Sporty hatches come in differing temperaments. Craig Duff measures a one-time AWD extrovert against a more modern front-driver
Subaru hits you here on both standard features and servicing costs. Default gear includes a 6.2-inch touchscreen to the ST’s 5-inch job and auto lights and wipers. Three year/100,000km warranty requires twice-yearly visits to the shop, or every 12,500km, totalling $2247 for the manual or $2207 for the CVT (a $2000 option). Resale value is tipped to be 57 per cent after three years.
Bonnet scoop apart, the WRX looks positively demure alongside the ST. The extroverted spoilers and wings of previous generations give way to more conservative trim as Subaru looks to push the WRX as a mainstream model and the STI as its performance vehicle. The interior looks dated against the Ford, especially with
the red-lit displays.
The 2.0-litre boxer, with the turbo wicked up to produce 197kW/350Nm, powers all four wheels. Six-speed manual is standard; the CVT brings paddle shifters and three-mode drivetrain adjustment via steering wheel-mounted toggles. The manual is good for 6.0 seconds for the 0-100km/h dash, the CVT 6.3. Claimed fuel use is 9.2L/100km manual and 8.6L CVT.
ANCAP‘s five-star rating rewards its solid crash test performance and good pedestrian impact protection, with a score of 35.85/37. Seven airbags are standard and all seats have seat belt reminders. Add $6000 for a WRX Premium to gain driving aid software.
All-wheel-drive allows the car to use every bit of power in most situations. An inherent desire to push straight on rather than turn corners means it’s less fun than the ST — but it is as fast. The body doesn’t roll as much in turns and the direct steering means you forgive the occasional mid-corner kick. The CVT is one of the best of its breed but I’d take the manual to keep the engine above 2500rpm.