Suby boys grow up

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

THE cap-back­wards bri­gade re­gard Subaru’s per­for­mance pair — the WRX and its higher-spec STI sta­ble­mate — with a rev­er­ence nor­mally re­served for Oprah Win­frey. The orig­i­nal Rex ran a boy-racer aero kit draped over a trig­ger-happy turbo en­gine. It was light, fe­ro­ciously fast on boost and a lot of fun once own­ers had worked out the all-wheel drive.

The lat­est wide-body mod­els are more re­fined dressers, the STI sedan’s mas­sive rear wing aside. They’ve grown from blinged-up teens to mus­cu­lar mob­sters. The wheel-arch bulges give the car an ag­gres­sive look with­out need­ing ground-ef­fect spoil­ers and skirts that scrape on ev­ery drive­way.

But has this di­luted the bang-for-your-buck en­ter­tain­ment that cre­ated a cult car? Has it at­tracted new devo­tees? And is the STI re­ally half as good again as a reg­u­lar Rex? Cars­Guide puts them to the test.

Value

THE WRX is $40,000; the STI an­other $20,000. The Rex still looks mus­cu­lar and is still rel­a­tive raw, though it lacks the vi­cious ex­haust bark and bur­ble of the early mod­els. Put that down to tougher noise and emis­sion stan­dards.

The in­te­rior is com­fort­able, but its Im­preza styling gives it an ef­fi­cient look that’s too be­nign for this kind of car.

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