Since I was 10 or 11 years old, with a poster of the original Subaru WRX STi in rally blue with gold wheels on my wall, all I have wanted was to own a WRX.
I'll start the review by saying that over the years I have had a number of performance cars, from a Mark 6 Golf R to an FD Mazda RX7. So when I was able to purchase a WRX and realise that boyhood dream, I jumped at the opportunity. The WRX went through a period where, in my opinion, the design was an acquired taste. With the release of the current shape in 2014, I thought it was a return to a car that looked great and had excellent performance. The MY18 shape added some nice touches, increasing the aesthetics even more.
When I took the Rex for its first test drive, I immediately noticed how responsive it was, with minimal turbo lag compared to the Golf R. Going through the 6-speed gearbox was easy, and in every gear, it just kept accelerating with such ease, you wouldn't even know it was a turbo with the minimal amount of lag it produced. The only downside of driving this car is that sometimes it feels like the clutch is too sticky and you struggle to keep it consistent all the time. The WRX handles great. Cornering is a breeze in this car, with the knowledge that the AWD system is helping me keep it tight in the corners. You are able to take on bends with more speed than you would in FWD car, and come out of that corner able to accelerate even more.
The interior of the car is quite nice. The leather seating is of high quality, with front seat warmers for those cold winter mornings. There are some nice touches on the dashboard, with carbon fibre lookalike trimming adding some race car feels. The leather steering wheel feels nice when driving, with the racing-style flat bottom quite surprisingly nice in the hand.
Inside the WRX is a 7-inch infotainment system with Subaru's Starlink technology. It is a bit disappointing that this model didn't come with Apple CarPlay, but it wasn't a deal breaker. I have contacted Subaru about retrofitting the CarPlay system such as what Mazda is offering on their vehicles, but have not heard back from them as yet! In terms of the audio quality, the Harman Kardon system works a treat. It slightly distorts when the volume is turned right up, but overall, the performance of the sound system is really good for a standard set up. The quality of the sound system is a huge selling point for me when looking for a new car, and the one in the WRX performs quite well.
The 460L boot is quite large. Friends and family who have seen the boot are quite surprised at its size, as the car doesn't seem like it has such a large space in the back from the outside. I have been able to fit a bicycle in the back with the seats folded down as well, so it is extremely practical.
As a daily driver, the WRX is surprisingly really practical in this sense as well. Parking is not a concern, as the front bar is at a good height. I have no concerns with hitting the concrete stoppers in a parking spot, as Subaru has ensured that the front bar comes up high enough to miss these. The addition of the front and left-hand side cameras is also a great bit of technology, allowing you to ensure that the car is parked perfectly. Being able to see the side of the car when reversing into a spot allows me to ensure that the car is directly in the centre of the spot, minimising the risk of doors being opened onto the car causing dents. The quality of the reverse camera is amazing as well, with such a clear picture I am able to see everything behind me with ease. It has plenty of other technology on offer, with two USB ports, auto lighting, dual climate control, auto dimming rear view mirror, sat-nav, auto wipers, and many more.
I have driven the WRX for 12 months now, and it has been an extremely reliable daily car. It never skips a beat and is always a pleasure to drive. I still feel like its new every time I get into it.
Fuel economy could be better, but with the performance of the car, you are always going to sacrifice a little fuel economy. I average 9.6-10L/100km with city driving. Whilst this isn't great fuel economy, it is better than some of the rivals in the segment. Highway driving I have managed to keep it around 6.5-7L/100km. Having that 6-speed gearbox definitely helps you maintain better fuel economy on long-haul drives.
In terms of speed, the WRX is not lightning quick. The 197kw is a reasonable amount, slightly less than the Renault Megane RS, which has 205kW as standard. This is where the AWD kicks in, with RS being only FWD.
Overall, I am very happy with my WRX. The addition of Apple CarPlay would make the infotainment system just that little bit better. It has more than enough performance for the streets, and the increase to 12-month interval servicing has been welcome. Some more storage compartments, staying true to Subaru's past, would also be a welcome addition, but overall, the WRX is the perfect car for a daily performance driver.
Editor's note: Subaru have contacted us to clarify that only some models are on 12 month or 12,500 km servicing intervals. WRX remains on 6 month or 12,500 km intervals.