Picking up the WRX Premium I was a little excited as it was going to be my first review of a Subaru, the WRX has been a fixture of the automotive landscape for many years and has achieved legendary status amongst some car people during that time with a mixture of performance and all paw grip.
So I was really looking forward to my week in a Rex just really find out if all the stories I heard over the years were just that stories or does the WRX deserve it’s place in performance car folklore.
While the body might be from the Impreza sedan Subaru have done a lot on the outside to make sure you cannot get them confused even at a glace.
An aggressive looking frontend, with the iconic bonnet scoop, pumped guards, lowered stance, attractive 18inch alloy rims all combine to make sure the WRX looks match it’s reputation the WRX really does look fast sitting still.
The drivers seat was somewhat comfortable but it was a touch on the snug side, the steering however was the comfortable to hold and the perfect width.
In instrument panel was well lit and easy to read in any light, the centre stack is home to the 7inch touch screen for the multimedia system which I did like and found it easy to use and sound from the audio system was great.
At the top of dash is a smaller screen where you can access vehicle information such as boost gauge, aircon, fuel economy.
Leg room was adequate front and rear and so was the boot space.
Overall though I was little disappointed given it’s the premium model and priced at up ward of $50,000 I thought it was little underwhelming I was expecting a little more.
Putting my first impressions aside the WRX has always been about performance and really that’s where it really excels.
Under the bonnet the WRX is powered by Subaru’s wonderful 2.0L4 cylinder turbo boxer engine pushing 197Kw and 350nM of torque.
Which means the WRX has more than enough to keep up with traffic and is extremely tractable, theirs is touch of lag down low, but get a few revs on board and the WRX really goes hard.
Subaru quotes 6.3sec for the 0-100 dash for the CVT equip model and while I didn’t get to test it I would say it feels about right.
Fuel economy is a mixed bag driving it nicely I managed to average 10.8L/100km for my commute for week.
I did do 2oo km in it driving around on the weekend most of that was rural so the fuel economy did go down to the 8’s I did see it rise though to the 13’s once I found a nice twisty piece of road to explore the WRX’s strengths only it to see it come back down to the high 7’s by the time I got home.
Backing the wonderful turbo boxer engine is a CVT (constant variable transmission) now I’ve never been a massive fan of CVT’s but I’d heard some good things about it and thought that maybe this might change my mind.
Even though this is probably one of the better CVT’s I’ve sampled it didn’t change my mind I don’t like CVT’s and I think a CVT in car like this really hamstrung it a little bit.
It does have 3 S dive setting that do change the way car performs and can still make it a rapid drive and using the paddle shifters does bring some sort feel back into driving.
But I think the shift points still feel artificial to me and did put a slight downer on the experience to me, to me there felt like there was flat spot as the engine picked up rev’s and speed. There was no kickingback of a gear and rapid acceleration like get from a regular auto transmission.
My opinion is the car would benefit more from a DCT or a well sorted 6 speed auto.
Please Subaru drop the CVT for DCT it’s a WRX.
I will admit that you don’t really notice it when you drive like grandpa but it’s a WRX it’s not meant to be driven like grandpa all the time.
On the road the WRX does ride firm and do feel the bumps in the road specially on some Sydneys get b roads and feel some harshness when I hit a pot hole.
Handling wise the WRX handles rather it’s not perfect though I did find at times it does a bit of understeer coming into a car and some lift off oversteer coming out, it’s not sharpest or best cars I’ve thrown the corners on my test loop.
But it is a car you can go out and have fun with and it’s rather predictable so you can drive around the short fall. It still put a smile on my face driving but just not as big as others have.
The steering I found not bad it’s direct and has a decent amount of weight although I did find it a touch on the heavy side at slow speeds.
Safety wise the WRX has received a 5 star safety rating and comes with a long list of safety features including Blind spot monitors, Rear cross traffic alert, Lane change assist, Auto-dimming rear view mirror, Auto high beams, Side view monitor, Hill Start Assist.
It gets bonus points for having a rear view camera and a nifty side camera that shows the front left wheel while parking (so no excuse for gutter rash) but it looses points for no rear parking sensors.
I was in 2 minds after my week in the WRX there’s no doubting it’s performance, the WRX is a decent performer even though I think it’s a touch hamstrung by the CVT.
It does have a great amount of technology but I felt the interior was a bit of let down for $50,000 plus car.
The WRX Premium does offer decent, performance and lots of technology plus the famous Subaru all wheel drive grip but I think for the price the WRX Premium is a little bit of let down and their are better options on the market in that price range.
The good news is that if you can live without some of the tech and features of the premium the standard WRX is several thousand dollars cheaper but still offers the same performance.
For information on the WRX or the rest of Subaru’s range check out their website www.subaru.com.au
2016 Subaru WRX Premium
Price: From $51,000 for the CVT auto
Engine: 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo petrol 197kW 350Nm
Transmission: Continuously variable
Standard Features: Blind spot monitor (BSM), Lane change assist (LCA), Rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), Side view monitor (SVM), Rear view camera, Hill Start Assist, dusk sensing Headlights, climate control air conditioning, Paddle gear shifters, Sports pedals, Dual Guage located Multi-information display 4.3″ LCD screen.
Rain sensing front wipers, power mirrors and windows, power steering, leather steering wheel, sports bucket seats, 8 way power seat driver.
Remote central locking, push button start, Integrated infotainment system, 8 harman kardon speakers, amplifier, Satellite nav, Pandora® compatible, 7″ LCD touch screen.