Subaru Impreza tyres

The Subaru Impreza range always featured several solid and sensible four-wheel-drive cars. They blend into the background, though, eclipsed by the raucous antics of just one of them. The high-performance version, the Impreza Turbo, was also known as the WRX. It was also variously labelled the ‘Rally Thug’, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ and the ‘Warrington Wifebeater’. The problem wasn’t that other Imprezas were in any way lacking. Rather, the WRX eclipsed them in the public consciousness and remains the Impreza that everyone remembers.

It was first imported in 1994. At the time, the stars of the traditional ‘hot hatches’ were waning. ‘Lad’ culture was taking hold in a Britain which was emerging from recession. Enter the WRX. It summed up the zeitgeist of the time and was the right car in the right place to do so. Subaru was a brand which nobody passionately liked (except Welsh farmers) but – critically – nobody really disliked, either. The WRX was dominating world rallying at the time. It was, in the parlance of the red-top newspapers, a Molotov cocktail. The road-going version was cheap and offered performance unmatched by cars which cost twice as much. It went like the proverbial off the shovel and was as popular with lads as ‘larging it in Ibiza’, alcopops, chasing girls and recreational drugs. It was the car of its time. You would definitely not have let your daughter get into one.

This is the beast which people readily associate with the word ‘Impreza’, a thousand miles away from any other Subaru.

Since the end of 2013, WRX has no longer been imported into Britain. It has been killed off by changing fashions, high emissions, poor fuel economy and the downhill struggle of the Yen on world financial markets. The Impreza range still exists, but as a pale shadow without the one everyone remembers. It’s a bit like TV soap Neighbours has been since Kylie Minogue left, soldiering bravely on but moved from both BBC1 and prime time to languish in the Hades of the mid-afternoon slot on Channel 5. The car version of Jerry Lee Lewis has had to give up the hellraising because reality’s intervened and he’s been drafted.

The modern Impreza is a hatchback which features all the roadholding, reliability and build quality you’d expect from a Subaru. That said, being four-wheel-drive it also features the thirst you’d expect from one. It’s a bit dull to look at and the interior’s a bit too Fisher-Price compared to many, but never mind.

And as for tyres? If you own a WRX, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric or Continental SportContact tyres if you’re flush. Falken or Bridgestone if you’re not. You could fit budget tyres but not if you’re planning on handbrake turns in pub car parks.

Pirelli, Nexen and Michelin tyres will fit the bill if you drive more conventional and more modern Impreza. Have you ever been to the Lord Mayor’s show?