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Old 11-28-2018, 01:37 AM   #1
welding rod
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Default 2019 WRX or STI? My Take

Just got rid of my 2019 WRX that was just under a month old and just under 6,000 miles. Picked up a 2019 STI. First time I have ever done anything so financially reckless but at my age, after having seen almost all of my family go into the ground, I decided to go for it after essentially finding I was not satisfied with the WRX driving experience when I was pushing the car.

I debated hard about just waiting for the new STI to be released, but over the years I have found I am generally a lot happier with something that is towards the end of its development cycle and that has had its bugs worked out, even if it is not as advanced. My gamble is that whatever the STI offers in the next generation will be plagued for at least a couple of years with some newly surfacing annoyances or problems.

WRX (base model) +'s:
*Handles and grips great on asphalt, including wet and leafy asphalt
*Great gas mileage - about 31-35 MPG on car's computer for long trips.
*Excellent, strong and smooth torque from 2,500 - 4,000 RPM
*Feels light and agile
*Excellent suspension setup compromise for a daily driver
*Excellent headlight illumination (base model)
*Smooth engine
*Low sensation of speed, cuts wind effortlessly
*Smallest wheels in current WRX family (I don't like big wheels as they bend too easily)
*Strong brakes that took a fast trip down 9 Mile Canyon in CA without issue
*Seems to be a good value for a daily driver

WRX -'s:
*Dip in power deliver about 4,500 RPM was very annoying
*Low ground clearance (same for STI of course)
*Brake locking action to control wheel spin on dirt road or snow, or when a tire is off the ground, feels like a 1st generation attempt (honestly I was expecting more from THE AWD car manufacturer)
*Grabby clutch (and fair bit of force required to actuate)
*Hyper sensitive throttle, and the "rev hang"
*The last two lines above combine to make the WRX the hardest car to drive smoothly that I have ever driven from a stop up to 3rd gear - requires an undue amount of mental attention

1st impression of new STI (base model) after about 150 miles including my favorite cold wet paved bumpy hilly and twisty forrest road:

*Ridiculous grip on wet asphalt
*Lower effort and smoother clutch engagement action than WRX
*Smoother throttle mapping (all 3 modes) than WRX
*STI LED Headlights not quite as bright as WRX, but the cornering function makes them still preferable - that cornering function is a HUGE asset on tight twisty roads! Really brilliant.
*Drinking gas like crazy, though my WRX was somewhat thirsty too until it has a little mileage on it.
*Gear box shifting is a little less effort and more positive than WRX (both have Short shifter)
*Leather trimmed seats, like the WRX cloth seats, lack adequate lumbar support
*"Triple gauge" lacks oil temperature gauge capability that WRX had
*Suspension feels very similar to WRX when at speed, and a little rougher at slow speed
*Feels like there is more unsprung weight on STI, WRX feels a little lighter on its feet
*STI sounds better in the Burger King drive through

This is just based on first impression on STI. I may update later after trying it on dirt and at higher RPM / loads if anyone seems interested.
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Last edited by welding rod; 11-28-2018 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:45 AM   #2
kenef
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Both are rally inspired 'race' cars, with the STI being more aggressive. It is what one would expect. I was deciding between both and went with a WRX.

What is it that you want, more power? Have you been in a car with a more aggressive seating position? That might help fuel your craving...
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Old 11-28-2018, 02:03 AM   #3
welding rod
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Actually I found the power of the WRX adequate. More is always welcome, but the power output didn't play into my decision to axe it. My spirited driving interest is in the corners, not the straights so I think the peak power output of the WRX is pretty good. The DELIVERY of the WRX power definitely played into the decision though.

Last edited by welding rod; 11-28-2018 at 02:18 AM.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:59 AM   #4
jasonwrx86
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I thought about an STi but I can't justify the engine being so old and thirsty.
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:06 AM   #5
SirBrass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwrx86 View Post
I thought about an STi but I can't justify the engine being so old and thirsty.
It isn't so bad with a protune and with a good protune + DP, you should be seeing gas efficiency much closer to the WRX's (with a combined probably around 23mpg, which in my mind is just fine for a performance car over 300 bhp). And the design is older, not "old", nor would a new one have "old engine" issues. It's a very well understood block, which is a good thing.
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:41 AM   #6
Jack
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Both are fine cars.

The STi is a bargain against an RA or a GT-R.

The WRX in base form is a huge bargain against an STi Limited.

Anyone can find problems with any car. I personally don't like the mirror shape on the Pagani Huayra.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:00 PM   #7
anarekist
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thanks for your review op, in your opinion do you think the sti upgrade is worth the money? have you ever driven a modified wrx in comparison?
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:47 AM   #8
yusuke280
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i would definitely go for a STI... its like buying a non-M or non-AMG car in that sense
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yusuke280 View Post
i would definitely go for a STI... its like buying a non-M or non-AMG car in that sense
Well put! That's the way I viewed it too. I can't understand why anybody would by a WRX for "gas mileage," as though brakes, suspension, interior, engine and all around performance are just worthless?
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarekist View Post
thanks for your review op, in your opinion do you think the sti upgrade is worth the money? have you ever driven a modified wrx in comparison?
The question of whether an STI is worth the premium over a WRX is, in my opinion, a personal choice. Its already been shown that to get the same hardware upgrades for the WRX that the STI has by default its cheaper to just get the STI. Mod for mod though varies depending on what is important to you.
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Old 11-30-2018, 09:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transmutation View Post
The question of whether an STI is worth the premium over a WRX is, in my opinion, a personal choice. Its already been shown that to get the same hardware upgrades for the WRX that the STI has by default its cheaper to just get the STI. Mod for mod though varies depending on what is important to you.
Don't forget the insurance premium hike of an STI over a WRX, too.

When I got my first WRX in 09, it wasn't too much more to insure than my Forester. When I got my STI in '13, it was a gut-punching insurance premium increase for the same coverage for the STI over the WRX.

And when we sold the Malibu and got the WRX, it was a negligible insurance increase going from that Malibu to the WRX.

So, factor in the premium increase (which in my case was nearly $80/mo increase) when factoring in cost of the car.

Other than that, yeah, definitely a personal decision. But depending on what you want and/or need, both are excellent choices.
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Old 11-30-2018, 08:52 PM   #12
oichan
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Regarding "low ground clearance", I measured that my STI is a good 10mm+ lower ride height vs my WRX.
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Old 12-01-2018, 01:55 AM   #13
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If i could have afforded an STi I would have gotten it.
however. my wrx is averaging almost 28mpg on my commute into work.

both are good cars there really isnt a bad choice. just depends on what you want.
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oichan View Post
Regarding "low ground clearance", I measured that my STI is a good 10mm+ lower ride height vs my WRX.
Goodness an entire centimeter. Must really aid downforce.
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Old 12-01-2018, 09:55 AM   #15
oichan
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Originally Posted by GlarryHoodDIT View Post
Goodness an entire centimeter. Must really aid downforce.
Downforce? The OP was concerned about ground clearance and coincidentally I had measured my cars a couple of weeks ago so just posted my findings.

You have a good day.
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:53 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by oichan View Post
Downforce? The OP was concerned about ground clearance and coincidentally I had measured my cars a couple of weeks ago so just posted my findings.

You have a good day.
Not sure why you're getting so defensive, I'm not holding you responsible for Subarus manufacturing.

It's a joke not a dick, no need to take it so hard.
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:39 PM   #17
anarekist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transmutation View Post
The question of whether an STI is worth the premium over a WRX is, in my opinion, a personal choice. Its already been shown that to get the same hardware upgrades for the WRX that the STI has by default its cheaper to just get the STI. Mod for mod though varies depending on what is important to you.
I agree it is cheaper to just get an sti if you're trying to achieve parity between the wrx and sti, but I was asking the op if he ever driven a modified wrx because alot of his cons are remedied ( my opinion) with an ots tune (pro tune is bettter) and simple modifications to the shifter+ transmission.

The drive train swap is the most expensive part of that effort. Wrx to STI is about a 10k price difference. I calculated aprox 8k to get same brakes and more power than the sti.

But yeah there just to many variables in parts and prices to get a definitive answer.
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:16 PM   #18
oichan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlarryHoodDIT View Post
Not sure why you're getting so defensive, I'm not holding you responsible for Subarus manufacturing.

It's a joke not a dick, no need to take it so hard.
Sure, take it easy. Enjoy your evening.
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:20 PM   #19
oichan
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OP - the 4500RPM dip as you described was really annoying for me too when my WRX was completely stock. While AP did take care most of that on my car, Subaru should've made a better map when they did the 18+ refresh. Even with AP (Stage1+) the part throttle is no where near as linear as my STI with AP (Stage1). As you said, the STI is much easier to drive smoothly with consistency.
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:32 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by oichan View Post
OP - the 4500RPM dip as you described was really annoying for me too when my WRX was completely stock. While AP did take care most of that on my car, Subaru should've made a better map when they did the 18+ refresh. Even with AP (Stage1+) the part throttle is no where near as linear as my STI with AP (Stage1). As you said, the STI is much easier to drive smoothly with consistency.
Did anyone ever confirm why that dip is there ? I am thinking either emissions or not to step on the toes of the STI. ANY stage 1 tune completely eliminates it so it is a tuning issue rather something that has to do with the engine design. I absolutely hated it, that along with the horrible rev hang and super sensitive throttle made me get a tune. Coming from a TSI EA888 engine (which felt so much more smooth in comparison) I cannot believe they release these cars like this.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:08 PM   #21
oichan
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Yeah, emissions, mpg, and needing to run the engine 87-93 octane most likely.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:25 PM   #22
welding rod
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So, factor in the premium increase (which in my case was nearly $80/mo increase) when factoring in cost of the car.
Hmm, weird, my premium increase for SIX months was about 80 bucks for the STI over the WRX.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:33 PM   #23
welding rod
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thanks for your review op, in your opinion do you think the sti upgrade is worth the money? have you ever driven a modified wrx in comparison?
I have not driven a modified WRX. But, I definitely think the STI is worth the extra money, at least if you want to leave the cars basically stock. I spent some time on logging roads today and the limited slip differentials in both ends of the STI are fantastic compared to the WRX that always seemed behind or wrong in guessing how to try to electronically manage traction on dirt / gravel. And I just can't get over the better drivability of the STI. It is night and day. Shifting is better, clutch is worlds better, and electronic engine management is better.
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:37 PM   #24
welding rod
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Originally Posted by oichan View Post
Regarding "low ground clearance", I measured that my STI is a good 10mm+ lower ride height vs my WRX.
Thanks for info. Yeah, way too low. I was bombing some main line logging roads today and was pleasantly surprised how well the STI managed washboards. I wouldn't think of taking it off the main lines though as the crown of the secondary roads can get the car close to scraping even before allowing for the odd rock or whatever between the wheel tracks.
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:48 AM   #25
oichan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by welding rod View Post
I have not driven a modified WRX. But, I definitely think the STI is worth the extra money, at least if you want to leave the cars basically stock. I spent some time on logging roads today and the limited slip differentials in both ends of the STI are fantastic compared to the WRX that always seemed behind or wrong in guessing how to try to electronically manage traction on dirt / gravel. And I just can't get over the better drivability of the STI. It is night and day. Shifting is better, clutch is worlds better, and electronic engine management is better.
Yeah, I agree 100%. The STI is better than the WRX in every way except for comfort. But I still love my WRX in a different way. It's funny how different these two cars are even though they look similar.

PS: no problem on the ride height.
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