Sporty/performance car; Built in
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $18,800 – $37,300*

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX

  • Acceleration
  • Steering/handling
  • Engine noise
  • Wind and road noise (Wagons)

Impreza WRX is fast and handles well, and the standard all-wheel drive provides fine traction. Hatchback-style wagon versions are more practical than the sedans, though the interior suffers from increased levels of road and wind noise. Interior appearance disappoints as well. Base WRX models offer the best value, but serious enthusiasts will be drawn to the STI version and likely find it worth the extra money.


Impreza WRX was Subaru’s all-wheel-drive compact performance car. WRX was based on the Impreza that was sold from 2008-2011; it was not the same basic car as the 2012-2014 Impreza. WRX was available as a 4-door sedan and a 4-door hatchback/wagon that was sometimes called the 5-door.

Subaru offered the Impreza Sedan WRX in WRX, WRX Premium, WRX Limited, WRX STI, and WRX STI Limited versions. STI stood for Subaru Tecnica International, the company’s high-performance and motorsports development arm.

Subaru offered the Impreza Wagon WRX in base WRX, WRX Premium, WRX Limited, and higher-performance WRX STI form. Each of the four variants included the largely same features and standard equipment as the corresponding Sedan WRX models.

Base-model WRX equipment included all-wheel-drive, 5-speed manual transmission, and 17-inch wheels. Popular “creature comforts” including air conditioning, automatic climate control, and power windows, locks, and mirrors were standard as well. All WRXs included a Bluetooth system with a wireless cell-phone link and audio streaming capability.

The WRX Premium added a rear spoiler, fog lights, power sunroof, and an All-Weather Package that consisted of heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, and a windshield wiper de-icer.

The WRX Limited extras were HID low-beam headlamps and a leather-trimmed interior.

The WRX STI included a more-powerful engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 18-inch wheels, upgraded all-wheel-drive system, and specific suspension tuning. It also had specific interior trim that was a combination of leather and synthetic suede. The Wagon WRX STI also received forged 18-inch BBS-brand aluminum wheels.

The WRX STI Limited added 18-inch forged BBS-brand alloy wheels, fog lights, leather-trimmed interior, and a power sunroof.

Options included a navigation system with a 6.1-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and voice activation. It was available on all WRX sedans and wagons except the base models.

The Impreza WRX engine was a 265-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that used Subaru’s traditional horizontally opposed “boxer” design. It paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. No automatic transmission was available.

The WRX STI packed a 305-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. The only transmission it paired to was a 6-speed manual.

All Impreza WRXs were all-wheel drive. WRX versions had a system with a viscous-coupling locking center differential. In normal driving it sent 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels and 50 percent to the fronts. If there was a loss of traction at either set of wheels, the system could send all of the available torque to the opposite set.

WRX STI models used a different all-wheel-drive system. It had a Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) that allowed for manual selection of six differential locking control settings. There were also three performance modes.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates for the Impreza WRX were 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. WRX STI models were rated at 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

Subaru required premium-grade gas for all WRX and WRX STI models.

Impreza WRX models came standard with a complete complement of federally mandated and expected safety features.

Yearly Updates

2012 Impreza WRX
The Impreza WRX saw no major changes for 2013. There was a bit of news, though: the release of 300 Special Edition “Orange and Black” Impreza WRX and WRX STI models. All were sedans with bright orange paint and black trim.
2013 Impreza WRX
The only change of note for the 2014 Subaru Impreza WRX was that the optional navigation system now included Aha-based smartphone connectivity.


longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

The Impreza WRX was powered by a 265-horsepower turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. It utilized Subaru’s traditional “boxer” design with horizontally opposed cylinders. It paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. The Impreza WRX STI also had a turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, except it was rated at 305 horsepower. The only available transmission was a 6-speed manual. An automatic transmission was not available with either engine.

Turbocharged dohc H41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/150
Engine HP 265
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 244
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual



Turbocharged dohc H42
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/150
Engine HP 305
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 290
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual



1. WRX. 2. WRX STI.

Road Test

With either engine, some turbo lag is present at low rpm. They’re both very strong when revving above 3,500 rpm though, particularly the STI. Opinions are mixed on the standard shifter. Some testers think it is rubbery and vague; others had no complaints. The optional short-throw shifter feels better, and it has positive shift action. We wish Subaru made it standard.

In Consumer Guide testing, a WRX sedan averaged 24.2 mpg in mostly highway driving. A WRX wagon averaged 23.4 mpg in driving that slightly favored highway driving. An STI wagon averaged 21.0 mpg in more even city/highway work. Both engines require using premium-grade gas.

The WRX suspension has quite good bump absorption, and the car rides more comfortably than many of its competitors. STI versions are notably firmer, but unlike some factory-tuned performance cars the ride is never outright harsh.

The steering is well weighted and quite responsive. Body lean is well checked while cornering, and dry-pavement grip is excellent. STI versions are sharper still.

These turbocharged engines whine under full throttle, but they’re more relaxed at cruising speeds. The wagon body is particularly susceptible to road and wind noise.

The climate controls are within easy reach and are clearly marked. The audio system is mounted high on the center of the dashboard, and it puts some controls just out of easy reach.

While the materials look nice and show good assembly quality, they’re comprised mainly of hard plastic that feels unexceptional. STI’s specific trim is appropriately sporty, though overall materials quality falls well short of what many buyers will likely expect, given the car’s lofty asking price when new.

Up front, six-footers have good headroom and legroom. The WRX and STI’s sport bucket seats have good side bolstering but some of our drivers wished for more lumbar support. Visibility is excellent all around.

Overall rear-seat room is decent for the class. Six-footers will fit in back, but they’ll have barely adequate legroom and knee space. Foot space is good, though. Entry and exit are fine for a compact car.

Cargo room is not a strong point in the sedans. In those models, the floor rises over the rear axle, and standard sickle-type lid hinges dig deep into the load area. The hatchback-style wagons are versatile little haulers with good space behind the rear seats. The rear seat backs fold nearly flat with the cargo floor, but the headrests may have to be removed if the front seats are set far back. Interior storage is poor with a small center console and just average glovebox and door map pockets.


Model Tested: WRX Premium wagon

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 6

Total: 60


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.3 180.3 70.7 58.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.3 16.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.3 37.6 43.5 33.5
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.3 173.8 70.7 58.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
44.4 16.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.3 37.6 43.5 33.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2012 Not tested 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots


Recall History

Description: Certain 2008 through 2014 model Subaru Impreza WRX and Subaru Impreza WRX STI vehicles may experience brake line corrosion when the brake lines come in contact with road salt splashing onto the lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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