Could the next generation Subaru WRX be all you want in a performance sedan? We think so.
When Subaru Philippines said they were introducing the all new 2014 WRX with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), we thought they were off their rockers. Why take a formula that has proved to be successful in so many markets around the world for Subaru and change it by installing an automatic gearbox, and a CVT at that?
Well, after spending a few days with the all new Subaru WRX, they’ve made converts out of us. Big time.
Examining the car for the first time, it’s clear that the WRX is more than an Impreza with a wider bodykit, a hood scoop and bigger wheels. Subaru have delineated the WRX from the Impreza by debuting it as a “WRX” only. The body and platform are, of course, based on the Impreza, but Subaru’s designers have performed more than a basic nip and tuck by giving the platform an entirely new front end, a much wider stance, a more poised rear and a far more aggressive demeanor.
In black, this example of the WRX does mask many of the design elements that Subaru have made. Still it’s easy to tell that this model is ready for action. Just look at that hood scoop, those headlights with the uber-cool LED daylight running lamps as well as the 17 inch wheels with grippy Dunlop Sport Maxx tires.
The WRX is also significantly different in dimensions over the Impreza. Wheelbase is a little longer at 2,650mm, overall length is also extended at 4,595mm and so is the height at 1,475mm. The big difference is in the width, as the WRX is much wider at 1,795mm; 55mm wider than the standard Impreza models at 1,740mm.
Inside, the 2014 WRX gets the same interior architecture found in the Impreza, XV and Forester, though many details have been updated, upgraded and redesigned for the WRX. The steering wheel is now proper for the WRX with a flat bottom and a thick rim. The gauge cluster is far better than the Impreza’s with red lighting and an LCD that shows which mode of SI Drive you’ve got activated. The trim and center panel pieces are all in carbon fiber. Basically Subaru have worked to make the interior a proper one for the WRX.
At the heart of the WRX is an all new engine: a 2.0-liter flat four turbo intercooler engine. The FA20DIT in the 2014 WRX is able to produce 268 PS and 350 Nm of torque thanks to direct injection and an upgraded turbocharger. Apart from the all-new engine, the 2014 WRX gets a Lineartronic CVT instead of the 5-speed manual like before. The difference in acceleration times is minimal: this car can do a 0-100 km/h sprint in 6.3 seconds.
The 2014 WRX CVT is a very easy drive in the city with smooth acceleration in stoplight to stoplight traffic. Of course being a performance car the WRX’s suspension is on the firm side of the spectrum, but there’s still a fair bit of absorption.
On an expressway in heavy rain, the 2014 Subaru WRX shows that Confidence In Motion is no mere catchphras—it’s the real deal. The WRX’s wide track and all-wheel drive system give the driver the confidence and control to maintain fast speeds on an open road. But this is no highway bruiser, as the WRX was made to tackle winding mountain roads with ease.
Heading up the mountains, the 2014 WRX can really show off what it’s made of, especially if Sport# is engaged. That’s the beauty of SI Drive, a system that modifies the way the engine is mapped depending on how you want to drive.
Acceleration at full throttle is indeed sharp with the FA20DIT and the CVT. Brake hard for a corner and the WRX will dig deep and scrub speed quickly. Controlling how the WRX behaves is so much more easier than rear wheel drive sports cars. Manage the revs of the engine properly in the corner (between 3,000 to 3,750 rpm) and the turbo picks up instantly to rocket you out of the apex and back on the straight. A manual transmission version would indeed be more fun, but the CVT works very, very well already.
We can only come to the conclusion that the 2014 Subaru WRX is the best all around performance car in the market. Sure, sports coupes such as the Toyota 86 and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe may be more popular choices if you’re looking for a fun machine to toss around with two less doors, that’s a given. At just PhP 1.888M, however, the 2014 Subaru WRX isn’t just a hard proposition to beat on the showroom floor, it’s a tough one to overtake on a racetrack, on the highway and on any mountain road.