4th Oct 2006, 01:38

I disagree. I've driven a 2002 WRX sedan since August 2001 and have been very pleased with the performance of the car on gravel (backwoods fire roads), dirt, even deep sand roads (Arizona and Utah), and every year in relatively mild snow (Pacific NW).

All-weather touring tires (H-rated) rather than street/performance tires (V-rated) really help on this score, although you have to persuade a tire installer to do the downgrade. The stock tires don't do well in heavy rain.

The WRX isn't an SUV, but it makes a surprisingly fine road trip car, for all of the above reasons. (The downside to driving it on long road trips is a dramatic decrease in the car's resale value from putting on the miles.)

It goes nearly anywhere. One road and one road only has given us trouble, and that was a steep curvy hillside climb covered with ice; we had to retreat from that one or risk losing the car entirely.

Only two things it's not great for: commuting in stop and go traffic -- it eats up tons of premium gas -- and staying under the 25mph speed limit on neighborhood streets. I have had to resort to the cruise control to overcome that!

19th May 2007, 20:53

If you wanted an off road subaru... why didn't you get an Outback instead on a WRX? As said before, the WRX is a street machine.

13th Jul 2007, 12:08

Sounds like you are in a unique situation that requires a unique approach to buying a car. As someone who used to be a car dealer and who knows cars inside and out I would suggest one of two things, either a) buy an older car that you can just beat up without any worry. Sounds like you have an old pickup you use like this. I have a 1977 F150 that would love a dirt road like yours. b) Buy a new car and make modifications for your purposes.

As time goes by roads get better and car designers build cars for highways, not dirt roads. When you see that Subaru on TV in the dirt it is usually modified for rally racing. If you're going down as much dirt road as you are I would suggest that you get suspension lifted up, true dirt tires, and some added protection on the bottom of the car. Unfortunately as time goes by you will only find that cars are getting more sensitive, and alignment will become more of a problem for you.

If I were in your situation I would totally get into modifying cars for my unique purposes, old Toyota Land Cruisers, Jeep CJ7, even some Hummer H1s and the like. Any car you get will frustrate you when it deals poorly with the elements. Oh, and throw out any tire that comes with a car, the manufacturer rarely puts tires worth anything on their car.

21st Feb 2011, 14:30

Approximately 20% of all my driving is on gravel roads.

My vehicles are a 1992 Honda Civic with over 300,000 km and a 1992 Cavalier (bit over 200,000 km), and neither one of them had any dust leaking into the passenger compartment. Neither one of those two cars would be considered "premium" vehicles when compared to a WRX, in fact the only type of vehicles that I've seen with dust entering the cab usually have large rust holes. Based on this experience, to me it is completely unacceptable for any new car to have this issue.

The reasoning that the WRX is a "street machine" and that you need a truck and SUV to drive on gravel roads holds little water at best. This sounds more so to be a quality issue with Subaru than anything else.