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Old 03-17-2016, 12:07 PM   #1
roninsoldier83
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Default Comparison: My 2015 WRX 6MT vs 2014 EVO X GSR

Test driven: 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR (manual) with 27k miles. This is a comparison vs my 2015 WRX 6MT with 16k miles. For reference, I purchased my WRX new and it is mechanically stock other than having ATE brake fluid, Hawk HPS 5.0 brake pads and a set of Michelin X-Ice Xi3 snow tires currently installed.

Before anyone mentions it, yes, I readily concede that the STI is better suited for EVO fighting. However, I'm sure there are others out there that might cross shop a new WRX with a used EVO X, so I figured this comparison would be an interesting one for some!

It's been years since I've driven an EVO X and since it is going away for good soon, I figured I would take one for another spin today. This particular version was a 2014 model (last year with the Recaro seats) with 27k miles on the clock. I popped the hood and looked for signs of modification and it looked pretty stock. The cat-back was also stock, but I didn't check to see if there was a test pipe or high-flow cat upstream. The only mod I could find was a set of Hella Supertones horns tucked behind the front grill. Everything else appeared to be stock, but I have no idea if the car had ever been tuned/reflashed, ect.

Generally, when I take a vehicle for a test drive, I like to drive it down my favorite local canyon road and really explore the handling dynamics and responsiveness of the car as a whole; unfortunately, that didn't happen this time... I've driven an EVO X or 2 in the twisties years ago and remember it being nothing short of jaw-dropping in the corners. Granted, my taste in sports cars has been refined since then, but by all accounts, the EVO X is still considered a driver's car with high handling limits.

Instead, this drive took place almost entirely in city driving. I went on a medium length test drive with the saleswoman in the car and then after dropping her off, they gave me a borrowed car agreement to further explore the vehicle on my own. I found a couple of roads that were sparely populated that had a few S-curve sweepers in them, but the canyons just weren't in the cards this time.

-Engine: These cars both have the same displacement (2.0L) and they even had identical square bore to stroke ratios (86mm x 86mm). It makes me wonder if Suburu was trying to emulate the EVO's engine characteristics with the new WRX. They have similar-ish horsepower ratings (EVO= 291hp vs WRX= 268hp), but what the WRX lacks in power, it makes up for by having a lower curb weight (EVO GSR= 3527 lbs vs WRX= 3267 lbs). By all accounts, they should probably be pretty similar.... and yet, they don't hardly feel alike at all.

My WRX has more low-end torque and less turbo lag (most noticeably in 1st gear from a low rolling start), but the power falls off fairly abruptly around ~5500rpm, to the point where shifting past 6000-6200rpm seems like you're just wasting your time. By comparison, the EVO takes a bit longer to spool, but it feels like it pulls considerably harder up top. The EVO X has a 7000rpm redline, but apparently the rev limiter doesn't kick in until ~7600rpms on these cars. This car felt like it wanted to keep pulling beyond 7000rpm...

I have no idea if the EVO was flashed/tuned or not... all I do know is that it definitely felt faster than my WRX. We have 2 WRX's in our garage (2015 WRX & 2013 WRX) and the EVO X felt quicker than both of them. However, my 2015 has felt a bit more sluggish here lately and I'm starting to wonder if maybe there's some carbon build-up on the valves, as the little lady's 2013 WRX has felt just a bit quicker than my 2015 here lately as well. It could just be because I'm used to driving my car that it doesn't feel quite as quick as it used to, but it certainly felt slower than the EVO.

Either way, WRX has more low-end, both cars have similar-ish mid-range (with the edge going to the EVO) and the EVO has much stronger top-end. On paper, these cars should be pretty close, with C&D clocking the EVO X GSR at [email protected] vs [email protected] for the 2015 WRX 6MT. However, in the real world, the EVO felt faster. It should also be noted that C&D was never able to replicate their initial acceleration test of the WRX, which was found to be faster than pretty much every other magazine had published for the WRX. In their next test of a 2015 WRX 6MT (vs VW GTI), the WRX went [email protected] Take from that what you will.

For reference, I live in Denver, which is 5200 ft elevation. I have no idea what the boost/elevation compensation strategies for each car are, or how much each car is affected by my altitude. YMMV.

Drivetrain: These cars are both AWD, but feel very different. Both have relatively soft-ish clutches and neither would really work your left leg too hard in traffic IMO... but the engagement points are very different. The WRX engages the clutch really low, close to the floor, whereas the EVO's catch-point is much higher. After driving the EVO for a while and getting back into my WRX, I almost stalled it a couple of times, as it felt more abrupt being so low. I've never had a problem with my WRX's clutch at all, I'm just accentuating the differences in the catch-points. Ideally, I would prefer a catch-point somewhere between the 2.

Both of these cars have notchy shifters, but they're both pretty intuitive and I never missed a gear in the EVO and almost never miss a gear in my WRX. Granted the WRX does have an extra gear, but I was shocked to find that the EVO felt like it had shorter gearing... As it turns out, the EVO X has an uber-short 4.68 final drive ratio! This certainly hurts highway fuel economy, as the EVO spins around ~3200rpm in 5th at 70mph, vs the WRX only spinning around 2600rpm in 6th at 70mph; but the aggressive gearing helps a lot with response and mitigating turbo lag in the EVO.

I will say that the EVO's gearbox wants to be warmed up prior to quick shifting. It was a bit rough when cold, but got pretty smooth once a bit of heat was in it.

Handling: this is very hard to measure and I'll explain why. I've been driving my WRX with winter/snow tires on it for ~5 months now, so it hasn't been at full grip for a while now; whereas the EVO was wearing sticky summer rubber. Also, I push my WRX frequently around corners on the more open/west side of town.... today's drive in the EVO was almost entirely in the downtown area, which is mostly just straight lines with lots of stop lights. I did manage to find a couple of sparsely populated roads with some decent sweeping S-curves as well as a couple of lonely roundabouts, but there was nothing close to a mountain hairpin anywhere on this test drive.

With that said, I couldn't really find the EVO's limits.... the car's super quick steering rack ratio (13.3:1) makes turn-in immediate, but I couldn't find a place where the car felt like it was even remotely being pushed to it's limits. It was very confidence inspiring, but I feel a race track or twisty mountain road is the only way you're going to come close to this car's limits without pushing it well past license-losing speeds on public roads.

In the WRX, taking corners at speed, you feel the car clawing for grip with a bit of resistance from the wheel, but ultimately it scrambles and finds impressive levels of traction.... in the EVO, the active YAW controller is transferring power around, so the car just dances through corners without much effort. I've pushed the EVO X before years ago and I remember it being very rewarding, but downtown driving is not a place to try to find it's limits.

I also noted that C&D put both of these cars on the scales and found the following weight distributions:

-EVO X GSR= 56.5 / 43.5% F/R
-2015 WRX 6MT= 59.7 / 40.3% F/R

^^^I believe the combination of the EVO's better diffs, YAW control and slightly better weight distribution are the reasons why it doesn't feel like the car is fighting you as much through the corners. Don't get me wrong, they're both fun to pitch around corners, they just feel very different in doing so.

Steering: this is a mixed bag. The EVO's steering is quicker and offers more feedback through the wheel thanks to it's old-school hydraulic setup; whereas the WRX's electric rack is a bit more muted. However, Subaru really got the steering weight right with the new WRX. It's just a tad bit heavier than the EVO's wheel and the ratio is still quick enough to have some fun (14.5:1). They're both really good, they just feel different. For freeway cruising, the WRX is probably the better rack, but for canyon carving, I would prefer the EVO.

Brakes: I didn't get a chance to push the EVO hard enough to induce fade, so I really can't comment. They were pretty easy to modulate and the big Brembo's offered good pedal feedback as well. I liked them, but I would need to push them harder to get a full assessment. In stock form, the WRX's brakes were easy to modulate, but the overall bite was never all that impressive. I will also say that the WRX's brakes never impressed me during a spirited drive down a steep graded mountain road. I don't believe the EVO would have this problem.

I will say that the WRX actually had a slightly better pedal position for heel to toe downshifting. The EVO wasn't bad, but the WRX was better. I was shocked to find the vertical position of the EVO brake pedal was a bit too far up from the gas pedal to enable easy heel/toe downshifts.

Seats and seating position: another mixed bag. The EVO's Recaro's have excellent back bolstering! It held me just right and kept me in place! However, the seat bottom's of the EVO's Recaro's were pretty confining, as they put a bit of pressure on my thighs and prohibited me from splaying my legs out. For reference, I'm 6'2”, 210 lbs with a 33” waist. To be honest, I have fairly long (34” inseam) and muscular legs/thighs, so that probably contributed to the equation.

By comparison, my WRX's seats aren't nearly as bolstered, but my legs have more room to move. However, my WRX's center console is wider, slightly taller and the handbrake sticks further forward. Most people likely won't even notice this aspect of each car; I mention this because I have problems with my right knee and things that push against my leg/knee while driving (console & e-brake sometimes) cause me a bit of pain and discomfort. By comparison, my right leg doesn't come close to the EVO's console/handbrake; only the seat bolsters.

The EVO's seats are far more bucket-like and you sit “in” them, rather than “on” them. But the EVO's seats lack height adjustment and the steering wheel doesn't telescope. It makes for an “interesting” driving position. The seat height is fine and I have no problems reaching the wheel, but I feel with the seat slid into the proper position, I have greater control over the WRX's steering wheel due to the telescoping feature. In a perfect world I would have the following:

-EVO's seat backs.
-WRX's seat bottoms.
-EVO's lower console and non-intrusive handbrake.
-WRX's telescoping steering wheel.

If I ever owned an EVO, I would likely take an hour to bend the seat's lower frame rails like this guy had done with his GTR: http://www.gtrlife.com/forums/topic/...ow-gt-r-seats/

-Interior: the WRX's interior isn't really “nice” per se; but it's functional and feels solid. They also use soft touch materials in several areas of the WRX. The EVO's interior looks cheaper, but I think that has more to do with Mitsubishi using harder plastics around the dashboard and other areas. It just looks less finished. The WRX also looks more modern being a 7 year newer car.

However, most everything you actually touch in the EVO's interior feels pretty solid: steering wheel, shifter (despite looking like something you might find in a 1980's economy car), handbrake, climate control knobs, ect. Although the WRX's doors do make a better “thud” sound when you close them.

The [base] stereo in both is rubbish. Complete and utter rubbish. The EVO has a decent looking touchscreen to make it look prettier, and the WRX probably has a very paper-thin edge in the actual sound department, but we're splitting hairs here. They both suck. Both of these companies put their money in the powertrain, with little regard to anything else; which is to be expected and can be fixed fairly easily.

-Ride and NVH: honestly, they're pretty damn close. I went over some rough roads in the EVO and didn't hardly blink an eye. If it was any harsher than my WRX, I didn't notice it. Some people think the WRX is harsh; whereas I think it strikes a perfect balance between being firm and just forgiving enough to be a solid daily driver. I feel the same about the EVO.

Same with NVH. People say both of these cars are loud... I honestly don't know which has more road and tire noise; they're that close. If anything, the EVO might have had less road/tire noise, but more exhaust noise.

The EVO's stock exhaust is definitely louder and there's a drone around 4000rpm in the EVO. It goes away above and below 4k, but there is still a drone. By comparison, the WRX is almost too quiet. I have no idea if the EVO's exhaust had been modified in some way (I doubt it), or if the drone is stock (likely). Either way, they're both still what I would consider acceptable and both are certainly much easier to live with than my old 2006 STI was. YMMV.

Looks/aesthetics: the new WRX doesn't look horrible, but it really just looks like a Corolla with a hood scoop... relatively plain, with boring (semi-ugly) OEM wheels. The rear end of my WRX also looks a bit out of place from some angles. I like the front end of the 2015 WRX, but obviously there have been numerous comments about the new WRX looking a lot like the EVO... and for good reason... Overall, I think the EVO is a much better looking car, even with the foot tall wing on the trunk. It just looks more aggressive in a way that the WRX never has.

-Fun factor: I wish I could comment on this with a more complete test drive on a mountain road.... but, on the street, in between lights, with the occasional roundabout or bend in the road, I think the WRX might have a slight edge in the fun department. The WRX's extra low-end grunt is more daily driver/light to light friendly and it's lower handling limits are a bit easier to exploit on the street. After driving the EVO a couple of times, I think the old adage might apply- "it's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than it is to drive a fast car slow". I still contend that the EVO will likely be the more fun car on a race track or windy mountain road. The problem is finding somewhere that you can exploit the EVO's limits without being at risk of losing your license! Both are a joy to pitch around and good value for money in my book.

Overall, I really enjoyed the EVO. It was released 8 years ago, but somehow, it still feels relevant today. If only Mitsubishi would have released a new EVO to compete with the new WRX/STI... but alas, I bid my final farewell to the last interesting Mitsubishi on the market with a tinge of sadness that such a great car will soon be discontinued. And I can't deny, there's a part of me that almost wants to pickup one of these sweet cars while I still can.... but despite the fun EVO test drives I've had over the years, I've never been able to bring myself to buy one. Meanwhile, we have 2 WRX's parked in the garage and I've owned an '04 WRX and '06 STI in the past. Take from that what you will.

Cheers!

-Brandon
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Last edited by roninsoldier83; 03-17-2016 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 03-17-2016, 12:11 PM   #2
SoapBox
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Enjoyed the read, thanks!
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:56 PM   #3
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Mitsubishi is so silly. They gave the final edition a little HP bump (the recent C&D tested it 0-60 in 4.4 seconds) which is great except they took away the recaros and replaced them with flappy Lancer seats.
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:23 PM   #4
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Yea WRX > I love the WRX its one of my fav awd drive cars. Overall one of my favorite cars.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:14 PM   #5
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Awesome review! I am sad to see the EVO gone and I think they offer more potential than the WRX/STI platform.

Just to comment on your power differences comparison, I don't know if you have the latest update but the new (I am assuming '16 models as well) OEM tune changes the dynamic of the power delivery a bit. The low end power is no longer as pronounced as before which is a bummer BUT the car does in fact hold the power quite a bit better (at least in my case). I always use 93 octane and I am at sea level.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:29 PM   #6
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I ordered a 2016 WRX Limited with Nav/HK last December and have had it for less than a month now. Before that I had a 2013 Mitsubishi EVO GSR loaded with Nav and leather Recaros. I must say, this review is almost spot-on.

I purchased my Evo new and never had an issue with rattles in the car. The interior may look cheap, but the important things really are not. I put ~25k miles on my Evo before I sold it. When I was shopping for something new last year I was seriously considering a Final Edition Evo. I really wanted something with better gas mileage (I averaged around 17 mpg throughout my time with the Evo). I drove the Evo hard because it was such an enjoyable experience.

After some time with my new WRX I must say there are quite a few things I miss about my Evo.

#1) I miss the steering rack in the Evo. It felt a lot sharper than the electric rack in the WRX.

#2) The Recaro seats. The Recaros were much more aggressively bolstered for spirited driving than the WRX seats.

#3) The gearbox. Although the WRX 6-speed is excellent for improved fuel economy, the Evo's was a lot more crisp.. especially once it had been warmed up.

#4) The AWD system/handling. The Evo was a lot easier to throw into the corners than the WRX is. The Evo also clawed its way out of the corner better as well. (Disclosure: I have the exact same set of tires on the WRX as I had on the Evo)

#5) The brakes. The Brembos on the Evo had a much more aggressive bite and better pedal feel.

There are many things I like about the WRX that are better than the Evo; I do not regret the decision I made. However, had they put Recaros in the Final Edition Evo and made leather and Rockford Fosgate sound even optional, I would be driving one of those today instead of my WRX.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:14 PM   #7
roninsoldier83
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So, I actually went back and took the EVO for another quick spin today. I wanted to see if my initial theory on "fun factor" was accurate, or if the EVO only felt more fun because it was a new/different experience vs my daily WRX. So, I took both of them on the same roads and tried to drive them in the same manner; admittedly I was probably a bit more aggressive with the EVO previously than I normally drive my WRX, so that might have been a factor in my initial assessment. After going for a 2nd spin, I think I'm going to have to partially reverse my decision:

On the street, in between lights, with the occasional roundabout or bend in the road, I now think the WRX might have a slight edge in the fun department. The WRX's extra low-end grunt is more daily driver/light to light friendly and it's lower handling limits are a bit easier to exploit on the street. After driving the EVO again, I think the old adage might apply- "it's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than it is to drive a fast car slow". I still contend that the EVO will likely be the more fun car on a race track or windy mountain road. The problem is finding somewhere that you can exploit the EVO's limits without being at risk of losing your license!
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:33 PM   #8
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Comparison - My 2014 EVO vs my 08 STi and my current 05 WRX.

EVO beats the STi 9 ways to sunday it's ridiculous good.

05 WRX is fun to bounce around in, totally different animal.

EVO all the way by a mile other than gas mileage.
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:07 AM   #9
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So your saying the wrx is more fun for city commuting? I think a Mini would probably be better suited for that, you should do another comparison. Mini vs wrx for inner city driving

Also, make sure the mini is on sticky summers, and the wrx on snows, since that's how the other 2 cars were set up.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:26 AM   #10
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^^ Not sure if you were serious about the Mini comparison, but I'm bored so here goes:

I traded in my 2015 Mini Cooper S for a 2016 WRX and several years ago also had a 2011 WRX. The new FA20 is a great little motor and I really enjoy the power it puts out combined with the much improved gas mileage over the 2011. Everyone likes to talk about how the new motor has hardly any turbo lag, but the Mini definitely has it beat there.

The 2.0L in the Mini is only putting out 189hp, but it has zero turbo lag: peak torque is at 1,250rpm. It's very quick for darting around the city, but runs out of steam very quickly. It feels more like my old 2012 Golf TDI on steroids than it does the FA20 of the WRX. I actually enjoy a bit of turbo lag so that when it hits you get that rush.

The Mini has a crazy quick steering ratio and short wheelbase which makes it easy to whip around almost any turn with just one hand. I liked to keep it in "sport" mode for the higher steering weight. Sport mode also gives you throttle response as it should be. The normal mode is pretty soft. I'm glad the WRX doesn't have any gimmicky modes, but I do miss the faster steering and heavier feel of the Mini.

The Mini also has a very soft clutch pedal with no feel. At the same time it's almost impossible to stall and doesn't shudder like the WRX if you don't give it enough gas pulling out on a steep hill.

I will say that the WRX corners a lot flatter than the Mini, but I only have a few thousand miles on this car, so I haven't been hitting corners as hard as I would with the Mini.

These are two very different cars obviously, but they both fall into the fun-to-drive and under $30k category which is where I usually shop.




now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:31 AM   #11
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I'll keep this review in mind when I decide to look for a car that costs twice as much as the other. Good review but like you said, not a fair comparison considering the budget. Like comparing a Nissan GT-R to a Lamborghini Huracan.

I'd like to see more reviews on the Focus RS :P
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:42 AM   #12
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Great Review!

I was reading up on the EVO X just yesterday.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:32 AM   #13
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Great write up, thanks!
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:42 PM   #14
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Great write up! After owning a 06 EVO IX, I can't wait to get my WRX next week! I just hope I remember how my EVO performed/handled/etc. so I can make an educated comparison... or should I not compare?!? hehe
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mishapopa View Post
I'll keep this review in mind when I decide to look for a car that costs twice as much as the other. Good review but like you said, not a fair comparison considering the budget. Like comparing a Nissan GT-R to a Lamborghini Huracan.
Depending on trim, these cars can cost almost the exact same amount.

Used 2014 EVO X GSR's go for around 40k CAD
New 2016 WRX's cost 34k to 40k CAD (out the door cost) depending on the trim level

Seems like a very fair comparison to me.
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:21 AM   #16
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I've never driven a Evo but ive always wanted to.
Driven STI's and WRX's, from what ive seen and read the Evo seems like a more track oriented car, better performance per $ spent.
Someday i'll own one
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roninsoldier83 View Post
...However, I'm sure there are others out there that might cross shop a new WRX with a used EVO X, so I figured this comparison would be an interesting one for some!
...
This spoke to me perfectly. I happened to be one that cross shopped used Evo X's before settling on my 2015 WRX. Prior to the WRX I had an '11 STI, which I was just never happy with as it never "did it" for me.

I test drove a couple of Evo X's but ended up going with the WRX for a few basic reasons:

- For about the same price I could get a brand new 0 mileage WRX with zero unknowns from a previous owner.

- The interior. The new WRX/STI interior is finally what I would consider "good" for the price point. The Evo's interior just felt bland to me, minus the Recaros.

- The FA20. After owning an '07 WRX and '11 STI I was (and still am) really anxious to dig into a new promising motor design. I looked at this new motor as more of a project I could dig into, learn, and modify over the years/miles. So far it has not let me down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mishapopa View Post
I'll keep this review in mind when I decide to look for a car that costs twice as much as the other. Good review but like you said, not a fair comparison considering the budget. Like comparing a Nissan GT-R to a Lamborghini Huracan.

I'd like to see more reviews on the Focus RS :P
What are you talking about?

The review is between used Evo X's and a new '15/'16 WRX. I was able to find multiple Evo X's in my area with 40-50k miles for $25k - $28k.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc00ter View Post
This spoke to me perfectly. I happened to be one that cross shopped used Evo X's before settling on my 2015 WRX. Prior to the WRX I had an '11 STI, which I was just never happy with as it never "did it" for me.

I test drove a couple of Evo X's but ended up going with the WRX for a few basic reasons:

- For about the same price I could get a brand new 0 mileage WRX with zero unknowns from a previous owner.

- The interior. The new WRX/STI interior is finally what I would consider "good" for the price point. The Evo's interior just felt bland to me, minus the Recaros.

- The FA20. After owning an '07 WRX and '11 STI I was (and still am) really anxious to dig into a new promising motor design. I looked at this new motor as more of a project I could dig into, learn, and modify over the years/miles. So far it has not let me down.



What are you talking about?

The review is between used Evo X's and a new '15/'16 WRX. I was able to find multiple Evo X's in my area with 40-50k miles for $25k - $28k.
I did the exact something you did and for the same reasons.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:50 PM   #19
Floody420
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I will miss the EVO vs WRX competition. Sure, the Focus RS and such are now the direct competitors, but it won't ever be the same (for now).
Mitsubishi almost died as a car company for a while, but I'd imagine the EVO will make a return in the future. We will see.
Also, the steering wheel in the Evo's are FUGLY. I can't say if anyone agrees, but since their first arrival in the US they have always had one.

Edited: **** the Ford Fiesta and Focus.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:37 PM   #20
arshad1
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Great Insight on Both Cars!
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:24 PM   #21
fredrik94087
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadTrippa View Post
Comparison - My 2014 EVO vs my 08 STi and my current 05 WRX.

EVO beats the STi 9 ways to sunday it's ridiculous good.

05 WRX is fun to bounce around in, totally different animal.

EVO all the way by a mile other than gas mileage.
2005 EVO VIII vs 2015 WRX Base.

I traded the EVO at 40,000 miles for a G35 coupe.

EVO VIII...hands down awesome out of the box. I could do things in the EVO that I still can not do in my modified WRX.

Yes, gas mileage and small tank was a drawback...but that was all.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:24 AM   #22
nexgenmax
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Review is spot on. If you ever want to try again, make sure it's the MR. Forget about the twin clutch, just concentrate on the handling of the MR, it's much different than GSR. I think Evo X has much better handling off the dealership lot than WRX STI. I used to own Evo X MR-T. Much better handling car, but I've long for Subaru and got bored with pedal shifter. :P

Oh, tell the Evo X to make a turn in a narrow street...mbhwahahaha
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