Seek ’em Rex
Beware abuse, but a well-loved WRX can be almost bulletproof
There has never been any doubt about the performance of Subaru’s all-wheel-drive WRX. It’s always been fast but there have been times when its looks were seen as short of the mark.
Any complaints about the looks were answered in 2010 with the release of a mean-looking model to silence the critics.
One look at the bulging front and rear guards filled with big alloy wheels was enough to tell you the ‘‘ Rex’’ was back in form after the rather soft-looking predecessor. A sedan STi featured a large rear wing that added to its menacing image.
The standard WRX packed a mean punch with 195kW and 343Nm thundering from its 2.5-litre turbo flat-four engine.
The even hotter STi delivered 221kW and a massive 407Nm. Among the differences that boosted the output of the STi were variable valve timing on both the inlet and exhaust cams, whereas the baseWRXhad variable timing only on the inlet cam.
With the regularWRXyou got a five-speed manual gearbox; the STi offered a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed sport-shifting auto— but the auto engine gave you 57Nm less torque.
Except in the auto, WRXs had an electronically controlled centre diff (the auto’s was mechanical) and all had a front limited-slip diff.
The wheels were moved outwards under the pumped-up guards to give theWRXa larger footprint, which aided handling.
In STi guise the suspension was lower and boasted different spring and shocks rates, a heavier antiroll bar and bigger brakes— adding up to more fun at the wheel. It also got lighter alloy 18-inch wheels compared to the 17-inch wheels on the standard.
Safety was covered by six airbags and electronic stability control, enough to have it rated five stars by ANCAP.
Buying a usedWRXdemands caution, not because it’s plagued with problems but simply that it’s a high performance car and usually bought by people who like to drive it hard and fast.
Look for signs not so much of use, as abuse. Brakes, clutches, suspension, wheels and tyres can all take a hammering.
Look closely for modifications made to mount roll cages and so on. Also look for modifications to engines in the pursuit of even greater outputs. If you find any and they appear dodgy, walk away and keep shopping. Consider a modified car only if you can check the bona fides of the person who did the work.
It’s also critical the highperformance WRX is fastidiously maintained, so thoroughly check the service history of any car under consideration.
Given a mechanically sympathetic owner and regular servicing, theWRXis pretty much bulletproof— that was the overall report we got from the trade.
Even more bang for your buck, theWRXis back in town.