On the Road
Travel on even the most mundane roads is a treat in the WRX STI. Every input yields immediate results – steering, accelerating, and braking. Quick bursts of speed from 50 to 70 miles per hour are accompanied by the turbo's whistle and the feeling of being pressed against the seatback.
Entrance ramps are a hoot, because you're instantly up to speed to be able to merge properly. One thing I noticed is that other drivers who are ahead of you will move into your lane because they don't expect you to catch up so quickly. (Be careful out there!)
The River Road
I rarely pass up a historical marker or a scenic turnout when traveling. I chose to drive to Oscoda because it's at one end of a National Scenic Byway – one of only a couple in Michigan and within my mileage window. On the map, it appeared to have some character to it.
That it did, but one of the side roads proved the most intriguing for its twists and turns. If you're in the area, tour Cooke Dam Road, which ends at a hydroelectric plant. Although of interest to some, the curves in the road on the way will be exciting to anyone driving a WRX STI. Its sport-tuned suspension and 245/40 R18 performance tires held the car flat in the turns.
It's not just the feeling of the body staying flat in sharp turns and the precise steering that make me enthused about the car, but the feeling of it being a part of you – much like the feeling of riding a motorcycle and moving together with it.
On to Hell
Most states have towns with odd-sounding names. Hell, Michigan, is about as obtuse as you can get, I suppose. The few stores in the town make the most of it.
At a local ice cream shop and gift store I bought a T-shirt and a Michigan license plate with the name of the town on them. The lady at the counter even gave me an exit visa card, which "entitles the bearer safe passage through Hell, Michigan." What a great sense of humor!
I spent a short period in Hell and on the roads surrounding it. I'll go back at my next opportunity. Paved and gravel, these roads are what I look for when going for a drive. They gave me opportunities to corner hard and accelerate out of turns almost to my heart's content. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to explore them thoroughly.
The Bottom Line
The WRX STI is the dream car of many enthusiasts, and for good reason. It leaves you wanting for little (if anything!) in terms of power and performance. Its advanced technologies will enable drivers to push the limits on their own terms. Plus, the WRX STI Sedan as well as its 5-door counterpart have the styling that says "performance."
For standard and optional features, dimensions, and specifications, go to www.subaru.com. you can read more about Michigan's River Road Scenic Byway at www.byways.org.