Motor Trend Long Term Update 4: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI


“Holy tire noise, Batman!” says associate Web producer Scott Evans. “I took the STI on a road trip up to Northern California, and the tire roar on the highway was excessive, to say the least.”

Indeed, upon Evans’ return to Southern Cal, we inspected the tires and noticed that, after over 17,000 miles of use, their tread blocks had worn even with the wear bars-not bad mileage for a soft and sticky summer tire, though-so we promptly called Tire Rack. For replacement rubber, we opted to stay within the Dunlop line, swapping the OE SP Sport 600s with a set of Direzza Sport Z1 Star Specs ($893.85). So far, the Direzzas are delivering a quiet ride and handling on par with the OE tires.

Tire noise notwithstanding, Evans did enjoy the Subaru’s lively personality and handling prowess during his stint. “Switching the car’s SI Drive to Sport Sharp makes a world of difference in throttle response.” Senior editor Ron Kiino agrees, adding, “I think Sport Sharp should be the one and only setting-both the Sport and Intelligent settings dull throttle feel too much.”

Evans also notes, “At no point did the tires break loose nor did the car try to get away from me — an impressive-handling hot hatch.”

Dislikes? “The only thing that would make this car more fun to drive would be a smoother shifter, as this six-speed is a bit clunky.”

“And I have one other gripe, and that’s with the navigation. While it works fine, if you have the audible directions turned on, the system insists on directing you to go straight on the road traveled far more times than is necessary. When you get within two miles of what it deems a major cross street, it warns you every half mile to keep going straight. Four times it insisted on cutting my music to tell me not to turn. Completely unnecessary.”

On the plus side, the STI, at 19.5 mpg, continues to deliver frugal fuel economy, especially for a 2.5-liter turbocharged all-wheel-drive rally rocket. The similarly equipped Evo, even with a smaller 2.0-liter engine, is so far registering only 18.1 mpg.

[ Source: Motor Trend ]

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One Response to “Motor Trend Long Term Update 4: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI”

  1. STi means "crap" in Japanese. says:

    hmmmm, my own 2008 STi hasn’t been very reliable. I’m at the 11,000 mile mark and already I’ve taken it in for warranty repairs to the seat, the factory bluetooth, and the transmission. Getting Subaru to actually fix a problem is not easy. I had to hire a lawyer to “convince” them that 1) a loose seat is not factory spec; 2) if bluetooth does not work that is not acceptable; 3) if the shifter gets stuck and the driver can not get the car to go in gear that is a transmission problem. Subaru probably build good cars but there is no way I’d buy another one.

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