Subaru WRX STI Saloon full 9 point review
The 296bhp turbocharged 2.5-litre petrol engine responds well as long as you keep it above 3000rpm; below that there’s a slight pause before the WRX STI accelerates quickly. You can adjust how the differential distributes the engine’s power, but traction is very good no matter which setting you select.
Ride & Handling
The body stays largely flat in corners and remains composed when changing lanes at high speed. The quick steering helps when negotiating a series of bends, although it doesn’t provide enough feedback to be totally engaging and reassuring. Also, the car’s front end washes wide of your chosen line in hard cornering. As you’d expect, the ride is firm, but it doesn’t deal with broken surfaces very well.
There's a fair amount of wind and road noise at speed, and while the engine's thrum certainly adds character, it's always a constant companion, so longer journeys quickly become tiresome. The gearchange isn’t the smoothest, either.
Buying & Owning
The WRX STI is competitively priced compared with rivals, but its CO2 emissions and official fuel economy are way off target; it’s going to cost you a lot of money to keep it on the road. Resale values are good, though, so you shouldn’t lose too much money in depreciation.
Quality & Reliability
There are soft-touch materials on the steering wheel and the top of the dashboard, but there are far too many hard and scratchy plastics elsewhere, and the metallic plastic trim and fake carbonfibre aren’t very convincing. Subaru has a good reputation for reliability – it was in the top five of all manufacturers in the latest What Car? reliability survey. The WRX STI comes with a three-year warranty, though, whereas other Subarus get five years of cover.
Safety & Security
There are seven airbags as standard, including one for the driver’s knees, along with stability control and emergency brake assist. Security kit includes a Thatcham category one alarm, an engine immobiliser and marked parts, while deadlocks prevent someone from opening a door even if the window is smashed.
Behind The Wheel
It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position, thanks to a fully adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel. The seat is generally supportive, although the base could do with more bolstering. The dashboard is well laid out, so the major controls are within easy reach.
Space & Practicality
There’s good space up front and enough in the rear seats for two adults to be comfortable; a third is a bit of a squeeze, and there’s a central tunnel that the middle passenger will have to put their legs either side of. The boot is a good size and the 60/40 split rear seats fold down, but the saloon boot opening restricts the loading of bulky items.
You get a reasonable amount of kit for the money, including dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, leather and Alcantara seats, 18-inch gunmetal alloy wheels, cruise control and LED headlights. A touch-screen sat-nav system is a cost option.