OSubaru Impreza has been around since 1992, and the first high-performance versions were called the WRX STI-Version, as Subaru Tecnica International only tuned the now legendary rally cars. The proper WRX STI only appeared in 1994 with the Type RA, which produced 271 hp.
Since then, the WRX STI has become synonymous with the Japanese rally scene, with each generation being improved by motorsports. The WRX STI had virtually the same power as previous generations, due to theJapanese gentlemen agreement not to exceed 276 horsepower. The second generation WRX was available from 2000-2007 and received two facelifts, resulting in some creative nicknames like 'Blobeye', 'Bugeye' and 'Hawkeye'. The second generation and its many variants have become a favorite of most enthusiasts, thanks to its famous WRC victories and the myriad of modifications available on the aftermarket.
The third generation introduced a hatchback version to replace the station wagon, which continued until the current fifth generation released in 2017. In 2021, the model was split into the everyday Impreza and the performance WRX. Unfortunately,Subaru recently announced that it will no longer offer the STI. With the immense popularity that the STI has created, some car manufacturers have come up with great alternatives that can carry on its legacy in the same way as the STI. Here are ten.
10 Trofeo Renault Mégane RS
The Megane RS Trophy is the top specification of the Megane RS and produces almost 300hp with a 1.8 turbocharged inline 4 engine borrowed from Nissan. The Megane may only have front-wheel drive compared to the all-wheel drive found in the WRX STI, but it can hold its own against other cars with similar powertrains.
The Megane RS Trophy is a great alternative to the Japanese rally legend, however some may be put off by its only transmission option: a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. While this gives the car quick shifting and great lap times, the transmission can be a bit clunky during slow speed maneuvering and simply can't compete with the steering feel of a manual.
9 Honda Civic Type-R
The Honda Civic Type R is a fantastic hatchback that has been on the market since 1997, with the first Type R based on the sixth-generation Civic. The current Civic Type R was first launched in 2017 and was based on the 10th generation Civic, however the new Civic Type R is expected to launch in 2022.
The Civic Type R has a legacy of being the best hatchback from a Japanese company, and the car takes its place among the best hatchbacks in the world. The last two generations have faltered a bit, but based on current reports and rumors, the next Civic Type R will look more like what the Type R is supposed to be. The Civic would be a great alternative to the WRX STI, even if it's just available with front-wheel drive.
Related:2022 Honda Civic Type R: Everything we know so far
8 vw golf r
The Golf R, like the Civic Type R, has a long history behind it, adding to its "tried and trusted" status. From the original R32 with a 3.2-litre VR6 engine to the modern Golf 8, the Golf R has been constantly improved and faster. Although later Golf Rs traded the VR6 for an upgraded version of the Golf GTi's 2.0-litre turbo, it still managed to compete with cars in the 'super-hot hatch' segment.
althoughGolf R may not have the same legacyLike the WRX STI or even the Golf GTi, it remains a worthy opponent to other hatchbacks and sports sedans. The Golf R is even available as a station wagon in Europe, adding to the appeal.
7 Mercedes Benz A35 AMG
The Mercedes-AMG A35 is the slightly watered down version of the ridiculous A45S. It has pretty much the same technology, mechanics, and options as the A45S, only detuning the engine to compete with the Golf GTi and Focus ST. Although this is the first generation A35 AMG, it looks like it will still be around for a while as it is a noticeably cheaper version of the A45S.
Like the original A45 AMG from 2013, the A35 AMG hit the compact car scene and dominated in almost every category. By retaining the A45's 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system, the A35 AMG has the same level of grip as its more powerful sibling, resulting in better lap times than its front-wheel drive rivals.
Related:The Mercedes-AMG A35 is the entry-level car in the world of AMG performance.
6 Kia Stinger GT AWD
OThe Kia Stinger GT caught everyone off guard. Here was a Korean automaker known for its practical family cars and roomy hatchbacks, creating a sporty sedan to compete with German high-performance cars at a much lower price. And it wasn't even bad driving!
The Stinger GT was even available with four-wheel drive in some markets, making it safe and fun to drive when the roads were snowy. It also offered a good ride height and comfortable suspension, which meant it could handle gravel roads with ease, just like a certain Japanese sports sedan. Kia recently updated the Stinger GT with more technology, adding another reason to the pro list.
5 Toyota GR Yaris
The Toyota GR Yaris is one of those cars that we can't believe actually exists, but we're so glad it does. The car was built so Toyota could race it, resulting in a ridiculously powerful compact hatchback. The GR Yaris shares very little with the regular Yaris and is only available as a 2-door with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Interestingly, Toyota sells two versions of the GR Yaris in Japan: one that features the 270-hp 1.6-liter turbo-3 we're all familiar with, and a domestic version that only features a 118-hp 1.5-liter i3 with power that goes to the engine front wheels solely through a CVT transmission, dubbed the GR Yaris RS. The RS version looks almost exactly the same, except for the 'GT-FOUR' badging at the rear. The GR Yaris is one of those cars that enthusiasts will remember and smile about, just as we now do with the WRX STI.
Related:We'd Drive the GR Yaris Over Any of These New Sports Cars
4 Dodge Charger AWD
It may seem like an odd choice as an alternative to the WRX STI, but it's a valid one. EITHERDodge Charger and Challenger are the only muscle cars available with four-wheel drive, making them unique. Yes, all-wheel drive is only available when equipped with the 3.6-liter V6; however, this engine still makes 300 hp and 358 lb-ft of torque.
Dodge has two Charger models available with all-wheel drive: the SXT and the GT. The SXT is more of the basic Charger and looks a bit like a budget airport shuttle car, while the GT spec has the R/T's body kit and looks like it could have a big V8 under the hood. As a result, the Charger GT AWD isn't a bad choice when looking for something more stylish, without breaking the bank on fuel costs.
3 Infiniti Q50 3.0t AWD
OInfiniti Q50 is essentially a high-end Nissan Skyline sedan, built on the same platform as the sporty 370Z. The standard V6 is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo unit called the VR30DDTT, which shares its numerical rating with the GT-R's 3.8-liter. The base V6 is the same engine as the Red Sport 400 models, however it has been detuned to 300hp instead of the usual 400hp.
The Q50 is a good car with great performance, and it's the only twin-turbo V6 in its class. Thanks to the aftermarket community, the Q50 has plenty of tuner parts to help it stand out from the crowd, or if the owner simply wants to personalize their car.
2 Toyota Camry TRD AWD
Another slightly strange option for this list, but it comes with an explanation. The Toyota Camry, while very popular as a family sedan, has always been rather boring and generic, like a larger Corolla. EITHERThe current generation of Camry has been improved by the TRD division of Toyotato bring the car to life and not make it look like another piece of metal.
The Camry TRD is the best version of the car, as it comes with a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 that produces 305 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that goes to the front wheels, or all four wheels as an option. The TRD also gets a more aggressive body kit and a rather cool decklid spoiler, adding to the sporty appearance of the car.
Related:See how the 2022 Toyota Camry TRD V6 stacks up against its siblings
1 Ford Focus RS
The Focus RS is and always has been one of the best hatchbacks on the market. The latest Focus RS had a 2.3-litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine, with power to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. The Focus's RS body kit made it look like a rally car for the road, and with a few minor tweaks, it really could be.
The Focus RS was discontinued to make room in the lineup for a crossover SUV. So even if the Focus RS is no longer in production, it will still make the list of best hatchbacks. It'll also go on the ridiculous list with the second-generation RS500, which produced just as much power as the model that followed it, being front-wheel drive only. So while nothing can replace the Subaru WRX STI, other alternatives have done their best.