Illustration for article titled I’ve been shopping for a replacement

This car is unrefined, inefficient, the ergonomics are lacklustre (for my lankiness) and so is the sound system. Kayaks are a non-starter and I can only put one mountain bike in the trunk so unless I’m going by myself we have to take another vehicle. Despite all that, I just can’t seem to let go of the driving dynamics.

On Saturday night we got 12 hours of freezing rain. Trees snapped and took power lines with them - my house was without electricity for 2 days. Having parked the car in the shed before any real buildup started, I couldn’t have cared less.

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Sunday morning, I started the car, drove it out of its hidey-hole and turned off the traction control, like usual. The grainy, ice-pelleted surface has served as a perfect reminder as to why a WRX on a loose surface is one of the better driving experiences you can buy from a dealership today.

Racing Formula 1 in the rain is the ultimate test of driving skill, separating the truly extraordinary from the merely talented. The same is true of cars - a loose surface lowers the limits of adhesion, making obvious the driving dynamics masked by the sky-high limits of modern cars and revealing the inherent handling balance lurking beneath.

Subaru stereotypes suggest the WRX is an understeering pig and that is not without cause - carry too much speed into a corner and you will see the tree that’s about to kill you. Plant the nose with a bit of trailing brake, however, and the front will tuck in, the tail grabbing its opportunity to waggle wide. Keep the engine in boost and you dictate the angle, line and duration of the slide with your right foot. It’s just delightful and why I often triple my 5 minute commute with laps of the barn yard and back roads just off the shortest route home.

The experience is far from perfect - liftoff-oversteer can and does bite if you don’t modulate the throttle carefully during a slide - but initiating with a flick, stringing together tidy 4-wheel slides with is one of life’s great pleasures.

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As a farmer a pickup truck could easily be considered logical path forward - others have told me as much, especially as I now have a rwd coupe to take the fun car role. They’re right, and I know it, but I can’t daily drive something I can’t get some joy out of when the heart wants.

Not yet.

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