Facelift

2018 Subaru WRX and STI Upgraded For Detroit Reveal

But is the car actually any better?

We knew that Subaru would give the WRX and STI models one last update before giving them a full redesign in 2020. Subaru has just unveiled the 2018 WRX and STI models which it says come with performance, safety and comfort upgrades. Some key changes include: a more aggressive front end, new suspension, new 19-inch wheels, upgraded Bremo brakes, available Recaro seats, and optional performance pack (for the WRX), Subaru EyeSight driver assist technology, as well as upgraded materials and a quieter cabin.

The new front facia looks more modern, without being drastically different than the 2017 model. The new car does have LED-adaptive headlights that move according to steering response, which is a nice safety feature. Unfortunately, power will be unchanged with the WRX's 2.0-liter engine producing 268 hp and the STI's 2.5-liter engine making 305 hp. We thought that Subaru might give at least one of these cars a much-needed power bump because of the increased competition from Ford and Honda. The WRX will get a new suspension that's supposed to make it more comfortable without affecting performance as well as a new electric steering system that feels smoother and more natural.

The STI will also get a revised suspension as well as a new DCCD AWD system which replaces the old car's mechanical and electronic differential with one that is purely electric for a quicker response. The car will also get some slick-looking yellow Brembo brakes with monoblock six-piston calipers in front, monoblock two-piston calipers in the rear and larger, drilled rotors all around. Both cars will be more comfortable on the inside thanks to thicker glass and more sound insulation, upgraded materials such as the arm rests and seats, new seat adjustments such as lumbar, and a new infotainment system with a multifunction display that shows vehicle functions at a glance.

There will also be lots of safety features as Subaru is slowly turning itself into the "Volvo-Light" of carmakers. The WRX and STI will be available with Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which can show status alerts on the windshield, hold the car in place on hills, and avoid frontal collisions. The 2018 WRX and STI are just very modest refreshes to keep the cars relevant for a few more years. Unfortunately, the Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R have encroached on a segment that Subaru once only had to share with Mitsubishi. The WRX and STI are certainly not bad cars, but it might be worth holding out on buying one until 2020.

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