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SAM HARRIS, SKYSPEED REPORTER, TURNS DREAM INTO REALITY FOR A ROAD TRIP
You had a Subaru WRX for a weekend ... how did you wrangle that?
One afternoon in the Sky Sports office, a few of us were trying to work out our favourite make and model of cars. I was talking up the Subaru WRX so I cheekily thought “Why not get in touch with Subaru NZ and see if I can have a drive of a 2016 version?” Subaru lent me a beautiful 2016 Subaru WRX with an optional eight-speed paddle-shift transmission as well as a regular auto transmission to suit whatever conditions you’re driving in or whatever mood you might be in. The paddle-shift option is fun for the open road, whereas the auto option is easier for stop/start Auckland traffic. It’s got a 268-horsepower direct-injection Turbocharged engine that delivers 258lb/ft of torque. But the best part ... the moonroof.
What did you like about it?
I like how the WRX has maintained its unique style and character, from the bucket seats to the sound and the shape of the vehicle. It’s youthful and modern without being pretentious.
Where did you take it?
I realised I wasn’t going to experience the car’s full potential until I got outside of Auckland city, so I took off through the Waitakere ranges with some friends on the hunt for some empty winding roads to get a feel for the handling. We also took it on the sand at Muriwai Beach to get that typical Subaru experience.
What did you take in the car for that weekend?
A full tank of gas, a sleeping bag, snacks and an endless supply of music.
What did you listen to?
The WRX has an awesome factory stereo ... It’s got USB capabilities, Bluetooth and nine speakers. It can also access Sirius XM Satellite Radio. For the most part, I just listened to Spotify through my phone.
What do you normally drive?
A 2008 Mitsubishi Fortis S. 50,000km on the clock.
Why are you a fan of Subarus?
Subarus are cool, it’s that simple. They look cool, they sound cool and they’re made for all conditions. They’re the modern day adventurer’s car. When I drive a Subaru I want to go exploring.
Favourite all-time Subaru?
The 2016 WRX. But in saying that, any Subaru is a good Subaru. Have you seen a Subaru Leone? They’re hideous. It’s the Honda Shuttle of Subarus. My mate had one when we were about 15. We had some awesome times in that car, so I love them more than a lot of other Subarus. I often think that it’s the memories that make the car.
Favourite Subaru driver?
Can’t go past Possum Bourne. Absolute legend.
Favourite car scene from a movie?
I liked the scene in Gone in Sixty Seconds when Angelina Jolie and Nicolas Cage consummate their relationship in the Shelby GT500.
A 1989 aqua-coloured Toyota Corolla. Quarter of a tank of gas would last me about a fortnight. I used to drive around with a bike rack on the back of the car for no other reason than to create the illusion that I was the opposite of a boy racer. I mean, when have you ever seen a bogan with a bike rack? The police never bothered me.
Who taught you to drive?
A family friend used to let me drive an old ute around his farm when I was about 7 so I got an early start, but it was my beautiful Mum who had the task of teaching me to how drive around the city. She did an amazing job. We’d drive around Christchurch (where I grew up) for hours. It didn’t stop me from failing my restricted licence though. I ran an orange light while turning right.
If you could change one traffic rule?
It’s more the drivers I would change rather than the rules; but if I had to pick one, it would be to keep truck drivers in the left-hand lane at all times.