Exciting drive

The 2.5-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine may also play a role in injecting "go-fast" into your blood. The engine creates 265 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque, which for a car that weighs 3,200 pounds is more than enough juice. The WRX loves to be flogged and pushed through decreasing radius turns.

Rarely do work commutes leave a little sweat streaming down your back, but the WRX lets you hop out of the car a little more excited than when you got into it.

Even the five-speed manual offers quick throws and makes you drive with a little more enthusiasm. Drivers use manuals. A six-speed may have helped the car's mileage, though, which at 19 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway are middle of the road at best.

But that's just one of the give and takes with any car. Want great performance? What are you willing to give up?

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