Subaru has just redesigned its Impreza but the redesigned WRX and WRX STI derivatives are still a couple of years off. The current WRX and WRX STI will soldier on in the meantime, albeit with a few updates introduced for the 2018 model year to keep them looking and feeling fresh.
Both cars adopt a revised front fascia, highlighted by a more pronounced grille design and larger intakes. The WRX Limited and all WRX STI models also feature LED headlights that move in sync with the steering to help light up curves in the road.
Inside, there’s a new rear seat armrest with cup holders, redesigned door grips, and faster remote trunk opening. The designers have also attempted to refine things by adding upgraded materials and more sound-proofing solutions. That latter includes thicker door glass, improved door seals and a foam-filled windshield header beam. The older 4.3-inch screen in the dash has also been replaced by a 5.9-in unit.
Safety of the 2018 WRX and WRX STI is up as well. The designers revised the front structure of the cars for enhanced frontal collision performance. And the available EyeSight suite of electronic driver aids also sees some improvements. Certain information can now be displayed on the windshield and a new vehicle hold function, which replaces the previous hill hold and hill start assist functions, has been installed and can hold the vehicle on all road grades, not only inclines.
Sadly, there’s no change to the powertrains, meaning the WRX continues with a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-4 delivering 268 horsepower. The car does, however, feature some refinements to its steering and suspension designed to improve ride and stability. Drive is to all four wheels as standard and buyers can continue to choose from a 6-speed manual transmission or CVT.
The WRX also benefits from an available Performance Package in WRX Premium trim. It features Recaro 8-way power seats, red-painted brake calipers and upgraded brake pads. It also deletes the moonroof to reduce weight.
As for the WRX STI, it sticks with a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-4 good for 305 hp. The sole transmission on offer is a 6-speed manual. The WRX STI also benefits from the revised suspension tuning as featured on the WRX, plus a revised Driver Controlled Center Differential system, significantly upgraded brakes and this model’s first-ever 19-inch wheels. The DCCD system, which previously used a combination of mechanical and electronic center limited-slip differential control, now uses electronic control for quicker and smoother response.
Finally, there are upgraded Brembo brakes which feature stronger monoblock 6-piston calipers in front, monoblock 2-piston calipers in the rear, and larger rotors and pads at both ends.
The 2018 WRX and WRX STI reach showrooms in the spring. Pricing hasn’t been announced but shouldn’t deviate much from pricing for the 2017 models, which started at $27,515 for the WRX and $36,015 for the WRX STI.
For more on the Subaru WRX and WRX STI, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.