Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -


Slightly cheaper but gets smaller 18-inch wheels, smaller cen­tre screen but no park­ing sen­sors. Other than that, it matches the Peu­geot with Al­can­tara bucket seats with leather ac­cents, du­al­zone cli­mate con­trol and sat­nav, adding pre­mium Har­man Kar­don au­dio. War­ranty is av­er­age at 3 years/un­lim­ited km. Subaru doesn’t charge ex­tra for paint. Three years’ capped ser­vic­ing costs slightly less at $2222 and in­cludes six ser­vices to the Peu­geot’s three.


If the Peu­geot is un­der­stated the Rex is in your face, with bon­net scoop, big rear wing and pumped out whee­larches. Strip away the bling and the in­trin­sic de­sign isn’t as sleek and stylish as the Peu­geot. In­side it’s the same story: boy racer ver­sus Euro chic. The cen­tre screen looks a lit­tle af­ter­mar­ket com­pared with the 308.


Even with the ex­tra weight, there’s no sub­sti­tute for cu­bic ca­pac­ity, power and torque. The 2.5-litre out­mus­cles the Peu­geot’s 1.6-litre with 10 per cent more power and al­most 25 per cent more torque. Add all-wheel trac­tion off the mark and you can be­lieve the claim that the Subaru is more than a sec­ond quicker in the 0-100km/ h sprint (4.9sec to 6.0sec). It sounds meaner but lacks the “p-tish” sound the 308 makes on gear changes.


The WRX gets seven airbags (driver’s knee bag) and a five-star crash rat­ing, scor­ing 35.85/37 in ANCAP test­ing. It has tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing and auto haz­ard lights but only the more ex­pen­sive Pre­mium is fit­ted with blind spot mon­i­tor, lane change as­sist and rear cross traf­fic alert.


You feel the ex­tra mass through the cor­ners but the tena­cious all­wheel grip and torque vec­tor­ing make it feel more com­posed, if not as nim­ble, as the GTi through the cor­ners. Han­dling bias can be ad­justed on the run. The ride can be un­com­fort­ably firm at low speeds, though. Feels as if the per­for­mance thresh­old is higher than the 308 and it de­liv­ers more thrills.

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