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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