‘Cars on Campus’ Column: What else do you need?

Phil Baus, B&W Staff

Phil Baus, B&W Staff

Subaru has recently come out with a new iteration of what a world rally championship car should look like. The only problem is, like many other new Subaru WRX body style releases, no one likes it. According to many online review websites such as Motor Trend, Hooniverse and Drive, the body style of the new WRX STI is, to say the least, lacking. I would say that’s not the point when you’re trying to buy a car for its bargain performance, but isn’t it?

The general population that buys this car buys it for the intense rally car looks of it, but with this new body style, it has become less edgy and blends in with the rest of the sedans and it is also recommended by these car owners to get them checked from Just Car Checks. This is the criticism that every model of the WRX STI has received, but the style seems to always grow on people as they buy the car and tune it to make it their own. It isn’t until people see what is possible to achieve with the new style that people start to want it for their own adventure in styling it.

I love the last generation Subaru STI and, until recently, I have been saying that I would still rather purchase the last generation STI (2014) versus the new generation STI (2015). I have always looked at this car as a possibility of what I might purchase next because a used STI seems to always be right within my range. It has historically been a very reliable car and can last a while without having any major damage due to its bomb proof boxer engine.

The engine in both the the 2014 and new 2015 model STI is a 2.5 liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder. The advantage to having this type of engine is that the bulk of the weight of the motor is located down low in the car for a lower center of gravity. This helps when cornering because, when the center of gravity is lower, there is less body roll. The boxer engine is not only functional, but it also gives the Subaru its signature boxer rumble that we’ve all come to know and love.

I got the chance to drive my friend Kris Flynn’s, ’13, Subaru STI, and his car has an aftermarket Invidia N2 exhaust, which makes the car sound louder and more “boomy.” The car began to drone when traveling anywhere below 3,000 rpm, but it didn’t matter. That’s still not the point. To tell you a little about how it drove, the surging power from the engine and turbo gave a solid kick above 3,400 rpm. The stock suspension and all wheel drive gave me confidence when cornering, and the car felt well put together, giving it a solid feeling. This particular model had a short throw shift on it, making the shifts small and direct, although sometimes it was hard to tell whether I was in third or fifth gear. What I took away from driving the 2014 STI was that, well, I want one.

On my drive with Kris and his STI, we ran into his friend, who had just purchased the 2015 STI, so I got to compare the looks side-to-side. The ’15 STI looked more mature — less like a toy and more like a tool. That’s not to say that I liked the ’15 STI better, but it does look like it grew up. I would still pick the ’14 STI over the ’15 because, when I’m buying a rally-inspired, super sedan, I want people to look at it and wonder what it is and why it looks like that, and I want it to be different from the crowd of cars you see on the road today.

After all, what I liked about the ’14 STI is inherently still in the ’15 STI, which is the whole drive train of the car. The suspension can always be upgraded, as well as a whole slew of parts you can replace in order to make your ’14 STI handle beyond that of the ’15 STI, and is anyone really looking to buy an STI so that they can keep it completely stock? I know I’m not.

I can’t help but bring up the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X when talking about the Subaru WRX STI. It has been its arch nemesis since the beginning of time and has boasted a stronger performance in this past year both on- and off-road. From what I can see, it all comes down to personal preference. I have always been a Subaru fan, but the more I research and learn about the Evo X, I am not so sure anymore about which car is the better choice. Unfortunately, the Lancer Evolution line has stopped at its 10th rendition, and I cannot say whether it will return to the scene or not. Only time will tell.

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