By Funizwe KlyvQue
A price tag of R631,400 on a performance sedan that has a CVT gear box can be as confusing as a politician’s scandal which typically involves a lot of money – for something that sounds like will return very little benefit.
Luckily, the engineers at Subaru have a track record that isn’t like any politician. They live and breathe performance and they definitely know more than a thing or two about building a thrilling car. So you can rest assured that this review has no looming disappointments where performance is concerned. Let’s start by exploring the peripherals that add to the driving experience. There’s an abundance of tech in this car. After a few days with it – you start to wonder how you got by without it.
The car comes with Keyless entry, Front View Camera, Reverse Camera, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring with Lane Change Assist, Whiplash-Reducing Front Seats… (A feature which we fortunately didn’t test). Added to that is Subaru’s Eyesight Pre-collision braking (and Pre-collision throttle management), Adaptive Cruise control, Lane departure and sway warning and lead vehicle start alert. What is more impressive than the listed tech-fest features is the sum of it all. These are not features that will be impressive in the spec sheet and not make any difference in your day-to-day commutes. The second you’re off the lane, the system warns you. When the distance between you and the car in front (or speed hump) seems to be reducing quicker than it should – the warning comes up and the brakes come on.
All these features really work well and the execution is genuinely brilliant – even when you start exercising your right foot for reasons on why you bought the car. Power and torque are 197kW/350Nm respectively. This means that your childish smirk and racing heart are always a slight squeeze of the throttle away – as you experience the cars agility and quick shifts through the gears. Just remember to have the #SI-Mode activated. The all-wheel drive system keeps things from getting messy in the event that the squeeze of the throttle happens at the same time when you encounter a slippery surface or a miscalculated bend. Speaking of quick shifts… the implementation of the CVT gearbox is the best we have come across. In normal mode – the “gear shifts” are smooth and seamless but when in sport mode (#SI) there’s plenty of response and feel on how and when the car changes up or down. Admittedly, these are not as quick as something like the gear-shifts in a BMW 140M or VW Golf R – but this is splitting hairs.
So do all the above mentioned features and proper boy-racer, spirited drive credentials stack up to its price tag – even when considering the competition? The answer is not a simple one. Firstly – Subaru, offers a 5-year/150,000km Warranty and a 3-Year/75,000 maintenance plan – which is better than the competition which offers a service plan for the same 3 year period. Secondly – The interior look and feel is not quite as good as something in a Golf R or Honda Type-R, despite being functionally brilliant. So this will really depend on your priorities scale when it comes to what all these cars have to offer. The ride quality and the seats are also more firm than the competition, especially when you consider that the there is no option to have adaptive dampers.
All things considered – the WRX is worthy to be on anyone’s short-list. It is a hugely entertaining, the sound system is a cracker and the tech is right up there along with its value proposition.
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