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2018 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STi

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2018 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STi



Anyone into cars even the slightest has probably heard enough stories and read enough articles about the WRX and WRX STI to make them sick. It’s literally everywhere, but for a good reason. The Impreza platform is one of the few rally car transitioned road-going icons. Its rivalry with Mitsubishi is legendary, and its battles with the Lancer Evolution are the stuff dreams are made of. In many ways, this is the perfect all-around vehicle, offering everything you could possibly want from a car. It’s fast, looks great, can sit five people, doesn’t require a personal petrol station and with a big boot, it’s practical.




The current Impreza generation (G4 – fourth generation) received some criticism when it first came out, mostly because it didn’t look even remotely close to what the concept hyped us all it would be. Mind you, it’s still a lot better than the previous iteration, the G3, which is considered by many to be the worst Impreza of all time. Anyway, getting back to the story in hand, let’s discuss the new one. After a few years of a steady increase in popularity, Subaru decided the Impreza needed a revamp to keep those figures rising. So, they took the WRX and WRX STI, gave them some minor updates, and here’s the result.




From the outside, it’s nigh on identical. We mean really, it looks like it’s the last generation Impreza to anyone but the keenest of enthusiasts. Even then, you’d have to have a good eye to spot the differences, because they really are minute. The WRX STI gets all the glory, being the flagship model, so it’s got a few more changes than the “standard” WRX. None the less, the WRX has something to show for its midlife facelift too. For starters, the radiator grille has been redesigned and now features sharper points on both sides, with a more open design thanks to the removal of the bottom-part insert. It’s less fussy and cluttered, offering a more elegant and sophisticated look. Well done Subaru there then.




The corner trim inserts housing the daytime running lights and fog lights have been tweaked to form a more aggressive look, while the air dam gets an enlargement procedure with a bigger surround. The mentioned elements now come finished in a glossier black, not that you’d notice from a far anyway. Something new and actually useful in that it serves a functional purpose are the LED Steering Responsive headlights (US models). They follow the road ahead to give you better vision. They’re not adaptive, i.e. they don’t work with cameras or radars, and instead, they receive input from how much you’re turning the steering wheel. It’s simple but effective. Both WRX and WRX STI models receive the update.




The interior is, much like the exterior, unchanged, with a few exceptions. The same general cabin of the Impreza can still be found in the new car, with the smooth and curved dash in the middle, housing two displays (upgraded to 5.9 inches from 4.3), a thin center console and a centrally mounted shifter. The interior door grips have been redesigned with a smaller, more attractive theme, but you wouldn’t have noticed that had we not just mentioned it. It’s not a lot, but it makes getting in and out just a tad easier. The biggest news however comes in the form of quality control. Upgraded interior materials improve the overall feel of the cabin vastly, and they go nice with the new rear-seat armrest.






The biggest issue with the Impreza, since the car went on sale, was the interior, and it seems Subaru are aware of the issue, as every year they keep improving it. Interiors used to not matter in a car like an Impreza WRX, but with the recent improvements in rivals’ cabins, the Impreza had to step up its game or risk getting shunted to the back of the pack. We’re glad to say that the both the WRX and WRX STI now feel more premium inside, and not like standard Impreza saloons with a better engine.






Elsewhere, the entire Impreza lineup receives heated exterior mirrors and the WRX Limited model receives new seats which feature power lumbar adjustment. Some people had an issue with the WRX’s in-cabin refinement, so Subaru decided to install thicker door glass, revise the door sealing and fill the windshield header beam with foam. This further prevents frontal and high-speed rushing air noise. This update is U.S. market exclusive. We never had an issue with the WRX in that regard, but there you go.




The non-STI, i.e. WRX models get a 2.0 litre horizontally-opposed Boxer unit under the hood. If it sounds similar it’s because it is, it’s the same engine it had last year, and the year before… and the one before that. Still, we’re not complaining as it offers 192 kW of power on tap, making it rather quick. For anyone wondering, yes, the WRX STI still gets the 2.5 litre Boxer unit as well, but it’s capable of shifting at a much quicker pace thanks to 221 kW.




WRX models receive updated electric power steering, specifically designed to improve the overall feedback through the steering wheel. The six-speed manual transmission received some changes, but Subaru didn’t disclose what exactly. They just said it would improve shift feel, and that’s entirely fine by us.




The Impreza WRX is expected to arrive in Australia mid 2017, around the same time the STI makes an appearance. There’s a dilemma however. A brand-new generation Impreza is set to debut around the same time, with sales beginning next year. With rumors that the future WRX and its WRX STI might even feature a hybrid powerplant, achieving more power, a simple question arises: go for the current WRX or wait for the next-gen one? If you’re impatient, we suggest you just go for the current one. Who knows when the new generation will debut, and what it will be like. The prospect of a hybrid WRX is appealing, but many people will surely disapprove.

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