September 26, 2023

Subaru offers two versions its rally-inspired, all wheel-drive performance sedan. It is difficult to compare the Subaru WRX versus Subaru WRX STI. Although the cars look similar, they are vastly different in terms of performance and equipment. Subaru created the WRX to serve the Japanese market in early 1990s, when it needed a vehicle for rally competition. The WRX was first produced by Subaru in 1992, and the STI in 1994. The WRX stands for World Rally experimental, and STI stands for Subaru Tecnica International. The 2002 model year saw the WRX arrive in North America. It was based on Impreza’s platform, but had more power and better handling. In 2004, the WRX received the more powerful STI version. Both models are now halo Subaru vehicles. Which model is better? Continue reading to learn more.

Subaru WRX

The 2019 Subaru WRX compact sport sedan is a four door, five-passenger model. The WRX is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 268 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque. Six-speed manual is the standard WRX gearbox. Subaru’s Lineartronic continuously variable auto transmission is also available in select trims. Standard WRX can return up to 21 mpg city driving and 27 mpg highway. Lineartronic reduces fuel consumption to 18 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. Subaru’s full-time symmetrical, all-wheel-drive system is standard on all WRX models. Active torque vectoring is a feature of the WRX that applies a little brake to the inside front wheel when it enters a corner. This makes the WRX’s steering more responsive. There are three levels of Subaru WRX. Base WRX comes standard with all performance equipment and a basic cloth-seat cabin. Premium and Limited trims include synthetic suede or genuine leather. The higher trims include features such as a more advanced infotainment system, and automatic headlights. Edmunds and ALG have praised the WRX’s residual value on rally tracks and racetracks for nearly two decades. The 2019 Subaru WRX was built in Gunma (Japan).

The Subaru WRX STI:

The 2019 Subaru WRX STI uses the same chassis design as the basic WRX, but has a variety of mechanical parts. The STI is lighter and more spacious than the WRX, but it offers a higher level of performance. The STI’s engine is a 2.5-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder with 310 horsepower. It also produces 290 pound-feet. The STI has a close-ratio six speed manual transmission with all wheel-drive. To ensure power to both wheels, the STI has limited-slip differentials at each end. The STI features a driver-controlled central differential that distributes engine torque among the front and rear wheels. The STI features sport-tuned suspension and quick-ratio steering. The STI brakes have six-piston front and two-piston rear discs with large, cross-drilled rotors. There are two trim levels for the WRX STI: Limited trim and base STI. The WRX STI has two trim levels: the base STI and the Limited. Technology and interior trim differ from the WRX. The Subaru WRX STI 2019 holds the American Rally Association’s U.S. National Championship and is built in Gunma (Japan).

Subaru WRX vs. Subaru WRX STI – Which has better interior quality, space, and comfort?

Both the Subaru WRX STI and Subaru WRX STI are built on the same platform. They have identical interior spaces and configurations. The trunk space of all WRX and STI models is 12.0 cubic feet, which is about average size for a compact sedan. The STI has a few interior upgrades that the WRX does not, including Recaro sport seat options. Recaro sport seat users may find them uncomfortable, so make sure you try both before buying. The heated front seats are standard on all WRX and STI models, except for the base WRX. The STI models are made from synthetic Ultrasuede while the WRX is available in cloth, Ultrasuede or leather. Dual-zone climate control is also available on the STI. The interior differences between these two cars are very minimal.

Subaru WRX STI vs. Subaru WRX STI – Which has better safety equipment and ratings?

Crash tests show that all Subaru WRX and WRX STI models are excellent. Safety equipment between them is comparable because they share the same platform. Both models come with a complete set of safety features. The WRX Premium trims and the Limited trims are exempted from this. The EyeSight safety package and Lineartronic transmission are also available. These advanced features are available:

  • Cruise control with adaptive cruise
  • Pre-collision braking
  • Warning about Lane-departure
  • Sway warning

The WRX Limited trim offers automatic high beams as well as reverse automatic braking. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are available on WRX Limited, and are standard on STI Limited. EyeSight advanced features cannot be used with the manual transmission STI. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the 2019 Subaru WRX the Top Safety Pick+ designation. This rating is only available to WRX models that have the Lineartronic transmission or the EyeSight package. The WRX Premium or Limited trims with Lineartronic CVT are the best options if safety was your only concern.

Subaru WRX vs. Subaru WRX STI – Which Technology is Better?

The base Subaru WRX trim comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface. This unit is compatible with both Android Auto (and Apple CarPlay) and allows for streaming music and navigation. It also features an AM/FM/HD/Satellite radio and CD player. WRX Premium, Limited trims, and the base STI upgrade to a 7.0 inch touchscreen with the same capabilities are available. Optional on WRX Limited trims, and standard on STI Limited trims, the 7.0-inch interface includes onboard GPS navigation. The WRX Limited comes with a nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system with a 440-Watt amplifier, while the STI Limited has it as an option. The StarLink interface from Subaru is easy to use and all systems work well. If you are looking for dashboard tech, go for the top trim and get a Limited.

Subaru WRX vs. Subaru WRX STI – Which one is better to drive?

The Subaru WRX STI and Subaru WRX STI have different driving experiences. The STI offers more of everything. It is faster, corners flatter and has harder brakes. The STI includes the driver-controlled central differential. The steering is faster and the close-ratio transmission gives you better acceleration. The WRX is faster, but it’s often less comfortable over the long-term. This is especially true if the STI has the Recaro seats. Recaro seats are more comfortable for longer drives and have less padding. The WRX will have a more flexible suspension, which means it will ride smoother on bumpy roads. It will depend on your personal preference which model you prefer. The WRX is our choice for everyday driving. The STI is a better choice for track use.

Subaru WRX vs. Subaru WRX STI – Which Car Is More Affordable?

The 2019 Subaru WRX STI’s extra performance is not free. The STI is actually about $10,000 less than the WRX. The starting price for the base WRX is $27,195. This price is within the range of economy cars. The WRX is a great choice for the features and performance it offers. The WRX Premium starts at $29,495, while the WRX Limited starts from $31,795. The Lineartronic CVT costs $1,900 and includes the EyeSight system. The WRX STI starts at $36,595. The top STI Limited model retails at $41,395, which is higher than the luxury car market where 300 horsepower is common. The WRX as well as the STI are both covered by the same warranty for three years or 36,000 miles. Subaru covers its engines for five-years or 60,000 miles. Wear items such as wiper blades or brake pads are covered by Subaru for three years, or 36,000 miles.

Subaru WRX vs. Subaru WRX STI – Which Car Should I Purchase?

The price and performance will determine which Subaru WRX or Subaru WRX STI you choose. Although the STI is more efficient, it may cost you over $14,000 more than a WRX. The base WRX offers excellent performance at a very affordable price. Upgrade to the Premium or Limited trims for more convenience and comfort. We would choose the WRX for daily use if we had to spend our own money.

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