Just to be on the safe side, I asked to drive it before signing the papers, and it felt just fine. But it did annoy me a bit that the salesman ignored my requests, and lied to me about the mileage (I know he lied, because I asked him specifically to go and check the ODO, and he told me it had 5 miles). When I first discussed the car with the salesman, he led me to believe that the car was one that was already part of their inventory, but was in the process of being delivered (he said it was "inbound"), and was due to arrive during the first week of March. Well, it didn't arrive until the 3rd week of March. When I called the salesman about the mileage (the paperwork, including odometer statement, indicated that the car had 5 miles), he said, "Oh, those miles are because it was a dealer transfer - those miles were incurred when the car was driven to us from another dealer". Well, I didn't let it get me down, because, after driving the car, I was pretty well convinced that it was fine. Anyway, the dealership has to redo the paperwork and overnight it to me. OK, now that I've digressed a bit, I'll get down to the business of how the car drives. Now, I know that, first of all, there are a lot of car guys on this board, many of whom are much more experienced with cars than I am. This is my first sports car, and while I've owned slightly sporty cars in the past ('87 Maxima w/5-spd, '04 Accord w/5-spd), as well as sportbikes, I've daily-driven a Tacoma for the last 9 years. So, of course it feels sharp as a tack to me. The character of the car, to me, really reminds me of a racehorse. It feels like it's just raring to go, all the time. I guess they've engineered it that way. With the twin-scroll design, the turbo spools up very quickly, and, to me, there's rarely, if ever, any sensation of lag. And that's because FULL BOOST is reached by 2000 RPM! And boy does it ever come on strong. It's got some serious shove. This thing has an absolutely killer midrange. I've put 150 miles on it, yesterday and today. There are some hilly, curvy backroads around here, and that's where this car shines. VERY powerful brakes, and what seems to me to be an endless well of cornering grip. Highway onramps are a hoot, as well as cloverleafs and roundabouts. The car is really an enthusiast's dream to drive. You can just toss it around...body attitude stays flat. Cornering character seems really neutral to me - I haven't noticed understeer or oversteer (though, admittedly, I'm driving on the street, don't want to tear up a new car, and haven't pushed beyond 6/10ths or so). Some of the credit for that obviously goes to the traction management system, which automatically applies brake to the inside wheel(s) to help the car rotate through the corner, effectively minimizing understeer. Gearbox - It feels just fine to me. I've read where others have said it's notchy, isn't as slick as an S2000, etc. (Really, what car's gearbox does equal an S2000?) I don't know...I've never driven an S2000 - apparently it's the standard for slick shifting. All I know is, this one feels good - a little notchy, but it is still new. Maybe I'll get a short-throw and switch to some aftermarket brass bushings one day. For now, I'll enjoy it just how it is. Gearing itself is pretty short - especially 1st and 6th. I feel that both 1st and 6th could have been made taller. Especially 6th. My normal cruise speed on the interstate is 79 mph, which equates to right about 2900-3000 RPM. It wouldn't bother me any if that 6th gear allowed more like around 2500 RPM at 80 mph. Clutch - Decent feel, not too heavy, engagement not at beginning or end of travel - seems pretty much dead-on. And the pedals are placed ideally for heel-and-toeing, which I've been having great fun practicing! Steering - It's an electric unit. Feels great to me. Lot quicker ratio than my Taco! Nice, fat, flat-bottomed wheel with grip flares just above 9 & 3. Would be cool to drive an STi with its hydraulic unit, and quicker ratio, just to compare. Chassis/Suspension - I think they've done a great job on it. I'd call the damping right-on...not too firm and not too soft. I understand they softened it a bit from last year because everyone complained. The 2 upper-tier models get inverted struts this year. My base model has the regular old (right side up?) struts. I'm happy with the damping. Not sure I'd want any firmer for the street. One thing - a rally car this is not. I have wondered if the WRX suspension is really a "rally racing" suspension. Nah, this car doesn't have any more ground clearance than anything else out there. (I've already scraped the bottom of the car, going around a steep switchback.) There's nothing "special" about the suspension that makes it much different than any other car. I only have a couple of complaints, if you could really call them that. First, the car has a "rev hang" issue that I first read about on the forums - when you disengage the clutch, the revs "hang" and don't drop down. Makes it tough to shift quickly and smoothly. It's a known issue; apparently the aftermarket has figured out how to eliminate this, which I would love to have done. I need to read up on what tuning will cause the dealer to deny warranty, and if there's any level of tuning that can be done without jeopardizing warranty. It's not a huge problem - being smooth on the clutch & shifter, you can pretty much work around it. Still, it would be great if it didn't do that. Secondly, and, again, this is really nit-picking, because the car is so good. But the engine definitely feels a little choked-off - there's not much point to revving past 4000-4500 RPM, because power drops off significantly. Like I've heard people say, "the car is just begging for a tune..." It really is. A good tune and some bolt-ons to allow the engine to breathe a little more freely would probably help it to keep pulling to redline. But it's definitely midrange-biased, which is really good for street/around town driving. ENGINE NEEDS UNCORKED! Oh, and after dealing with a simple radio in my Tacoma for 9 years, I feel like I need Astro14 to teach me to use all these electronic features - Bluetooth phone interface, Pandora phone interface, etc... But I'm figuring it out. There's an electronic gauge cluster in the middle part of the top of the dash, and you can program it to show different parameters - right now I have it set to display oil temp, intake manifold pressure, and average fuel economy... I do wish they'd included oil pressure. I am going to install an aftermarket oil pressure gauge. Someone's already making a kit. That brings me to the oil temp - it's running a little higher than I would have expected, but I'm not used to looking at an oil temp gauge, and I really don't know what "normal" oil temp is. During spirited backroad driving, it hovers around 205, jumping up to around 212 sometimes. (Mid-60s ambient.) Cruising at 80 mph on the highway, it stays around 205 (RPM is right at 2950-3000 in top gear at 80 mph). Everything else is great. Seats are very comfortable, and there's plenty of leg and headroom (I'm 6'2"). In fact, the driver's seat is a bit wider than I need...I'm skinny at 180 lbs. and I think it was designed for someone wider than me. Here are a couple of photos, just in the driveway, after washing and slapping on some Meguiar's Show Car Glaze and some Meguiar's #26 carnauba wax. These photos aren't that great - I'll get some better ones soon.
 
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Nice Subie. Your oil temps seem just fine to me. It's hard to say what is "normal" because exactly where they measure it affects the number but 205F is not "hot" oil.
 
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Nice write up, drive it in good health. I'd love know if you find out about a tune that won't impact the warranty. I have a buddy who just bought one and was looking into it himself, but struck out when he asked about it impacting the warranty. He asked the head service writer a "what if" and was advised against it. His only complaint was the shifting bugged him and he was looking for a work around too.
 
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Looks very nice. Seems very conservative as opposed to the Superbird wanna-be's you see buzzing around town.
 
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Originally Posted By: john_pifer
ENGINE NEEDS UNCORKED!
Then it will sound like all the other WRXs on the road -- like a VW bug that's not firing on all cylinders.
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Originally Posted By: john_pifer
ENGINE NEEDS UNCORKED!
Then it will sound like all the other WRXs on the road -- like a VW bug that's not firing on all cylinders.
Unfortunately it never will as I believe they use even headers on the new 2.0l. The 255 Ej used across wrx, current and past sti have that signature sound.
 
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Quote:
First, the car has a "rev hang" issue that I first read about on the forums - when you disengage the clutch, the revs "hang" and don't drop down. Makes it tough to shift quickly and smoothly. It's a known issue; apparently the aftermarket has figured out how to eliminate this,
From what I understand, this "rev hang" is intentional, done to tighten up emissions. You'll find it on most if not all modern cars, but it's most noticeable on manuals. I test drove a manual GTI last year. The rev hang was really annoying, to the point where I think I would have preferred an auto box instead. I suppose getting an aftermarket tune can overcome it. http://www.revhang.altervista.org/
 
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Neat car, John. I admire both your enthusiasm and your courage (the only word for it) in buying a WRX never having seen the car or driven it. I hope for your sake that the car proves to be a great, long-term, trouble free 'Roo. You mentioned rev-hang. For years now many manual-transmission Hondas have had the same characteristic. Very irritating. The "fix" that has worked for me is a rather simple one based on muscle memory. More specifically, out of habit, most of us accelerate and then shove in the clutch to shift gears. We drive that way because that's how most of us learned to drive a manual-transmission automobile. Do that now, however, and the engine's electronics will hold the highest rpm attained for a second or so before gradually falling off. Again, very irritating. Try this: Instead of shoving in the clutch immediately, lift of the accelerator just an instant before you shove in the clutch. Works perfectly in a Honda. No throttle hang. It's all muscle memory. Once you get the hang of it (so to speak!), your frustration will be a thing of the past.
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Originally Posted By: john_pifer
ENGINE NEEDS UNCORKED!
Then it will sound like all the other WRXs on the road -- like a VW bug that's not firing on all cylinders.
They sound like someone lugging a 2 stroke v8 diesel to me.
 
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Nice writeup on your ride! I can't see the pics at the moment, but I think you mentioned before that it is dark grey like my FXT. Your oil temps sound completely normal, similar to my summer temps with a similar engine. I think some FXT drivers that live further South than me mentioned getting up to 230 on really hot days and they didn't worry about it. Your revs in 6th do sound high, I was stuck with the CVT in the FXT and I think I'm around 2500 at my 75-80 cruising speeds. At least you don't have to deal with the CVT lag, most FXT drivers blame the tranny for their cars not launching particularly well...and, rumor is the WRX CVT has much less lag. Guess Subaru figured that FXT drivers would mostly be soccer moms and elderly gents who might spill their drinks if their car took off too quickly. Turning trac control off and rolling out a bit helps if possible, but I am not inclined to do the brake boosting that all the car mags seemed to do to get their 6.2-6.4s 0-60 times with the FXT. I'm sure you will be closer to 5s with your manual WRX when you are ready to really get on it! Anyway, glad you like your ride and I hope you enjoy it in good health and safety for a long time to come!
 
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pbm

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Very nice car and write up. I'm too polite to ask what you paid for it....so I'll ask how much under list you got it for?
 

john_pifer

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Originally Posted By: dlundblad
Looks very nice. Seems very conservative as opposed to the Superbird wanna-be's you see buzzing around town.
You're right - they did go pretty conservative with the styling. My favorite was the '05. That generation was very muscular-looking, and very uniquely Subaru. But this one reminds me a little bit of a 3-series. I think the best angle on this new one is the aft end.
 

john_pifer

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Originally Posted By: madRiver
Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Originally Posted By: john_pifer
ENGINE NEEDS UNCORKED!
Then it will sound like all the other WRXs on the road -- like a VW bug that's not firing on all cylinders.
Unfortunately it never will as I believe they use even headers on the new 2.0l. The 255 Ej used across wrx, current and past sti have that signature sound.
Correct. I like the rumble of the old EJ engines. This one, unfortunately, will never sound like that. But an EJ will never have the response and spool-up and low-end that this engine has, with the equal-length headers and twin-scroll turbo.
 

john_pifer

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Originally Posted By: Rolla07
Very nice! I like the color too..id love to get one..
Thanks! I was between this Dark Metallic Gray or the black. The silver and the white also look good. So do the red...and the blue... LOL... Seriously though, this Dark Metallic Gray has some really nice metal flake in the paint that just sparkles after applying the Meguiar's Show Car Glaze and the famous #26 carnauba. The girl next door came home yesterday as I was wiping the wax off, and said she liked the "glitter" in the finish.
 

john_pifer

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Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Quote:
First, the car has a "rev hang" issue that I first read about on the forums - when you disengage the clutch, the revs "hang" and don't drop down. Makes it tough to shift quickly and smoothly. It's a known issue; apparently the aftermarket has figured out how to eliminate this,
From what I understand, this "rev hang" is intentional, done to tighten up emissions. You'll find it on most if not all modern cars, but it's most noticeable on manuals. I test drove a manual GTI last year. The rev hang was really annoying, to the point where I think I would have preferred an auto box instead. I suppose getting an aftermarket tune can overcome it. http://www.revhang.altervista.org/
Interesting article. I scanned the first part...will read in entirety later. I didn't know that about abruptly closing throttle causing increased NOx.
 
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