The WRX is per­ceived as a rally rocket – but at heart it’s a com­pact fam­ily car

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - MOTORING - PAUL & ALI GOVER

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.

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