The new WRX aims to provide a thrilling driving experience while keeping its occupants safe, making it a fun family sedan.
A family sedan is seldom associated with fun. With the WRX, Subaru has always aimed to disprove this notion. Indeed, the firm says the fifth iteration to don this badge represents the core values of its brand, with one of these being ultimate driving performance. However, for the Japanese automaker, exhilarating dynamics must go hand-in-hand with safety, another pillar in the company’s blueprint for building motor vehicles.
The new WRX certainly looks the part of a speedy family sedan. The most notable design cues are Subaru’s signature hexagonal front grille — flanked by tapered LED headlamps incorporating daytime-running lights — and bonnet scoop. A spoiler is sited atop the boot. The rear bumper features an integrated diffuser. The WRX sits on 18-inch alloy wheels. A range of exterior paint colours is available. These include Ceramic White, Crystal Black Silica, Ice Silver Metallic and, for those wanting a pop of colour, Sapphire Blue, Ignition Red and Solar Orange Pearl.
Based on Subaru’s Global Platform, the WRX measures 75 mm longer and 30 mm wider than its predecessor. The increase in dimensions has translated to a more spacious cabin. Front and rear passengers have 30 and 40 mm more shoulder room, respectively. The luggage capacity is rated at 423 litres.
One engine option is employed across the two-strong local line-up. The 2.4-litre four-cylinder can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox and CVT, each transferring 202 kW and 350 Nm of torque to all four wheels. Although the manual might provide a more exhilarating driving experience, the CVT will arguably be the transmission of choice for most. However, if you are still on the fence about this type of transmission, don’t be; Subaru makes some of the best CVTs on the market. The manual model has a claimed fuel consumption figure of 9.9 L/100 km, and the CVT-equipped variant has an average fuel consumption figure of 8.5 L/100 km.
Inside, an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes centre stage. The portrait-orientated high-resolution display incorporates niceties such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and sat-nav. Not all functions are operated via touch. Subaru has retained analogue controls for the volume and temperature to ensure distraction-free driving. A 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is included. The eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat (with additional lumbar support) and front and rear passenger pews feature heating functionality for those cold winter days.
As mentioned, Subaru places a focus on safety. The suite of safety items includes eight airbags. There’s also a system that monitors the driver. If the driver takes their eyes off the road or shows signs of drowsiness, this set-up alerts the person seated behind the multifunction steering wheel. In addition, the range-topping tS ES CVT model ships with the firm’s most advanced EyeSight 4.0 set-up, featuring adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency steering, lane departure prevention and traffic sign recognition.
The new WRX is priced from R799 000 for the manual derivative to R877 000 for the CVT model. The pricing includes Subaru’s three-year/75 000 km maintenance plan and a five-year/150 000 km warranty.