It's what's on the inside that counts
Some things are just meant for each other like wine and cheese, beer and friends, Brad and Angelina and turbochargers and AWD. Yes, there are few feelings in this world as satisfying as tackling any road surface and being confident in your car's abilities at coping with what is thrown at it.
You may recall that I've mentioned on a few occasions my experience one cold January morning in 2006. I had opened the garage door from my apartment building to find 41 cm of fresh snow lying before me, taunting me, having paralysed the city and kept roads deserted. I could do nothing more than smile. I had seen the light!
That car was a 2006 Impreza WRX and that day and that week ('cause it snowed two or three other times) are classified as some of my most treasured in my 12-year career as an auto critic.
Forget the cover, if you can
I'm a big fan of the WRX, have been since the first Impreza 2.5RS models from the late 90s. The compact body dimensions, determined stare and choice alloys always catch my eye when an RS or WRX goes by. I'm a sucker for spoilers, front and rear, side-sill extensions, fog lights and tailpipes. These cars have them all in droves. Especially when on a wagon! I've been recently dreaming about a 2003 Spec R1. Remember that one?
From 2008 on, the WRX still carried all these items, however like a pair of implants on a 90 year-old woman, it did and does not work for me. That, and they killed the wagon! Subaru has, of sound mind and spirit, shifted its design language and approach in order to cater to a broader audience, even if that meant dropping a few brand enthusiasts along the way.
Luckily for Subaru, there are few other cars that can do what the Impreza does, fewer still that can match the WRX. One of which is the Lancer Ralliart, but if the differences are noticeable between the EVO and the STI, there is a trench and a moat between the WRX and Ralliart. The WRX takes the cake.
Here's how I see it: get a hatchback, any colour, preferably white, keep the standard 17” gunmetal rims for the winter (previous 17s were far more WRX) and purchase some choice 18” alloys for summer. With this decor, the WRX is acceptable.
No, I don't like the way the car looks because it's such a mixed bag of generic Japanese sauce and Subaru-cool. Don't work for me.
Impreza cabins have always been chintzy, sparse and generally plain. I liked it that way. This time, Subaru tried to class things up but it also did not click. But none of it matters once you are under way.
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