As a wagon lover, the WRX hatchback is a dream car: big power, reasonable price, and practicality in a fun-to-drive package. Yes, you can get more power with the STI, but let's be honest: 265 hp is plenty in a compact wagon. Excellent handling and steering complete the sporty package. I'm rather fond of the WRX shape. It's a shame that Subaru has botched the styling with minor elements like the front fascia and those huge clear tail lamps.
Clutch feel is excellent and the short throws of the STI five-speed stick are great for quick driving. But I still think there's room for improvement. Moving the shifter into or out of a gear requires a forceful push or tug and is fairly notchy. Combined with a tight shift pattern, these traits really make it easy to flub a gear change, especially when driving casually.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor