TO describe the 2014 Subaru WRX STi as anything short of smoking would be doing a disservice to what is genuinely one of the great performance name tags of the modern era.
A long-time favourite amongst would be rally drivers and Japanese performance car enthusiasts the new version of the STi name sake had plenty to live up to from its demanding customer base – but Subaru has delivered, and delivered in spades.
The four door performance sedan with its oversized rear wing, yes it’s back in sedan format rather than being a hot hatch, punches out a wicked 221kW of power with 407Nm of torque through the 2.5 litre turbocharged boxer four cylinder engine.
Coupled to a six speed manual (there is no automatic option for STi owners), and with symmetrical all-wheel drive, the WRX STi has a real point and shoot feel about it, allowing you to drive on the edge of control, at high speed and in tricky conditions, confident in the knowledge, that with the range of traction control features switched on, you’re not only coming out the other side unscathed, but you’ll do it with a smile on your face.
This car is genuinely fun to drive, with its gurgling four pipe exhaust system, slick handling and sexy styling – the big rear wing and bonnet scoop providing all the hallmarks of the STi name, it turns heads for all the right reasons.
Inside, Subaru has cut some corners, but not too many as to disappoint most buyers. The interior looks not unlike a standard WRX, with some added carbon fibre and red highlights, but it’s still a comfortable, if not hugely glamorous, look and feel inside.
On the fuel side, Subaru claims 10.4 litres per 100km using high octane fuel, but in our 6 day road test the best we could manage was a 10.8 on the open road and an 11.4 when we were putting the WRX STi through its paces under performance driving conditions. Still pretty tidy for a high performance road car.
We even tested the family car capability of the STi, putting a baby seat in the back, and driving our toddler around. While she spent most of her time in the Subaru asleep, sticking two adults and a child in the car to try out different seating configurations proved to us that the car was also a family winner, if it needed to be.
It would also be remiss of us to not talk about the price, as it’s a game changer, with the WRX STi now under the magic $50K mark, hitting the market at $49,990 – that’s $10,000 less than the previous model, and this will set the Subaru ahead of its competitors in the current market.
If we take a look at the big picture, the Subaru WRX STi is a great drive, a performance car that lives up to its name, offering superb handling, a stiff but comfortable ride, with head turning styling, bundled into a package that is precise and fun to drive.
Subaru will have some stiff competition from the likes of AMG Mercedes and Renault’s Clio RS performance models, as well as VW, with the Golf R – but its price point is spectacular, and it presents as a real hot ride, which should help it see of the bulk of its competition.
Our test vehicle was provided by Subaru Australia. To find out more about the 2014 Subaru WRX STi, contact your local Subaru dealer (Regal Subaru at Newcastle West, Crossroads Subaru at Glendale, or Hunter Subaru at Maitland).
Vehicle: 2014 Subaru WRX STi
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Pros: Price – sub $50K for a WRX STi; Handling is sensational, Performance is superb.
Cons: Bluetooth connectivity is terrible; Small display screen/dated controls; Interior levels down on previous models.