July 22, 2015 @ 02:35 PM

Review: The STi this isn’t but is the WRX any tamer?

The Subaru WRX isn't top on a lady's car wish list, if she ever has one. Is it OK for the Miss to give this car a miss? Jerrica Leong finds out if this brute can play nice

The Subaru WRX isn't top on a lady's car wish list, if she ever has one. Is it OK for the Miss to give this car a miss? Jerrica Leong finds out if this brute can play nice

It is hard to miss the Subaru WRX when it is rumbling down the road. While it may be its sheet metal is formed into something aggressive, the car you see here isn’t the STi-armed road and off-road warrior the brand is renowned for. Just so you know, the WRX STi is busy doing donuts with Russ Swift until October 2015 at various road shows around the country.

So the car you see here is the 2.0-litre packing a CVT instead of a manual transmission. Purists might upturn their noses on this car but rest assured this isn’t made to be a rally legend. This WRX exists for a whole different reason. 

Exterior (Score: 5/5)

So, a young lady can step out of a Golf GTI, a Volvo XC60 and BMW X4 and not attract any attention. No wrong, just that the choices are very run-of-mill these days. However, put sneaker-shod feet out of the WRX and she’ll put herself in the crosshairs of many eyeballs; look at the car, look at me, now look at car again. I understand; there aren’t many ladies out there that would wish she was behind the wheel of a Subaru. OK, the XV maybe but a WRX?

The WRX is made to look ultra-aggressive and its dimensions seem to boost the perception. Standing beside the WRX can make me feel as if I am holding on to a leash of an American Pit Bull. Large lip spoiler, twin dual tail mufflers and 17-inch Gunmetal alloys only serve to intensify that angry face, flared fenders, muscular shoulders and powerful haunch. Well, the WRX is, after all, the base on which the STi is built on.

Interior (Score: 3/5)

While the leather seats lined with red-stitching, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a piece of carbon-fibre panel stuck on the centre console reflects the sporty nature of the car while attempting to inject life into the interior, nothing could have made it look modern. Instead, what we have here is something pulled straight out from the 90s.

But it is comfortable, which leads me to believe that Subaru puts more focus on function rather than the aesthetics. Every rotary knob and rocker switch in where it should be, all arranged in a familiar grids that one would not need to make a car’s manual the weekend read to get acquainted with the basic functions.

Power and Handling (Score: 5/5)

It is a given that the car is powerful, and the WRX’s rally lineage meant that this sporty sedan can weather everything the city throws at it. Despite the car’s size, the WRX is not only easy to handle – the steering is sharp! – but also proves to be nimble when negotiating traffic.
In a city constipated with too many cars (who said cars are expensive?), the CVT is something that trumps having a manual gearbox every time. Allow the gearbox to move the car according to its programming and your climb up the speed-ladder will be a smooth affair. Trouble comes when you ask for more commitment, the CVT hesitates, lags, protests and then whine loudly as if you’re dragging a brat to bed. 

Tech and Safety (Score: 3/5)

Seven airbags, reinforcement beams on the doors and the collapsing boxer engine made the WRX a favourite for safety. Of course, there are also ISOFIX points in the car so you can install a proper child car seat before you educate your offspring on the benefits of having a driver’s car.

When it comes to tech, you get the now-usual keyless access and push-start system. There’s also cruise control, Bluetooth-compatible hands-free system and paddle shifters. The little screen sitting at the peak of the centre console displays various digital gauges and a real-time infographic that tells you how much power is being dispensed into which wheel at any given time; it appeals to all gearheads regardless of age and sex.


While the WRX 2.0 CVT shares most of its looks with the STi, make no mistake that this is the tamer, city-friendly version of the two. In retaining its rallying characteristics, the WRX makes the errand-runs a pleasure. Truth be told, there is no wrong in leaving the car in D as it provides enough fun that you can’t ask from many other cars. At least, Subaru has left the SI-Drive in the WRX just in case you need to let out stress with a quicker-than-usual drive.

Sure, the Golf GTI may look sexier but if you want to make a statement, you gotta drive the WRX. 

Overall score: 16/20

On sale
RM239,604.80 with GST
1998cc, DOHC 16-Valve, Horizontally-Opposed, 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, Turbocharged, petrol engine, 265bhp @ 5600rpm, 350Nm @ 2400-5200rpm
Lineartronic CVT, Symmetrical All-wheel drive
Length/ width/ height/ wheelbase (mm)
4595/ 1795/ 1475/ 2650mm

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