DC120: 2003 Subaru WRX Longitudinal Review

The Subaru WRX is a legend, and life is too short not to drive legends. The "bug eye" version of this all wheel drive sporty car from 2002 and 2003 was a success worldwide but especially in the North American market where it was the first time we got this car. Later generations of the car delighted owners as well, yet the bugeye models delighted customers in a unique way that the newer cars do not duplicate for all their recent advantages.

What made the bugeye WRX so attractive then and to this day? There is an analog, mechanical honesty and tautness to the 2002-2003 models, and modern versions are not as "organic" feeling. Ken Mayer and Eric Penn join Tim Keirnan for a longitudinal review of Tim's 2003 Subaru WRX. If it sounds like we recorded this episode sitting in the car, well, we did!

This episode covers the following items in the following order:
* The evolution of the all wheel drive niche in vehicle design and rally race history
* The nature of forced induction, its pros and its cons
* The superb steering wheel by Momo , the clean and usable instrument panel, the clean and usable controls, the amazingly good seats.
* The factory boost gauge and short shifter options.
* The design choices of 2003, with a value on providing the most feedback to the driver, versus modern car designs with their isolated and numb feeling for the driver. Ken's dad's 2015 WRX provides contrast to what Subaru did in 2003. How has the model evolved?
* The heavy weight and mechanical complexity of an all wheel drive and turbocharged vehicle.
* Tim's few and limited modifications to an otherwise stock bugeye WRX.
* We almost forgot to talk about the qualities of a boxer engine and the excellent sound of the stock exhaust with unequal length headers.
* The oil and transmission fluid dipsticks were poorly designed and those fluids are kind of, you know, just maybe, important.

Skip ahead to 31 minutes if you want to bypass our discussion of the history of all wheel drive cars and comparisons to front wheel drive and rear wheel drive, and the principles of forced induction.

Eric promises us a longitudinal review of his FiestaST in 2017! Stay tuned. . .

Direct download: DesignCritique120_03SubaruWRX.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:55pm EDT