2020 Subaru WRX STI, 2022 Subaru WRX STI, next-generation STI
Denis Flierl's picture

What’s The Most Appealing Subaru? It’s A Sedan Not A Hot Hatch

The 2020 WRX and STI are the most appealing models in the Subaru lineup. In the new J.D. Power APEAL study, WRX STI comes in second in the compact sports car category. See which hot hatch was number one.
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Who makes the most appealing compact sports car? The 2020 Subaru WRX and STI came in a close second in the compact sports car category, losing to a hot hatch. In the 2020 J.D. Power APEAL study, which most performance fans couldn’t care less about, the Hyundai Veloster was the model most appealing to its owners. But the study does give us some insights.

The Power APEAL study “measures an owner’s emotional attachment to their new vehicle”, says Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power. In the 2020 APEAL study, Subaru scores well below the segment average compared with other automakers in creating excitement for its customers, except for the WRX and STI.

2020 Subaru WRX STI, 2022 Subaru WRX STI, next-generation STI 

We are wondering if the 2020 Subaru WRX STI would have been number one with owners if the model came in a hatchback body style like Hyundai’s Veloster? There’s probably more to it than having a rear hatch.

The sport-tuned WRX and performance-tuned STI sedans do wow and excite owners with their speed and performance. But Power says its newly-redesigned study measures an owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle across 37 attributes.

It’s about what you feel when you step on the accelerator, but it also measures things like sense of comfort and luxury you feel when climbing into the driver’s seat. A big factor is if the car delivers an “emotional attachment” along with meeting your expectations compared with what the automaker says you will get.

2020 Subaru WRX STI, 2022 Subaru WRX STI, next-generation STI

Subaru delivers on its promise of giving owners a performance car that has exceptional handling on all surfaces, Symmetrical all-wheel-drive, all-weather performance, and they say it’s “The best-performing WRX and STI ever.” When compared to itself, it does perform better than the previous year model.

But it doesn't deliver better than the previous generation model. If Subaru offered the WRX and STI in a hatchback body style would the performance car rank higher in appeal? A hatch offers more utility so owners can throw in a mountain bike, carry camping gear, or your winter tires. It just makes the compact sports car easier to live with.

The next-generation Subaru WRX and STI are coming sometime in 2022. Let’s hope Subaru brings back the hatchback body style. It will improve the appeal of the compact sports car.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru, Competition Subaru


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