|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Coming from the Subaru WRX M/T, it’s immediately apparent that the WRX CVT feels more like a complete vehicle. From a glance, it doesn’t look any different from the M/T model, but the devil’s certainly in the details and that makes the CVT sinfully delicious. The WRX CVT’s most obvious difference is the smoked headlight clusters. Twist the headlight stalk and the headlights produce the unmistakable hawk-eye LED signature. Twist it again and an intense bluish-white light comes out courtesy of LED (yes LED) low beams. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that in case you’re too lazy to turn on your headlights, the WRX can do that for you. It’s the same with the wipers. Take note, neither of these features: the automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers aren’t available on the M/T variant. The rest of the WRX though remains pretty much the same from M/T to CVT. All in all, the WRX isn’t pretty but it’s a design that works. It goes through Manila’s humps, bumps, and what have you without scraping (despite the lowered ride height) and the visibility all throughout the car is perfect.
Inside is where the additional P 70,000 premium from M/T to CVT makes itself felt. The CVT model is dolled up with enough luxury features to actually make it an executive sedan contender. Shared with the M/T variant, the CVT gets automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free, a full-featured audio system with 6 speakers, and reverse parking camera. Exclusively on the CVT, you get things like leather seats with red stitching, push button start/stop and power adjustable driver’s seat. All in all, it feels more of a complete product that justifies the P 1,888,000 price tag. Remember, the leather seats alone must be worth the P 70,000 already.
Despite the carbon fiber trimming scattered throughout the dash, the WRX’s interior is still short of design pizzazz. In fact, it can be mistaken easily for the Forester or even the more pedestrian Impreza. Still, the interior is very easy to understand, operate, and master. The driving position is simply spot on with seats that offer stellar body support and pedals that are perfectly spaced and positioned. The D-shaped steering wheel, with its thick rim and flat bottom not only contributes to the WRX’s sporty character, but is great to use. The fit and finish are excellent with none of the cheap feeling materials that plagued previous WRX and WRX STI models.
In as much as the interior’s a big improvement from previous WRXs, the biggest (and most welcome) change to the 2014 model is the way it drives. Using what’s essentially a turbocharged and beefed-up engine found in the BRZ, the WRX produces 268 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. More than just plain power figures though, the way this car delivers that power is something else. With peak torque coming in from as low as 2,400 rpm, the WRX produces instantaneous thrust from a simple jab of the gas pedal. And thanks to the excellent tuning of the Lineartronic CVT, the engine manages to keep the turbo spooled making this feel like a road-going shinkanesen; a warp speed bullet train you steer yourself. With the three-mode SI-Drive, you can opt to keep things civilized (Intelligent), bonkers (Sport), or insane (Sport #). In Sport or Sport # for instance, the power delivery of the WRX is feels brutal.
Again, though most WRX owners won’t care what sort of fuel mileage they’ll get, it’s worth noting that with the CVT, you’ll get pretty good mileage: 7.19 km/L in heavy traffic, 9.85 km/L in light traffic, and a shockingly good 16.12 km/L on the highway. For those keeping score, the manual transmission WRX fairs only slightly better in heavy traffic but loses in all other circumstances.
As brutal as the WRX’s power is, you always feel in control no matter the circumstance or the weather. Equipped with Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD, the WRX CVT has a standard torque split of 45/55 though the Active Torque Differential can send all the power to a set of wheels when needed. More than just all-wheel drive and torque splits though, the WRX’s steering-in feel and suspension tuning is sublime. The quick ratio steering makes for blistering quick turn-ins, and through the corner, the WRX turns on a dime. The new torque vectoring control system also helps keep the WRX in line. The suspension is nicely matched to the quick-witted behavior, but low speed ride does suffer a bit. However, as the speeds climb up (or surprisingly as you fill the car with more passengers), it sorts itself out. Firm as the ride is, at least the cabin feels solid making the WRX feel manageable through Manila’s less than perfect roads.
Relatively affordable sports cars have become the flavor of the month, but high-performance sedans are certainly timeless. Although some will dismiss the Subaru WRX as a boy racer’s wet dream, you cannot dismiss the fact that it’s much more practical than any 2+2 out there. And it can smoke most of them too. More than that, it’s actually become more refined and polished without sacrificing anything the WRX’s been known for. It’s one of those cars begging for a space in your garage and is certainly worthy of your hard-earned money.
2014 Subaru WRX CVT
|Ownership||2014 Subaru WRX CVT|
|Vehicle Classification||Sports Sedan|
|Body Type||4-door sedan|
|Engine / Drive||F/AWD|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||F4|
|BHP @ rpm||268 @ 5,600|
|Nm @ rpm||350 @ 2,400-5,200|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 95~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,528|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Double Wishbone|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||No, Reverse Camera|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front and Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Electric (driver)|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|No. of Speakers||6|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|