The new-generation Subaru Impreza is one of the best small cars on the market, the vehicle only really let down by its CVT (constantly variable transmission).
Here, in the manual version of the Subaru WRX, there is no such issue and the car is then able to be judged in a different light.
Yes, I know the WRX, especially the STI version, is a completely different kettle of fish to your standard Impreza, however you get to enjoy all the good bits of the car, without feeling disappointed by dull performance.
The Good Stuff
Some of the things that make the new Impreza/WRX a winner include the roomy interior, excellent visibility, attractive interior layout/feel, good cabin storage, and generous boot.
Top marks also to Subaru for the clever placement of USB inputs in the forward console storage bin.
It’s also not a bad looker, with or without the enhancements that come bolted on to the WRX STI.
The performance model, even above the standard WRX, doesn’t really disappoint.
There’s better than adequate performance, fantastic road-holding and handling, nice (albeit quite heavy) steering, beefy brakes, and the car gets more than enough attention on the roads.
The body-kit and bright yellow brembo brake calipers make sure the car never goes unnoticed.
The Other Stuff
There’s a couple of things though to keep in mind if you’re going to by-pass any number of attractive hot hatches available at this price point.
Firstly, the ride is completely tuned to sporty driving, don’t expect a soft and supple ride.
It isn’t the most comfortable car getting around - the sports seats have big/very firm side bolsters on the base and unless you’re about 70kgs you may feel a bit cramped.
There’s also no real centre console arm rest and thus, unless you’re constantly driving with hands on wheel/gear shift, you don’t really have a place to rest your arm (noticeable on long highway drives).
Turning circle - it is what you would call acceptable, but certainly larger than a standard Impreza.
There’s also no digital radio and that’s a let down when spending this kind of money.
While be prepared to have to feed your WRX only the more expensive 98 octane fuel.
And I felt the speedometer was also a bit cluttered and took more than a quick glance to make out the speed we were traveling at.
If you’re a WRX guy or girl you will think the 2018 version, especially the STI, is the best thing since sliced bread.
For the fans, those who love the model, there’s really nothing about it that you could say is a glaring fault or issue.
If you’re not a boy-racer, well it might just be a bit too hard-edged for you, especially as a daily driver.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Subaru WRX STI
- Engine: 2.5 litre turbo-petrol producing 221kW and 407Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual
- Warranty: Three years
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $50,040