The Subaru WRX is the company’s next step from the Impreza. The Impreza shot up at fame when Colin McRae was victorious during the 1995 world championship. As a result, the demand for the Impreza increased but the company misinterpreted this by shifting from a four-door saloon to a five-door hatchback. To gain back this loss, the Impreza name was dropped and the latest generation was named the WRX STi. The vehicle is still a four-door saloon, but how it fares in today’s market is another matter.
The WRX STi can be had as a five door hatchback or as a four door saloon. The engine is a 16-valve 2.5-litre quad cam that has variable valve timing and a single turbo. It also comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as the only default choice. A driver programmable centre differential directs the power to the car’s four corners. On normal driving conditions, the torque splits at 41 per cent forward and 59 per cent at the rear wheels. The McPherson struts, a Subaru staple, handle the front axle and wishbones of unequal lengths suspend the rear.
The steering has almost perfect weighting, giving you a hard feel that stands out among the popular electric power steering systems. Feedback through the rim is authentic and doesn’t feel as synthesized as the electrically powered systems. Composure remains even when the WRX is being thrown around.
The WRX STi doesn’t have a very impressive interior. The materials on the dash are fake metal and hard plastics, resulting in a cheap look and varied textures that don’t come together to achieve a specific look. Although the dials are easy to read, they still appear cheap and old. The switchgears don’t look any different either. Thankfully the interior doesn’t hold back in providing function. But it’s hard to explore the WRX’s different functions given its unattractive form on the inside.
Other elements in the interior aren’t perfect either. The driving position is just right, but could still use some improvement. It would help if the space had more reach for the steering column. The Recaro seats are quiet comfortable and supportive all throughout a long journey, but leg room is limited and the space only works for small adults and children. The boot, however, can take a capacity of 420 litres.
The WRX goes at an easy and pleasant fast pace, but that’s all its engine can offer. The 5.2 seconds mark of its 62mph sprint isn’t too far from the Impreza’s 2-litre Turbo engine ability. The six-speed gearbox, although gives short and close ratios, is not as cooperative as it should be. It would have been better if it were less notchy in action as it tends to be obstructive when you try to gain at faster speeds.
The WRX has significant flaws. But performance wise it doesn’t fail entirely and the steering makes it a worthy choice for the vehicle’s main purpose. It still competes steadily against the other hatches or saloons. But next to the BMW 135i, the best choice is obvious.
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