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Things aren't what they seem to be nowadays, they say. Subaru's new WRX for one, might have evolved from chunky to Euro-hatch, but the famous, pulsating boxer heartbeat remains.

05 Feb 2008

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If you have been to the National day parade, you will see tanned, well built and clean-cut paratroopers in their crisp uniforms and glittering medals. Common sense tells you that these guys can also be thrown into a jungle, sweaty and dirty, and still come out on top of the situation despite their neat appearance.

Outside

This slick, black hatchback reminds us that there is definitely more than meets the eye to, with familiar Impreza features an obvious given.

The rather teardrop-like, curved silhouette reminds us that Petter Solberg and his group of "rally enthusiasts" have finally managed to convince Subaru that they must change over to hatch form to remain competitive. LED tail lamps rule the tailgate, and so does the "hood-scoop" that sadly, isn't as large as that of the previous generation, GDx bonnet intake.

Hit head on, you might like the set of beautifully designed yet aggressive stare of the projector headlamps, and that familiar, throaty growl of the boxer engine when you give the ignition key a twist.

Think of it as the Spartan King, Leonidas, in a Ralph Lauren suit.

Inside

The Optitron meters greeted us with an STI style "opening ceremony" where the speedometer and tachometer swing to their maximum threshold, and back. Yours truly was surprised that the semi-bucket seats of this supposed "war machine" were comfortable and sturdy enough to hold the bulky frame of the two front occupants.

Boot space was reasonably large, and one could squeeze a golf bag or two in, but unfortunately not much else. Rear legroom felt reasonably good for the average joe six pack (read: 6 beers). Three swarthy commandos would be able to squeeze inside, although that would probably have a detrimental effect on the vehicle's overall performance.

Then, it hit us like a bolt from the blue. The words 'comfort' and 'space' aren't default terms used to describe a performance vehicle, more so a rally derived signature from Subaru.

There was only one way to find out if the monster beneath the hood had been sedated and domesticated - To irritate and heckle it.

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