WRX delivers cheap thrills

The WRX is enough to cure anyone of their V8 addiction. (Supplied)

I was an idiot.

Based on the latest model, the WRX is an incredible car that is an absolute joy to drive and fast – fully-sick fast.

And while it doesn’t have that satisfying V8 roar, the turbo makes a very sweet noise when the rev counter is well into the red range.

At it’s heart is a 2.0-litre turbocharged horizontally opposed boxer engine.

Without getting too technical, a boxer engine has two rows of cylinders moving horizontally in opposite directions, instead of vertically, like a boxer jabbing his fists.

Because it’s flatter than normal engines, it gives the car a lower centre of gravity that helps with stability and handling.

subaru interior

This and other advances – such as all-wheel-drive and active torque vectoring, which reduces under-steer – make the WRX handle and steer beautifully, with minimal body roll despite not being a particularly low car.

I was lucky enough to drive two variants of the new WRX – Standard and Premium.

The Standard came with a six-speed manual gearbox that was plenty of fun. It loves high revs, preferring to sit on about 2500rpm. When you give it stick it gets to 3000rpm easily, only for the turbo to kick in like a foot up the bum. You can get pretty fast in this thing just in second gear.

The Standard includes a reverse camera and user-friendly entertainment and phone-touch screen system. The cloth seats were nice and provided great back support.

I thought I was in motoring heaven, then I picked up the WRX Premium.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Subaru WRX range and pricing

At first glance, I was a little disappointed that this was automatic – but this isn’t just any automatic car. It has three driving modes as part of its “Subaru Intelligent Drive”, starting with Economy. The Sport mode lets it rev out a bit more on take off. The Sport Sharp Mode is for “maximised potential” – Subaru-speak for red-lining bonkers.

In both sport modes, the car takes off as fast as the manual and gear changes are seamless at high or low speeds.

If you feel like manual gear-changing, there are shift paddles on the steering wheel.

It’s incredible to think there’s also the WRX STI range that takes things up another notch.


Performance aside, the WRX Premium is a nice small-to-medium car.

The good-looking interior includes leather seats and trim, satellite navigation, blind-spot monitors and a nifty second screen that shows what’s down the passenger side when reversing.

There’s heaps of headroom at the front and two adults can sit in the back comfortably.

The boot space is more than adequate and the back seats fold with a 60-40 split.

Exterior looks of WRX models have been hit or miss in the past, but this one is certainly on the hit side.

It looks great, particularly from the front, with elegantly shaped LED headlights and grill that are true to its lineage.

The chunky air scoop on the hood looks great though it isn’t just for show – pop the bonnet after a drive and you can feel the difference in temperature from where the air is directed and the rest of the engine bay.

Prices start at $43,104 for the Standard WRX and $49,196 for the Premium.

This was one car I really didn’t want to give back.