I was talking to a friend about my Chevy Bolt after I got it, and remarked how many features it has. Then I realized nothing on the list of features would impress him. He’s the type of guy that gets a new car every 2 years, so he’s seen the gradual stair-step addition of features across several models.

The “new” automatic windows that go all the way up/down with a single button press astound/annoy me. That’s how far behind I was.

I’d driven a 2002 Subaru WRX since 2005. It was a fantastic little car that was terrifically fast. At the time it didn’t have a lot of extra features – you could buy the base WRX for less than $25k in 2002. While the base MSRP for a 2021 Chevy Bolt is in the $30k range, tax and dealer incentives frequently brought it to the $25k price point.

Since almost 20 years had elapsed between these two model years, I wanted to highlight what sort of features have become standard:

Anything missing?

Are there some things I miss from my WRX that the Bolt doesn’t offer? Of course. One of the things I’m completely willing to let go of is the additional .6 seconds of quarter-mile time. The Bolt does it in 14.9 to the WRX’s (stock) 14.3. The fastest I ever drove my WRX in the 1/4 mile was 14.001 – after several modifications. I’m OK with the Bolt being “stuck” where it’s at in terms of speed, because the motor/transmission/drivetrain is so dead simple that it may last forever.

The things the WRX had that I will actually miss:

  • Great seats (the Bolt’s are notoriously un-bolstered)
  • CD Player
  • All wheel drive
  • Turbocharger
  • Manual transmission
  • Occasionally that rumbly sound (but not on road trips)

Part of the reason I bought the Bolt without a test drive is because of this enormous gap in time. I knew that there would be a tremendous amount of “new stuff” that I wasn’t accustomed to. Would I have purchased a higher trim level like the Premier if I had test driven? Maybe, but only for the stereo upgrade 🔊

One thought on “$25k cars 20 years apart

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