Lat­est WRX is ex­cite­ment in mo­tion

Subaru is re­fin­ing the sport com­pact

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - WHEELS - Sami haj-as­saad

I’m driv­ing along Kaslo Bay in south­west Bri­tish Columbia when it hits me. A smile. It’s in­fec­tious and fol­lowed by gig­gles and wide-eyed ex­cite­ment.

It’s a re­sult of this route, this scenery and a car that feels right at home nav­i­gat­ing roads that swing side to side like a pen­du­lum. De­spite all the new sport com­pact cars on the scene, it’s the WRX they have to beat.

The 2018 Subaru WRX may not seem very new. It still has the same turbo 2.0-litre boxer en­gine. It’s still only avail­able as a sedan. It’s still pretty light at around 1,500 kilo­grams. It still has a slow in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and no Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto sup­port. The in­te­rior also won’t give you the im­pres­sion you’re in some­thing higher end.

That list of com­plaints is quickly for­got­ten once you take the WRX on the road — and glance at the $29,995 ask­ing price. But let’s get to what’s changed. The front bumper has been re­vised and the car gets an op­tion for full LED head­lights.

Cars equipped with the CVT trans­mis­sion can get Subaru’s Eye­Sight suite of safety and driv- er as­sis­tance fea­tures. These ve­hi­cles also can be equipped with an au­to­matic rear brak­ing sys­tem.

In terms of per­for­mance up­grades, the changes to sus­pen­sion and steer­ing feel are sub­tle. The man­ual trans­mis­sion and steer­ing have been tweaked as well to be smoother. Ad­di­tion­ally, Subaru has re­vised the mount points for roof racks. The au­tomaker is also of­fer­ing new per­for­mance good­ies in the RS Pack­age. There’s also a moon­roof delete op­tion.

The in­te­rior gets new gauges and there are more soft-touch ma­te­ri­als in the cabin. The rear arm­rest now has a cupholder and the front power win­dows have a power off de­lay. Fi­nally, Subaru has reduced a sig­nif­i­cant amount of cabin noise.

The rest of the car is the same old stuff we’ve liked be­fore and there are no changes here that will up­set loyal fans.

All pho­tos hAnd­out

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