We pinched ourselves, and we’re still not dreaming. Subaru die-hards will surely join us in hailing new spy shots of a Subaru WRX hatchback test mule, which suggest that the Pleiades brand is finally heeding the demands of its hyper-passionate constituency.
Unsurprisingly for a car with such a loyal fan base, feelings were mixed when the 2015 Subaru WRX debuted at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show. Many praised the car's more refined driving dynamics and better-appointed interior, while others griped about its frumpy looks and automatic-mimicking continuously variable transmission. But the biggest shock of all was the noticeable lack of a five-door hatchback variant, a staple of the old Subaru WRX. Subaru initially claimed that it needed to scratch the hatch in order to preserve the degree of differentiation it wanted from the regular Impreza -- building one WRX bodystyle left more money for performance tweaks -- but this latest test mule suggests they’re finding a way to bridge the gap.
Earlier this year, Subaru WRX project general manager Masuo Takatsu told Australian journalists a five-door WRX was on the way: "We have received strong interest from the U.S., where the hatchback was 50 percent (of previous-generation WRX sales), so we're now considering." However, Subaru officials flat refuted Takatsu's statement and denied there were any plans for a WRX hatch. "We don't have any plans, or know about any plans, for a WRX hatch," Subaru of America's Dominick Infante told Automobile in April.
The Subaru WRX hatchback test mule seen here is clearly based on a current Impreza hatchback, but it is plainly recognizable as something more special. Up front we can see the front spoiler, wider front bumper, and wider fenders lifted from the 2015 Subaru WRX sedan, while the all-important hood scoop is easily distinguishable despite efforts to cover it with a removable metal panel. This hot-hatch Subie is also wider at the rear fenders; the 2015 Subaru WRX sedan is 2.2 inches wider than a normal 2014 Subaru Impreza sedan.
For now the Subaru WRX hatchback mule is testing without the black-painted wheels and higher-performance tires of the production sedan, but we can look forward to more testing down the road. While we expect the eventual hatchback version to be just as exciting to drive as the sedan, a five-door Subaru WRX would also allow drivers to carry more stuff along the way.
Check back for more details on the Subaru WRX hatchback in the coming weeks and months. If you can stomach the 2015 Subaru WRX sedan for your off-roading and joy-riding needs, it starts at $27,090 including destination.