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Still a Rally Car at Heart: 2024 Subaru WRX TR Review

The 2024 Subaru WRX TR gets better brakes, stickier tires, and race-ready seats. But it hasn't forgotten its roots as an affordable gravel-road-destroying sports sedan.
2024 Subaru WRX TR(Photo/Evan Williams)
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The 2024 Subaru WRX TR is the hottest version of the Subaru WRX. For now, that is. Because the TR is a 1-year-only special that is biding time until an even hotter one arrives.

That doesn’t mean you should wait, though, because the basics of the last remaining rally sedan are better than ever, and the Rex is still equally happy to head for twisty pavement or a gravel road.

In short: The 2024 Subaru WRX gives stick-shift drivers the driver assists CVT users already enjoyed. The TR gets upgraded brakes, a new suspension, and stickier tires for on-road performance enhancements, but the basic AWD turbo sedan is unchanged.

2024 Subaru WRX


  • Engine 2.4L turbocharged boxer-four
  • Horsepower 271 hp
  • Torque 258 lb.-ft.
  • Mileage EPA est. 19/26, 26 mpg observed
  • Cargo capacity 12.5 cu.-ft.
  • MSRP $41,655


  • Subaru light aircraft exhaust
  • Rally-ready suspension
  • Grippy Recaros
  • Instant steering response
  • Low price


  • Feels slower than it should
  • High cabin noise
  • Engine needs rpm to be happy
  • Idle exhaust noise
  • Heavily bolstered Recaro seats

Is WRX TR Still Tuner Ready?

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

The TR in this WRX’s name stands for Tuner Ready. Or at least it did when Subaru first used the badge on a no-frills version of the WRX way back in 2006. That one came with a basic steering wheel and a budget stereo but lost the body kit because in 2006, every self-respecting fan would be throwing those in the trash in favor of a Momo wheel, a Pioneer AVIC deck (they have Bluetooth now!), and an AAS body kit.

Today, TR is for a different type of tuner — the kind that wants the factory to do everything for them. Maybe that’s not really a tuner at all, but the idea works pretty well for Mercedes via AMG and BMW through Alpina, so why can’t Scooby do it?

Big Brakes, Tight Seats, No Moonroof

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

This TR comes with mostly more stuff, not less. It has Brembo six-piston front calipers and twin pots in the rear, both clamping larger pads and rotors and using a larger master cylinder.

The 19-inch wheels are shod with dated (they were designed for the 2013 Ferrari F12) but still ultra-high-performance Bridgestone tires. The stiffer springs and new dampers are designed to improve steering response, with tweaked steering for more road feel.

There is one thing missing: The moonroof has been deleted.

Subaru says binning the glass saves weight and lowers the center of gravity. I say it means more room for tall drivers and drivers wearing a helmet for track days, autocross, or rallycross events.

2024 Subaru WRX TR Has Gravel-Ready Suspension

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

Rallycross events? The WRX TR has a stiffer suspension, 19-inch wheels, and 35-series rubber-band tires. It can’t drive on gravel, can it?

I wasn’t sure either, but as a WRX owner (2012 hatch in blue, thanks for asking), I felt a duty to find out. So, I headed straight to my favorite gravel road.

Somehow, despite these ultra-thin tires, the WRX is still extremely compliant on not just paved roads but on gravel. The first few miles of my pretend rally stage are fresh, graded, and generally smooth, so it’s no surprise the TR eats that up.

After those first few miles, though, the road slowly begins to deteriorate. Go far enough, and it turns into a 4×4 track, but the degradation is in sections — gradual.

Once the potholes show up, I’m expecting a quick turnaround and return to the smooth parts, but the WRX keeps just eating up the terrain. This WRX still has the long travel suspension Subaru does so well, meaning it does not bottom out or leave a tire dangling in the air as the terrain changes underneath.

Firm, but Never Jarring

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

It’s clearly firmer than a standard WRX, but there are different levels of firm. There’s the kind where your teeth chatter and fillings start to come loose, and there’s the kind of firm where you’re comfortable as long as you’re not trying to drink a cup of hot coffee.

The WRX is in the latter camp. Firm enough to cut body roll to nearly nothing and able to control virtually all up-and-down movement — with damping that’s done just right so every orifice isn’t clamping shut when you see a pothole. That applies on pavement, too, where expansion joints won’t have you slamming on the brakes afraid of a burst sidewall or bent wheel.

No Steering Feel, but Quick Responses

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

I know Subaru said that it worked to improve road feel, but the WRX still doesn’t really have any. The steering response is tremendous, with barely a turn of the meaty steering wheel needed to have the nose dive into a corner.

The steering effort is light, maybe too light for paved back roads. But, it’s perfect for the small-twitch corrections you need when you’re trying to throw the WRX sideways through a left six over jump, don’t cut on a gravel road.

The steering is also very self-centering, which makes it feel more secure and more stable on paved roads. Especially on the highway.

In short, the latest WRX feels a whole lot like my 2012 WRX. But with all of the updates that things like modern (and fresh) bushings, new strut mounts, and a much more rigid chassis allow.

It encourages you to toss it around and to blast from corner to corner. If only the latest WRX had a little bit more power.

2.4L Turbo Four Gets No Changes, Needs Some

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

The WRX’s 2.4L boxer turbo engine is a version of the engine you’ll find in the Ascent or Outback XT models. For the WRX it’s tuned to use premium unleaded, and that means it makes 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque instead of the 260 and 277 it makes in its more boring siblings.

But 271 horsepower isn’t all that much these days. It’s not that much more than a Golf GTI, and that car doesn’t have the extra weight and drag of all-wheel drive. It’s basically the same amount of power that the WRX has made since 2009, and though it is a healthy on-paper figure, no WRX has ever seemed to feel like they’ve really delivered that much.

Like the pre-2022 EJ engines, the FA-code engine in the WRX does nothing below 3,000 rpm. Turbo lag down there can be measured in seconds, and if you drop below around 2,000 rpm, it will never build boost. Instead, the engine bogs down and shakes the whole car.

Needs More Revs — Is That a Good Thing?

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

There are two ways to look at that, of course. The first is that it’s not exactly OK for a 2.4L turbo-four in a sports sedan to have less low-end power and driveability than a 1.5L turbo-four in a Honda Civic. The other is that by having to keep the car in a lower gear and keep the revs up, the WRX is encouraging you to drive it in a way that’s more fun more of the time.

If you’re a glass-half-full person who spends lots of time on open roads, it’s great. Glass half empty and driving around in the city? You might not be as much of a fan.

Subaru WRX Puts Focus on Price, Fun — Not Noise

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

The cabin is typical Subaru. It’s not identical to the rest of the company’s lineup, but it might as well be. The differences are in the dimensions and some of the trim. The old pair of 7.0-inch base-model screens are gone, and every WRX gets the 11.6-inch system for 2024.

Subaru doesn’t put a lot of sound-damping material in this car either, so you can hear plenty of wind, road, and tire noise. Plus, you’ll hear lots of the exhaust. It’s not loud when you’re driving, and it’s not loud from outside the car, but when you fire it up in the morning, it sounds like the quad pipes are exiting unmuffled directly into the cabin. At least it quiets down when the engine temperatures come up and the idle settles.

Features exclusive to the TR include massively bolstered Recaro seats that are wrapped in ultrasuede and wear huge Recaro logo embossing. The seats are tight, too tight for my frame. But if you fit in them instead of on them, they look quite comfy and supportive.

EyeSight Now on Stick Shifts

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

New for this year, Subaru has added EyeSight to its stick-shift models. The driver assist system includes pre-collision braking, lane departure warnings, and, most usefully, adaptive cruise.

Adding those goodies should make it easier for buyers who were on the fence about getting a stick. It might actually win new buyers, too, since Subaru’s automatic is a CVT, and that’s an immediate no for some performance car buyers who aren’t willing to give it a try. You should, however, as the CVT is good in the WRX.

WRX TR 1 Year Only, WRX TS Coming for 2025

2025 Subaru WRX TS
2025 TS gets TR parts, adds oh so much blue inside; (photo/Subaru)

About the TS. Right around the same time the 2024 WRX TR went on sale, Subaru announced a 2025 WRX TS. The TS takes the TR idea and runs with it. The Brembo brakes get gold calipers, for a start, and Subaru is adding blue accents all over the cabin.

There are some other big performance upgrades coming. The TS (for Tuned by STI) will get new suspension tuning including three-position electronically controlled dampers like the luxury-grade WRX GT.

The changes mean that the WRX TR will be a 1-year special. The TS will replace it in 2025. If you’re a WRX shopper, though, you might not want to wait. The TS has more stuff, but that means it’s probably going to be more expensive. And in a car like the WRX, keeping the price down matters.

2024 Subaru WRX Review: Conclusion

2024 Subaru WRX TR
(Photo/Evan Williams)

Subaru has kept the starting price of a 2024 WRX down to $32,735 despite the extra standard tech. That’s, frankly, astonishing.

It’s more than $10,000 less than a VW Golf R and less than a grand more than the front-drive GTI. For $3k more than a Civic Si, you get AWD and 60 or so more horses.

A WRX TR is quite a bit more cash, coming in at $41,655. But in 2024, that’s still reasonable for what you get.

Especially for how good this car is at what it does. The 2024 WRX is wonderful to steer and encourages you to go for that longer drive. It can even still tackle rough road and gravel rally stages. If only Subaru would add a bit more sound deadening and do something about that exhaust. Is there an aftermarket performance company that offers mufflers to make a car quieter?

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Evan Williams

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