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New WRX STi, ownership experience


Flowman
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I collected my brand new WRX STi yesterday and thought I would share my ownership experience for anyone who is interested in buying one or who just likes Subarus, and to test some of the assertions made by motoring journalists.

Mine was a bit of an impulse buy. I had a few cars on my shortlist with prices between £20k and £60k, but having owned a 2005 WRX and loved it, I always had a hankering for another one and the new model ticked lots of boxes for me. It had to be something different that stood out from the crowd (so that was the Golf R and Seat Lean Cupra 290 dispatched with) and a car with a bit of character.

The focus RS was tempting but the interior is just so, well....Ford Focus. Nice car though but another 6 grand on top of what I paid for the Subaru, so in the bang for buck stakes it is not massively superior. The Mercedes AMG is just stupid money and by the time you have optioned it up is practically the same money as an M2. Anyway the list of competitors goes on. When it comes down to it, for me at least, it boils down to the deals available at the time I am ready to buy, the dealership relationship thing, and in this case the time of year. You can't beat a Subaru when the weather turns bad, so I plumped for my WRX STi.

First impressions? Well I quite like the interior. It gets a bit of a panning in the press but it does not offend me in the slightest. The seats are comfortable and supportive, there is plenty of room - I just took my family to Heathrow including a 6'4" 23 year old who sat quite happily in the back, a big boot that swallows plenty of luggage. Mine has split folding rear seats as well so first thing is it's a very practical car.

I owned a Morgan Plus 8 before so tales of a hard ride made me laugh, although it is quite firm. There is quite a bit of jiggling around that could become tiresome on a very long journey. It is most noticable on motorways where there is nothing else to distract you. On A roads and smaller rural roads the cornering ability of the car tends to be the dominant feature. It does like to go aound bends, the tighter the better. Roundabouts have taken on a whole new appeal, so I'll have to watch myself there. Potholed urban roads are a bit of a pain but, as speeds are lower, quite bearable.

The satnav is notable by its absence (really!) and the radio is largely redundant at motorway speeds as the cabin is quite noisy. I need to have a fiddle with the audio controls, there is a graphic equalizer to play with (very 90's!) so maybe a bit more base will help. But concert sound it is not. The engine is worth a listen though, that burbly rumble is a fantastic soundtrack. If you are a petrolhead you will be very happy with the noises it makes. Cruise control is easy to use and probably essential if you want to keep your licence clean. It is very tempting to give the throttle a squeeze and add 20 mph to your cruising speed, which is very easily done. There is something called a "Triplemeter" that can be selected on the multifunction display. I get to choose which 3 pieces of info I want to see and add them to this display, I have found that to be quite useful especially to keep an eye on fuel consumption.

I was apprehensive of the fuel consumption having read magazine reports and watched You Tube reviews predicting 20mpg or "at best 29 if you drive it like a granny". Well I just drove it to Heathrow and back from the Bournemouth area on a busy M3 and clogged up M25 and was delighted to return 36mpg without really trying. I reckon I could get 38 if I put my mind to it or on a quieter motorway, and don't forget this car has only done about 250 miles so should loosen up a little over the next thousand miles or so.

The dealer has been great. They are genuine enthusiasts who really seem to care that their customers are happy, not just a box ticking customer experience review that you get from the likes of BMW (i've had 8 of those so I know the difference). It was a genuinely pleasant buying experience, they went out of their way to get me into my car as quickly as possible and were very flexible.

So, a good first impression. I went in with my eyes open, expecting high fuel consumption, the road tax is high, insurance wasn't too bad though (although I am 57) at £380 fully comp through Adrian Flux who I would recommend. They have been very efficient.

I am just waiting for some snow now when I know from experience that this car comes into its own. Bring on the winter!

I discovered only yesterday that the Subaru Owners Club offices are just around the corner from me in Christchurch, I have an Audi Q7 (crap!) that regularly spends time in a specialist just around the corner so I might pop in for a cup of tea. Another thing I didn't realise is that Scooby owners do that waving thing, so apologies to the guy on the A35 in a WRX just outside Lyndhurst who I was just too slow to respond to.

More updates over the approaching miles!

 

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Great write up chap. :thumbsup: Having only had mine 3 weeks, I can agree with everything you said. I have a 2014 version. So I think my Stereo is even more duff than yours, as far as I have read into this.:laugh:

I also bought mine by accident and wasn't really intending on buying one. I was running too many weekend cars, it was getting a bit silly that 3 of mine were doing about 500-1000 miles pa. But the plan wasn't a WRX. It was to keep them all still and to buy a car to replace the mileage muncher I have as well. My sights were lower than yours with just a bread & butter ST Focus.

But the Ford dealer p'd me off - in fact 3 of them did. That is quite good going since I don't get p'd off that often. So I decided to take a plod down the road to pick up a bolt I needed for my other Scooby. The bolt was 70p and I ended up buying this WRX as well. Must be the Scooby sales practice:-

"Don't let the customer leave without buying a car - even if he/she came in for a £1 token item."

Like you, I am trying to find out what all the bells and whistles do. I've come out of a Legacy B4 into this and the power delivery is more what I would call normal in the WRX. Certainly was not normal in the twin blower Legacy. Nothing then everything -- a lot of everything to propel to over 170mph. It was as fast above a ton as below.

But this WRX is quicker as it is linear and you can feel the low down kick. Although I was reading someone else's post on here that they were upset they gave up their Gen 2 RS Focus as the low down kick in the WRX is not as good as the RS. That could well be the case. I guess it depends on what perspective you have hit this model from. For me, I love the 6th gear pull from 2k - something that you needed to be way above 3k in the Legacy to hope for.

But like you, I love the cornering ability. Whether it is 5 secs to 60 or not, I think you can embarrass some serious £££ motors out there on handling alone. My Legacy had billies all round as standard and that had pretty good manners on the road. This though knocks the spots off that. It is 16 years newer in design, of course, but my god, it is the closest thing to being on rails I have been in. Speeds through the bends where other cars were lunging a little, this seems to still have some surplus before being ruffled.

The speed is good but it is the handling that I have been most impressed with.

Anyway, I look forward to more of your tales Flowman as you get more used to the motor and see they align to mine.

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Thanks Daz, have you found anything useful to do with the Starlink app? I downloaded it but can't see anything of interest. Not sure why I would want to display the calendar from my phone, or the weather, and it doesn't link to my spotify account. Think I will delete it.

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I haven't found this, Flowman, no. I must admit to being a bit of a dinosaur with technology and stuff like this. So loading up an app is not one of my priorities, I am afraid. 

When I scrolled through the info area on the dash, I saw that you can place in memorable dates like anniversaries and birthdays. I assume that the morning you get in your car on one of these dates, it reminds you that it's someone's birthday. Might even remind me that it's mine.:laugh:

I am thinking that if the Scooby starts reminding me that it's my wife's birthday or our wedding anniversary, once I get in the car, it could all be a bit late and the packing suitcases might also have to be placed in the car simultaneously.:laugh: Especially if it is at a weekend and I didn't use the car until Monday - it was your anniversary on Saturday. Worst still, they might already be in the car!

I have 5 year old Samsung smart phone that just about works -- on a weds, around teatime. I'd throw that thing in the bin and take back my old Nokia if it wasn't for 2 times per year where the internet is useful when I am out. I love cars with 6 buttons maximum. I really am a dinosaur and actually, I thought that compared to a lot of other stuff out there, the WRX has the balance about right. My old man's new Mondeo makes breakfast for him, it's so blinking clever. And tells how to drive on the road.

I don't need all of that rubbish - stuff that turns off your main beam because you forget to do it yourself or to warn you that there is a car in the blindspot. What is all of that about nowadays ?

So in a long winded way, no I didn't realise there was this app. I'll have a look though to see if my life is enrichened for it.

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Very funny :biggrin:. Yes if you get in the car and find you forgot your wife's birthday just keep driving and don't come back.

I downloaded the app but I cannot find anything useful. I stand to be corrected though. Anyone?

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Great write ups guys. Welcome to the club :)

I'm IT guru myself and have not found any use of any Starlink app features. I would suggest forgetting it and just enjoy the other soundtrack in the car ;) I'm a music buff myself, and in previous car I used to have music all the way up. With STI, I just set DAB to Chill Radio station and enjoy the rumble :)

And yes 'on rails' comments are completely on point. I'm always smiling on roundabouts, where my Scirocco used to lean sideways, and STI just laughs it off and just goes :) Love it ;)

Waving thing is pleasant surprise as well. Only met one Subaru owner who did not wave, but as I say: On the road we have a lot of other things to concentrate to, so if someone doesn't wave no need to be upset.

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Nice write up indeed. Just about echoes my STi and my own thoughts. As with you, the RS and R were also on the potential list but the STi has far more raw power and feels much more 'organic' overall.

I came from a 2004 Legacy GT and while the STi is obviously not a comfortable cruiser, it is still a huge step up - and the Legacy wasn't exactly a slow car either!

I opted for a Premium model myself as I liked the full leather option and sunroof but the Harman Kardon sound system helps blot out the road noise when required. The only initial frustration was phoine connectivity. I had a Galaxy S5 and while I could make and received calls, it wouldn't download the phone book etc. Saburu claim that Samsung were at fault while Samsung blamed Subaru. Helpful - not! Ended up replacing with with an S7 and all good since.

It may not be the fastest car in a sraight line these days, but as above, it can easily embarrass more expensive vehicles. As a Holden Commodore GTS found out last weekend. And that has a 6.2L V8 with some 435bhp! God I love the STi :biggrin:

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Yes, unbeatable in the snow Vicky S. And unbeatable on the road if you read this:

http://www.caradvice.com.au/479211/ford-focus-rs-v-subaru-wrx-sti-v-volkswagen-golf-r-comparison-road-test/

I have to agree with their findings, I'm sure my fellow Scooby lovers will too.......

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There is no spec difference aside from the colour choice! I wish there was! I'll never understand why the UK doesn't get the choices of other countries such as seat upgrades etc...

Main reason for the wait is the new tax rules... its a personal choice I guess, but I'd rather cough up the initial extra financial hit and then have a flat £140 a year tax rather than the £520 or what ever it is... Also, I didn't want one that had been sat around in a dealership with every Tom, !Removed! and Harry sitting in it and blipping the throttle etc...

Mine is ordered for me - no one else! :-)

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For me there was no initial financial hit :) I paid just for the car. Dealer paid for tax and the rest of the stuff :)

And UK Subaru does have a small catalog with optional extras. Though it is not as extensive as other markets. But there is still quite a few options.

The reason UK Subaru does not offer same options as lets say US market is because there is no market in UK for high performance Subarus. In 2 months I only saw another person with Subi like mine once few days ago in London. And from this forum I count 4-5 of you guys having one around UK. While US market is booming with everyone getting WRXs and STIs left right and centre. That's why UK never got WRX as well. No market. And I wouldn't blame anyone for not going STI in UK. Horrible roads, stupid road tax levels, over the roof petrol prices, and obviously everyone is crazed out for Fords :D

And I'm with you on ordering the car just for yourself :)

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I see what you mean now, the extras... probably won't bother outside of the STI mats, I'd like the full splitter/sides etc, but can't justify the extra cost...

i will be fitting mud flaps all round though...

i do get what your saying about the uk market, Subaru have simplified their market for several years now and with good reason. On a positive note though, you don't see may new STI's on the road, in fact I think I've seen one in the last 6 months!

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Whatever my personal needs might be, I am all for whatever Subaru is doing, as it seems it is very good strategy. They are posting increasing profit every year since 2011. We want them to keep going and bringing STIs to us. Look at Mitsubishi :(

And yes, having a model which is very rare is pleasing to me especially as a person I do not like everything what is popular around me :D 

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A couple of things here chaps - from someone working behind the scenes (not with Subaru UK mind).

Brian - I was faced with your dilemma - to buy used, new now or new next April. There are a couple of facts and a bit of speculation.

The facts are that the new tax is about £1000 dearer in April 17. So you have got to keep your STi some time for the £500 vs £140 road tax to make that back. With a cooking conventional mass supply car, the dealer and manufacturer will wear that and the car price is unlikely to rise. But there is no chance with these STi's. 

The other one is that the manufacturers by the hoards are increasing their list prices since Brexit and the GBP getting weaker. Imports are becoming more expensive as are exports becoming cheaper. Subaru haven't lifted their prices yet, I have been advised and it is on the cards in early 2017. The fact bit is that they will have to do this. The speculation is by how much. Now Toyota have lifted some of the stuff - more expensive stuff - by up to £1000.

So I took the gamble on do I buy at a price I know or buy at a price that might be higher - and how much higher. Don't get me wrong - there is no right or wrong here. But I probably thought I would stomach the £500 p/a, knowing that is my outlay, rather than wait to see what the benefits are (if any). But that isn't to counter what you have done - I did consider your route.

I actually went used route in the end and didn't buy new at all.

Another bit of speculation - but this is way more speculative that the Subaru price rise - there are some mutterings that if the new crop of vehicles are £140, why do we penalise everything post Mar 2006 with a £500 ticket if it is super thirsty. I think this is a watch this space because I can foresee that in 5 years, no car will have a balmy RFL like this. If you think, it makes no sense. At 40 years old, historic tax is £0. Surely, they can't think these cars will drop from £500 (or £1000/1500 in 30/40 years time) to £0 in one go.

 

Re options list. Yes, demand from sales does help to build a big list of options. But the complexity is huge at any level of sales. The good thing about "This is what we built, so this is what you have" is that is saves all of the faff above the vehicle valuation when it is a used car. That is especially prevalent when taking a PCP as how much is each option worth as new ? Would you expect each new customer to pay for the £2000 add ons themselves out of their own money or do you figure that it is worth £500 or £1000 at 3 years old. That is the conundrum and Subaru with their STi have removed themselves from this a little - which actually is not a bad thing. 

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I took the car to work for the first time today, that's a 38 mile commute each way and a mix of town, A-road and motorway. On the way there I drove economically but keeping up with the traffic and achieved 32.2 mpg. On the way back I drove as you would like to drive a Subaru with the occasional blast of acceleration but without abusing the speed limits, that returned 28.5 mpg. So not too bad at all. I'm happy!

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I can see which factory option from the pick list you chose, Flowman. 

The frugal option.:laugh: 

32.2mpg!!! I thought I had a dog collar on, the way I drive and I am managing about 31. But 32+. Holy moly! Your car must be ill or running on 3 cylinders with the 4th on optional shutdown.:biggrin:

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Just smooth driving people. Plenty of braking distance and minimal use of the brakes, no hard acceleration (no use in congested traffic anyway). I'm sure I could do better! I did not hold back on the acceleration on the way home and even then I thought consumption was quite respectable.

I will save my fun for the right roads, meanwhile I will enjoy this car's unexpected "efficiency" when I don't need to use the loud pedal. 

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