Ja­pan takes on Europe in the battle of the red-hot hatches. James Stan­ford calls the win­ner.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -


The last WRX STI cost $60,000, but Subaru has cut the price to $49,990. It has more power and torque than the Re­nault and a com­plex all-wheel drive sys­tem. But it gets smaller wheels and misses the Re­nault’s rear park­ing sen­sors. Other gear in­cludes dual zone air­con, Brembo brakes, al­can­tara/leather seats, sat­nav and a 6.1-inch touch­screen. War­ranty is three years/un­lim­ited kilo­me­tres. Capped priced ser­vic­ing is ex­pen­sive at $2218 for three years.


Buy an STI and you have to be pre­pared for at­ten­tion thanks to the big bon­net scoop and mas­sive rear wing. It’s roomy in­side, with the added prac­ti­cal­ity of four doors. The dash­board has mis­matched screens and di­als. The front seats and leather steer­ing wheel are

nice enough, but don’t feel as sporty as the Re­nault.


The STI has a turbo 2.5-litre boxer four-cylin­der mak­ing a hefty 221kW and 407Nm of torque. It is sent to all four wheels with a com­plex AWD sys­tem (with front and rear limited slip dif­fer­en­tials), which can be partly con­trolled by the driver. This is enough for a 4.9 sec­ond 0-100km/h time, a lot faster than the Re­nault. The only gear­box is a six-speed man­ual.


Seven airbags earn a five-star ANCAP crash rat­ing. It has a re­vers­ing cam­era but as with the Re­nault, misses out on more ad­vanced driver aids.


The STI is the faster car, with fe­ro­cious per­for­mance when pushed hard and re­mark­able trac­tion, even in slip­pery con­di­tions. This en­gine is su­per strong and the AWD sys­tem is im­pres­sive. The STI is great when you can push it, but it is so fast that you can’t re­ally do that on the road. It’s not as fun as the Re­nault at lesser speeds. The steer­ing lacks feel, while the gear­box feels clunky in com­par­i­son to the Re­nault’s. You can also feel the 1525 kilo­grams.

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