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William Maley

Subaru News: Updates Grace the 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI

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We're a few years out from the next-generation Subaru WRX and WRX STI. To help tide us over till then, Subaru has unveiled the refreshed 2018 WRX and WRX STI.

Subaru has made some changes to the exterior, though it may be hard to notice at first since they look like the current model. There are new grilles and a set of larger air intakes. The Limited models of the WRX and WRX STI also get LED headlights that swivel when the steering wheel is turned. Inside, Subaru has both models a bit more bearable to live with thicker glass and added sound insulation to help reduce outside noise. Other improvements include better interior materials and larger infotainment systems for both models.

Under the skin, both the WRX and STI see tweaks to the chassis and power steering. WRX models equipped with the six-speed manual feature a redesigned synchro design to improve feel and a new clutch that is smoother during gear changes. On STI models, the Driver’s Control Center Differential (DCCD) - vary the amount the torque being distributed - switches to a fully electronically controlled limited-slip differential. (The previous system used a combination of electronic and mechanical bits.) Subaru says the switch to an electronic system for the DCCD makes it smoother and quicker to respond. 

Other changes of note:

  • WRX Premium is now available with a Performance package that features eight-way power Recaro seats, Jurid brake pads, brake calipers painted red, and 18-inch wheels with a double-spoke design.
  • WRX STI gets a set of Brembo brakes - 6-Piston calipers up front, 2-piston in the rear, and larger discs.
  • 19-inch alloy wheels come standard on the STI
  • Both WRX and STI get revised crash structures up front

Pricing hasn't been announced, but the two are expected to arrive at Subaru dealers later this spring.

Source: Subaru
Press Release is on Page 2



 
January 5, 2017
SUBARU DEBUTS 2018 WRX® AND WRX STI® WITH PERFORMANCE, COMFORT AND SAFETY UPGRADES

  • Revised front styling for a more aggressive look
  • Suspension optimized for better handling and ride comfort
  • New 19-inch wheels, upgraded Brembo® brakes and revised DCCD All-Wheel Drive give WRX STI wider performance envelope
  • New available Recaro® power seats
  • Performance Package option for WRX models
  • New EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology safety features
  • Upgraded interior materials and quieter cabin

Cherry Hill, N.J. -  Subaru of America, Inc., which this month posted its eighth consecutive year of record-breaking sales, today introduced the 2018 WRX and WRX STI, each debuting performance, comfort, design and safety enhancements for a more rewarding driving experience. The new models reach Subaru retailers in spring.
 
A restyled front fascia WRX and WRX STI shows a sportier attitude, highlighted by a more pronounced grille design, along with a larger lower grille opening. The WRX Limited and all STI feature redesigned LED Steering Responsive Headlights that help illuminate curves in nighttime driving. For greater versatility, all WRX and STI models now feature new roof rack mounting brackets.
 
WRX for 2018
With its 268-hp, 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged BOXER engine, Symmetrical All Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring, the rally-bred WRX is a performance and value benchmark in the high-performance AWD sport-compact segment. The WRX comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and offers an optional performance automatic transmission, the Sport Lineartronic® CVT with manual mode.
 
The WRX features new front and rear suspension tuning for improved steering stability and ride comfort, while retaining the car’s high cornering performance capability. Subaru significantly enhanced shifter feel for the 6-speed manual transmission, with a new synchro design and reduced friction, along with smoother clutch take-up. The WRX electric power steering (EPS) was revised to provide an even smoother, more natural feel, while integrating the steering motor and electronic control unit reduces weight.
 
A new optional Performance Package for the WRX Premium features Recaro 8-way power seats, red-painted brake calipers and upgraded JURID brake pads, and deletes the moonroof to reduce weight. The standard 18-inch wheels feature a bold new double-spoke design.
 
WRX STI for 2018
A comprehensive handling enhancement for the 2018 STI includes the revised suspension tuning as featured on the WRX, plus a revised DCCD AWD 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. The 19-inch alloy wheels feature a striking Y-shaped spoke design and carry 245/35R19 tires that help raise cornering performance while giving the STI an even more aggressive stance.
 
The yellow-painted brake calipers identify a significantly upgraded Brembo Performance Brake System that now uses stronger monoblock 6-piston calipers in front, monoblock 2-piston calipers in the rear and larger, drilled rotors all around for better heat dissipation. New brake pads provide significantly greater surface area for improved braking feel and fade resistance. The STI also offers the Recaro seats (standard on STI Limited, optional for base trim).
 
Powered by a 305-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged BOXER engine, the WRX STI brings rally-bred performance technology to the road with Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Standard handling technologies include Active Torque Vectoring and Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control.
 
Improved Usability with a Sporting Edge
The everyday usability that has contributed to WRX and STI popularity gets even better for 2018. All models feature upgraded interior materials, rear seat armrest with cup holders, redesigned interior door grips and faster remote trunk opening.
 
New measures that reduce unwanted noise include thicker door glass, revised door sealing and a foam-filled windshield header beam. A new, larger high-definition multi-function display (5.9-inch vs. 4.3-inch before) makes it easier to see vehicle functions at a glance. WRX Limited models feature power driver’s seat lumbar adjustment. The standard WRX adds heated exterior mirrors (already standard on others), while the WRX Premium upgrades to a SUBARU STARLINK™ 7.0” multimedia unit from the previous STARLINK 6.2” unit.
 
Safety
Subaru revised the front structure of the WRX and WRX STI for enhanced frontal collision performance. The WRX Limited, when equipped with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology now features Vehicle Hold (AVH), and a new EyeSight Assist Monitor (EAM). The EAM uses LED indicators to display EyeSight status and alerts on the windshield, allowing the driver to see them without diverting eyes from the road ahead. The AVH feature replaces the Hill Holder and Hill Start Assist functions and offers greater functionality, holding the vehicle on all road grades, not only inclines. For example, AVH can help reduce driver fatigue by holding the car at traffic lights, and then can seamlessly transition to acceleration.


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These cars badly needed these improvements. Hopefully they keep the price the same, because I feel they were ambitious as it was, especially w/ the STI. This brings the car more in line with being worth the cost of entry. Depending on pricing details, this may reignite my interest in an STI.

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11 hours ago, Frisky Dingo said:

These cars badly needed these improvements. Hopefully they keep the price the same, because I feel they were ambitious as it was, especially w/ the STI. This brings the car more in line with being worth the cost of entry. Depending on pricing details, this may reignite my interest in an STI.

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    • By William Maley
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    • By William Maley
      The Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX 570 are part of an endangered species: SUVs designed with the purpose of going off-road. It may seem somewhat mad to describe most SUVs as not off-road oriented, but most buyers don’t really take SUVs off the beaten path. Automakers have responded in kind by providing a minimum four-wheel capability while improving on-road behavior. The Land Cruiser and LX 570 haven’t gone down this path as they have a small, but loyal owner base that would cry foul if Toyota/Lexus decided to do this. But as I found out during my week with them, Toyota and Lexus need to do some serious thinking about the future of these models if they want to keep them around.
      Exterior
      Both the Land Cruiser and LX 570 share the same boxy shape with a slightly angled front end, large area of glass, and a split opening tailgate. Where the two differentiate is in the details. Toyota plays it safe with a large rectangular grille and chrome bars that separate the front headlights. The set of 18-inch alloy wheels look somewhat small on the Land Cruiser, mostly due to the large size of the off-road tires. The LX 570 is very extroverted as evidenced by the front end styling. It features the largest version of Lexus’ spindle grille that gives it an intense look. A set of LED headlights with a unique lamp design sit on either side. Multi-spoke 20-inch wheels are standard and seem suited to fit the large size of the SUV.
      Interior
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      One quirk about the Land Cruiser and LX 570’s third-row is that the seats don’t fold into the floor. Instead, the seats flip towards the side. Not only does it make it slightly awkward to load cargo into either model, but it also makes for a small cargo area. Measurements for the two models are 16.1 cubic feet with all three-rows up, 44.7 with the third-row folded, and 81.7 with the second-row folded. For 2018, Lexus did introduce a two-row version that increases space by 5.8 cubic feet - bringing the total to 50.5 cubic feet.
      Infotainment
      Lexus has fitted one the of largest infotainment screens in the class into the LX 570. Measuring 12.3-inches, this allows for a split-screen capability where you can have various functions up at the same time. For example, you can have navigation on one side and audio on the other. Some of the configuration options Lexus offers are strange to say in the least like having two maps of the navigation system up at the same time. Where the LX 570 falls short is the Remote Touch controller. The joystick controller is a pain to use as it feels quite vague when moving around and causes you to overshoot when trying to select something. This is very problematic when you’re driving as you’ll find yourself paying more attention to the system than the road.
      In the Land Cruiser, you’ll find a smaller 9-inch infotainment system with Toyota’s Entune system. Thankfully, Toyota had decided to use a touchscreen instead of a frustrating controller. Moving around in Entune is easy thanks to a simple interface with large touchscreen buttons and a set of physical shortcut buttons underneath. I did notice that Entune was a few ticks slower than the system found in the LX 570.
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      Powertrain
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      Both models come fully-equipped to take on whatever Mother Nature decides to dish out. This includes a two-speed transfer case, locking center differential, crawl-control system, terrain selection system, and an adjustable suspension system. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to take either model off the paved road to see what they are capable of.
      Fuel Economy
      EPA rates the 2018 Land Cruiser and LX 570 at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. My average in both vehicles landed around 14.9 mpg in a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving.
      Ride and Handling
      These SUVs prefer the roads to be straight as there is significant body motion when cornering. Blame the tall ride height and soft-suspension tuning. Steering feels very numb and slow, making it somewhat tough to figure out how much input is needed when turning. When the road is straight, both vehicles provide a smooth ride. I did find that on the highway, I needed to make constant corrections with the steering to keep it in the middle of the lane.
      One major difference between the two is braking. The LX 570’s braking system felt very discombobulated. It was very difficult to modulate the pedal to provide a smooth stop. Either the vehicle wasn’t slowing down or the braking system would enter panic stop mode and passengers being thrown from their seats. I thought this was an issue that was limited to my LX, but other people who have driven different LXs have reported similar behavior. The Land Cruiser didn’t experience any of this during my week.
      Value
      The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser begins at $83,665, while the LX 570 begins at $85,630 for the two-row variant and $89,980 for the three-row model. Both models come generously equipped with a number of standard features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, heated and ventilated front seats; power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, and three-zone climate control. The vehicles tested here came lightly optioned. The Land Cruiser featured a set of optional floor mats, bringing the as-tested price to $85,185. For the LX 570, it came with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and center console cool box to bring its as-tested price to $93,350.
      The best value of the two models has to be the two-row LX 570 as you get a nicer interior and more cargo space, for not much more money than the three-row Land Cruiser. But if you really want three-rows, then the Land Cruiser is your best bet.
      Verdict
      Unless your daily commute includes traversing the Rocky Mountains or driving through Death Valley, I cannot recommend either of these SUVs. They have a number of flaws such as middling fuel economy, small cargo area, and needing constant steering corrections on the highway. But the LX 570 comes off slightly worse as it has some issues with the powertrain and brakes need to be addressed quickly. Besides, the Land Cruiser offers many of the features of LX 570, albeit in a more utilitarian package for a couple of grand less.
      But for some people, the off-road capability and legendary reliability of these two models are more than enough to excuse the faults. That group of people though we have to think is getting smaller as time goes on and makes us wonder if the next-generation of the Land Cruiser and LX 570 will go through a dramatic change or not.
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LX 570
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
      Base Price: $89,980
      As Tested Price: $93,350 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Entertainment System - $2,005.00
      Cool Box - $170.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Land Cruiser
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 381@ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 5,815 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
      Base Price: $83,685
      As Tested Price: $85,185 (Includes $1,295.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpet Floor/Cargo Mat Set - $225.00
    • By William Maley
      The Hyundai Elantra GT has always stood apart from its sedan counterpart due to its European roots. This is most apparent in terms of handling where the hatchback felt slightly sharper than the sedan. Hyundai’s U.S. office has once again called on the European office to source a new Elantra GT hatchback. The model known in Europe as the i30 has been said to be a viable alternative to the Volkswagen Golf by automotive writers. Does that hold true in terms of the U.S.?
      Hyundai’s designers took a page out of the Golf’s playbook when it comes to the exterior. It may not have the excitement or sharp design traits of other compacts, but the Elantra GT’s shape is very classy. The front end features Hyundai’s new hexagonal grille shape and deep cuts in the bumper for the fog lights. The side profile features a large area of glass to help the interior feel airier and a set of 18-inch wheels with black center caps. The rear has a crease running along the rear tailgate and a dual exhaust system.
      My first impression of the Elantra GT’s interior was, “this is more interesting to look at than the Elantra sedan”. The dash design is clean with sculpting along the passenger side to provide some visual differentiation. Sport models feature red accent trim around the vents and stitching on the seats to give off the impression of sportiness. Material quality is average for the class with an equal mix of hard and soft-touch materials. Passengers sitting up front will find controls to be in easy reach and the seats offering adequate comfort. Taller passengers sitting in the back will be complaining about the minuscule amount of legroom. With the driver’s seat set in my position, I found my knees were almost touching the back of it. The Elantra GT’s cargo space is towards the top of the class with 24.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 55.1 cubic feet when folded.
      All Elantra GT’s get Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment system housed either in a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen mounted on top of the dash. Our tester came with the larger 8-inch screen with navigation. Hyundai’s BlueLink system is one our favorite infotainment system with an easy-to-understand user interface, physical shortcut buttons around the screen, and snappy performance. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard and bring more capability to BlueLink.
      Under the hood of the Elantra GT Sport is a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine you’ll find in the Elantra Sport and Kia Soul !. A six-speed manual is standard, but the model seen here had the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The first couple of days driving the Elantra GT Sport was somewhat of a disappointment. The throttle felt very sluggish, not letting the turbo engine provide a rush of power. Not helping was the transmission which was focused more on upshifting quickly, along with stumbling with gear changes at low speeds. But I soon figured out that putting the vehicle into Sport mode makes the vehicle much more lively. The throttle loosens up and allows the engine to exploit its full potential. The transmission seems to hold on to gears slightly longer to allow for improved performance. My hunch is that the standard drive mode is actually an eco mode to maximize fuel economy. I would like to see Hyundai add a separate eco mode and have the standard driving mode be a balance of eco and sport.
      In terms of fuel economy, the Elantra GT Sport is rated at 26 City/32 Highway/28 Combined with the DCT. My average for the week landed around 27 mpg with a 60/40 mix of city and highway driving.
      The Elantra GT Sport’s handling is Hyundai’s best effort to date. Sport models swap the torsion beam rear suspension found on the standard GT for a sport-tuned multilink setup. This swap makes the Elantra GT quite nimble in the corners with little body roll and feels poised. Steering provides decent weight when turning. The sporty setup does mean the Elantra GT Sport has a compliant ride with more road imperfections being transmitted. Not much wind noise comes inside, but a fair amount of road noise does.
      The Elantra GT Sport is so close to being a viable alternative to the Volkswagen Golf. It offers a clean exterior look, well-equipped interior, spacious cargo area, and impressive handling characteristics. But the programming of the standard drive mode dents the appeal of the Sport, making it feel less ‘sporty’. Hopefully, Hyundai has some plans to tweak the drive mode programming and dual-clutch transmission. 
      Hyundai has an agreeable compact hatchback in the form of the Elantra GT Sport. But we think given a little bit more time and work, it could be one of the best.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Elantra GT, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Elantra GT
      Trim: Sport A/T
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed dual-Clutch
      Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 ~ 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/32/28
      Curb Weight: 3,155 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $24,350
      As Tested Price: $29,210 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sport Tech Package - $3,850.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00

      View full article
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