WRX vs Mazdaspeed6

scottlscottl Member Posts: 109
edited March 2014 in Mazda
I am in the process of selling my '02 WRX Wagon. I went looking for an AWD performance car to replace it, and I bought an '06 Mazdaspeed6 GT. I am a little shocked that people are still buying the WRX over a Speed6, especially when the Speed6 is less expensive out the door after rebates are considered. People are getting Sport model Speed6s for under $22K, and GT models for under $25K.

The only thing I can think of is that the WRX owers are getting automatics, since the Speed6 is 6-speed manual only, or people are getting the WRX to take advantage of the performance aftermarket, although with the Speed3 and CX using basically the same engine, the aftermarket will wake up to the 2.3L DSI soon.

The list of advantages of the Speed6 over a WRX:

6-speed, more horsepower, more interior room, much nicer interior, Bose stereo standard, 18" wheels, better brakes, traction control, stability control, side curtain airbags and if you get the GT model, heated leather, heated mirrors, keyless ignition, Xenon headlights.

After driving the Speed6 for awhile, I can honestly say the only advantage of the WRX over the Speed6 is that the WRX is slightly more nimble. The Speed6 has great handling, but is slightly heavier, and the weight is felt sometimes.

Granted, the newer WRX has the 2.5L vs. the 2.0L in my 2002, but I believe the Speed6 still outruns a standard WRX, especially on the top end. The WRX ekes out a little better MPG, but neither car is a gas miser when driven hard.

So fill me in. Why go WRX over Speed6?


  • aaykayaaykay Member Posts: 539
    Isn't the '6' sized like the Legacy ? And the '3' more in line with the size of the Impreza ? If so, then I would not be interested in the "6", since I need a small wagon.

    Your post however was interesting and pointed out something I did not know, which was that the Mazda had an AWD version. Have they come out (or are they planning to come out) with an EAT version for the MAZDA ? I definitely need an EAT.
  • scottlscottl Member Posts: 109
    Yes, the 6 is more Legacy sized, but at least in my area, Legacy Turbos are close to $30K by the time the dealers get done loading them up.

    The Speed6 is going for about what a standard WRX is going for, and less than the premium WRX, but is much more car. I can understand the desire for a smaller car in some situations, but I think a lot of people would go bigger if they could. In my case, my WRX wagon was just too small in the back seat for my 6'1" teenager. I looked at Legacy Turbos, but the dealers weren't dealing. AWD is required where I live, but Infiniti, Audi, BMW, 4Motion VWs, etc. were not an option. $$$$$$

    The new Speed3 would have been appealing as a direct WRX alternative, but it is not AWD, and I needed a bigger car.

    It is a great car. The Bose sounds great, the seats are very nice, the car handles as well as the WRX, and brakes and accelerates much better. The Speed6 has much less lag and more power off the line than the 2.0L WRX. 0-60 and 1/4 mile times are about the same as the 2.5L WRX, but I never got around to driving one of those. I had to wring my WRX's neck to go fast, while the Speed6 moves effortlessly. The 6-speed in the Speed6 is almost not needed, since it pulls well in every gear, whereas I would have to shift down to 3rd at highway speeds in the WRX to get a fast pass. 0-60 times are not all that indicative of usable power, and the WRX vs. the Speed6 are a perfect illustration of that. They are about the same on paper, but in the real world the Mazda is much more usable.

    One more pleasant surprise was that my insurance on my '06 Speed6 is actually LOWER than the insurance on the '02 WRX! The Speed6 is definitely under the radar, even with the insurance companies!

    No auto in the Speed6, and sedan only.
  • aaykayaaykay Member Posts: 539
    Lot of details in the post !

    However, lack of Auto and the lack of a wagon bodystyle are deal-killers for me. I am looking at the WRX wagon and the Legacy GT wagon. The GT is a bit larger than I want but some of the features within, are tempting, especially since it is just $1800 more than the price of a WRX Ltd wagon with 4EAT.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Huge rebates indeed have made the Speed6 a bargain, no doubt.

    Keep in mind more than a few folks have reported heat soak problems, causing loss of power. Subaru owners are spoiled by consistent reliability. Hopefully Mazda sorted that out.

    You could actually get a Legacy GT for about the same price, both around $23k for a base sedan. And Subaru gives you the option of wagons with both the Legacy and the WRX, while the 6 is sedan only (they should have done the 5 door).

    I compared the Speed6 vs. the Legacy GT spec.B in this post:

    ateixeira, "MAZDASPEED Mazda6" #661, 6 Dec 2005 2:39 pm

    The pricing advantage has reversed now that Mazda tossed $4000 on the hood (I think that's the current rebate).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Responding to myself, some updates for '07...

    * the spec.B is now a regular model, no longer limited
    * the Subies offer satellite radio

  • scottlscottl Member Posts: 109
    With all due respect, I didn't try all that hard to find a Legacy GT over the Speed6, because of my experiences with my WRX, and the fact that the Subaru dealers here in CO don't want to deal.

    My WRX had more than a few issues. It was (is, I'm trying to sell it) a very early model, but still, it has had over 6 different CELs (I ended up buying a code reader so I would be out $80 everytime it had a miss), the cold weather fuel rail issue (which should have been covered by Subaru IMHO, but I had to pay over $300 to have it fixed), a couple of electrical issues (clock died, mysterious battery fry), and at 105K miles the dealer screwed it into the ground for six weeks due to issues they caused when they changed the timing belt. (BTW, the Mazda has a chain..thank God). There were two recalls, also, one for the seat bolt and one for something else.

    Ironically, now the WRX runs flawlessly. But I already went with the Speed6. The local Subaru dealers had no interest in dealing on an '06 Legacy GT beyond the standard rebates. The Speed6 is better than the WRX in every way, and was much less expensive than a comparably equipped Legacy GT, let alone a Spec.b. I, too, wish they had done the Speed6 on the 5-door, but I think they were trying to emulate the STi and Evo more than the Avant.

    There is a direct WRX vs. Speed6 comparison here:


    For my money, the Speed6 kicks the WRX. Legacy spec.b size and performance at a less than WRX price tag. Whether it is better than a spec.b is niether here nor there, because the Speed6 is a good $7K-9K cheaper than a spec.b.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Speed6 is better than the WRX in every way

    Dunno about that. It's overweight, too nose heavy, and the Haldex is a part-time system that operates in FWD most of the time.

    I find it strange that they even compared it to the WRX. R&T compared it to the Legacy and picked the Subie, while C&D picked the Speed6. Reviews were pretty even for those more comparable cars.

    I drove one at Zoom Zoom Live. It's nice enough but didn't stand out like the RX8 and Miata did. It's a solid, competent sedan, and a bargain at the $22.8k price that a few have reported paying.

  • scottlscottl Member Posts: 109
    R&T got incredibly poor acceleration numbers on their Speed6. Conjecture is that the since-corrected ECU issues bit them. There is a recall on the Speed6 to fix a a bug that dropped boost down to almost nothing under certain conditions.

    I honestly don't see the issue with the Haldex system. No one with a Speed6 complains about it not working when it should. No one complains about the Volvos that use the same system, either.

    Speed6 is 189lb heavier than the Spec.b, but has more interior room, and is slightly wider and longer.

    I thought the Edmunds comparison of the Speed6 vs. Spec.b was very balanced, and they preferred the handling of the Speed6.

    For the money, especially the way Subarus are worshipped(and priced) in Colorado, the Speed6 is a no brainer. Spec.b size and performance for less than a WRX price.

    Remember, at one time, AMC Eagles were worshipped in CO, also. I honestly think Subaru is coasting on past glory in some ways. I know a lot of Subaru owners, and a lot of them are fishing around to see what else is out there, just like I did.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Colorado is tougher, so is Alaska. Demand is comparatively higher.

    DC is a great area for buying Subies. We get about the lowest prices in the country. And we don't get the higher freight charges that New Englanders get.

    The cheapest Speed6 at a dealer in the DC area is almost $26k, so we're not quite getting the under $23k prices some have reported.

    The same dealer also sells Subies, and the Legacy GT starts at $27k, but that's an automatic. So we don't get the big differences you're talking about.

  • nightvznnightvzn Member Posts: 232
    Looking over some of the other people's comments...

    This post was interesting to me because I've done something this summer I hope I never do again, unless I become insanely rich first: I bought two cars in the space of two months.

    First I bought my long-time dream car, the STI. Almost from the beginning, I was torn between its awesome capabilities and the sense of "I spent HOW much for what's essentially a toy??" After an agonizing period of wondering, I decided to part with it while the miles were still low.

    My first instinct was to replace it with the WRX Limited, which is what I ultimately did. But along the way, I briefly thought about the Legacy GT and Mazdaspeed6.

    I couldn't find any indication of the low Mazdaspeed6 prices I'm seeing mentioned here. All my research indicated the price to be on-par with the spec.B, especially once loaded with all the option packages I would want.
    I wanted a small car in the first place. I have no family and hence no need for a roomy interior, so to me, a bigger car translates to poorer maneuverability, handling, gas mileage, etc.
    I love the looks of the current WRX, especially in crystal grey metallic and with the spoiler. (I don't think the Mazda is ugly; it just hasn't quite won me over in the same manner.)

    That, and I had a really good rapport with the salesperson at my Subaru dealer, and he gave me a very fair price on the WRX without discussion.

    I've had the WRX for a few weeks, and I can see its weaknesses. The interior is deceptive: at first glance, it looks very good for a compact econo car; but after a while, you notice it is way, way, way below, say, the Legacy, or probably even the Mazda 3, much less the 6.

    Sitting in my WRX Limited, I'm reminded that yes, it's essentially an economy car with performance upgrades and a few premium features tacked-on (heated leather seats, sunroof/moonroof, pretty good speakers and sound system). And there are some rattles on certain road surfaces, although I haven't been able to isolate the root of any like on the STI.

    So basically the car feels a little cheap, and I'm sure the Mazdaspeed 6 is leagues ahead in that category. But the current generation of the Impreza is also coming to the end of its run, so I'm expecting serious interior improvements for 2008 to keep it on par with the Mazda 3. How about performance? Well, I'm in the unenviable position of coming directly from the STI, so the poor little WRX has some massive shoes to fill, and I'm ridiculously speed-spoiled. But if I take a moment to think about most other cars I've driven, the WRX shines. I haven't driven a Mazdaspeed6 so I really don't know what it's like.

    But as others have mentioned, if I was considering the Mazdaspeed6, I'd be comparing it to the Legacy GT, not the WRX, in terms of size/features/refinement alone, if not price. The WRX enjoys a tiny niche. Really, I can't think of any other car that could be placed as a direct competitor. The STI has the Evo, but only the Mazdaspeed3 and Neon SRT4 play in a similar league to the WRX, yet without AWD (or even a sedan, in the Mazda's case).
  • aaykayaaykay Member Posts: 539
    I personally feel that you should have kept the STi, unless there are other factors that prevented you from keeping it, especially since you are single and not in need of additional space. There is a huge difference between the STi and the WRX, unlike what appears on the surface. The difference between the 2.5i and the WRX sedans are minor in comparison (both sticks). Since you bought the LtD version of the WRX sedan, the price differential between it and the STi are also not that huge, I presume ? Any specific reason why you swapped it with the WRX Ltd ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Personally, I would have tried some milder tires. The summer tires are grippy but they're noisy with very hard sidewalls.

    Speed6 also comes with summer tires.

    On the spec.B you can choose, summer or all-season, and of course the regular Legacy GT just gets all-seasons.

  • guy1974guy1974 Member Posts: 119
    I am looking at getting an Impreza WRX sedan and was interested in your comments. I know the ride will be softer than the STi, but is it livable with on a day to day basis with normal driving style and roads? I ask as this is my biggest worry about a WRX - the ride being too harsh. Sporty is good but there is a fine line before the ride becomes to hard for everyday use.

    I would be interested to hear your experiences with the WRX and reliability of the Impreza in general
  • 2006rex2006rex Member Posts: 3
    The ride is just right IMHO. I have an '06 WRX Sedan Ltd w/ 4000 miles. I am loving every minute of it. I had some issues with the manual shift, but I am learning everyday about how to shift it more smoothly (its a challenge coming from a Honda background!).

    There is some road noise while on the freeway but nothing intolerable. The seats are sporty and comfortable. No complaints so far....
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLMember Posts: 5,962
    Have '03 WRX w/52K miles. I commute 20 miles, mostly freeway, some city. Have gone for several 500+ mile trips. I love it, even that turbo lag that's now gone w/'06 model. When I bought it, there was no leather, no sunroof, just the car (which I would probably get).

    I find the suspension settings just right - hard enough to get a good responsive handling, but soft enough so your spine is not smashed. I know '06 has a bit different suspension settings - reportedly a bit softer, but can't say for sure.

    I think it was the best car in '03 in its price range. There was nothing like that, not even close. Today the competition is a bit stronger, as some guys came around. It's all about the priorities. Still strong player, for sure.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • aaykayaaykay Member Posts: 539
    I know a couple of friends with families and kids, whose only means of transportation is their WRX wagon. I have ridden in them several times and also took a long 600+ mile trip in it once. Absolutely no comfort issue on a day-to-day basis. I found the WRX to be way more comfortable than the Impreza Outback that I had earlier.
  • volkovvolkov Member Posts: 1,306
    I find the ride very comfortable and not at all harsh. BUT there's two things you should know about me. First, I am the kind of person who hates the feel of Big 3 cars when I rent them and second, the opportunity to drive 20 miles on a dirt road gets my blood pumping so YMMV.
    FWIW my wife never complains about driving my car when she has to borrow it. Her Bug won't hold our three sons in the back.
  • guy1974guy1974 Member Posts: 119
    Thanks to you all for your replies - certainly reassuring to know the WRX rides comfortably whilst still being a capable car.
  • gto2xturbogto2xturbo Member Posts: 3
    I just test drove a 2007 WRX TR and a 2007 Mazdaspeed6 Sport today. They are miles apart (with the Mazda being way out front). The power bands were smoother, the power seemed more on tap, and the body didnt have as much roll as the WRX despite the larger size (which both cars suprised me equally in opposite directions). I'm replacing my 3000GT VR4 (AWD/TwinTurbo), and unfortunately I cannot afford to look at the EVO or the STI, but I have to say the MS6 comes pretty close. It may not pull the same numbers as the STI or EVO, but its definately in the same league, abd kleaves little to be desired compared to my VR4. Being over $10k less after the great incentives offered compared to the STI/EVO - That 10k can go a long way towards a stage 3 turbo!
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Only difference is the AWD system is light years behind, that not even 10k can help....Also on the track the TR will out-drive the MS6.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The Haldex is FWD based, and purely reactive, but it's one of the quicker part-time FWD based systems, at least.

    I drove one and found the Speed6 a bit nose heavy for me. It was at Zoom Zoom Live.

    I left there wanting an RX8 and a Miata, but the Speed6 didn't do much for me.

    Discounts do make them a bargain, if you can find one left over.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    What are they running with discounts these days? 6MT or 5MT?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Around here they sold the last few a while ago, but if you search hard enough you can still find a few. One of the former Subaru Crew guys picked one up cheap.

    I heard stories of base models going for as little as $22k (!) though I wonder what the terms were. Still, mid $20s was easy to obtain, a great value.

    The equipment level varies a lot. Base models compare to a non-Limited Legacy GT, and loaded ones go all the up to spec.B territory.
  • gto2xturbogto2xturbo Member Posts: 3
    I picked up the '07 MS6 Sport afterall. It was around $23k and I got the floor mats, wheel locks, alarm sensor, and compass mirror, thrown in. Its a 6MT.

    I agree the haldex lacks compared to the WRX AWD system (for manual tranny), but it does have a setting wheere if it feels you launch it immediatly does a 50/50 split. Whats cool is you can pull the ebrake which automatically disengages all power to the rear for rear biased drifting if you are so inclined. If you are skilled to do this, I would modify the ebrake to an english brake setup so it doesnt button lock on you. An for the price I got it for, I think the Split AWD is better than the Mazdaspeed3 FWD setup anyday. (and Mazda was running such horrible incentives on the MS3 that it would have cost me more to get the 3 than the 6!)

    It is boosting at 2000RPM which is better than I expected. little lag compared to newer turbo cars like the audi and VW's, but definately better than some of the setups I've seen (like the Evo from a dead stop really dogs until it hits 3000RPMs...then the 20psi pushes it into warp speed).

    Going to put a cold air intake on it though as the engine is being choked by the little box it has. Too bad the factory covered Mazdaspeed cold air intake is $325 + $225 install, whereas I could pick up an aftermarket one for $175 and put it on in about 10 minutes. Dont want to kill the warranty should the intake take out the MAF or something but on the other hand $550 for an intake is extreme!

    Love the car though, a great daily driver for a boy racer that is growing up!

    PS - dealer sticker on my was over $30k with an MSRP around $28k. I compared to the Spec-B up the steet that was $33K and the last EVO MR in the area that was $37k and nieth of them had anything more than loyalty credit (cause I own a mitsu) or a couple hundred here or there. The subie had a good lease offer though, but was still way more than I wanted to spend!

    Lastly, C&D rated this at 5.4 0-60 and 14.1 (?) in the 1/4mi. not too shabby for the price, and can probably be better!

    Sorry, one more note - only thing that really surprises me is how close the gear ratios are. My 3000GT is pretty close in the lower 3, but geez almighty, the power band falls out about 500-1k below redline (which I'm sure an intake would help remedy), and to run the 1/4 mi, I expect you would be all the way through 4th gear! Cant complain though, its the best bang for the buck with the way Mazda is pushing them right now, and for a mid sized sedan under $30k (and probably under 25k if you wheel and deal), its hard to beat! :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Holy cow, for $23k there is nothing that comes close. That is quite a deal...
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Member Posts: 3,159
    I picked up the '07 MS6 Sport afterall. It was around $23k and I got the floor mats, wheel locks, alarm sensor, and compass mirror, thrown in. Its a 6MT.

    Are you sure it was not a 06? There is only a $1000 rebate on the 07's. Dealer invoice on that vehicle is $26,428. You mean to tell me the dealer took a near $2,500 hit (far exceeds any incentive money the dealer gets from Mazda), and threw in a compass mirror and shock alarm sensor? I highly doubt that. I bet you have an '06.
  • cuty718cuty718 Member Posts: 11
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Don't bet on it.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's an older 'chop, and a bit cartoonish if you ask me.

    We might see fender flares like that, but the rest is just a guess that turned out to be wrong.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Member Posts: 3,159
    Anyone notice the error of a FMIC and a hood scoop? I think that was not noticed when making the crop.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yep. Rather blatant error if you think about it. I can't remember the last factory Subaru to use a FMIC.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I am not sure there was ever a FMIC on a Subaru. Closest thing would be an Air-Water IC on some of the early subies.

  • subearusubearu Member Posts: 3,613
    Is it possible that it's a tranny cooler? Our MPV has one up front in about that location.

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Doubtful, most MTs don't have tranny coolers. It could be the AC condenser but I think it's just a photochop anyway. Also I've never seen an ATF cooler that big!

This discussion has been closed.