Frankly we’d complain about this interior were it fitted to a car costing half the Subaru’s price. And complain loudly. An unattractive mess is one of the kinder things you could call it, and when you consider what is available not only from BMW but the likes of the far cheaper Ford Focus ST and Vauxhall Astra VXR you’re more likely to call it an insult to the customer’s intelligence.

Its biggest sin are the materials used for the dash: an unattractive soup of fake metal, hard plastics and different textures with no discernible style at all. The dials are easy to read but look old and cheap while the switchgear sets similarly low standards. 

You don’t need to look far to find some cheap-feeling materials

It’s not a difficult car to operate as everything is approximately where you’d expect to find it, so as we’d almost always prioritise function over form you’d expect this to count in the WRX’s favour. Unfortunately you only have to look through the window of a lowly Volkswagen Polo to know that if these aims were ever diametrically opposed, they certainly are not now. At a price point such as this, such scruffiness is simply unacceptable.

On the plus side the driving position is sound with only a fractional pedal offset though we’d have liked rather more reach adjustment for the steering column for that authentic wheel-in-chest rally car experience. 

The standard part leather Recaro seats are exceptionally supportive and comfortable on a long journey but they eat into rear leg room to the extent that only children and small adults will be happy to occupy them for any length of time. The boot holds an acceptable 420 litres, accessed through a reasonably shaped aperture.


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