Subaru’s WRX is one of the most famous performance cars in history and now a new wagon version has arrived. We find out what it is.
Subaru has brought back the WRX Sportswagon. A popular choice for enthusiasts in the 90s, the sports station wagon combines performance and functionality.
The new WRX is bigger, more powerful and more refined, but it’s also more expensive.
Here are five things you need to know about the Sportswagon.
Sedan has sharper focus
Sportswagon buyers will have to be prepared to trade some performance for practicality.
The wagon is slower at 100 km/h and has a softer suspension, which translates to less fun when the road gets twisty.
The wagon takes a little longer to settle over bumps and it relies more on its thinner tires in corners, making it more suitable for long turns than hairpins. It’s stable and predictable, and the brake pedal feel is reassuring, but it lacks the sedan’s grip and balance. For people with young families who need extra space, the wagon will be an acceptable compromise.
The more expensive tS model has multi-mode dampers that allow you to select a softer setting in town and more control at high speeds on a country road.
There’s a bigger ass under the hood
The new WRX features a larger 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine, up from 2.0 liters in the previous generation.
However, the extra size doesn’t translate to a big leap in performance. Power has only increased by 5kW to 202kW, while torque is unchanged at 350Nm. Subaru claims a 0-60mph time of around six seconds for the manual sedan, but independent tests suggest that the automatic car takes about 6.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption of 8.5 L/100 km is slightly better than the previous model – and much better than the manual transmission, which consumes 9.9 L/100 km – but it is not frugal and the premium is required.
The continuously variable transmission doesn’t help the outstanding performance either. It takes a while to finish and isn’t as responsive as competing dual-clutch autos.
The prices were raised
The new WRX is about 10 percent more expensive than its predecessor, starting at nearly $50,000 on the road for the base manual. The CVT auto still costs $4,000 – a big jump, though it comes with an electronic parking brake, high beam assist and automatic reverse braking, which aren’t available on the manual.
At around $62,600 drive-away, the top-of-the-line tS model is more expensive than the previous-generation STI. The premium for a wagon is reasonable, however, at just $1,000.
Security is complete
The WRX has all the bells and whistles from a driver assistance standpoint.
Standard equipment includes automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, lane keeping and blind spot assist, radar cruise and rear cross traffic alert with braking.
Cameras in the cabin scan the driver’s face and eyes for signs of fatigue or distraction, issuing a warning if necessary. Recognizing speed signs can help you avoid fines.
The cabin is old school, but exudes quality
Unlike some rivals, which have driver-configurable digital displays, Subaru continued with analog dials, complete with a small readout between the tachometer and speedo.
It looks a little dated, but the large central touchscreen has a more modern look and the attention to detail elsewhere in the cabin is top-notch. There are soft surfaces and plush materials throughout, with sporty touches such as red stitching on the seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and alloy pedals.
Rear passengers have their own vents and USB ports, while more expensive models get an excellent 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio unit.