Skip to main content

4 Reasons Why Subaru WRX is on Top-10 “Owners Can’t Wait to Get Rid of” List

The new Subaru WRX is on the top-ten cars list that are sold by their owners the quickest after driving off the dealer lot. There’s 4 reasons why. Would they affect your decision to sell?


The Subaru WRX is a performance car some owners love to hate. At least that’s what found when they analyzed which cars are sold the quickest after they are driven off the dealer lot. The study found that on average, 3.3 percent of all Subaru WRX buyers trade them in within the first year. The study didn’t reveal if the performance-tuned WRX STI was lumped in the with the sport-tuned WRX, but we will assume it’s the milder WRX, since more first-time Subaru buyers would likely choose that model.

Why do 3.3 percent of all WRX buyers get rid of it after such a short time behind the wheel? The rally-bred WRX isn’t for everyone. The Japanese automaker’s goal to grow beyond the current loyal customers and attract a new generation of buyers to WRX/STI is working. Subaru of America reports, 60 percent of their buyers are first-time Subaru buyers. Some of these buyers are drawn to the WRX because it’s sporty and it looks cool.

There’s 4 beefs with WRX

The Subaru WRX is a true performance car and it comes standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a sport suspension that doesn’t ride like a typical sedan. New WRX buyers aren’t ready for the firm rally-bred ride. 6-speed manual buyers get tired of the constant shifting required and it can be a real pain in stop-and-go traffic. The 2.0-liter turbo engine also requires premium unleaded fuel for top performance and that can add up to 50-60 cents more per gallon. The cost of insurance is much higher on the WRX too because it’s a performance car, and it begs to be driven fast. Insurance companies know their owners are likely to get more tickets than a typical compact sedan owner and they get to pay more for the coverage.

You add up all the extra costs along with the ride, and many new-to-WRX owners aren’t ready for the performance breed. Even though the WRX is resold quicker than many other models, it’s not the quickest to come back to the dealer.

Here’s the top eleven cars found are sold the quickest after they are driven off the dealer's lot. #11 is the Nissan Versa (3.2%), #10 Subaru WRX (3.3%), #9 Chrysler 200 (3.8%), #8 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (3.9%), #7 BMW 4 Series (3.9%), #6 BMW X3 (3.9%), #5 Dodge Dart (3.9%), #4 Nissan Versa Note (4.0%), #3 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (6.1%), #2 BMW 5 Series (7.1%), and #1 BMW 3 Series (8.0%).

The new Subaru WRX retains its value better than most other vehicles, so these new owners aren’t getting dinged as much as the other cars when they are traded in. The rally-bred sports sedan sells at a 6.2 percent discount as a year-old used model. So if you are thinking of buying a new 2018 Subaru WRX, make sure you understand what kind of machine it really is before committing to a long-term relationship. Would the 4 reasons affect your decision to sell?

Photo credit: Subaru


Blaine (not verified)    July 8, 2017 - 3:58PM

I was one of the lucky few who owned a 2016 WRX "premium" obviously 6speed. All of the reasons you listed are completely wrong. The reason I got rid of mine, after 11 months, is because of the poor build quality. Plastic rattles everywhere! I expect a car that cost 30k to have the build quality of something that cost about the same. For example a GTI cost less and has much better build quality. Sure it doesn't have awd.... But it also doesn't rattle going down an everyday road. Not to mention that you can pickup a used off lease 335i with 25k miles for less than a WRX "premium".

The WRX had great qualities, super fun on a track, and traction for days.... But that doesn't mean it's worth 30k.

ken ho (not verified)    February 26, 2023 - 4:35PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

i agree with the author of the article. he mentions reasons y many would get rid of wrx. sure, reasons for one person may not b same reasons for another person.... but money is still a v big reason.

good to b polite and non confrontational.

also, wrx had huge noise vibration and harshness issues. gti doesn't have those problems.

predicted reliability and refinement are other reasons.

Duane Atkinson (not verified)    September 29, 2018 - 10:16PM

In reply to by Blaine (not verified)

I recently purchased a 2002 WRX wagon. I have all Toyota’s now. I’m really impressed with the Subaru engineering. Very smart and easy to work on. The wagon is fun and even though it’s an automatic transmission it will give any new performance car American, European or English a run for its money. I purchased it with a 178,000 miles on it and it is extremely fast and agile. I put coilovers, a rack and some weather tech mats in/on it. It came with a stage 2 set up short of a Cobb tune. It has the K&N filter a down pipe and exhaust. This is the most responsive and top end fast car I have ever driven. SRT’s and Mustang 5.0’s in corners get destroyed and in a straight away I catch them. I don’t understand why people would sell them so fast after buying them other than don’t buy a standard let alone high performance standard for a daily commuter. I love the 4 speed automatic..Don’t be hatin!!

Don Miller (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 7:34PM

In reply to by Blaine (not verified)

The “Premium” is not the top level of model for Subaru’s. The “Limited” is. I have a 2017 WRX “Limited” with no rattles, though that shouldn’t change anything. You probably just got one of the few with build issues. It happens with all manufacturers. Bad experience with one doesn’t mean all are bad. So goes for all of life.

Dan (not verified)    July 8, 2017 - 5:56PM

3.3%? You wrote an article on 3.3%? The car isn't even in first place; it's number 10 at a low number. Of course it has a manual gear box; you act like the purchaser doesn't know this when buying the car.

Scott (not verified)    July 8, 2017 - 7:12PM

This article is so poorly written, I don't know where to begin.
1) At 3.3% in 10th place, it's hardly anything to write about. It would be more appropriate to talk about the BMW 3 Series at 10%, but hey, I guess putting WRX in your headline gets you more clicks.
2) No one and I mean no one who buys a sports car complains about suspension on the street. Most buyers looking to buy a WRX know what it is and what to expect. Anyone who wants a driver's car, wants to feel the road. If you're not looking for that kind of car, then a WRX shouldn't even be on your list.
3) Crying over spending $4-5 a tank for premium fuel is laughable. Once again, you're buying a sports car and if you can't afford $5 extra per tank, then you can't afford the car. I've modded every car I've own and have used premium fuel my whole life. If you're a gear head, it's something you're used to.
4) I was shopping around for a newer car recently and the WRX was at the top of my list. Out of the 5 different cars I had my insurance agent quote me, the WRX Premium was the CHEAPEST for me to insure and I'm a 29 year old male.

For the record, I didn't buy the WRX.

The author of this article has no clue what he's talking about and simply spit out some drivel just for clicks. I hope no one reads this and takes this information to heart because it's simply not true.

Denis Flierl    July 8, 2017 - 9:06PM

In reply to by Scott (not verified)

You totally missed the whole point of the story. You are a typical performance car buyer who wants a car like the WRX. Wow, 97 percent of WRX buyers love the car! Read between the lines right? It's only 3 percent of the buyers who are turning these cars in after only a year and complaining about the firm suspension, having to buy premium fuel and higher insurance. It's the person who's never owned a Subaru WRX before. Thanks for reading, but you didn't even understand the content! It's not poorly written just poorly read...

Scott (not verified)    July 8, 2017 - 10:40PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

That's the point, it's only 3%, when the source you've listed shows there are 9 more cars with a higher return. You are simply picking on the WRX because it'll give you clicks.

You also have no facts about insurance costs. I could give you mine to prove you wrong. Insurance on a Mazda 3 hatch (not really a sports car) was more expensive to insure. That's just one area where I called you out on. Where are your facts? Or is this the CNN of car news?

I read the article clearly and it proves that 96.7% of people who buy a WRX know EXACTLY what they are buying.

Denis Flierl    July 9, 2017 - 6:45AM

In reply to by Scott (not verified)

I could have picked the BMW 3 Series, the top-selling car in their lineup, to write about and probably got a lot more clicks! Ok, here's some facts Scott. Your Mazda3 doesn't even make the list. Oh, and thanks. You've given me some great "facts" for another WRX story!

Here's the 10 most-expensive cars to insure.

The 10 vehicles that account for the highest dollar amount of losses for insurance companies (starting with the most expensive) are:

1. Subaru WRX 4WD
2. Scion tC
3. Hyundai Tiburon
4. Mercedes CLS class 4dr
5. Suzuki Forenza
6. Honda Civic Si
7. Dodge Charger
8. Nissan 350Z
9. Chevrolet Cobalt
10. Suzuki Reno.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Kyle A (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 1:23PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

First and foremost. That source never mentioned they cost the most to insure. I'm an accountant for an insurance company and let me tell you what happens. Any time you make a claim your insurance will lose money whether you were at fault or not. I've rarely seen a claim where we break even. Insurance rates are determined by age, prior history, and safety ratings of the cars you drive. However if you drive the premium or fully loaded model of a vehicle, it will indeed cost more to insure because it costs more for us to replace and or pay back.

Eppyz (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 7:33PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Where exactly do folks get the notion that just because 3% plus or minus equates to 97% people being "Happy" with their WRX or their purchase? Subaru is good but not THAT good. I agree that people that but this car know what they are getting into. I think what the main problem not just for this car but the STI, Evo of the past and such rally cars is simple. People can't afford the car. Most people buy cars that they want not what they need and realize when you only put $1000 down heck some put no money down and have a $600 car payment $100 for insurance and spending that extra coin on gas they realize this car can cost up to $1000 a month to own. After a year the novelty of the car wears off realize the car isn't worth the money to them and buy something else. These costs are average in my state and of course varies by where you live but I think you get my point.

John Scott (not verified)    August 13, 2020 - 5:18AM

In reply to by Arturo (not verified)

I purchased a 2020 WRX, I was previously driving Dodge quad cab with the Hemi , Larami, loaded. I love this car so much more, and by the way when ever we go out they Ask me to drive. Yes my truck has a smoother ride but I love feeling the road. I will not get tired of it and will probably get an STI next go around. By the way I’m 53, I just need to invest in a good radar detector. IV only given fast once, at 120 it felt pretty dam good. So the Nitwit who wrote this should eat some Crow for dinner, he would be better off.

Shadow (not verified)    December 13, 2022 - 5:27AM

In reply to by John Scott (not verified)

I have a 2007 WRX. It has 234,000 miles on it, standard trans. I did not tinker with the turbo, and it has served me well, even through the long, cold Winters. It is semi-retired now, but I still drive it around, and remember how much fun it is. Yes, the insurance is expensive, but worth it, and I only got one speeding ticket with it-ha ha. Ironically, I still think the WRX handles better on the snowy roads than my new car. The funny thing is, even as old as it is, and even with the miles on it, I still have people wanting to buy it. However, I have faithfully maintained it throughout the years, and think it makes a great, second, back-up vehicle. Yeah-hee hee-it cruises nicely at 80, but even better at 120 & 130. So no, I am not one of those on this list.

Tom manderfeld (not verified)    July 8, 2017 - 7:46PM

Your article was interesting but hard to agree with I'm 76 yrs old and having a blast with my 2017 PREMIUM WRX I GOT the automatic paddle shifters make it versital ride is stiff but that is why it handles so well I knew this when I got it I LOVE IT

ken ticknor (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 12:43AM

Lol I bought a 2005 Subaru WRX still awesome car I paid 45 k for it back than.. I am in the process of finally selling the car and I posted it in Facebook to my friends and have multi people wanting to buy it.. I should if asked more than 15 k for the car and should of asked at least 17 k.. anyway the car is extremely powerful and the insurance was around a 120 month in the so cal area.. well made car and I never heard any sounds if plastic lol.. easiest car I ever sold and we'll made!

Steve (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 5:27AM

I would suggest that not just the WRX but a few of the listed cars are sought after / bought by ppl who can't afford them. List the top reasons these cars were actually sold.

James pond (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 7:04AM

So you knock a car that only 3.3 percent got out of. Not only is it number 10 on your list, but when looked at as a whole, is last, meaning more people were happier with it over a handful of luxury cars, and two cheap A to B cars.

But let's not talk about why cars that are supposed to be more refined have more returns.

Matthew (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 8:44AM

When I seee an article like this I do read it. I was a little disappointed that it was only 3.3%, and it was #10 on the list. As a suggestion maybe a longer follow up article on the rest of the cars on the list would be nice. I thought it was funny that the 4 reasons listed were why I would buy a WRX. I also like these articles for the comments section as Sometimes you get insight into the real owners and buyers out there, I would have never thought the build quality was that low. And please
don't write another WRX story, or any story if you can't take criticism without feeling
the need to attack back so harshly. I found your article interesting, albeit a little short.

Brian Howman (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 10:25AM

Other readers have given valid points this article is clearly click bait. And the author has made good points as well. But at the end of the day if you have to base all your articles on lists then you should reconsider what people would like to read. Maybe an article about why the 3.3 percent first year return rate complaints affect future changes within Subaru. Or how the rest of the manufacturers line up stacks up to this stat. A little context may keep the fans from seeing you as a hater.

SubyTom (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 5:13PM

Buyer buys manual gear box only to realize buyer doesn't like manual gear box? Really? Buyer should be well informed that Subaru now offers the WRX in automatic. Problem solved! Amazingly stupid...I'm not even going to comment on the premium fuel crap for a turbo car lol.

Joe (not verified)    July 9, 2017 - 9:37PM

I have a 2016 Limited WRX. Bought brand new and went to stage 2+ with a pro tune at 10k miles. Currently have 45k on it as it's my daily. I haven't had issues and I love my WRX since day one. Previous car was a BMW X3. The WRX is a lot of fun and I am certainly aware of pay to play and rough ride and sure any 6 speed is a pain in stop and go but hey I knew that going in and I wouldn't think twice of buying another..

Very happy owner (not verified)    July 10, 2017 - 4:12AM

I love mine. Plain and simple. I'm one of the 96.7% that do. I know people that sold their wrx, and they tell me how bad they miss it. Maybe you should write an article on how many people of that 3.3% end up buying a wrx again