2017 WRX STI New Car Test Drive
The Subaru WRX is a high-performance sedan based on the all-wheel-drive Impreza, with its roots in World Rally competition. It stuffs a twin-scroll turbocharged intercooled version of the 2.0-liter boxer engine into an Impreza shell, with a stiffened chassis and suspension. It uses either a 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT, the latter programmed to cruise like an automatic or shift and feel like a twin-clutch transmission.
There are competitors on the market, namely the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTI R, but they're hatchbacks and more based on front-wheel drive. The new Mercedes-Benz CLA45 is dynamically a rival, but it's considerably more expensive. The 2016 Subaru WRX starts at $27,390.
The WRX has been around since the turn of the century. It was last redesigned in 2015, when it was given a couple inches more room inside and outside.
For 2016, WRX gets a rearview camera, driver knee airbag, and 6.2-inch touch screen. The optional infotainment system is improved. Premium and Limited models get 18-inch wheels with summer tires for big grip. New safety features are available for 2016, including Subaru's camera-based EyeSight, that incorporates pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist andlane-departure warning. It comes in a package with navigation, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot detection.
In crash tests, the WRX was all good, including a Top Safety Pick in the government's new small-overlap test.
Standard interior equipment includes automatic climate control, USB port, steering-wheel audio and phone controls, and Bluetooth. Options include heated front seats, sunroof, pushbutton start, and 9-speaker harman/kardon audio system with navigation and Aha Radio smartphone connectivity.