2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi review

Driving the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi transported me to a world that was completely foreign. It's a world that's less centered on booster seats and storage cubbies and more focused on rally racing heritage, speed and oversized rear spoilers. I tried to make the two worlds coexist harmoniously during my one-week test drive, but the truth is the Impreza WRX STi isn't exactly a car you'd go out and buy for a growing family. However, if you already have the STi and the family just sort of happens upon you (do we need to have a birth-control discussion?), you can probably make it work for a bit before needing to upgrade.

The STi is aimed at those interested in attending organized track days. STi stands for Subaru Tecnica International, which supplies high-performance versions of Subaru vehicles. I've been to a couple of rally racing schools and know just enough about it to realize how much I don't know. However, I couldn't resist trying a little corner slide or two as I skipped the highway in favor of the twisty, curvy dirt frontage road. I didn't have much luck, though. Subaru's legendary all-wheel-drive system, which is standard, kept this baby bolted safely to the road.

The WRX STi starts at $33,995 for the new base sedan model, which is what I drove during my test drive, and $35,995 for the base hatchback model. The sedan's Limited trim rings in at $37,345.

The closest competitor to the STi is probably the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, which I drove briefly at a recent Mitsubishi event. The STi's suspension was definitely softer than the Evo; however, switching into the Sport Sharp mode in the STi took away that added bit of comfort and injected more road feedback. I'm sure it's great for the hobby rally racer, but since I was transporting little ones all over the place, I opted for comfort.

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