Subaru WRX – What lies beneath

We’re all so different. Some people are indifferent about cars. A to B people, I call them.

Some people hate cars. Different, I call them.

Some people drool over cars. Me. Call me what you want.

At first glance you might think this one is all about performance and for the most part, it is. I approached this car with some anticipation of respectable acceleration and grip but I got the biggest surprise of my life when I buried the throttle and let it rip. The take-off as those 4 wheels put down the power is ‘hold-on tight’ stuff. It is borderline savage. Acceleration runs to 100km/h and beyond were gloriously quick and though we didn’t time them using fancy vBox equipment, we managed a very nice 5.6 seconds to 100km/h using a fairly cheap iPhone app.

The power is addictive and I would imagine that Subaru has known this for a while, hence the ‘Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive’ system that does work in the WRX. Whilst the engine gets the car to hair-raising speeds, there is a sense that it’s being done in absolute control without fuss or bother. Cornering in the WRX is the most incredible thing. It just grips and grips…and grips some more. I turned off the traction control many times to see where the ‘edge’ was and you know what, I found it. I found that while cornering at crazy speeds the Subaru WRX’s version of getting out of shape was a tad bit of understeer. I am talking minimal understeer here, characteristic of all-wheel-drive cars. It has perfect, safe balance particularly for normal on-road use.

The assault on the senses continues as the optional performance exhaust beats out that unmistakeable signature Subaru note. It’s like music to the ears of all car-drooling people. Yes, to all the rest of you, it is too loud, particularly this performance option. (For normal everyday use, I would recommend you take the standard exhaust system which is still pleasantly sonorous.) Over long journeys the noise became annoying especially when cruising at the national speed limit. Subaru would do well to use a 6 speed manual gear box as opposed to the current 5 speed. It would assist with fuel consumption, overall cabin noise and comfort.

This car has been built with the driver in mind. The steering, gearshift action, handbrake, pedals and seats are all perfectly positioned and matched for enjoyable motoring. The engine is award-winning (really), the dynamics are fantastic and the noise is so lekker. But oh look it also has 4 doors and a big boot. And when you’re just interested in A to B-ness, it does this in complete comfort. The ride is the perfect balance of on-road comfort with great performance. I cannot stress this enough. I have driven a Subaru WRX STi and the ride is harder than explaining the size of the spoiler to your Mom.

But this WRX version is well-mannered in the drive and easy on the eye. I must admit, the dash and the multimedia interface need a makeover but other than that, it’s a smart way to spend R430, 000. In fact, for the sheer fireworks and fun factor, its unbeatable at this price.

So you see all you indifferent A to B people. This car is good for you too.







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