There was a time when the smart money thought the Subaru Impreza was in the vanguard of a new breed of affordable performance cars that would in time take over the world.

The hot hatch had had its day, and now it was time for the Playstation generation to have its say. Technology had never been more affordable: when the Impreza Turbo was introduced it cost just £17,999 despite its forced induction and all-wheel drive hardwear, which was almost £20,000 less than the Porsche 968.

But you could fit all your family in the Impreza, their luggage in the boot and still dust the Porker away from the lights.

But all that was a very long time ago – 1994 to be precise - and while Subaru have thrown at least 15 different variations on the original theme at the market since then and despite the collusion of Mitsubishi and its largely epic Evolution models, the invasion never came. To this day the Impreza, renamed the WRX STi since 2010 is what it always was: a niche player. Question is, is it still any good?

The WRX STI is available for £28k. If more power is required, the STi can be turned into the 335bhp 340R model for just £1699

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Honda HR-V Black Edition
    First Drive
    26 September 2017
    Special edition offers few new reasons to buy Honda’s small SUV
  • Ford GT
    First Drive
    26 September 2017
    Ford’s racing-derived GT copes amazingly well with most UK roads. Unspectacular engine, sheer size and left-hand drive status aside, it’s got massive motorsport charm and appeal
  • Hyundai i30N
    First Drive
    25 September 2017
    We get behind the wheel of Hyundai's first crack at a hot hatchback, and the i30N doesn't disappoint
  • Alpina B4 S
    First Drive
    25 September 2017
    Our first UK drive in Alpina’s more potent sports coupé emphasises the breadth of ability on offer from this Bavarian alternative
  • Genesis G70
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Based on the Kia Stinger, Genesis' new G70 saloon shows plenty of promising signs that it could be a hit in Europe