Is It Worth Buying a Subaru STI Over a Subaru WRX?
April 19, 2022
Subaru STI vs. WRX: Which Trim Level Is Best?
Hello, internet! Today, we're here to answer the question that many car enthusiasts across the country and world have - is a Subaru STI worth it over a WRX? There's lots of Subaru talk here at Fitment Industries about two of Subaru's most iconic trim levels, or platforms, depending on the years that you're looking at.
Before jumping in, though, be sure to swing by our gallery and take a look at the tons of Subarus that we have in there - they range from slammed cars to rally cars to crazy drag strip cars and everything in between.
Table Of Contents:
What Makes The Subaru WRX and STI Such Good Cars?
The WRX and STI are absolutely iconic, both on the street but also for racing. You can find these all-wheel drive beasts tearing up the back roads and rally stages, and they'll go faster in dirt or snowy conditions than some of you will ever go on the pavement. WRXs and STIs are no strangers to racing on paved surfaces, though, as you'll find some insane drag builds doing incredible times with their all-wheel drive systems. You'll also find these Subarus converted in rear-wheel drive for some drift action.
Not as exciting but still very important is that you'll find these cars handing daily driver duty all over the place, which is especially appreciated in climates such as our own here in Wisconsin - we have snow, sleet, rain, ice, hail, etc. Everything gets thrown at us, and these Subarus can handle it all and more.
Overview and History of the Subaru WRX
So we've got two three-letter Subarus to talk about here, and we'll start with the WRX first. The WRX (standing for World Rally eXperimental) first hit the car scene in 1992 and was based off the existing Impreza - really a trim level of this particular model. In 2014, the WRX became its own thing with a unique chassis in the Subaru lineup - we're big fans of the Impreza WRX models from pre-2014 because even though the technology on these newer models is much better, we still dig those older JDM cars.
The WRX didn't arrive in the USA until 2002, which is a bummer considering that's 10 years of sick Subies that we just didn't get. When they arrived, they were meant to be a faster, sportier version of the Impreza that were made for rally racing. Each version of the WRX got more nimble and faster, then got their own body styles and departed from the Impreza line - we're a little heavier now with the WRX than the original WRX, with the newer ones making around 270 horsepower to boot.
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Overview and History of the Subaru STI
We've got our lesson on the WRX out of the way, so let's jump into what the STI brings to the table and how it became so popular. STI stands for "Subaru Technica International," and the badge is pink, because pink is cool. Not only do STIs come in pink but they also go racing, and they do so very, very well.
It's a bit of a bummer, then, that STI badges are so rare to see - just like rare steaks are pink. You thought we were done with that, didn't you? Anyway, the first STI badges didn't start appearing on Subaru models here in America until 2004, but just how we covered that the WRX is a better version of an Impreza, we'll say this too - the STI is a better version of the WRX.
The Subaru STI followed the WRX as an upgraded trim level of the Impreza, then became its own chassis with the WRX at the same time in 2014.
What Are The Performance and Design Differences Between The Subaru WRX and STI?
The biggest difference between the WRX and the STI is power output - the latest generations have about a 37 horsepower difference, with the STI getting a few more ponies under the hood to work with. Each models' styling and design cues have also been a bit different, with the STI being much more aggressive. It's got some absolutely killer rally-inspired wings to really dial in the bold, confident look that you're going for.
Transmission systems are also a big difference between both Subaru trims - the STI has a bit stronger one than you'll find on the WRX. The brakes on the STI are also a little beefier, but what isn't beefier about the STI is the weight. It went on a diet and carries a lighter weight than the WRX, but also carries that weight a little differently with some upgraded suspension systems.
How Much Do The Subaru WRX and STI Models Cost?
So let's talk money - we did some research and brought up used car prices on the Subaru WRXs and STIs from the 2014 model year and newer. If you're wondering if we didn't check any OG models, that's because those cars are kind of a mix between really nice examples and some really awful ones - just being honest. Most of you on our site seem to favor models from 2014 and up anyway.
So here are our findings after seeing 10 WRXs compared to 10 STIs, trying to find similar years and mileage as we could: the STIs we found were about half a year newer on average, with 16,000 fewer miles. Also compared to the WRX, the STI costs about $8000 more - we were a little shocked to learn this, as in the Midwest, STIs are fetching a much higher premium, about $11,000 more on average in some spots. Looking across the whole USA seems to have changed that quite a bit.
Is Buying a Subaru STI Worth It Over a WRX?
For $8000 more? Just barely, but it really depends. Prices on STIs continue to climb since Subaru has said they'll be discontinuing the trim, and will continue to climb by the time you read this. Yes, there are horsepower differences between the two, but the overall driving experiences aren't too crazy. They're different, but not by a lot.
If you're looking for our honest opinion, we'll end with it - if all you want is a good daily driver that's fun to drive and modify a bit, an STI probably won't be worth the extra change you'll have to dish out for one. Looking through our gallery, many of you throw the same coilovers, tires, and wheels on each of these, and that's what'll make the biggest difference anyway. You'll probably also end up paying higher insurance premiums and parts costs if you opt for an STI as well - just something to keep in mind.
That's just us, though, so what do you guys think? Is a Subaru STI or WRX the way to go in 2022? Let us know!