/ 29 October 2023

Subaru WRX offers practicality and performance

One of the family: It is a tad thirsty but the Subaru WRX is proving popular with our test team.

As you might have read in our previous update, the Subaru WRX has joined our long-term test fleet and has, up to now, proved quite the consummate family hauler. 

It makes the daily trudges of school runs, grocery shopping and other mundane errands an absolute cinch, thanks to its sedan practicality which sees easy ingress and egress — and the kids particularly enjoy the rear seat warmers, which were used extensively on cool mornings. 

The 420-litre boot is fantastic as it manages to swallow most of our family’s cumbersome accoutrements. 

Safety, thanks to the firm’s EyeSight suite, is a welcome addition in this segment and works an absolute treat in monitoring the driver’s attention, encouraging them to keep their eyes on the road. 

In essence, it is easily one of the better-equipped cars in the performance sedan segment, this side of R800k. 

Under the bonnet warbles a new 2.4-litre turbo boxer engine with 202kW and 350Nm, which is more than enough performance for daily use, but I reckon it is hamstrung by the CVT gearbox, which simply doesn’t suit this application. 

I get the rationale of a self-shifting gearbox in this car but a dual-clutch automatic would have really made it a hoot. 

That said, it still goes down the road really well but straight-line speed is not what the WRX shouts from the rafters about. 

No, that accolade goes to its dynamic handling and leech-like front-end grip. Thanks to the symmetrical all-wheel drive, the confidence it gives the driver is what stands out. 

Yes, the STI — which remains a firm favourite with the team — is gone but the WRX still plays an important role, not only in Subaru’s offering, but also for small families looking for a surefooted, four-wheel drive performance car that is well-equipped and capable. 

There is no doubt that the defunct STI’s fans are looking elsewhere but I reckon this WRX has potential for further local development to satiate even higher adrenaline thresholds. 

The WRX is currying a lot of favour with the team as it’s proving an easy car to live with on a daily basis. 

Fuel consumption has been a contentious topic. Although averaging 11 litres/100km, we have managed to bring it down to around 10.4l/100km, which is still not what we would call frugal. 

That said, we plan to take the vehicle out of the confines of the urban setting and into the countryside to see how it fares on the open and undulating roads. 

Aside from its appetite for fuel, and the CVT gearbox, the WRX makes for a rather compelling package for the family and the performance-oriented enthusiast.

For and against:

Pros: Practicality. Performance. Handling.

Cons: Good fuel consumption is not its forte.

Mileage at start: 7 203km

Mileage now: 11 023km

Price: R877 000