It’s Friday and we’re celebrating with a relatively modest Subaru WRX price bump, a tanker bottleneck in the mighty Bosphorus, a big UAW win, and an even bigger win for Ford. We also got a new SZA album, which is nice.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
They Only Raised The WRX Price $1,025
I have not decided how I feel about the new Subaru WRX. The car had a good run as the best value in performance cars because of its racy AWD and lack of real competitors. The Civic Type R, Golf R, short-lived Focus RS, Elantra N, and incoming 2024 Acura Integra Type-S changed all that. How to best describe my feelings of the previous-gen WRX… it’s like when you go to your favorite donut shop and you want a cinnamon sugar braid and all they have is regular glazed and you think “Yeah, sure, a glazed donut is good enough.” The outgoing WRX is a glazed donut.
The redesigned WRX, which went on sale last year, has leaned more into the car’s rally history and now looks more like a dirt-tossing mongoose than a track rat. I respect the hustle and have no good donut metaphor for this and am starting to realize I’m actually quite hungry.
With 271 horsepower from it’s 2.4-liter boxer four it’s marginally competitive. By comparison, an Elantra N offers 276 horsepower and a Type R pumps out 315.
It’s 2022 and everything expensive so what I respect the most about the new WRX for 2023 is that it’s still an OK value. A Civic Type R costs a whopping $43,990 including a $1,095 freight charge. The new WRX is just $30,605, only $1,000 over the outgoing car, or $31,625 with a destination and the manual (the destination fee went up $25 to $1,020, so overall the price is up $1,025). In an era when carmakers are sneaking $1,500 upgrades into their cars, I suppose the increase could be worse. The WRX GT tops out at $44,415 with destination and includes fancy seats, EyeSight, paddle-shifters (it’s auto only), and 18-inch wheels. No thanks.
Is it a better value than the Elantra N? Ehh… I need to drive the current WRX to say. Maybe? The appeal of the WRX is that it’s a WRX and if a WRX appeals to you then the new WRX is the WRX to get. If you don’t need a WRX the 2024 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS is not a performance car but is a fine hatchback. WRX.
[Editor’s note: “ONLY 1,000?” Only? For the same car? Seems like Stockholm Syndrome, Matt. -DT].
[Writer’s note: It’s worth keeping in mind that the base WRX doesn’t include features like heated seats and automatic headlights linked with the wipers. If you want more amenities in your new sport compact car, the WRX’s value isn’t as strong as it could be due to the new price hike. -Thomas Hundal]
Ford Wins Six ‘What Van?’ Awards
You ever notice that everyone (not us) does awards at the end of the year? Seems like a weird coincidence. Cynical people will say that these outlets are selling their awards and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen definitive proof of that. In most cases, you can assume the journalists doling out the awards are being honest in how they evaluate vehicles.
What gets sold is not the award itself, necessarily, but the accolades. Did you know that if I said “The Skoda Superb is the greatest car to ever exist and will bring you untold riches and the love of everyone you desire and the fealty of everyone you despise” and Skoda wanted to use that quote in an ad or a billboard they’d have to pay the Autopian money for that? I don’t say this to completely shade these awards as readers want to hear what car gets what and it makes for good copy. I just think it’s important context.
The exception to this, of course, has to be the fine folks at British van rag ‘What Van?‘ I am legitimately curious about their choices and respect the van love. I’ve been watching them do this for years and I usually agree with their results. They handed out six awards to Ford this year, including:
- Large Van of the Year: Ford E-Transit
- Van of the Year (overall): Ford E-Transit
- Medium Van of the Year: Ford Transit Custom
- Used Van of the Year: Ford Transit Custom
- Editor’s Choice: Ford’s ‘Make it Visible’ Suicide Prevention campaign
- What Van? Hall Of Fame Inductee: Mandy Dean, Ford of Britain/Ireland’s Commercial Vehicle Director
A bit of controversy, though, cannot be ignored.
Ford E-Transit won the big overall award, but it was actually the commercial version of the VW ID.Buzz that won the electric van category. I can only imagine the gasps in the crowd during the lunchtime ceremony.
What Is Turkey’s Game?
Russia continues to make money off of energy exports even with all the sanctions, which is why Western governments in the G7 recently announced a price cap on Russian oil that forces tankers carrying the black stuff to accept a price of $60 or less or risk losing insurance from European providers.
According to Reuters, this is causing some issues. Specifically, tankers are lining up at the Bosphorus strait waiting for Turkish authorities to let them pass. The Turkish government says this is due to wanting to make sure these tankers have proper insurance related to the potential change in the value of their cargo. The G7 governments (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US) say it’s not on them:
“This situation is not due to the G7 oil price cap, since there is, in any case a 45-day wind-down period for seaborne Russian crude oil purchased before 5 December,” a European Commission spokesperson told Reuters in emailed comments.
Under the G7 scheme’s transition period, which runs to Jan. 19, services, such as insurance, can still be provided for seaborne Russian crude bought before Dec. 5, even if it was bought at a price above the cap.
The Commission spokesperson said that after this transition period, Turkish authorities can continue to verify the insurance policies of tankers in “exactly the same way as before”.
So what’s up here? Turkey is both a country and, historically, a lever that exists between Western governments and Russia. It’s been this way since the end of WWII and the biggest winner from Russia’s illegal occupation of Ukraine has been Turkey and the company’s President Recep Erdogan.
What’s not clear, immediately, is what Erdogan wants. We’ll probably find out soon.
The UAW Organizes Its First Battery Plant
Workers at the Ultium Cells LLC plant in Warren, Ohio, voted 710-16 in favor of joining the United Auto Workers union. In case it wasn’t obvious, the Ultium plant is owned by General Motors in a tie-up with LG Energy Solution.
Here’s some important context from The Detroit News:
The Warren Ultium facility is the first of several battery plants the UAW will look to organize as the Detroit Three automakers progress on their EV plans. The organization efforts come a year before the UAW starts contract talks with the automakers, which are likely to focus on preserving union jobs in the move to EVs.
“The successful organizing of the new wave of electric battery manufacturing is essential to the UAW’s future position,” said Marick Masters, a professor at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business, in a statement. “Its victory in the recent election to organize the Ultium facility represents a milestone in its path toward this end. Now the challenge is to meld the representation of these workers into the overall fabric of the auto negotiations so as protect jobs and wages.”
The GM Lordstown plant is right next year so this will be interesting to watch.
It’s late at night. You’re happily asleep dreaming of a pristine Isuzu Impulse RS. Suddenly, you’re jolted awake by your kid who is claiming she can’t go back to sleep without ‘Cho-Cho-Chokey’ a cat she hasn’t played with in three years. You go digging through their closet and find an old laptop. A thought hits you like a jolt of lighting! Back in college your friend couldn’t pay for pizza and gave you two Bitcoin for it. Those two Bitcoin are on a wallet on that computer. You ignore your kid and run to transfer that money into cash while you can and end up with $34,324. You’ve got to buy a new performance car. What do you get?
Read more on The Autopian
- The 2024 Subaru Impreza Revives The Impreza 2.5 RS And Kills The Sedan
- Here’s Every Car The $43,990 Honda Civic Type R Competes With
- The 276 Horsepower 2022 Hyundai Elantra N Is A Blue Collar Sports Sedan Revelation
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Photos: Mitsui OSK Lines, Ford, Subaru, GM
I wonder if Subaru is becoming the modern day Lancia.
Except for the Outback, the new 5th gen seems more outback-y than ever!
The WRX seems designed at random, like someone rebadged a very boring family saloon to hide the fact it’s just a very fuel inefficient boxer.
And the new Impreza? Oh god. No flavor, the most generic design I’ve seen in a long time. Compared to the Koreans, this makes me sad.
The recently announced XV isn’t much better.
I also remember someone here mentioning that a FWD Japan-market XV actually drives much better than the AWD version (bad conditions being the rare exception).
I’m really tempted to get an Outback as my next car, or the Levorg – although with the latter the engine choice in Europe is sad (1.6 turbo direct injection pre-facelift, 2.0 atmospheric port-side injection after facelift; slightly fun vs boring but reliable). But if my intuition is correct and Subaru is slowly fading, I don’t know where else to turn.
For context: my first car was a 2005 Outback 3.0R, until it rusted away. Second was a Mazda CX-7, which taught me to hate SUVs with a passion. And now I have a Honda Civic 1.8 Tourer, the EU model.
The Civic is a fun story also. With EU sales faling and our models being made in Swindon, UK, Honda closed the factory down. Which, as I recently found out, means end of production to certain spare parts – for a 6yo car!
Flush: I go back, find the plushie and grab a book that was a favorite bed time read back when Cho-Cho was in rotation. Then I sleep before figuring out the tax implications of the sale. More in the spirit of the game? I’d be chosing between a Bolt and a Prius Prime. Fully in the spirit? I’d test drive and test deals between LT1, Ecoboost, GR86, and Miata.
Well, now I miss my Impulse RS. Called it Cocaine, cause of the Clapton tape stuck in it.
A new performance car for $34324 maximum? Hopefully the Fiat 500e 3+1 will be sold in the US for that or less. Otherwise I really can’t think of anything. Performance cars usually get horrible MPG (under 30mpg highway is horrible IMHO) and with gas prices the way they are and how they’re likely only going to go up long term I wouldn’t want to buy a new ICE performance car. Proper tires and a handbrake would make the 500e 3+1 into a pretty slick little rally machine.
“under 30mpg highway is horrible IMHO”
What times we live in!
Re: the WRX, I test-drove the last one and was left dissapointed: the cheap interior, the terrible seats, the vague shifter reminiscent of a 1960 Renault, the garbage clutch feel (inconsistent friction point, likely due to the tiny clutch-delay valve), over-assisted brake pedal, soft & underdamped suspension, and finally the inability to find a decent driving position between the seat & steering wheel adjustments and pedals position. The only decent thing was the engine, especially compared to the wheezy NA engines Subaru puts in all its other cars. There’s still a caveat there from people reporting full-size truck gas mileage from the WRX.
Perhaps they’ve fixed all those issues for the 2023 model, all for a $1000 increase 🙂
I like the new WRX, sucks new ones are not present on dealer lots at all… quick autotrader search and there is nothing new within 100km from me.
Managed to get my profile picture to appear! Now attempting to add a link to my name