Why is there no hatch version of the current Subaru WRX and STI?
Back in 1980, Subaru entered into the foray of the World Rally Championship to demonstrate the ability of its symmetrical all-wheel drive system. Throughout that decade, the company competed in championship events here and there. However, it wasn’t until 1989, when British firm Prodrive forged a partnership with Subaru Technica International (STI) that the successful Subaru World Rally Team was born. A few years after that, in 1992, another rally legend was born: the Subaru Impreza.
Subaru’s creation of the Impreza WRX (for World Rally eXperimental or World Rally Cross) created a major competitor for the rally-derived Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Although, the Impreza WRX had an ace up its sleeve that the Lancer didn’t – you could actually buy it as a hatchback. Over the years, the hatchback variant of the WRX accounted for up to half of the model’s sales. Even with the third-generation GE hatchback model, Subaru kept at it, offering a hatchback for customers wanting some practicality to go with their performance.
Now, it appears the previously popular hatchback variant has gone the way of the WRX’s chief competitor – out to pasture. In 2008, Subaru pulled out of the World Rally Championship, citing the economic downturn. In 2014, they spun off the WRX and STI into their own separate models from the Impreza. While the Impreza hatch itself remains, the WRX and STI variants are sedan only.
Why is that? The hot hatch market has always had some traction among enthusiasts. More than that, there seemed to be plenty of people who bought the WRX hatch when it was offered. With the current model only a sedan, it seems the model has lost some – though certainly not all – of its reach in the market.
Should Subaru bring back a WRX/STI hatch?
In Sarah’s Car Nerd Corner, she discusses the possibility of a Subaru WRX and STI hatch coming back in the next generation. New models are slated for 2020 or so, based on a global platform, so can they fix it? Will they bring back a hatch variant to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R? Even though some of its competitors have left the building, i.e. the Lancer Evolution X, this could be an opportunity for Subaru to rise to the top among performance hatchbacks.
Let us know what you think in the comments below!