Should I buy a Subaru WRX?

Hi John,

I am in the market for a new car to replace my ageing 2003 Honda Jazz. I have test driven a Ford Kuga ('Ambiente' model with 1.5 L turbo), a Renault RS 265 and a Subaru WRX. I saw a review of the 2017 Renault Megane GT which looks like a heart-stopper with 151kW power. Can you offer any advice?

I am really after a performance car with plenty of power (not to speed in, but just to feel some exhilarating acceleration and road handling). Budget: $45,000 max. Focus ST was high on the list, but your comments plus the US survey suggested it could be unreliable.

For a guy who turned 65 last week, am I surely deranged in wanting a high performance car?


Subaru WRX STi

Hello Richard,

Firstly, you are not a nut to want a bit of power. You’re 65, not a corpse. It’s a bit early even for the Zimmer frame.

You need to buy a car like this (in terms of the process): Step 1 - eliminate the shitbox brands that are unreliable, and/or which treat consumers like crap in the event of a serious problem where you are motivated to demand a refund or replacement (which is your right under Australian Consumer Law, since 2011). I talk to many people in this position. It is a serious issue. Therefore, do not buy a Holden, Ford, Volkswagen, Jeep, Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge or Alfa Romeo. Just don’t do it. Manage risk.

You need to acknowledge that you live in Tasmania - a beautiful part of Oz, but with a low population. How many competing Renault dealers do you see in Tasmania? (Rhetorical question.)

WRX has some huge advantages over Renaults, etc., in the real world: AWD is a huge plus (especially in the wet) - it’s got so much more capacity to forgive driving lapses and be stable in a low-grip environment. There’s tremendous dynamic safety built into that arrangement. It’s also absurdly safe in terms of crashworthiness (35.85/37 ANCAP score). The CVT is fantastic in terms of its integration with the engine and AWD system - just brilliant. Subaru is also very reliable.

Also: Subaru is one of the best companies at goodwill and customer support, during and after the warranty expires. The company really looks after its customers. They’re the gold standard at this (along with Hyundai and Kia).

Lastly, WRX premium - which you would just squeeze into for $45k - is quite the luxurious conveyance.

WRX premium CVT is the car I’d buy in this subset. You can drive it sedately and it’s quite luxurious, and occasionally have a bit of a go and impress the crap out of yourself without putting anyone else or yourself at risk. It’s $49,319 drive away in Tasmania (rec. price) but I’m pretty sure you’d get it for $45k.

John Cadogan

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