Pros barebones no-nonsense cabin, 100% easily modifiable vehicle
Cons minor correctable issues like slushy gear box and small sway bars.
Summary If you're looking for "features" in a car, you really shouldn't be buying a Subaru, these are far more purpose built cars then most. if you want a car that can out perform most cars on the road and any car in it's segment, buy this. It is far faster then anything comparable, just look up the spec's sheets and take one for a drive. If the suspension feels soft, buy swaybars and correct the problem, and definitely get a short sifter kit, don't waste money on a Subaru kit, get Kartboy or something along those lines. And in all honesty, you should buy a base model WRX and upgrade the stereo, suspension and shifter, it is far more economical and sensible for the amount of money you'll pay for this car, and it's far more mechanically sound and faster then any Mazda Speed 3 your going to find. It's a sports car, sports cars don't need stereos and navigation, they need solid engines and well bolstered cloth seats that hold you in place.
Pros The perfect (really only) combination of relatively affordable, sporty, decent on gas, has usable cargo space, and has 4WD. Good for someone who wants a fun, practical car that won't give you a heart attack with the insurance bill (STi).
Cons Needs more durable/higher quality interior finishes (silver swooping accent scratches easily) for a car that once optioned up is easily over 30k. A bit noisy underway, needs the STi's gearbox i.e. 6-speed. Gear ratios can be a bit fussy.
Summary I actually drove a 2011 at a friend's dealership and it will be my next car. Overall it's a great package that needs to be seriously considered by anyone who lives in an area of the U.S. that gets consistent snow. I'm from NW PA and about to move to Michigan. This is the only sporty car I'm considering rather than an SUV because it can brave tough conditions and is still a blast to drive. Make sure that you option for the short throw shifter - makes the driving experience much better.
Pros Great platform for upgrades, generous power stock, pleasing Widebody design, having something that you don't see on the road every day, will put a smile on your face every time you hit 3200+ RPMs.
Cons None from me, I bought the car for the turbo AWD and reliability. Most people complain about the interior but it is worlds better than my last car. The lit gauge cluster needles are a nice touch.
Summary I had read these reviews when I was shopping for a car last year so I figured I would write a review after owning the WRX for 9 months. I have had zero issues with it so far, the biggest thing for me is resisting the urge to drive it all the time and trying not to get a speeding ticket. You end up tailgating people frequently, the car drives so smooth you don't realize you are speeding. Radar detector is a must unless you live in VA/DC. Planning on upgrading the shifter to a Kartboy down the road, shifter has a little play. Other than that and the underpowered head unit, I can't think of anything I would change. Great car, glad I grabbed a spark silver metallic model since they don't offer it for 2012.
Pros Amazing power
All wheel drive
Piratical and Affordable
Cons Cheap interior
Cheap interior plastics
Cheap interior paint
Summary I've always wanted an STI but could not afford one, so I got the next best thing. From cheaper insurance to surprisingly low maintenance costs and high trade in values the WRX was money well spent all around. It's my first manual and I love the way it feels and drives. It is a bit on the small side *my last car was an Altima* but that just makes it all the more nimble. The interior materials are a let down however, one month in and the cabin materials are scratched and worn. None of this detracts from how much fun this car is on the road every day however. They say never drive your heroes.. They were wrong.
Pros Price, super fun to drive, 4 doors make it someone practical and user friendly too
Cons would love a 6 speed transmission
Summary I was looking for a commuter car so I didnt have to drive my SUV every day. Narrowed it down to BMW 328i (love it but hubby hates the snob factor), Lexus IS250 (looks great but boring to drive), and the new 2012 Volvo S60 (loved it but closest dealer for repairs is 45 mins away). Although I could have afforded the 35K pricetag of the other cars, after driving the 24K priced WRX, I decided to save the 8-10K!! My WRX may not have the luxury of the others, but it's way more fun to drive. Safety ratings are great, and the car is way more fun to drive than the others - and for much cheaper. This car may not have a lot of luxury, but it's a SUPER car for the money! Highly recommended!