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Should You Buy a Newly-Redesigned 2018 Subaru WRX/STI or Wait for the All-New 2020 STI?

Subaru introduces the newly-redesigned 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI.
Should you buy one now, or wait for the all-new 2020 model?

Subaru says the newly-redesigned 2018 WRX and WRX STI performance sedans are the best-handling, best-performing examples they’ve ever built. We would have to agree. They get revised suspension tuning, new Brembo brakes with larger cross-drilled rotors (STI), new 19-inch wheels (STI), Recaro performance seats, and LED Steering Responsive Headlights. The upgrades will definitely improve their performance over the outgoing models. Should you buy one now, or wait for the all-new 2020 model with even more upgrades?

Subaru WRX STI fans still want the aging EJ25 2.5-liter mill replaced with the new 2.0-liter direct injection FA20 power plant with more than 305hp on tap. Fans also want Subaru to bring back the hatch body style. Unfortunately, you will have to wait on both until the WRX/STI gets a complete remodel for the 2020 model year. That’s when the performance models will get the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) and the STI will most likely get the new 2.0-liter FA motor with power upgrades.

Should you buy the 2018 WRX/STI or wait for 2020?

Until then, the 2018 WRX/STI is still the best performance car value on the planet. The upgrades make it better than the outgoing 2017 models and you won’t be disappointed in the performance. If you can’t wait two more years, the WRX/STI holds its value better than all other sports cars. So if you buy a 2018 STI, keep it two years, you won’t get dinged as much as other sports cars when you trade it in for a new-generation 2020 STI, but you will lose money.

If you can wait until late spring/early summer of 2019, you’ll be able to get the all-new 2020 WRX STI with the new SGP, a new power plant, more power and improved performance. Until then, you’ll need to decide if the revised suspension, brake upgrades, and Recaro performance seats on the 2018 WRX STI are enough to keep you grinning.

Check out the new 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI video below. Subaru takes the new WRX STI out to a test track for some serious drifting. The WRX has fun drifting in the dirt on a deserted desert road. Then the two get after it on a twisty mountain road where the STI overtakes the WRX to take the lead.

Photo credit: Subaru


Akadh (not verified)    April 1, 2017 - 7:03PM

Not getting a Subaru WRX sti until that engine is replaced. 305 HP but with such low gas mileage. Cars nowadays can achieve 450hp+ with better mileage than a Subaru.

Torque (not verified)    April 1, 2017 - 10:30PM

In reply to by I_Call_BS (not verified)

The 2017 Corvette has 455hp and gets 17 city / 29 highway, 21 mpg combined. The 2017 STI gets 17 city / 23 highway, 19 combined. Seriously, you are talking out of your ass!

Jake (not verified)    April 2, 2017 - 1:42AM

In reply to by I_Call_BS (not verified)

Porsche (991) Turbo, GT3, & GT3RS all have better gas mileage than the current STI. These are off the top of my head. There are probably more cars. FYI, 500+ bhp (at the wheels, not the crank as Subaru always lists their cars)

Garren (not verified)    August 31, 2017 - 7:26PM

In reply to by Jake (not verified)

Yeah....but "bhp" is at the crank.... Maybe you mean whp? Plus if you're wanting to make a comparison make it apples to apples because for the money you spend on a GT3 you'd be far better off buying a Tesla P100D for the MPG to HP ratio or you could spend that money retrofitting a GT3 engine in the Subaru.

Bob Doyle (not verified)    April 2, 2017 - 4:52PM

In reply to by Akadh (not verified)

If your only concern is fuel economy then you probably weren't interested in the WRX to begin with. Moreover you definitely aren't concerned about saving money if you're looking at a new vehicle.

Concern yourself with cost per mile if your game is saving money.

Concern yourself with how the car makes you feel and how it performs for your purposes if you're going to be buying a new or high-cost vehicle.

DiscoStig (not verified)    April 2, 2017 - 5:27AM

The Subaru EJ25 is still a very capable engine, and people "in the know" still want it as the top performance engine in the STi for a number of reasons...
The ej25 has been the hot engine in the STi since the STi 's debut in 2004, and as such many tuners have figured out how to harness well over 450 hp reliably/ cheaply. The STi is modified by more owners than the WRX is. Because of this, the ej25 is the engine offered in the STi. You never hear an owner of an STi complain about the fact that it "only" has 300hp/300lb/ft. (Maybe until the warranty runs out....but probably not, nobody waits for that anymore because they are that bulletproof) and an engine with the displacement of 2.5l will make more power and torque than one with 2.0l all other things being equal.
The performance community will probably freak out once that engine is put to pasture for the technology of the direct injected 2.0 for that reason alone.

Russ (not verified)    August 8, 2017 - 11:32PM

In reply to by DiscoStig (not verified)

The fa20 is way more responsive to mods a stage 2 sti on a pro tune runs about 285 whp (intake, down pipe, and exhaust. The fa20 gains 59 whp on a stage 1 tune from MA performance. About 319hp @ the crank

SubaStar (not verified)    April 2, 2017 - 9:54AM

I bought the last STI Hatch in 2013, before it came on sedan body in 2014. It's the best car I've ever had.
I'll trade it in 2020 for the REAL NEW STI, ONLY if Subaru comes back to the hatch body + significant power increase from any MODERN engine, with a decent gas mileage.
If not, will see how the updated MY 2019 Ford Focus RS looks like...

Derekf (not verified)    April 2, 2017 - 1:29PM

I have a 2017 STI with 305hp that gets 17/23 city/hwy. My boss has a 2014 Corvette stingray with 455hp that gets 17/29.

I choose the STI because I don't have an extra vehicle to drive in bad weather and needed a four door for two young kids. I am very happy with it. To each their own.

Garren R Carmichael (not verified)    August 31, 2017 - 7:29PM

People are making a lot of comparisons about gas mileage and HP but neglecting the total value of the car vs what you get.... Yeah they should modernize the engine but making a comparison to a car that costs nearly double doesn't validate anything.