Subaru WRX STI long-term update

Having made their name in rallying, Subarus aren’t afraid of a bit of dirt.

I'd wanted to vist the remote Victorian town of Woods Point for a while, as I'd heard that the road leading there was worth a visit.

With 60km of gravel to traverse, it seemed an ideal opportunity to put the WRX STI's off-road credentials to the test.

Located around 180km north-east of Melbourne, getting to Woods Point involves plenty of twisty road action.

There's the Black Spur through to Marysville, a dash up and down Lake Mountain if you have time and then the ace run from Lake Mountain through to the turn-off to Reefton Spur.

From there the road almost immediately turns to gravel, but it's reasonably well surfaced, albeit very slippery over the bits that have recently been graded.

If you don't care about stone chips it's an awesome stretch, with heaps of different corner types and surfaces, but a word to the wise is to make sure you have plenty of fuel.

The winding and hilly nature of the road means fuel consumption is high, but after trundling into Woods Point on less than a quarter tank, I was told Tanya in the pub could sort me out.

Nestled in a deep valley, it's a strange sort of town, a shadow of its gold rush glory days.

However, more worryingly, Tanya didn’t seem to exist, so the STI limped on to Jamieson, only to find it was out of both 98RON and octane booster. Slightly panicked, we made it to Mansfield on fumes.

Also leave plenty of time, as though it’s only 270km from Melbourne-Mansfield via this route, unless you’re Sebastien Ogier it’s likely to take at least four hours, possibly five with a stop or two.

The STI proved fun, fast and unburstably strong, though its new-found stiffness means it’s a bumpy ride on poorly-surfaced roads.

It might not have the pedigree it once did, but Subaru’s rallying heritage is still more than apparent in its latest STI.

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  • Where's the insight? Where's the description of the drive and driving characteristics......... Do you realise this car has stiff suspension for a reason? did you try using the DCCD in manual Vs auto? Do you actually know how to set it up for optimum performance? Have you any meaningful commentary other than it has a "bumpy" ride? are you still struggling with the clutch? If you want to drive an AWD turbo charged car you need to learn how to. All you have demonstrated with your long term articles is you don't know how to drive a something like an EVO or STI and not only that you don't understand the DNA. Its a bit embarrassing, it really is. Heres something to judge things by - A STI won the showroom class at Targa Tas this year, a large number of the cars in the top 20 were STIs and EVOs. The STI was the quickest car round Winton in your recent BFYB challenge - in fact your fellow motoring journos voted it number 1 ahead of the Golf R. The STI was first in class at the recent Nurburgring 24hour event, it was 18th overall with only GT3 cars in front of it. Its not a family sedan Scott, its an entry level performance sedan and as such has certain compromises. If you actually understood suspension and damping it would help, you will find the STI has very very good damping curves particularly the front inverted monotubes.
  • Great car. Amazing handles