Three stars out of five and no place among our class top five. Sounds harsh for a car that brought a smile from everyone who took the keys.

The Subaru WRX STI remains a charismatic, exciting driver’s car with enough attitude and aggression to whet anyone’s appetite.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The Subaru WRX STI really needs an optional limited-slip differential at the rear

But next to the highly developed hot hatches, the Subaru’s old-school performance routine isn’t cutting it. Its rivals now deliver driveability, accessibility and ease of use hand in hand with speed and thrills, making this Subaru not nearly rounded enough or quite fast enough.

Nor is it as precise or rewarding on the limit as the best fast hatches that Europe offers, such as the Ford Focus RS or the Volkswagen Golf R.

What the STI needs is an up-to-date, intuitive cabin and a complete technical and mechanical overhaul. Subaru needs the confidence to charge at least 50 percent more for this car – to dare to rule the roost once more.

As things stand, the Impreza STI is being left behind.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar E-Pace 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    20 April 2018
    Can Jaguar’s compact SUV bring flair and dynamic polish to a fast-growing class?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    20 April 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Lamborghini Urus review 2018 hero front
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    The supercar maker's new 4x4 is massively capable wherever it goes, while being extremely conspicuous and costly while it does it
  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs
  • Ford Focus RS Race Red Edition front
    First Drive
    18 April 2018
    Ford drafts in some tasty extras for this limited-run Focus RS swansong edition