I didn’t mean to start a fight. Honest. I didn’t mean to cause disharmony in my team, to upset the rhythm our players had formed over the course of the season. I really didn’t think it would be that big a deal to them.

Such a simple question, yet it nearly caused a serious rift among the Toronto Buccaneers Rugby Club:
“So, who’s coming with me?”
“What are you driving this week?”
“Me”, “Me”, “Me”, “Me”, “Me”, “Me”, “Me”…
“No, ME!”, “No, ME!”, “No, ME!”, “No, ME!”

Was it the giant rear spoiler? The iconic letterbox slot in the bonnet? The 18-inch wheels finished in gloss black with STI logos in the centres? The AWD-supported 305 hp/290 lb-ft of thrust? Maybe it was the ice-white paint job?

Maybe it wasn’t the car? I have lost weight recently… “Jacob, move! I need to take a photo of this for Facebook!”

Okay. It’s the car.

It’s understandable. The Subaru WRX STI is one of those “attainable” poster cars. The sort people have on their wall alongside the Lamborghini and the Ferrari but say “one day I will own that!”

Even today, six years since Subaru last competed in the World Rally Championship, this is the car most people think of when they think of the WRC. Subaru still races the STI in the Canadian Rally Championship and STIs are littered throughout the privateer ranks.

The STI is also a darling of tarmac racers and club racers (and of course, boy racers). It’s got a low entry price, significant AWD grip and solid power – not to mention a highly tunable little 2.5L turbocharged boxer engine. The STI is the best argument against my standard “rear-wheel drive is always better” position.

That 305 hp number, if we’re honest, is a little low these days. But it is shunting only 1,535 kg down the road in Sport package trim, (1,527 base and 1,567 in Sport Tech), and all of the power gets to the ground. The WRX STI hustles. It will launch off the line quicker than many a better-powered unit thanks to that brilliantly executed AWD system. It certainly impressed the lucky teammates who won the rumble to get into the passenger seats. One of them was so eager he even opted to squeeze into the middle back seat.

Memory Lane: Subaru’s Canadian Legacy

I wouldn’t advocate using this seat for adults usually, but he said he had no complaints back there. Amazing what a large rear spoiler allows people to put up with! The 340 L trunk swallowed all our bags and balls with a little Tetrising, and aside from the straddling in the middle seat, headroom and legroom is adequate. The sculpted outboard seats are nicely supportive.

This is important, because even with four large passengers on board you’ll want to throw the STI at every corner you come across. And it will reward you with a rapid turn-in and fantastic traction out of the corner. In the middle of the turn, however, stuff gets a bit untidy.

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