Subaru WRX Premium

Motor (Australia) - - HOT SOURCE - SN

DON’T GO look­ing for ma­jor changes on Subaru’s MY18 WRX; un­less you’re an ea­gle-eyed trainspot­ter, you’re likely to come up blank. This is partly be­cause the few engi­neer­ing changes are hid­den away un­der­neath the skin, but also be­cause at a ca­sual glance lit­tle ap­pears to have changed. Ex­ter­nally, there’s a sharper nose with a new grille, steer­ingre­spon­sive LED head­lights and re­designed 18-inch al­loys, while ex­tra kit in­cludes heated door mir­rors, a larger 5.9-inch in­fo­tain­ment touch­screen and, in our Premium level test car, heated front seats, the driver’s be­ing eight-way power ad­justable. In terms of me­chan­i­cals the 2.0-litre turbo boxer four re­mains at 197kW/350Nm, but there are new high per­for­mance brake pads and ‘re­vised’ sus­pen­sion, ac­cord­ing to Subaru. The ex­tra gear has pushed the price of the WRX Premium up a rea­son­able $750 to $45,640, while the CVT op­tion adds an­other $3000 but in­cludes Subaru’s Eye­Sight driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy. Driv­ing the lat­est WRX is a mix of fun and frus­tra­tion. It re­mains a quick car, with an ap­peal­ingly raw, old-school feel to the way it han­dles – this is a good thing – and the ride is firm but ac­cept­able for daily use. Un­for­tu­nately, there are also a num­ber of short­com­ings. The en­gine has all man­ner of peaks and troughs in its power curve, with an ini­tial hes­i­ta­tion fol­lowed by a burst of mid-range torque be­fore dra­mat­i­cally fad­ing around 5000rpm. It’s also a mad­den­ingly dif­fi­cult car to drive smoothly; clutch take-up is sud­den, the shift is notchy and smooth changes are vir­tu­ally a lot­tery. It’s easy to stall, too. The MY18 WRX may be good value, but it needs re­fin­ing. –

SPECS 2.0-LITRE BOXER-FOUR, TURBO, 197KW, 350NM, 1474KG, 0-100KM/H 6.0SEC PRICE $45,640

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