EXTERIOR

The 2011 STi oozes speed. My test vehicle was the new four-door wide-body sedan with an intimidating-looking rear spoiler intended to amplify the car's aerodynamics. The spoiler definitely took a little getting used to since it was such a prevalent feature in my rear sightline.

Delivered to our house in a shocking racing red, my kids exclaimed, "Whoa, I didn't know we get to test racecars!" Nobody dared try to take us in our "racecar" at a stoplight. I tried to give a "wanna-race-me" scowl to the drivers of the cars next to me. Maybe it was the two kids in high-back booster seats in the back or my intimidating 5-foot-3-inch frame, but for some odd reason, I just couldn't seem to engage any competitors. Wimps. All of them. I bet they wouldn't take on the challenge of hosting five screaming little girls at a slumber party, either.

The WRX STi has a 305-horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with a six-speed manual transmission. That's definitely more power than I'd ever use or even know what to do with, but I'm not complaining. There is a downside to the STi's powerful engine: It gets an EPA-estimated 17/23 mpg city/highway and requires premium gas.

The great news about a car this grounded is that the low step-in height makes it easy for little ones to get in and out of the STi independently. I had a little more trouble getting in and out of the slightly bolstered driver's seat during my test drive since I was recovering from a back strain. I also had a tendency to knock my left knee on the underside of the steering-wheel column, which by the way both tilts and telescopes, every time I got in or out. Those with the seat pulled a little farther back won't have a problem with it.

    See also:

    Brake booster
    The brake booster uses engine manifold vacuum to assist braking force. Do not turn off the engine while driving because that will turn off the brake booster, resulting in poor braking power. The ...

    Cruise control set indicator light
    Refer to “Cruise control set indicator light”. ...

    4-door models
    1. Remove the clip from the rear trunk trim with a screwdriver. 2. Open the rear portion of the side trunk trim panel. 1) Brake/tail and rear side marker light 2) Rear turn signal light 3) Bac ...