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    Review: 2016 Subaru WRX Premium


    • The four-season sport sedan

    All-wheel drive in the sport compact/hot hatch marketplace seems to only be reserved for the upper echelon; the upcoming Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI, Volkswagen Golf R, and the outgoing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Step down one rung and most sport compacts send power to the front wheels. Ask why most automakers don’t add AWD and you might get an answer of it would ruin the balance of the vehicle or it would be too expensive. But one automaker does have AWD in their sport compact and that would be Subaru. Ok, Subaru has AWD in most of their vehicles, so adding AWD to their WRX sedan isn’t a problem. But it does give the WRX a big selling point in a growing class.

     

    The WRX is based on the Impreza, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the exterior. Subaru has made a number of changes to the exterior to make the WRX seem like its own model. The front end gets a new rectangular grille and a large hood scoop. Around the side are seventeen-inch wheels finished in gray and WRX nameplates on the front fenders. A rear diffuser with quad exhaust tips and a lip spoiler complete the rear. Sadly, the WRX and WRX STI don’t come in a five-door like the last-generation.

     

    2016 Subaru WRX Premium 10


    Move inside and you can tell this is an Impreza. Subaru has tried to dress up the WRX with a flat-bottom steering wheel, sport seats, improved interior materials, and faux carbon fiber trim. But for the $32,855 as-tested price, it looks and feels very spartan. Many fans of the WRX and STI will argue that you don’t buy these cars for the interior, you buy them for the performance. While I can see some validity in that argument, the fact that for the same amount of money as this WRX, you can get into a fully loaded Ford Focus ST or a nicely equipped Volkswagen GTI with much nicer interiors.

     

    There are some positive points to the WRX’s interior. The sport seats have the right amount of bolstering to hold you in place when your playing around and don’t make you feel uncomfortable on long-distance trips. The rear seat provides a decent amount of headroom, but legroom is tight for taller passengers. Subaru has also gotten rid their aftermarket-looking infotainment system for a system that looks more appropriate. The seven-inch touchscreen features Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system that boasts features such as Pandora integration and hands-free text messaging. The combination of quick performance and large touchpoints makes the system one of the easiest in the industry.

     


    2016 Subaru WRX Premium 9



    Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four with 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with Subaru’s well-renown all-wheel drive system and either a six-speed manual (what I had) or Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT. Power comes on a very smooth and linear fashion throughout the rpm band. This is due to the turbo building boost at a quick rate and the wide spread of torque from 2,000 to 5,200 rpm. Also, I like that you can hear the woosh of the turbocharger working.

     

    The six-speed manual is somewhat clunky to use as the shift action feels somewhat limp and you have to make sure you have the lever fully in the position of the gear, otherwise you are not moving. At least, the transmission has a defined pattern so you know where you are in the gear pattern.

     

    In terms of fuel economy, the 2016 WRX with the manual is rated by the EPA at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week in the WRX landed around 21.6 MPG. Not great, but I’ll admit I was driving this a little bit hard just to hear the turbo working.

     


    2016 Subaru WRX Premium 5



    Despite not participating in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the WRX retains a lot of that pedigree. Point the WRX down your favorite road and it transforms into a rally car. Body lean has gone away and the all-wheel drive system provides tenacious grip. I pushed the WRX around some tight corners and the car never showed any signs of struggle. More impressive is how the all-wheel drive system keeps the WRX planted on gravel roads. Yes, you can turn the traction and stability control off if you want to live out your fantasy of being a rally driver. Steering is very responsive and provides good feedback of the road.

     

    As for the daily grind, the WRX’s suspension is on the firm side. But it is a small price to pay for the performance you get. Some will complain there is a fair amount of road and wind noise coming into the cabin.

     

    One other item that should be mentioned; Subaru’s EyeSight system which uses stereo cameras to scan the road and feed the data to the adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, and lane-departure warning system is only available on the top Limited trim equipped with the CVT. If you opt for the manual, you don’t have that option. I have reached out to Subaru to find out the reason for this and will update when I get a response.

     

    The 2016 Subaru WRX is an interesting option in the sport compact class. At the moment, it is the only model in the lower echelon of sport compacts that come with all-wheel drive. For some, this is what they want in a sport compact. But the high price tag and spartan interior may have you running towards the Ford Focus ST which offers the same performance level and a nicer interior.

     

    It really comes down to what you are looking for in a sport compact. Personally, I really liked my time in the WRX. But I would likely go for either the base WRX or a lightly optioned Premium to make me feel at ease with the purchasing decision.

     

    Cheers:
    All-Wheel Drive Traction
    Looks that standout
    Turbocharged engine

     

    Jeers:
    Interior still lags behind the competition
    Manual transmission needs to go to finishing school
    High price tag

     

     

    Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the WRX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

    Year: 2016
    Make: Subaru
    Model: WRX
    Trim: Premium
    Engine: 2.0L Twin-Scroll Turbocharged DI Boxer Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 268 @ 5,600
    Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,500 - 5,200
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
    Curb Weight: 3,386 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Kanto, Japan
    Base Price: $28,895
    As Tested Price: $32,855 (Includes $795.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Navigation + harman/kardon Audio System - $2,100

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    I haven't driven the new WRX, but a stint in the new STI not to long ago left me rather disappointed. The car felt and drove decidedly old-school, and I don't mean that in a good way. No way could I justify the cost of one. I'd like to try the regular WRX out and see if that FA20 improves the feel of the car. The STI felt fine, if it were a 10 year old car.

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    Would it fit a 6'6" tall guy at 300lbs? Probably not.

     

    I have heard from my sons best friend that he was disappointed in the latest round of Subaru's. He is married now with a wife and their first son and he traded in his 6 year old Subaru, I think it was an STI, but his newest car while his wife is happy with the Subaru, he feels it does not have the soul of the older models.

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    after the arms race between subie and mitsu ended, i all but lost interest. the wrx just isnt the pocket rocket of yesteryear. while still commanding a premium for nice examples, id just rather have an 00-06 model subie. heck i even love the wrx transplants they do with the forresters. 

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      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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