If anything has inspired me to become a rally driver, it's the new 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX. I watch rally races when time permits and am always awestruck at the skill and precision involved in driving such powerful machines. It's magical really. I wish I had such talent so that I could drive the WRX the way it should be driven. Nevertheless, despite my lack of rally experience, I still had a blast in the sassy Subaru.
If the Impreza WRX's turbocharged 227-hp engine doesn't inspire thoughts of a career in rally driving, nothing will. (Photo: Shawn Pisio, Canadian Auto Press)
Here's the deal, there is no way that anyone can give me a compact car with a 2.0-L, 16-valve, horizontally-opposed, turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder engine producing 227 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 217 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm and expect me to drive it without some zing. That just wouldn't be fair. So I drove it with safe "zing," making my week with the platinum silver metallic colored Impreza all the more fun.
The rally influence of the WRX can also been seen in the interior, with its rally-styled sports seats and leather-wrapped MOMO steering wheel. (Photo: Shawn Pisio, Canadian Auto Press)
When I entered the WRX for the first time, I could definitely feel the rally influence. First of all, it's equipped with front semi-bucket rally type sport seats covered in distinct off-black knit and textured upholstery. In addition, it has a black leather-wrapped MOMO steering wheel and a black leather-wrapped gear selector. Both come standard in the 2004 model. If mo' MOMO is wanted, an optional shift knob is available.
A standard feature I particularly enjoyed was the AM/FM/cassette audio system with its in-dash 6CD changer, further laced with a couple of tweeters and optional subwoofer. I also appreciated the standard power windows plus the power moonroof with sunshade and slide and tilt features. There are also fog lights, that definitely enhance the night-time driving experience, a turbo type exhaust with dual outlet muffler with stainless steel tips, a low profile spoiler with integrated brake light, and air conditioning, what can I say, I am still not a huge fan of freezing air but it did come in handy in the blazing heat. I definitely can't forget to mention the quintessential hood scoop, obviously Subaru's signature standard all-wheel drive.