2008-, News&Reviews

Don’t Expect an All-New Subaru WRX Until 2020

Despite Subaru completely overhauling the Impreza for 2017, it appears the WRX will stick around on its current platform for another few years. That’s the word from Motoring in Australia, who spoke with an senior engineer from Subaru about a WRX replacement. For those that can’t wait, the good news is that a WRX refresh is coming for 2018, which should carry the car for another few years.

It should be no surprise that a full WRX redesign is a few years off. Although the fourth generation Impreza was released in 2011, the current WRX has only been on sale since the 2015 model year. Given an average five-year cycle, we can most likely expect a redesign for 2020. It’s not clear how extensive the refresh will be or if the STI will finally drop the ancient EJ-series 2.5-liter turbochargedflat four engine for the more modern FA-series 2.0-liter turbocharged flat four engine found in the regular WRX.

Rumors have been swirling for years of what else a full-redesign may encompass. The current model was rumored to have an electric turbocharger that obviously never appeared. There have been other rumors of a switch to a hybrid powertrain. While that may work when the WRX finally uses the updated Impreza platform, don’t expect to see hybrid power in the refreshed model. Subaru says the time it would take to engineer such a system would be too great to have it available for 2018. The new Impreza’s platform is designed to fit a hybrid system, so don’t rule out the possibility of a WRX hybrid.

Related Video:

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News&Reviews

Subaru’s Tribeca Successor Spied

The shape of the grille and flush mounted headlights on Subaru’s three-row crossover are in keeping with the design language shown on the next-generation XV subcompact crossover shown recently in Geneva and that will be sold in the U.S. as the Crosstrek. Photo credit: KGP PHOTOGRAPHY

Subaru’s second crack at a large three-row crossover will get its official debut next month as a concept at the New York International Auto Show. But new spy photos give the clearest look yet to the vehicle that will replace the discontinued and unloved Tribeca.

In terms of appearance, the new crossover — likely to be named Ascent — looks very conventional, which is understandable after the Tribeca disaster. You might remember that the original B9 Tribeca debuted with a strange looking and polarizing aperture in the center of its grille that likely hobbled sales.

The shape of the grille and flush mounted headlights are in keeping with the design language shown on the next-generation XV subcompact crossover shown recently in Geneva and that will be sold here as the Crosstrek.

 

Subaru’s U.S. sales have advanced nine straight years and the new crossover is expected to play a key role in maintaining the brand’s momentum.

At the Geneva show, Subaru CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said he does not expect the new crossover to siphon a large percentage of sales from established vehicles, such as the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Traverse. Yoshinaga said Subaru’s existing customers that are looking for a larger crossover, but who want to stay with the brand, will be the natural customer for the new vehicle.

No word yet on powertrains, but it is very likely that some version of Subaru’s largest engine, a 3.6-liter boxer six-cylinder, will be offered.

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Motorsports, News&Reviews

Subaru And Sport – Where The Know-How Comes From

Few car makers rival Subaru’s motorsport heritage. Nowadays, its expertise can be seen in every one of its production vehicles.

Think of the greats of world rallying: Colin McRae. Ari Vatanen. Richard Burns. Petter Solberg.

Now picture them in their vehicles, helmet on and steering wheel clutched in gloved hands. Is the car you’re visualising bright blue? Thought so.

Every one of these legends drove for the Subaru team and notched up their biggest career successes while racing under the manufacturer’s banner.

There was Colin McRae’s drivers’ championship victory in 1995, which coincided with Subaru’s first manufacturers’ title.

It scored two more straight works championships in the following years, with McRae consistently finishing in the drivers’ top two.

In 2001 Burns steered Subaru to a second drivers’ championship, with Norway’s Solberg doing it again two years later.

Subaru’s dominance of world rallying lives long in the mind of enthusiasts, and the legacy of that period of high achievement is enjoyed by everyone who drives its production cars today. Why?

Because each one features technology that was honed in the pressured environment of competitive motorsport.

Winning technology

Consider Subaru’s unique Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (SAWD) system. This is a feature of all of its world-beating rally cars, including the Legacy RS of the early 1990s and the much-admired Impreza 555 in which McRae became world champion.

Proven in the heat of competition, the setup sits at the heart of every model (except the BRZ sports coupe) in Subaru’s current line-up. It’s why vehicles like the Outback, Forester and XV deliver such a reassuring drive.

The SAWD works by driving every wheel, in contrast to the part-time four-wheel drive configurations favoured on many SUVs.

It then tweaks the precise power delivery in response to conditions, redirecting it from a wheel if slip is detected to facilitate a constant grip on the surface below.

As well as delivering astonishing road holding, SAWD translates to enviable go-anywhere ability, especially when allied to the enhanced ground clearance of the Forester, Outback and XV.

Whether you’re a rural dweller who traverses tricky country lanes in all weathers, a boating or caravan enthusiast in need of a tow car, or a lover of adventurous pursuits who needs a practical car to access out-of-the-way places, Subaru’s all-terrain credentials make the task of getting from A to B immeasurably more straightforward.

Crash resistance

Even better, the brand is regularly recognised for the safety of its vehicles, which is perhaps unsurprising when you consider its motorsport heritage.

The fact that the Forester, Outback and XV all received a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests enhances the sense of putting yourself and your passengers in good hands. These cars really are made of strong stuff.

It is not hard to see why so many motorsport greats signed up with Subaru during its World Rally Championship glory days. If you’re at the top of your game, you want to drive the very best.

And while the average motorist may not have the astonishing behind-the-wheel nous of a McRae or a Vatanen, it is reassuring to know that, in some small way, you are part of the same legend. The modern Subaru is the heir to their success.

What is ‘Subaru Sense’?

Subaru’s unique approach to engineering underpins everything they do. They put capability, safety and reliability before anything else – always have, always will. In this series for The Telegraph and Subaru, adventurous people talk about the vehicles and technologies that make sense to them.

Subaru has been making cars for more than 60 years. The combination of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Subaru’s famous Boxer engine form the basis of a range of technologies designed to give you the ultimate confidence on (and off) the road.

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Limited Editions, News&Reviews, Top 5

5 Cars I Wish I’d Never Sold

The ones I shouldn’t have let get away

I’m the type of person who looks forward, not back, in life. I don’t struggle with an attachment to material possessions. When I sell something, I usually have a “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out” attitude and move on. But there are a handful of automobiles I’ve owned that I miss and I’d love to have back in my garage.

1986 Audi 5000CS Turbo Quattro

An Audi 200 Turbo Quattro won the 1987 Safari rally outright, the first time an all-wheel-drive vehicle finished on the top step of the podium at the grueling African event. Being a rally nut, when a close friend’s father decided to sell his 1986 Audi 5000CS Turbo Quattro (the U.S. version of the 200) in the early 1990s, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity.

I loved that big Audi. The off-beat five-cylinder engine had a glorious soundtrack and the addition of the optional factory Fuchs 15-by-7-inch forged wheels shod with sticky Yokohama AVS Intermediate tires meant summer dry and wet grip was enormous. For winter duty, I fitted a set of Pirelli winter tires to the stock 15-by-6-inch wheels. I felt like rally god Hannu Mikkola as I dominated the snow-covered roads of Michigan in the Audi sedan, tapping the ABS off button to fully disable the antilock brakes for maximum left-foot braking fun.

There was one particularly snowy day when a friend’s pickup couldn’t make it up a steep hill, but a flick of the rotary switch in the 5000 locked the center and rear differentials, allowing the seemingly feeble German sports sedan to claw its way effortlessly to the top. When the snow melted and the Fuchs were bolted back on, I saw nearly 140 mph on the speedometer more than once. The Audi 5000CS Turbo Quattro was a jack of all trades sedan, and I loved it.

2002 and 2003 Mini Cooper S

I put a $500 deposit down at two Mini dealerships in Chicago before there were even Mini dealerships in the U.S. Logic told me the two biggest BMW stores in the Windy City would get the Mini franchise, and I was right. As such, I secured one the first Mini Cooper S models to land in North America in the spring of 2002. What a fantastic car.

The characterful supercharged engine and slick, six-speed manual gearbox worked brilliantly together. Its large, 17-inch wheels with run-flat tires gave an extremely harsh ride, but the wonderful steering and overall grip compensated. I felt like a rock star around Grand Rapids, Michigan.

It’s easy to forget just what a crazy concept the Mini was for the U.S. some 15 years ago. It caused both enthusiasts and the car clueless to stop me for a chat about my British hatchback. I sold that first red with a white roof 2002 Mini Cooper S for a profit in the fall of 2002 and ordered a silver 2003 with a black roof to my exact OCD specs. I also binned the standard run-flat tires for more conventional performance rubber, improving the ride quality and overall handling tremendously. That second Mini stuck around for a year or so, until I decided it was time to return to my all-wheel-drive rally routes.

2002 Subaru Impreza WRX

The WRX was my first Japanese car. I was a tried and true Euro snob until I began to realize that most Audi products had become too big, heavy, and expensive for proper winter thrashing duties. I found a lightly used, adult-owned WRX just before the snow arrived in late 2003: silver exterior, five-speed manual gearbox sans the tacky rear wing. A set of Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3 performance winter tires quickly took their place on the stock 16-inch wheels, and the slippery-road fun quickly began.

The gearbox was positive, the seats fit me perfectly, and the engine made great power — well, as long as you kept at least 3,000 rpm on the tachometer. I’d jump railroad tracks and anything else I could find, but I couldn’t seem to exhaust the extensive suspension travel. A trick modification to the ratcheting mechanism on the handbrake made low-speed turns and general hooliganism easy and the all-wheel-drive system with a limited-slip center and rear differential helped WRX be far less understeer prone than my previous Audi models. The WRX was also the last car I’ve owned that lacked stability control. I’m a huge fan of the brilliant safety feature, but there is something to be said about the top-spec car control that’s needed to drive a car lacking ESP quickly in the snow.

2008 BMW 328i

When I departed my full-time duties at Automobile magazine in 2009, I needed a car. Rotating through various BMW press cars enlightened me to their overall dynamic brilliance. Yes, the German company has lost the plot to a certain degree as of late, but the E90 3 Series was a fantastic car in sedan form.

I picked up a slightly used 2008 BMW 328i to serve as my new daily driver. Of course, it had a six-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive, and the sport package. The combination of run-flat tires and stiff suspension wasn’t perfect for Michigan’s crumbling roads, but at least the 328i came with 17-inch wheels versus the larger and heavier 18-inch setup. BMW’s naturally aspirated inline-six made great power and was smooth, smooth, smooth. It was also frugal, returning more than 30 mpg on 80-mph highway runs. I loved the buttery, meaty steering and the overall chassis balance. The heated seats were quick to warm my bottom on a cold winter’s morning and a set of winter tires combined with nicely judged stability control made the 328i an excellent vehicle for the coldest season of the year.

I vividly remember driving along an empty stretch of arrow-straight highway in Northern Michigan one particularly gorgeous summer’s evening with my mother-in-law riding shotgun. Eager to get home to my wife — and away from my mother-in-law — I scooted the BMW sedan up to an indicated 150 mph. It was rock solid, and I recall my passenger only piping up to ask why the wind noise seemed to have grown louder during the high-speed dash. I spent extended time in a couple of facelifted E90s, but none had the pace or overall feel of the lightly optioned 328i. When the present F30 3 Series hit the market, I quickly secured some seat time. I was disappointed. Sure, it rode better, had more torque, and offered a nice bump in interior space, but something was lost. Let’s hope BMW remembers the E90 when the next 3 Series hits the market.

2013 Scion FR-S

I sold the Scion FR-S to get a new Ford Focus RS in the spring of 2016. Now I want the FR-S back. Yes, the 350 hp, all-wheel-drive hatchback affixed with Blue Oval badges is faster and more practical, but I miss the purity and simplicity of the rear-wheel drive Japanese coupe.

I don’t do a ton of road trips in my personal car. Those are usually left for my wife’s car or various press cars. My drive to the office is short and not super exciting. The FR-S made each and every journey a pleasure. It’s not a fast car, but the lack of outright pace allows you to more regularly wring-out the engine and drive the FR-S hard without attracting the attention of Johnny Law. The low-grip Michelin summer tires and approachable chassis dynamics add to the entertaining package. A set of 16-inch steel wheels and winter tires along with aftermarket seat heaters made the Scion an impressive companion in the snow — and huge fun.

I also loved the seats, something that can’t be said for the overly bolstered Recaro setup in the Focus RS. The FR-S was also frugal on fuel. Again, not the case with the Ford. Sure, the Japanese 2+2 coupe is loud on the highway and rather basic inside, but I can live with that considering all the positives that come along with the under-$30K package. Plus, it rides better than the ultra-stiff Focus RS.

I don’t think automotive enthusiasts fully realize just how diluted modern cars have become. As more buttons and switches for various drive modes are added, something is lost. Spending time in a car like the FR-S (called the Toyota 86 for 2017) or its twin, the Subaru BRZ, clearly reminds you of this fact. Porsche seems to understand this with cars like the Cayman GT4 and 911 R, but they are expensive. My hope is that more car companies get on board offering simplistic automobiles, preferably at a reasonable price. In the meantime, I’ve missed the FR-S so much that I recently placed an order for a 2017 Toyota 86. I can’t wait for its arrival, and I hope the subtle improvements translate to an even better car for my needs in the real world.

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History, News&Reviews

14 Things You Need to Know About Subaru Owners

With winter around the corner it can only mean one thing – the dormant Subaru owner will be coming out of hibernation. Here are 14 facts that can help you prepare yourself in the event that you cross one of their paths:

MUST SEE: Five Steps to Making More Power in Your Subaru WRX

1. LIKE A MIDGET WRESTLER, SUBARU OWNERS HAVE SOMETHING TO PROVE

2. HOWEVER ONCE DOMINANCE IS ESTABLISHED, THEY ARE HAPPY TO LEND A HELPING HAND

3. AND DESPITE POPULAR BELIEF, THEY ALWAYS TRY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT SIZE DOESN’T MATTER

4. EVEN THOUGH IT STILL SEEMS LIKE THEY ARE OVERCOMPENSATING FOR SOMETHING…

5. MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE THEY ALL WANT TO BE KEN BLOCK

6. OR AT LEAST AS SMOOTH AS THIS GUY

7. BUT MOST OF THEM JUST END UP BEING THIS GUY

8. STILL, THEIR EXHAUST NOTE ALONE IS ENOUGH TO DRAW THE LADIES

9. AND SOMETIMES EVEN THE DUDES

10. BUT IT’S STILL NOT INTIMIDATING ENOUGH TO SCARE AWAY THE MITSUBISHI OWNERS

11. AND WHILE MOST SUBARU OWNERS LOVE THE GREAT OUTDOORS

12. THEY HAVE NO PROBLEM DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT

13. HOWEVER AT THE END OF THE DAY, THEY ARE PROUD OF SUBARU’S JAPANESE HERITAGE

14. AND THEY TYPICALLY MAKE EXCELLENT ROLE MODELS

MUST SEE: 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Subaru

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2008-, News&Reviews

2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI Pair Updated Looks With Performance Upgrades

For 2018, Subaru has given the WRX and WRX STI a mild refresh on the outside, and a few significant tweaks under the skin. Starting with the exterior, the lower grille openings on both models have been enlarged and given a bit of extra black trim for a more aggressive look. In fact, the change is a bit reminiscent of the dearly departed Mitsubishi Evo, with the black trim of the lower center grille extending to the bottom of the bumper. The WRX Limited and all STI models also get turning LED headlights, and the STI gets bigger 19-inch wheels.


The interior also features subtle tweaks including a larger screen in the instrument panel for all models, as well as thicker door glass and foam in the windshield header to the make the car quieter. Both models also now come with roof rack mounting brackets, a new rear armrest with cupholders, and, according to Subaru, improved interior materials. And the WRX and STI are also now available with eight-way power adjustable Recaro seats. The Recaros are standard on the top trim STI, optional on the standard STI, and available in the new Performance Package for WRX models.


This brings us to perhaps the biggest update, that aforementioned WRX Performance Package. In addition to the Recaro seats, it comes with upgraded brake pads covered in bright red calipers. The package also eliminates the moonroof, which hardcore enthusiasts know will save weight up high.


The STI gets a notable brake upgrade. New Brembo brakes feature six-piston calipers at the front, and two-piston units at the back, and they’re all painted a vivid yellow hue. Those calipers act on bigger, drilled rotors using equally enlarged brake pads. Subaru also retuned the car’s Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD). Both the WRX and STI also have retuned suspension all around.


If this all sounds great to you, you should be able to pick one up at your local Subaru dealer this spring.

Related Video:

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2008-, Featured, News&Reviews

Subaru’s 2017 Forester is Still One of The Best Crossover SUVs You Can Buy

My very first car was a 1998 Subaru Forester that my brother handed down to me.

It wasn’t the sexiest car in the world, but it sure was reliable. I drove it from New York to North Carolina and back again for four years with 80,000 miles already logged, and it always got the job done.

So when the opportunity to try the newest Subaru Forester presented itself, I had to get behind the wheel and see if it still presented the same level of comfort, reliability, and driving ease as its nearly 20-year-old predecessor.

The Forester is arguably Subaru’s most important car. The crossover was Subaru’s best-selling vehicle in the US last year and still holds that title in 2016 so far.

As always with the Forester, the Subaru’s main perk is that it’s a practical and sturdy ride with all-wheel drive. But the 2017 model comes with some semi-autonomous features that take it to the next level. These kinds of steady improvements are important considering how competitive the crossover segment is, with players like the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.

Here’s what it’s like to drive Subaru’s latest Forester:

Behold, the 2017 Subaru Forester. The car arrived on a relatively rainy weekend, but I had the chance to take it on a longer trip to Fort Lee Historic Park in New Jersey once the sun came out.

At a time when most cars are getting bigger, Subaru still has a loyal following with its small crossover.

Subaru’s Forester made its US debut in 1998 with the model pictured here. It was one of the first compact crossover SUVs to hit the market at the time. It’s actually pretty remarkable how little the size of of the compact SUV has changed, though it’s lost its original boxy shape.

For a crossover, the Subaru Forester has always offered a ton of interior space, especially in the trunk…


… And that still holds true today.

As a pleasant surprise, the 2017 Forester still comes with a beautiful, big rear window.

This is probably a strange thing to harp on, but one of my favorite features of my 1998 Forester was how much visibility it got in the rear. It had a perfect line of sight for long trips involving heavy highway maneuvering, and that feature hasn’t changed.

From a design standpoint, the 2017 Subaru Forester offers the same creature comforts that many Subaru loyalists have come to know and love, with some added improvements.


Interestingly enough, the 1998 Subaru Forester started under $20,000 for the base model. Nineteen years later, the 2017 Subaru Forester begins at $22,595 — a pretty small price increase. But the Touring Version that I drove starts at $31,295 because it’s available with features like a touchscreen infotainment system and semi-autonomous driving aids.

The original Subaru’s seats were covered in this grey-and-blue cloth material that can only be described as insanely ’90s. Because I drove the premium version of Subaru’s Forester, the seats was decked out in plush, brown leather.

Here’s another look at the backseat’s set-up.

All versions of the Forester come with a center console that offers a neat and clear app selection. There’s also a digital clock above the console that will transform to show you how much gas you have left when your car is shutting down.


Subaru’s STARLINK connected infotainment system is also standard. It’s not the most detailed map you’ll ever see, but it’s easy to see your route and the relevant information when you’re glancing down quickly while driving. It also gives solid directions. For example, it will tell you “turn at the next light” instead of tossing out a road name you may not be familiar with.

The Touring line comes with features like adaptive cruise control, an alert system that will ping you if it detects lane drift, emergency braking, blind spot detection, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. It also comes with steering responsive, LED headlights.

I appreciated how fine-tuned the Rear Cross Traffic Alert was on the Forester — it didn’t beep unless you were truly getting close to an object behind you. Subaru altered its Rear Cross Traffic Alert for this model so the colored cameras provide a longer field of vision, and it’s definitely an improvement. The camera view is crystal clear, and the different colored brackets provided accurate assessments of spacing.

I was also a big fan of the key fob that will automatically unlock the door for you when you approach the car. With keyless access you simply put the fob in the center console and push the start button to get the car going.


But the blind spot detection feature was lacking. It’s supposed to light up if a vehicle is driving in your blind spot. But I drove the car on the highway and didn’t really notice it, so it’s certainly a minimalist feature that’s easy to miss.

You can control a lot of the car’s functions using the steering wheel alone, from changing the volume to entering cruise control. There’s also paddle shifters if you want to enter manual mode. All of these controls were easy to access and adjust on the highway without spending too much time looking down.

And as a fun bonus feature, the Touring line comes with a heated steering wheel, which is the first for a Forester.

For fun, here’s a look at the original Subaru Forester center console. Feel free to revel at my cassette tape adapter hook-up. You won’t be seeing a cigarette lighter in the new model…


Overall, my experience driving the Subaru Forester was pleasant. It had great pick-up on the highway and the braking was consistently smooth.

The car offers the perfect amount of lift around the road, and it’s easy to control when changing lanes.

Its compact size and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert system made parallel parking this car a breeze.

Overall, the 2017 Subaru Forester remains a solid bang for your buck option if you’re looking for a sturdy crossover.

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Car Culture, Featured, News&Reviews

9 Reasons Why The Subaru Impreza WRX STI Is Better Than The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

For about two decades, Subaru and Mitsubishi have locked horns. And while both have built incredible rally cars for the road, the Impreza will always be king. Here’s why…

1. It was Colin McRae’s weapon of choice

Colin McRae was one of the greatest drivers to ever grace tarmac, gravel and snow in the World Rally Championship. He was a hero of mine when I was little, and now he’s inspiring a new generation as his exploits are chopped up into awesome compilations and shared on YouTube. If the Impreza was good enough for this legend, it’s good enough for me.

2. It has an iconic sound

I’m a sucker for something unique, and in that iconic rumble, caused by this Boxer engine’s
unequal length headers, the Impreza has a very individual soundtrack. When an Impreza revs its engine, even part-time petrolheads within earshot will just know that a Scooby is coming into view.

3. It’s more understated

Yeah, there’s something to be said for the crazy styling of the Evo, but I’ve always preferred the subtle approach. Sure, Imprezas are famous for wearing rather shouty rear wings, but remove that and it’ll fly under the radar. It’s got the performance, and that’s all it needs to impress.

4. It has a bonnet scoop

Okay, so I know I said I liked subtlety, but come on… selling a car from the factory with a bloody great bonnet scoop is absolutely brilliant.

5. It has a better culture surrounding it

In the UK at least, you only have to spend five minutes perusing the classifieds to see the massive gulf in price between the Impreza and Evo. As such, almost anyone can afford the Scooby, so they’re much more common and easier to modify.

Exclusivity is cool when you’ve just dropped £1m on a hypercar, but at this level it’s all about finding like-minded people to share your car with. The Impreza is rare enough to be different, without being so exclusive you never bump into other owners.

6. It has its own iconic colour scheme

Throughout the ages, petrolheads have associated cars with colours; Ferraris are red, Jaguars are British Racing Green, and Lamborghinis are yellow. If you can become associated with a colour scheme, you know you’ve made an impact, and with the Mica Blue body work/gold wheels combo, the Impreza has a suitably unique signature paint job.

7. There are loads of cool special editions

From the moment the Impreza became dominant in rally at the hands of Colin McRae, Subaru began building special editions to capitalise on that success. In the UK it kicked off with the Series Colin McRae, but there were countless specials including the RB5, P1 and R205. Perhaps the most iconic of all is the 22B (above), which was built to celebrate Subaru’s 40th anniversary and its third successive WRC title. It’s the perfect blend of super saloon practicality, aggressive stance, and blistering performance, thanks to the 280bhp 2.2-litre engine. So. Much. Want.

8. It still looks badass in hatchback form

Much was made about the WRX ditching its saloon styling (and Impreza moniker) for its third generation, however once all the drama had subsided, every rational petrolhead realised that it still looked great. It’s not as subtle as some of the earlier models, but particularly in STi guise (above), it wears its chunky bodywork well.

9. It has outlived the Evo

Mitsubishi killed off the Evo this year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be making a comeback any time soon (though there have been murmurs it could return as a hybrid, god forbid). The WRX STI is still going strong, and when we drove it last year we fell in love with its hooliganistic personality. It’s a whole lot of performance for not a huge amount of cash – sure its interior would’ve been outdated in the 90s, but who cares when you’re having so much fun?

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Car Culture, Featured, News&Reviews

9 Reasons Why The Mitsubishi Evo Is Better Than The Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The competition between the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and the Subaru Impreza WRX STI has been going strong since the early 90s, and recently, we’ve been adding fuel to that fire. Here is the second side to the story, and obviously the truth..

Not so long ago, CT staff writer Darren Cassey wrote something that I, and many of you disagreed with. The article was called 9 Reasons Why The Subaru Impreza WRX STI Is Better Than The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, and as an Evo owner myself, I had to give my side of the story. Here are my arguments for why it’s the Evo that’s in fact the better car:

1. It’s sharper to drive

Sure, Subaru has been able to make a name for itself through Colin McRae, but he drove a heavily modified STI with all the best equipment and factory sponsorship. He probably had to replace the entire chassis and suspension to make it a frontrunner. The 2015 STI has a bit of improved steering and suspension over previous generations, but any reviews and first-hand experiences say the Evo still feels sharper and grounded while still being light.

If you buy a stock Evo, you can have the better handling without spending the extra money if you can’t afford it. It is well known that the chassis is more responsive in the Evo, and the S-AWC creates the best possible traction in all scenarios. In fact, you’ll feel more of the road, and it unknowingly makes the beginner driver improve more quickly. It’s confidence inspiring.

2. The noise is better

If you’re looking for a car that always sounds like it’s trying to clear its throat, you’ve found the right one in purchasing a STI. The reason why everyone knows when the STI is coming is because they’re searching for the car that sounds like it is, in a raspy way, rapidly misfiring.

On the other hand, is the smoother, low grumble of the Evo. Even stock these cars give you the satisfaction that you’re driving a
brilliantly quick car. If you’re looking for something that lets the neighbours know your Evo is home before they see you, there are loads of aftermarket exhausts that seal the deal without annoying the entire block; or having them look for the teenagers in a riced-out Civic.

3. It’s more understated

You can’t tell me the STI is more understated. Look at the picture. Tell me that this is not a sleeper. Go ahead, I dare you.

4. Evos have a bonnet scoop too, and it’s better

Yes, the STI has a bonnet scoop. The Evo has a bonnet scoop, too (in fact, it has two more practical vents on the hood than the STI). And it’s more streamlined. As the driver you can even see across the hood to the other side of the car – there isn’t anything there to block your view!

Plus, the Evo has functional fender vents that aid in cooling the brakes and venting air normally trapped in the wheel well, and, of course, add to the rally looks of the car.

5. Evo owners aren’t snobs

This probably depends upon the country, but certainly in the US it feels as though many STI owners around do not understand that the competition between the STI and the Evo is what makes the cars succeed; they tend to be snobby and stick to their own car club. The competitiveness, though, is what has driven the manufacturers to build the best cars possible, and what has pushed them to the top for all of these years. Owners of both brands should be, even considering brand loyalty, praising each other’s work. The Evo culture here is doing exactly that.

And, although it may surprise you, the majority of STI owners I have spoken with at car meets and competitions admit they wish they had an Evo. The Evo is STI-owner approved.

6. Who cares that the Impreza has its own colour scheme?

I will admit I grew up wanting the exact iconic colour scheme of gold rims on Subaru Blue. It is iconic – I’ll give them that. Subaru has done a great job branding using that paint arrangement. However, don’t just throw the Evo out because they don’t have an explicit colour scheme. They’ve branded themselves with their overall looks; they are not hiding behind specific colours.

The body kit on the Evo X SSS package has it all – it’s sporty, sexy, and sleek. The front lip not only is a functional aid in
aerodynamics, it gives the stock Evo the lowered aggressive look. The side skirts add width and make the body flow from front to back, and the spoiler is just big enough without being over-the-top (ahem 2015 STI ahem). The newest STI just looks like an Evo and a Civic SI made a baby.

Let us not forget about those Recaro racing seats that come with the stock Evo. Oy vey those are comfortable and snug for tight, fast cornering – even for a woman’s hips! I’ve done multiple 2500-mile road trips in those seats; I know they’re comfortable. But let’s face it, why are you buying this type of car if you aren’t going to drive hard? You don’t want the no-name plush seats with somewhat functionality, you want the racing seats.

7. No limited edition Evos = a good thing

Yes, Subaru has done well by offering Limited Edition and special occasion STIs. But who has that money to throw down for one of those? And if you can buy one, you’re going to be too afraid to drive it hard for fear of it losing value! What’s a rally car without the rally?Or, buy the Evo. No limited edition. No special authenticated plaque. If you care about a special colour scheme, have it custom done. Then take all of that extra money you didn’t spend on the Limited Edition Subaru and throw it into modding the crap out of your already awesome Evo. Then it truly is a special edition.

8. It still looks awesome in hatchback form

Just in case you haven’t stepped outside your Subaru bubble recently, Mitsubishi also has a hatchback. It might not be as aesthetically pleasing, but when it boils down to it, is Subaru making the hatchback anymore? Nope. Besides, a hatchback is for practicality. It’s said that the STI is a more practical, friendlier daily driver. That may be so, but I have two points here that may make you look twice at the Evo instead.

1) My Evo is a daily driver. It’s comfortable for long treks (see my bit about the seats prior) yet track ready when I need it to be.

2) I can fit a rear-facing car seat and a stroller in my car (yes, in the ‘small’ trunk without removing the sound system). What is more practical than a family car? If you need to haul something bigger than what can fit in the car, buy a truck.

9. The STI has outlived the Evo

We all heard the news that Mitsubishi has discontinued the Evo X. Yes that means the STI is the last one standing, but is it the best one left? Or just left? From the very beginning Mitsubishi and Subaru were battling, producing the Lancer Evolution versus the WRX STI- specific rivalry in 1993. Ever since their induction the STIs have been playing catch-up to the Evo, it’s not a secret.

Subaru producing the STI with no direct competitor is only going to increase the price of your STI while limiting the pressure on Subaru to produce a better car. I mean, c’mon, Mitsubishi didn’t stop producing the Evo because it was losing to Subaru and the STI.

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2008-, Car Technology, Featured, News&Reviews

Subaru recalls 26,000 Imprezas for Backup Camera Gremlins

Sure, you may not need a backup camera, but if it’s not working when it’s supposed to, it’s still a pain.

Subaru issued a recall for 26,564 examples of the 2017 Impreza in both sedan and hatchback guise. The vehicles in question have production dates between Sept. 12, 2016 and Feb. 23, 2017.

The issue isn’t actually related to any mechanical part of the vehicle — instead, it comes from Harman’s infotainment unit, which underpins Subaru’s Starlink system. The backup camera display might not show up properly.

It could be a black screen due to a memory error during the initial boot-up, or the screen might freeze if too much is happening at the same time. Either way, when putting the car in reverse, the camera might not show up on the screen when it’s supposed to, which can technically increase the risk of an injury or collision.

After discovering reports of a blank screen when putting the car in reverse, Subaru collected failed parts and sent them back to Harman, which investigated the issue and told the automaker how to fix it. Thankfully, the fix is easy — Subaru will fix the issue with a simple software reflash, which should take about an hour at any dealership.

Subaru notified dealers of the issue on February 24, and it will eventually mail out notifications to owners via first-class mail. The schedule for owner notification has not yet been established, however.

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