The car of choice this week for Ride and Drive was the Subaru WRX. Well known Globally of being a performance car, we took it on a road trip to the Magaliesburg. It might be made for track driving, but on the uneven road to Magaliesburg, it felt very hard and uncompromising. Looks wise, you cannot fault it however, as it looks every inch the performance car it is.
Black in colour, with an air cooler front bonnet with signature Subaru grille, 20 inch wheels that give off a racy air, and the twin exhausts at the rear complete the picture. I found the car quite tinny sounding, especially when closing the boot, maybe using lighter materials. Sun roof was there, but it wasn’t used as I find them obstrusive and noisy.
Subaru has gone to great lengths to build a cabin that exudes quality, durability comfort and excitement. The trim levels are high quality, with a mix of soft-touch materials, leather and carbon fibre panel inlays. The flat-bottomed sports steering wheel is tilt and reach-adjustable with switches for audio, SI-DRIVE and EyeSight. The red-on-black stitching on the leather seats and steering wheel add a sporty touch to cabin.
Layers of tech and comfort features abound from the drivers 8-way electrically-adjustable seat, to the full colour high definition multi-function display on which most vehicle functions and settings can viewed. Infotainment is of the highest standard too, fully enabled for Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Auxiliary connectivity through a 7-inch screen. 7 Harmon Kardon sound speakers are fitted throughout the cabin for 440W of premium audio quality and entertainment. Specified on the 2019 Subaru WRX vehicles, the on-board equipment includes Satellite Navigation as standard.
The boot is big, and fits three small suit cases, and a cooler with ease. It has many storage holders and a centre console. The sporty steering wheel felt a little large and clunky however.
Engine & Performance.
Power from the 4-cylinder, horizontally-opposed Boxer® petrol engine is 197kW at 5,600rpm and torque is 350Nm between 2,400 – 5,200rpm. The direct-injection motor features a twin-scroll turbocharger as well as an intercooler, another notable trait of the WRX name. For 2019, the WRX will be offered in South Africa in two derivatives: The WRX Lineartronic® CVT and the WRX MT. We drove the CVT version, and again, it seemed to hunt for gears a lot. Driving on the paddles, seemed to alleviate this.
Top speed is 240km/h for both derivatives and the 0 – 100km/h dash takes just 6.3 seconds for the CVT and just 6.0 seconds in the manual transmission. Lineartronic-CVT models feature Subaru’s Intelligent Drive system (SI-DRIVE), a powertrain performance management system that allows the driver to tailor the driving characteristics of the car through three modes: Intelligent(I), Sport(S) and Sport Sharp(S#) are selected via a series of switches on the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel. Intelligent mode is the most efficient, relaxed mode most often used for regular commuting and traffic.
Sport mode increases the throttle response and change the transmission operate as a 6-speed manual should the driver select the M(Manual) gear selector. Sport Sharp changes the engine’s characteristics to deliver an even quicker throttle response. In this mode, the transmission operates as an 8-speed in both normal and manual modes. The road handling was good, but we never tested it anywhere near it’s limits.
Next Gen Safety
Subaru never stops working to improve the safety of its vehicles, even those that have already achieved 5* ratings across all ratings agencies across the world. The Subaru WRX is stronger and safer than ever before. With ever-improving production methods, the WRX front end crash structure has been improved for better safety performance in frontal collisions. New on the 2019 WRX is a rear fog lamp now for improved visibility.
The WRX is also fitted with all of the active safety features that come standard on all Subaru vehicles. Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), is one such feature, a more advanced version of electronic stability control. This combination of Subaru symmetrical full-time all-wheel-drive and VDC results in increased levels of traction and safer road holding. As with most premium CVT-equipped Subaru vehicles, the Subaru WRX features the award-winning EyeSight® Driver Assistance system.
Blind Spot Detection as well as Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also part of the WRX safety repertoire.
The Subaru WRX is available in South Africa in two derivatives:
- The 2.0 Turbocharged, Manual Transmission retailing for R581 400.
- The 2.0 Turbocharged Sports Lineartronic CVT retailing for R631 400.
All derivatives are sold with a 3yr/75,000km Full Maintenance Plan (extendable options available) and a 5yr/150 000km Warranty.
In summary, a great looking car that shouts performance, but it is difficult to drive on uneven roads. A pity it could not be driven on a track, as this is where it excels.