It’s brutally fast in a straight line and around corners. In pure performance terms, it’s a bargain. Subaru has an impressive reliability record.
The fuel bills will make even the wealthiest owner wince, and interior quality is poor. It’s noisy, the steering doesn’t offer enough feedback and the boot is small.
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Subaru WRX STI Hatchback performance
Power comes from a turbocharged 2.5-litre petrol engine tuned to produce 296bhp and 300lb ft of torque. Performance is distinctly unremarkable until the turbo wakes up at about 3000rpm, but after that acceleration is brutal. The two faster versions – the 316bhp 320R and 335bhp 340R that come courtesy of a dealer-fit power upgrade – are right up there on the ‘blink and you’re past ’em’ scale.
Subaru WRX STI Hatchback ride & handling
The WRX’s low centre of gravity, four-wheel-drive traction and stiff suspension makes for some serious cornering ability. You can carry ludicrous speeds through bends, but the vague steering takes the shine off things. The ride is also hard at low speeds, but it gets better the faster you go.
Subaru WRX STI Hatchback refinement
The engine is raucous when you want it to be – it produces a delicious burbling noise that’s full of character – and pretty quiet when you don’t, although there’s no escaping the blare of the sports exhaust. There’s lots of road and wind noise on the motorway, and you can hear all sorts of road debris hitting the wheelarches.