I’ve been smitten by the Subaru WRX/STI for a long time, going back to the GD-series of 2003-2007. I never bought-in, though I’ve test driven and considered many over the years. However, as impractical and uneconomical cars like my 2016 Miata, 2003 Mustang, and 2008 RX-8 increasingly hindered my comfort with anything involving the family, I did the most-sensible thing I could; I bought an impractical and uneconomical sedan.
Meet STItch, Our New Family Truckster
It’s been almost two months since I drove nearly to Georgia to pick it up with my brother, and I’m officially past the Subaru recommended “1,000 mile break-in”.
While I didn’t baby it during this time, I didn’t abuse it either and felt a post-break-in oil change was in order.
Subsequent changes will take place at 5,000mi and every 5,000mi afterward. The oil change itself was easy, though it is clear the EJ25 was not intended to live this long in Subaru’s minds. The rest of their engines in this chassis have top-mount oil filters, only the STI still has a bottom mount filter. While the underbody aero has an opening for the oil drain plug, the filter is sealed off, requiring removal of the entire forward under tray.
Most under-trays remove with ease and this one is much the same, save for the fact it goes up into the wheel wells and requires hunting for four additional clips behind the wheels to remove. I’m jealous of the FA/FB engine cars and the top-mount filters, but Subaru kept this car overall very easy to service, even with this ‘inconvenience’
The oil was already ‘well used’ in appearance and smell, though It only holds a mere 4.5qts in the stock system, which is a small thermal mass for a modern turbocharged engine. Thankfully the EJ-family has been around for decades and is hardly modern.
Another detail for the uninitiated like myself; Subaru of America sources US made oil filters from FRAM (blue), while Japan and factory fit is Toyko Roki (black) filters made in Japan. Amazon and eBay are riddled with fake Japanese filters, so I’ll just stick to the US ones from the dealer.
Requisite blood sacrifice made to the new vehicle. This is the way.
Installation was in reverse, fill from the top and check fluids after.
So how is it now that I’ve had some time and miles with STItchy? I’m really happy with it.
It is not a beautiful car, but it is purposeful and I appreciate the styling and design choices made, especially in the shadow of the new model.
Interior is a healthy mix of durable, simple and higher-end finishes where it really matters.
There are a few touches of Piano Black Gloss plastic, but they are away from common touch points and should stay relatively clean. Seats are comforting in their firm grip of the torso. The steering, pedals, and shifter are all just the right amount of mechanical in feel and effort.
The powertrain isn’t as labor intensive to drive as the outgoing RX-8, making stop light take offs a more relaxed affair. The surge in mid-range power and aggressive gearing, makes the 6,700rpm redline arrives well ahead of expectations, leaving me in want of another 1,000rpm. Power is pleasant and plentiful as stock. While many may baulk at the modest 310bhp, it is delivered without a litany of electronic nannies beyond traction and stability control, resulting in a punchy and lively experience, all rough-edges left in-tact.
Suspension, driveline and brakes are all well sorted as stock, with little to complain about. It is astonishing how flat and confident the car is without being bouncy or jarring. All despite the relatively large 19” wheels and low profile Advan tires.
Fuel demands are decidedly premium ‘Super Essence’, and it is thirsty, with 21mpg average being generous at best. The age of the EJ shines brightest here…
I don’t want to dive too deep here as I am writing a full review which will echo and elaborate on the above and more. I doubt I will be sharing any secrets though; this car after all has been around a long time, across several generations, yet barely changed through to this final year.
I still mentally struggle to reconcile it is a 40k$ car, but inflation is a bitch, and when I look at my alternatives, I could have either drastically compromised my wants and saved several thousands of dollars, or went significantly upmarket by many, many more thousands for the next applicable vehicle. The few used options I considered were so absurdly priced it wasn’t worth a second glance, and sadly, a return to ‘normal’ for the market and society is unlikely to change that much for those particular vehicles.
It works for every practical reason I wanted and needed it to, comfort concerns were assuaged from my other cars, and it is still a lot of fun to drive. The fuel economy and initial cost were acceptable compromises to meeting the other target so well.