This car's presence, especially from the front-end, is much meaner than before. It takes cues from other Subaru WRXs before it, which I appreciate. The WRX logo on the fender with the vent behind the front wheel is obviously from the previous generation WRX. The front headlights are wider, more aggressive, and remind me of the 1st Generation Impreza. Actually, I see quite a bit of that first rally car in the new design, which is something I noticed when the spy photos first started coming in. The rear-end design originally was one of my least-favorite parts about it, but the LED tail lights in person and the presence this car has from behind... it comes together much better than I had thought. There is a "Wide-body" look to this car that, while not quite as loud as previous designs, is sleeker than you'd expect. It sort of jumps out in certain angles and lights, which I enjoyed about the BRZ design when I first saw it in person. Critics can point out lookalikes all day with the Evo-esque headlamps and the Civic-like windows but honestly... none of that bothers me. To me, in person, this car is it's own design.
Inside, the Harman Kardon sound system was better than I expected. The current Legacy and Outback sound alright, but the new Forester somehow sounded better. I had high hopes for the WRX as a result of that, so I can say now that I've messed with it that the HK Audio is a winner in this car. It's paired with the same Navigation unit seen in the Impreza, Forester, Crosstrek, and BRZ, so you've got full range of EQ settings for it, too. The electronic boost gauge on top of the dash was a nice touch, too.
There will be more to come in the following months, including my impression of this and the STI variant from behind the wheel. Should be a fun season!