It was early September when Subaru unveiled the new WRX for the US market and now its equivalent Japanese counterpart has made its debut. It looks nearly the same as its North American sibling, save for getting rid of the orange side markers while adding red STI and S4 badges on the trunk lid. But what really caught our attention was the addition of a rear wiper for the JDM version.
Yes, a sedan with a rear wiper. It’s a feature we almost never see on a car with a trunk lid. The sedan-esque Skoda Rapid, Octavia, and Superb don’t count since they’re technically hatchbacks (liftbacks if you prefer), but there have been true sedans with a rear wiper in the past. Heck, the Lancia Flaminia had two of them. Quite a few Japanese cars had one, including the Honda Civic and Accord, Nissan Primera, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, and coupes such as the Nissan Silvia and Toyota Soarer. The Fiat Tempra had one, too.
Elsewhere, the JDM-spec WRX S4 is the same as the US-bound model, except for having the steering wheel on the wrong side. It’s joined by an equivalent wagon version taking the shape of the Levorg STI Sport R. While the WRX S4 sedan in The Land of the Rising Sun gets the 2.4-liter engine regardless of trim level, the base engine for the long-roof model is a 1.8-liter unit. You’ll have to step up to the Sport R or the better-equipped Sport R EX for the beefier powertrain.
Another tidbit we’d like to point out is the base infotainment system the second-generation Levorg has had from day one, and which was spotted on the US-spec WRX sedan shortly after the official premiere. Because of the thick bezel, the layout looks so outdated up to point Subaru basically wants to force your hand to pay more and get the upgraded touchscreen arranged in portrait mode.
Both the WRX S4 sedan and Levorg STI Sport R wagon share the naturally aspirated flat-four engine with 271 horsepower (202 kilowatts) and 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) of torque. Output is channeled to the all-wheel-drive system exclusively through a CVT as the Japanese models sadly don’t get the manual available in the US.
As far as pricing is concerned, the WRX S4 sedan starts at 3,640,000¥ (about $31,500 at current exchange rates) and rises to 4,340,000¥ ($37,600) for the top-spec model. Go for the Levorg STI Sport R and you’ll pay 3,990,000¥ ($34,600) while the R EX begins at 4,340,000¥ ($37,600).