You don’t have much time to acknowledge the bear sitting upright on of the highway when you’re behind the wheel of the 2018 Subaru WRX. There’s something about being hammer-down on the zigzag roads that wrap around the river leading into the town of Kaslo, British Columbia – almost like someone had stretched out an enormous tangled slinky and then abandoned it in frustration – that does wonders to focus the mind on the task at hand. At these speeds, you do you, and the bear does whatever it is 600 lbs of black-furred muscle does when it encounters 3,300 lbs of screaming bright blue metal that vanishes around the next bend in a burst of gravel and off-throttle turbo-whump.
In the moment, it’s hard to imagine a better tool four-seasons tool for backwoods blasts down seemingly forgotten mountain highways than the WRX, until you realize that you’re still a few rungs below the mightier, and more rambunctious WRX STI sedan. Fortunately for me, Subaru has brought both along on this adventure, and I’ll spend the next two days swapping back and forth between the two compact performance cars and avoiding predatory wildlife in the process.
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