Cars­guide’s best of 2012 takes on an un­usual ri­val from Korea. NEIL DOWL­ING ref­er­ees

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head to Head -


The most talked-about car of 2012 is the most dif­fi­cult to buy with months-long de­liv­ery dates. It’s de­sir­able be­cause it’s new, in­ex­pen­sive and so much fun to drive. The base model’s ba­sic equip­ment suits the aus­tere ap­peal of a sports car. The 86 gets capped-price ser­vice and stan­dard three-year war­ranty.


Sim­ple: long-nose, short-tail sports as be­fits a front-en­gine, rear-drive ma­chine. The cock­pit suits two adults while the boot and rear ‘‘seat’’ are for a small amount of lug­gage. Subaru, which makes the car, stamps ex­posed metal with its own name. The base model’s stan­dard wheels look or­di­nary.


The 86 (and BRZ) share a unique plat­form and even the dual-in­jected Soob-sourced en­gine tweaked 147kW/ 205Nm for a claimed 7.8 litres/100km. The six-speed man­ual gear­box is shared with the Mazda MX-5. Steer­ing is elec­tric as­sist and it works like a charm.


There are seven airbags and a five-star crash rat­ing. The chas­sis has elec­tronic sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol, nice big ven­ti­lated brakes but no spare wheel. Driver’s vi­sion is av­er­age and there are no park sen­sors or rear cam­era.


One of those rare cars that be­come an ex­ten­sion of your body. It has ex­cel­lent re­sponse, holds a nearper­fect line, hugs the road and brakes hard and fast. Though the en­gine is weak down low, it winds out nicely with ad­e­quate mid-range punch.

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