Subaru can build what ever it wants for whomever it wants. The company’s trouble seems to be getting people to believe it can.
All of its all wheel drive offerings are competent and more than capable. Boring? Depends. All the cars can be outfitted to be extremely appealing but not all that exciting.
That is unless you check all the equipment boxes on the Imprezza until you end up with a WRX. That’s a tire smoking hatchback (and now a sedan as well) that will make a Mitsubishi EVO owner take a second look. Check a few more and you get the WRX STi which is something else all together.
The STi has a 305 horsepower 2.5-liter flat engine with 295 pounds-feet of torque. That will allow you to sprint to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, around the time as a V8 Camaro or Mustang. Not sure of top speed but I’m guessing somewhere around 140 mph.
The manual transmission can be a bit of a hinderance, especially the clutch take up. It’s rather stiff (understandably so) but manageable. Selecting the gear is a bit sticky but once you get the feel of it, things don’t seem as difficult.
There are three limited slip differentials – front, center and rear – which help give this car incredible grip along with those sticky tires. Enough can’t be said about the all wheel drive system. It’s certainly an added plus.
People don’t buy car’s like this because of the ride, but I feel I should mention such. It’s about what you should expect for a sports car. It its extremely rough on bad pavement but livable on smoother roads. Could this be an everyday car? Sure, but don’t expect something cushy.
What you can expect is to slice through traffic with ease and slice up curvy highway with aplomb. The WRX acts as if it’s guided by lasers. Point the car and there it goes. You can take a curve waaaay above the suggested speed limit with confidence. The handling is spectacular but really more suited for a race track. There are very few places to enjoy this thing on the highway.
That’s a shame. With fluctuating gas prices and a call for much more tame sedans and hatches the WRX Sti is a dying bread. The no fun police are forcing care makers to become much more conservative. I do find it ironic that Subaru is considered to be one of the most conservative yet here is the WRX in all it’s glory.
It is not without fault. The interior could use a little less plastic and maybe some better ergonomics. The entertainment system was annoying. Too many menus to get to something simple and once you got there the sound was just OK. The navigation system worked well but was a tad pricey. There is a portable Tom Tom version that’s less expensive.
That’s not enough to make me dislike this fine auto, but the price has kept buyers at bay. The base for the STi version is $33,395. My as-tested price was just south of $40,000.
Yes, this is a small car, but with big performance numbers, which makes it a relative bargain, and very rare, other than the Mitsubishi offering. There’s a lot else you can buy at this price but at what price fun? As much as you want to spend.