Subaru WRX tweaks for 2016. New audio system but comedy spoiler stays


If you’re stashing cash to buy a WRX STI the good news is that 2016 model will feature an all-new audio system, just like the one fitted in the brilliant Outback.

It has to be a massive improvement on the current unit which sounds only slightly better than my iPhone. It really doesn’t match the snorting performance of the car and leaves a lot to be desired.

Unfortunately, that whopping spoiler will remain standard fit and not an option. Subaru has pointed out that in Japan, there is an S4 version which is joyfully wingless. For some reason, you can’t but it here. Hmmm…

I truly wish the WRX had moved me like the original, way back in the last century. Perhaps I was looking forward to driving it a little too much, perhaps I should be more careful about what I wish for.

Another reason might be that I’m an old git now. I like my fixtures and fittings, I don’t just want to go fast, I want to enjoy the journey too…

The Subaru WRX has an old school charisma but has been left behind by better rivals


If you want to drive back to the future, the WRX is waiting for you at your nearest Subaru dealership. However, that also means living with a poor quality interior, seriously harsh ride and that ridiculous spoiler.

The WRX is great fun to drive, although you need to concentrate to get the best from that flat four 2.5-litre engine. It’s a dog around town but is a load more fun on the open road, with four-wheel drive and a manually adjustable diff lock.

But there is certain old school, charismatic charm about the Scooby, for all its faults. Just like the Morgan Plus 8 we tested in the summer, you can forgive some of the bad stuff because the car is entertaining to drive.

Perhaps more so than the more refined Golf R, or the BMW 135, simply because it will take many of us back to an era when you actually had to ‘drive’ a car, rather than be driven by gizmos and gadgets.

Would I buy one? No, not unless I had my own rally stage or owned half of Wales.



The WRX is a great car stuck in the bad hair days of the 1990s…


I’d hate you to think that with the passage of years I’d fallen out of love with the Subaru WRX. The car that won everything in rallying during the 1990s was the motor every journalist wanted to test.

But that was in the last century and we all grow up. Our lives change, we ask more of our cars and the things that mattered then – performance, outspoken looks, spoilers – don’t matter quite so much now.

We’ve all seen the years pass but the WRX doesn’t seem to have kept pace. It’s still stuck in the 1990s with bad music, funny haircuts and a pre Internet outlook on life.

Of course, if you want a full-on, balls out ride down memory lane, the Subaru can really turn up the heat. It’s just that the rest of us might prefer something a little more civilised, like a Golf R or BMW 135…

Anyone got a metal coat hanger? The radio in the Subaru WRX needs a proper aerial


Anyone got a metal coat hanger? No, seriously, the WRX is famous for being an out-and-out driver’s car but I can only assume that such folk have no interest in the interior or the quality of the entertainment system.

The Subaru has a radio that receives the signal so badly that I actually stopped, got out and walked around to see if there was an old fashioned aerial that wasn’t fully extended. Coat hangers were always a good replacement.

There wasn’t – which means the WRX can really only entertain you on a twisty road. The rest of the time, you will be fiddling with a rather over-complicated media unit that appears to have more buttons than the Space Shuttle.

Obviously, no DAB and I still haven’t worked out how to connect by iPhone by Bluetooth. The dashboard display is messy and far from being a budget Nissan GT-R in disguise it all just looks and feels a bit 20 years ago…