I had always wanted to own a high performance vehicle but was never particularly taken by the offerings (that I could afford) from VW, Nissan, Toyota or Suzuki. The Subaru WRX was always a car that I noticed when it drove past or overtook me due to distinctive exhaust note and styling.
When I finally test drove one in 2016 I loved every second of it. It was the first turbocharged car I had ever driven and it certainly won’t be the last, the car pushing you back into your seat every time you put your foot down is addictive.
The very first road trip I did with it, was driving around the eastern side of Tasmania. It was the best week of driving I have ever had. The car just ate up the corners, and the AWD gives you so much grip you can really attack corners with confidence.
The interior in the car definitely shows that it is a premium vehicle. The leather seats with red highlights and stitching are a favourite feature of mine along with the ‘STi’ logo that lights up when using your headlights.
The instruments and controls are well laid out and easy to use, and the auto-headlights and windscreen wipers are great during the colder/darker months of the year. The sound system is fantastic; great depth of sound and clear connection via Bluetooth meant that I could listen to my own music with ease. The voice recognition due to the terrible microphone however, was not something I bothered with due to the great steering wheel controls.
The rear-view camera on this car is probably has the clearest resolution I have seen in a car around this price point or below. Very handy while parking with a car that has such a large rear wing and wide body.
That being said, this car is definitely not made for commuting in suburbia and the roads in eastern Victoria are quite rough. The performance tyres, 18-inch wheels and stiff suspension meant that you felt everything… Now this was great at the beginning when I first started driving the car as I really enjoyed feeling the car move through the corners. However, after a few months the cabin really began to make some annoying rattles, particularly through the rear leather seats, dash and occasionally the doors.
The road noise was also quite bad. The car has an excellent infotainment system along with Bluetooth connectivity, but the noise within the cabin made it a necessity to yell if you were to have conversation via hands-free.
The performance of this car is fantastic, no doubt about that, that is if you are happy to be refuelling every week or so. I tried to drive as conservatively as I could for a week and I could only manage a fuel economy of 13.1L/100km and that allowed me to travel 325-350km on a tank. Having said that, you don’t buy one of these cars for the fuel economy, but it is something to consider with fuel prices steadily going up.
To improve the car’s comfort, I would look to improve the materials used in the cabin; the hard plastics create so much noise due to the stiffness of the overall car and the engine noise is not enough to drown it out.
Perhaps look at some further dampening of the suspension just to lessen the shock of going over a slight imperfection in the road. Please, for the sake of everyone’s sanity who owns one of these cars, put in a better microphone that is suited for voice recognition and phone conversations.
Aside from that, I would look to own another one in the future but then again after my experience I might look a bit more closely at other car makers next time I’m in the market for a fun-to-drive car if I wish to own such a vehicle for longer than two years.