The original WRX TR made its debut in 2006, targeting enthusiasts keen on modifying their cars right after purchase. Branded as “Tuner Ready,” the TR omitted rear spoilers, fog lights, and high-end stereos, assuming buyers would opt for custom upgrades. Fast forward to 2024, and the Subaru WRX TR has evolved, departing from its stripped-down roots to embrace a more comprehensive approach reminiscent of an STI-lite. The meaning behind “TR” now remains a mystery—perhaps “Totally Rad,” “Tire Roaster,” or even a nod to Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote about walking softly and carrying a big stick, especially into braking zones.
The standout feature of the 2024 WRX TR lies in its upgraded brakes, boasting Brembos with six-piston calipers up front and two-piston fixed calipers at the rear. Accompanied by a larger master cylinder, these improvements extend across all manual-transmission 2024 WRXs. The front rotors now measure 13.4 inches in diameter, an inch larger than the standard WRX, while the cross-drilled rear rotors gain 1.4 inches. To emphasize the enhanced stopping power, the calipers are painted a vivid red.
Distinctive 19-inch wheels, a size up to accommodate the substantial brakes, add to the TR’s unique profile, resembling those from a Lamborghini Urus. Wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza S007 tires, a new addition for the WRX, the TR’s springs and dampers are about 5 percent stiffer, and the power steering is tuned for increased feedback. Inside, the TR boasts Ultrasuede-trimmed Recaro seats, exclusive to the manual-transmission variant, and notably lacks a sunroof for weight-saving purposes.
Subaru unveiled the WRX TR in Sicily, navigating the original Targa Florio circuit—a racing heritage dating back to 1977. Despite its age, the Targa Florio Rally, part of the European Rally Championship from 1984 to 2011, saw Subaru victories in 1995 and 1999. The roads of Sicily, remnants of the Targa Florio, proved challenging during the WRX TR’s test drive, which was marked by cold rain and slick pavement. The TR demonstrated its agility, handling the adverse conditions with ease.
While some may lament the absence of a WRX STI, the WRX TR, priced at $42,775, offers a compelling alternative. Although it falls short of the hypothetical 2024 WRX STI and the flagship WRX GT, it represents a step in the right direction. Despite yearning for the 2021 days when a 305-hp WRX STI could be yours for $38,170, the current WRX, with its improvements, provides a more refined driving experience. Enthusiasts might dream of an extra 50 horsepower from the 2.4-liter engine, but the TR, even if “Tuner Ready” no longer stands as its official moniker, still embodies the spirit of customization and performance upgrades.