The WRX is perceived as a rally rocket – but at heart it’s a compact family car
It’s been a cult car and a sales champion almost forever, so Subaru has no intention of calling time on the WRX. But the next allnew WRX is still more than a year away, so the all-wheel drive turbo car has had another tickle to keep it fresh.
ALI: Cool, this is a fun car. Apart from possibly changing the interior and styling, what else could Subaru do? It’s not like it needs to go any faster.
PAUL: There are some tweaks for 2018, from a bigger infotainment screen and red-painted brake calipers with different pads to LED headlights and slightly different alloy wheels.
ALI: The front end is all grille but that's trend at the moment. It seems to make it more aggressive.
PAUL: Yes, the grille is more aggressive than before. But I’m disappointed our WRX manual test car doesn’t get the EyeSight safety package that’s in the auto.
ALI: And what’s with the huge spoiler? Is that not a bit of overkill?
PAUL: WRX people love it and at least it’s so high it doesn’t affect rear vision.
ALI: It seems more grown-up since I last drove this baby. I like the twotone colours of the stitched leather and the red seat belts are a nice touch without being OTT.
PAUL: It’s all very familiar. I’ve always been a fan of the sports seats and the slick gear change.
ALI: The infotainment is super easy and even nanny could manage this one.
PAUL: It’s a driver’s car but Subaru has made it more userfriendly over the years as buyers got older. A lot of businessmen now drive a WRX and, starting from less than $45,000 on the road, it’s good buying.
ALI: I’m not happy about the boot lid, which still sounds tinny. And I swear it could knock me out, the way it flies up when you hit the release.
PAUL: I’m not sure I would choose the manual for big-city traffic but you can always shift up early and enjoy the way the torque pushes you along.
ALI: It’s surprisingly quiet and easy to drive in heavy traffic. It’s not champing at the bit, which is a plus when you just want to cruise.
PAUL: Vision is good, it’s responsive and easy to push into a gap.
ALI: I don’t mind the manual gearbox and it’s quite fun to have more control over such a meaty beast. But after a while I would probably develop sciatica in my left hip as the clutch takes a bit of a push.
PAUL: It’s when you’re doing the mundane stuff that you appreciate the Impreza roots of the WRX. It’s best known as a rally winner – and the long-time rival for the Mitsubishi Evo – but at heart it’s a compact family car.
ALI: It’s simple to park. But is it me or are the reverse-camera guidelines spaced a little tighter than other cars? I seem to park a lot closer to objects in this.
PAUL: It was fine for me but I also turn and look.
PAUL: Any drive can be a fun run when you uncork the turbo and pick up the grip in corners. That’s one of the things I like about the WRX, because you don’t have to go crazy to enjoy the car.
ALI: There was no giant mountain drive for me in the WRX, which was disappointing. I would have liked to see how it handles on the hill turns.
PAUL: I also like the way it rides. It’s firm but not harsh, although there is a fair bit of road noise on coarse bitumen.
ALI: The bucket seats in this car are the comfiest ever.
ELI: I love the big wing on the back. The rear seat is good for me and my stuff.
PAUL: I think it’s really practical. Cars this quick usually cost a lot more and are severely compromised.
ALI: I noticed the rear seats don’t fold down flat, which is a pain when transporting bigger items.
PAUL: I’d be tempted by the WRX auto to get the EyeSight package, with auto emergency braking, lane departure warning and the rest, to keep the family safe.
ALI: Tick. It works really well for people who want a little bit of everything, including that quintessential Subaru turbo sound. Tick. PAUL: Tick, too. I’ve always been a WRX fan and nothing has changed.