Can Proper Tuning Increase My MPG – WRX?

Increasing the fuel efficiency of a Subaru WRX is a common goal for car enthusiasts seeking to optimize their driving experience while also reducing their carbon footprint. One approach that’s been widely discussed is the idea of proper tuning, which entails fine-tuning the engine's performance to maximize it’s efficiency and improve miles per gallon (MPG). However, the effectiveness of proper tuning in increasing MPG in a WRX depends on various factors, such as the skill and knowledge of the tuner, the driving conditions, and the specific modifications made to the vehicle. Consequently, enthusiasts should carefully evaluate their goals and consider consulting with experienced professionals to determine the best approach for optimizing their WRX's MPG through proper tuning.

How Fuel Efficient Is a Subaru WRX?

The Subaru WRX has long been praised for it’s impressive performance and all-wheel drive capabilities. But what about it’s fuel efficiency? Many people may assume that a sporty car like the WRX would be a gas guzzler, but thats not necessarily the case.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Subaru WRX is rated to deliver 22 mpg combined with the standard manual transmission. If you opt for the optional CVT automatic, the fuel efficiency drops slightly to 21 mpg combined. While these figures may not seem overly impressive compared to some compact cars, it’s important to keep in mind that the WRX is a high-performance vehicle.

To truly gauge it’s real-world fuel efficiency, we conducted a 75-mph highway fuel economy test. Both the six-speed manual WRX Limited and the automatic WRX GT were put to the test, and the results were quite surprising. Despite their potent power and exhilarating performance, both vehicles managed to achieve an impressive 28 mpg on our highway route.

This suggests that the WRX isn’t only capable of delivering exceptional performance, but it also offers decent fuel efficiency. It’s worth noting that driving habits, road conditions, and other factors can influence these figures. However, the fact that the WRX was able to surpass it’s EPA rating on a real-world highway test is a testament to it’s fuel-efficient capabilities.

Comparing the Fuel Efficiency of the Subaru WRX to Other Sporty Cars in It’s Class

  • Ford Mustang GT
  • Chevrolet Camaro SS
  • Dodge Challenger R/T
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Toyota 86
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Audi S3
  • BMW M235i
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG
  • Acura NSX

However, even in Normal mode, the WRX’s fuel economy isn’t impressive compared to other vehicles in it’s class. This can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the WRX’s turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive system, and overall weight. These performance-oriented features, while offering thrilling driving dynamics, tend to consume more fuel than more efficient alternatives.

Why Does WRX Have Bad Fuel Economy?

Additionally, the WRX comes with a powerful turbocharged engine that demands more fuel consumption. The turbocharger forces more air into the engine, allowing for increased power and performance, but this also requires a higher fuel-to-air ratio, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency.

Furthermore, the WRX is equipped with all-wheel drive, which adds weight and drag to the vehicle. AWD systems are great for improved traction and handling, especially in inclement weather or during high-performance driving. However, the extra weight and resistance from the drivetrain components contribute to decreased fuel economy.

The WRXs sporty design also plays a role in it’s fuel economy. It features a more aggressive body kit, larger air intakes, and a bold front grille, all of which enhance it’s performance capabilities. However, these modifications also contribute to increased aerodynamic drag, negatively affecting fuel efficiency.

Moreover, the WRXs transmission options can impact fuel economy. The automatic WRX is EPA tested in Sport mode, which prioritizes performance over efficiency. While it may offer quicker acceleration and a more engaging driving experience, it comes at the expense of fuel efficiency.

The WRX is known for it’s spirited performance and exhilarating driving experience, which may lead some drivers to indulge in more aggressive driving behaviors. Frequent acceleration, high-speed driving, and inefficient braking can all contribute to lower fuel efficiency.


By optimizing various factors such as air-fuel mixture, ignition timing, and boost levels, a skilled tuner can unlock the full potential of the engine, allowing for better combustion and improved mpg. Factors such as driving habits, traffic conditions, and aerodynamics will also play a significant role in determining the overall mpg of a WRX.

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