Car Review: Subaru WRX STi – Brilliant, but just no longer my thing

I live on a winding, tree-lined dirt road in the country which is like a honey-pot to a bear for boys in their toys.

Now ageing and appreciating the peace and tranquility of my country lifestyle, there’s plenty of times I’ve taken the nearest farming implement to me and wandered to the roadside upon hearing the distinct sounds of wanna-be rally drivers testing their machines up MY driveway.

Pick, shovel or axe in hand and with my best “tut-tut-tut” glare of disapproval on my face, I seem to have had some success in putting the brakes on the larish driving behaviour. I pity the lad or young lady who lands their car through one of my fences, as has happened down the road a few times at neighbouring properties.

Recently, though, my maturity levels were put to a real test when handed the keys to the latest in rally car brilliance, the Subaru WRX STi.

“Damn you Subaru and your very very tempting top-line rally cars,” I thought.

But while I will confess that I did put the WRX to the test on MY track at least once when running late to get the kid to the school bus stop, and I did take the opportunity a couple of times to test out what makes this such a firecracker car and the envy of many boys who long for such toys, it wasn’t my maturity levels that were tested, but my patience.

The Rex looks like it means business….. just not suit and tie business! It aggressively goes about its business…. but that’s not always a good thing. And there’s a hell of a lot to like about it…. but probably only if you’re in the business of being a rally car driver.

There’s a reason I’m now that guy walking to the roadside with a dirty look on his face, and not the lad behind the wheel with a bloody big grin on his face!

My maturity – and ageing body – did tire of those things which make the WRX appealing to a younger age bracket.

I know what a manual is, and how to drive one, but the clutch was as testing as the old tractor I use on the farm and gearshifts in the Subaru were almost more of a chore than feeding hay to the cattle. It’s me, not the car.

Road noise, particularly on the dirt and gravel, was at times deafening, and the all too familiar whine of the Rex just doesn’t do it for me any more in my older age.  Again, it’s me, not the car.

Trying to take a call on the hands free proved impossible because of the competing noises from the car and the road…. now, that’s the car.

It’s so tight and rally sports car tuned, you really feel the road and you actually have to drive this one…. go figure!

The 2.0-litre boxer engine, turning out 197kW and 350Nm of torque does gain some ground (in my older eyes also) for the Subaru but our tested 10+ litres per 100km fuel consumption was another setback for the Subi.

My conclusion for the Subaru WRX STi is that it is brilliant for what it is…. it is just not for me. Unless, of course, there’s a way to step back in time and be that boy behind the wheel of his toy on MY track.


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