Driven: 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan

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On the surface, the 2011 Subaru WRX doesn't sound all that exciting. Sure, it's got a turbo 2.5-liter Boxer four, but only 265 horsepower? The Honda Accord makes more than that. Yeah, it has all-wheel drive, but so does the Lincoln MKS. It wears the widebody treatment of the WRX STI, but it's about 40 horsepower and a whole lot of aggression short of its bigger brother. So why do I like it so much?

The answer isn't in the paper details or any one feature or ability. The answer is in its remarkable ability to do just about anything I want it to do very well.

The car I spent a week with, a 2011 Subaru WRX Limited sedan, hits the mark on just about every front: acceleration, handling, braking, interior comfort and quality, features and options, and, best of all, price.


To put the 2011 WRX to the test, I took it on a 100-mile run through some of the best two-lane hill roads in the country. Tight 10-mph switch backs, quick steep climbs and descents, brief stretches of wide-open straights, these roads have it all. Where are they? I'm not telling you. I want to keep them for myself.

But I will tell you that the 2011 WRX handled everything thrown at it with a willingness you won't find even in some purebred sportscars. Pick the right gear coming into a corner and the WRX will slingshot you out of it, scrabbling for more grip than you knew was there. Blip the throttle while braking--the pedals are well-spaced, even for big feet--and drop a gear or two, trailing off the brake as you turn in, and there's no understeer, no tendency to push when it should grip. Do it right and you can even induce a little four-wheel slide just about anywhere you'd like, perfectly controlled and very neutral. Body roll is there, but it's minimal--and a huge improvement over the 2009 model I last tested in similar environs.

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