If, like me, you are someone who longs for 300 horsepower in a compact sedan or hatchback with a suspension setup capable of using every ounce of power for the betterment of humanity, the Subaru WRX STi should be on your ‘A’ list. If, on the other hand, you would like to keep your kidneys and spine in good working order for the better part of your life, may I suggest a slightly less aggressive option, that being the 2016 Subaru WRX. Dropping the STi from the nameplate doesn’t mean you are sacrificing too much in the way of race-inspired performance and real-world driving fun. It just means you are being a little more practical with the side benefit of appealing more to your auto insurance broker.
Power for the 2016 Subaru WRX comes in the form of a 2.0-litre DOHC 4-cylinder Subaru BOXER engine with twin-scroll turbocharger. Matched to a CVT transmission, it delivers a significant 268 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 258 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000-5,200 rpm. This is good enough to take the WRX equipped with the Sport Tech Package from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds while reaching a top speed of 240 km/h.
Stopping power is exceptional with 4-wheel/4-sensor/4-channel ABS brakes that feature discs all-around (ventilated front/solid rear) EBD, Brake Assist and Active Torque Vectoring. Coming to a rapid and complete stop is not an issue in the WRX.
Passing other vehicles on the road, however, can be challenging at times. In one instance during my week long test drive, I was left waiting an exorbitant amount of time while trying to overtake another car traveling at 70 km/h. No matter how I pressed on the accelerator, there was simply nothing happening. Sometimes turbos are your friend, other times they can be your worst enemy. Better to get back in line and wait for a clear path, then slap the gear shift into manual mode, rock the paddle-shifters down several “gears” and step on it. Problem solved!
Taking corners at speed is probably one of the main reasons why people buy the 2016 Subaru WRX. I wouldn’t be surprised if Subaru has a deal with Krazy Glue; it simply grabs on to asphalt and dares you to find the limits of adhesion. Fully independent suspension front and rear, stabilizer bars, a performance tuned suspension and Subaru symmetrical full-time All-wheel drive plus 245/40 R 18” Dunlop R SP Sport MaxxRT tires offer a drive experience few cars in this price range can match.
Inside, the WRX with Sport Tech Package is equal business and pleasure. Plant yourself in either the driver or passenger front seat and there just aren’t enough superlatives available to describe how well the designers have done their work.
A 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel features thumb grips and easy-to-use paddle-shifters. A full complement of features is available at your fingertips including cruise control, audio adjustment, Bluetooth and more.
Perforated leather seating front and rear is standard on the Sport Tech Package, as is an 8-way power driver seat, 4-way manual passenger seat, carbon fiber accents and all the power accessories you can imagine. Rear seats are equally well crafted and offer 60/40 fold-down capability.
Round red on black gauges dominate the instrument cluster. The infotainment system is controlled via a 7-inch high-resolution touch screen. It is by far one of the clearest and most user-friendly interfaces I have experienced in a sports car. Harmon Kardon speakers, 9 in total, along with a 440-Watt amplifier provide an exceptional audio experience. A power glass sunroof allows light to fill the interior cabin, while the floor is enhanced with drilled-metal pedals for that added rally touch.
Storage space throughout is excellent, including the fully carpeted trunk. Multiple cupholders are well-placed and backseat legroom is better than expected.
If driving an everyday sports car seems impossible because you have two kids and a pet, the 2016 Subaru WRX may be an excellent choice. Personally I would choose it over the WRX STi. Although the performance is somewhat less than inspiring when compared to the “beast” that is the STi, the overall ride and drive experience should make up for any perceived shortcomings.
2016 Subaru WRX
Trim level: Sport Tech Package
Price as tested (before taxes): $37,395.00
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo/CVT.
Power/torque: 268 hp/ 258 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): regular (60 L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): city: 12.5, hwy: 9.5 L/100 Km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 10.8 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A3, BMW 2-Series Coupe, Ford Focus ST, Infiniti Q50
- Interior design and seat comfort
- A rally car you want to drive year-round
- Significant turbo lag at times