Subaru’s WRX, nee Impreza WRX, reached a milestone on 23 June, with the 50,000th sale in Australia.
Despite being deep into its fourth generation, with the fifth due for release later this year, the ‘Rex’ continues to find buyers. The purchaser of the milestone 50,000th car sold locally was a Queenslander, who received a free five-year service plan and Subaru accessories to the value of $5,000.
“We often talk in the automotive industry about ‘halo’ cars - those that attract off-the-scale interest. WRX is a prime example and played no small part in Subaru’s massive Australian growth in the 1990s,” said Subaru Australia General Manager, Blair Read.
“Its early, relatively unassuming appearance - but for the giveaway ‘letter box’ on the bonnet - belied a package that won converts at a massive rate.
“Not only did it switch many thousands of people on to Subaru, it established a trend that many tried to follow but few got near.
“The current generation ‘Rex is our biggest seller to date and the fact that there are WRX Clubs meeting regularly across Australia is proof of its enduring appeal.”
A quick walk through WRX history
Launched in 1992 and making its Australian debut at the 1993 Sydney International Motor Show, the first generation Impreza WRX (World Rally eXperimental) reached local Subaru dealerships in 1994 – the same year that the upgraded WRX STi was first marketed in Japan.
Boosted by Subaru’s successes in the World Rally Championship in the 1990s that included three manufacturers’ championships and Colin Macrae’s WRC Drivers’ World Championship in 1995, the first-generation Impreza WRX lasted until 2000.
The styling of the second-generation wasn’t an immediate hit with buyers and it went through two facelifts (2004 and 2007) before being replaced in 2007.
Interestingly, the third-generation remained in production until 2014 – three years after that generation Impreza had been discontinued.
In that same year, Subaru decided to start marketing the WRX and WRX STi as standalone models, even though they were still based heavily on the Impreza.
While the Impreza is now in its fifth generation, the WRX available in Subaru dealerships today is a fourth-generation model.
The debut WRX for Australia featured a turbocharged 2.0-litre Boxer engine, producing 155kW and 270Nm, powering all four wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. It was also initially offered as either a sedan or wagon. Outputs have increased with each generation and the engine is now a 2.5-litre unit producing 197kW and 350Nm. The wagon has been dropped and automatic transmissions have become increasingly popular, with new looks, new technologies and new safety added, too, but the basic WRX formula hasn’t been messed with for the past 27 years.