Closest Thing To A Road-Legal Rally Car

Japanese carmaker, Subaru, isnt widely renowned for high-performance vehicles with techy features and timeless designs. But sometimes, unexpected brands sometimes put out models that are simply perfect – not because they literally cannot be improved upon, but rather because they meet the exact standard they set out to, suiting the needs of a specific segment of the car industry.

Subaru did just that when they released the WRX STi version for the first time back in 1994, and it turned out to be an instant success, winning over the hearts of many car enthusiasts due to its extremely fun and capable drivability, as well as the fact that – like most JDM cars, it could easily be modded.

The STi version of Subaru’s WRX won’t be released for 2022, and even though it’s a shame, the 2021 STi is still an amazing vehicle that might be worth buying for many enthusiasts. It might not have the greatest tech or most modern parts, but the WRX STi has a feature that makes it the closest thing to a road-legal rally car you can get your hands on today. Let’s get into the details.

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Overview Of The Subaru WRX STi Focusing On The 2021 Model

The 2021 STi is still configured quite similarly to the original STi from 1994, and even though that might sound like something bad initially, it’s actually great news. It comes with a 2.5-liter flat-four turbocharged boxer engine capable of putting out 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, which are great numbers that are quite in line with what is expected of the hot-hatch segment today.

The engine inside the 2021 Subaru WRX STi is basically the same one that was fitted to the 2004 model; don’t get us wrong, it’s an amazing engine, but four-cylinders have come a long way since then, and the ones found in close competitors are smoother and more powerful in most cases. However, with a 6-speed manual transmission (that’s extremely fun to use) and a great AWD system, the 2021 Subaru WRX STi can run from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, which places it comfortably among segment competitors such as the VW Golf R , the Ford Focus RS or the Honda Civic Type R.

The STi’s firm suspension and responsive steering make it a joy to handle, yet it’s not too extreme to the point where it isnt daily drivable. In fact, It’s actually quite good for daily use, with a reasonably comfortable interior even for those in the back seats, and a combined MPG return of 18. With an original sticker price of just over $38,000, features are quite scarce and outdated inside Subaru’s 2021 WRX STi, which remained pretty much unchanged from the previous model year.

Related: This Is What A 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Is Worth Today

Ever since its initial release back in 1994, the WRX STi has been offered with All-Wheel-Drive, which is more than many of its competitors can say for themselves. That on its own is already great, but the STi takes its AWD system even further with a feature that allows it to tackle the most demanding terrains, from gravel and dirt trails to snow and frozen pavement. This feature is known as ‘Driver Controlled Center Differential’ or DCCD, and it allows the driver to adjust the vehicle’s limited-slip differential, which means you can choose how much torque you want to send to the front and rear drive axles.


There’s also the option to set the DCCD system to make adjustments automatically, using inputs from a variety of sensors to determine the best limited-slip differential configuration during real-time maneuvers, depending on the terrain you’re on. This means that, while most cars wouldn’t be able to gain traction in certain circumstances and conditions, the WRX STi can easily do so with its amazing AWD system. It’s rare to find a car capable of tearing up a tarmac track or gravel trail just as effectively, and that’s what makes the STi so special. Here’s a video from TheStraightPipes’ YouTube channel that shows the 2021 WRX STi’s magical traction.


Looking back, the 2021 STi is still a good buy for those that are able to appreciate it for what it is – one of the most versatile and fun-to-drive compact cars out there. It doesn’t offer the greatest features, practicality, or exterior looks, but that was never Subaru’s intention when they first released the WRX STi, and that’s why they’ve kept true to its original even roots to this day. If you’re considering the STi for anything other than it’s incredible driving experience and acceptance towards mods, then you should look elsewhere.

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