by Conor Twomey
I gotta tells ya, this one snuck up on me. The 2003 facelift wasn’t unexpected given how, er, unusual the original 2001 Impreza looked, but with an all-new car about a year away, was there really a need to facelift the Impreza again?
Well, in the hotly contested sport compact segment Subaru and Mitsubishi like to rain on one another’s parades as often as possible so when Mitsubishi recently upgraded the Evo, it followed suit that Subaru would have to do something similar to steal back column inches and regain its place on the rice rocket throne. So here it is. The 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX.
Big deal, right? Gluing on the new corporate nose and upping the specification a bit isn’t going to make the steering any better or take slop out of the body control, now is it? Well, no, but that the new nose doesn’t do the WRX any harm either, making the Impreza look more purposeful and less blobby than either previous iteration. Its expression, if you will, is one of anger and aggression, unlike its slightly petrified predecessors. The flanks are unchanged, with the exception of standard fitment of the STI’s sill skirts and some tasteful new 17-inch wheels, while the rear gets yet another new set of lights and another new bumper. It’s not the most exciting posterior I’ve ever seen but at least the rest of the Impreza WRX is looking good these days. The low-rise spoiler is standard, too, except on the entry-level WRX TR model. More of that in a minute.
Inside the WRX nothing has changed. The one-piece STi-style seats and dials became standard in the WRX last year so no other revisions were made to the interior so there’s still no aluminum pedals or shifter, no change-up lights, no embroidered seating, no differential controls and no intercooler water spray button on the WRX.