2022 Subaru WRX - Performance, Price, and Photos
The latest WRX is banking on its rally-pedigree to claw back lost ground. With all-new styling, updated technology and safety can the AWD sedan win back the hearts of purists?by Khris Bharath, on
WRX - is a nameplate that is one of the all-time greats in the automotive universe, thanks in part to Colin McRae who dominated the world of World Rally Championship with an Impreza WRX, back in the 90s. Building on that success, around the turn of the century, Subaru finally brought the rally-bred Impreza WRX to America. A reasonably priced turbocharged all-wheel drive sport compact with a six-speed manual transmission, the Impreza WRX was quick to gain a huge fan following.
So clearly, when tinkering with a name as legendary as the WRX, Subaru had to tread carefully. It became a stand-alone model when it went on sale in 2015 and after seven years on the market, Subaru has finally given it a substantial makeover. Enter the 2022 Subaru WRX. The model is now in its fifth generation and has transitioned to the new Subaru Global Platform, and the company claims that this is the most extensive makeover that the WRX has ever seen.
2022 Subaru WRX Performance and Capability
The 2022 Subaru WRX comes in four trims:
Under the hood of the 2022 WRX, you’ll find one of Subaru’s renowned boxer engines. The Japanese automaker has increased the displacement from a 2.0-liter to a 2.4-liter with a twin-scroll turbo that produces 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is just three more horsepower and the same torque figures as the old WRX.
However, Subaru has made considerable improvements to this engine to provide additional high-end power. Another major difference is that the new powertrain has a much wider torque curve than the previous engine. In terms of gas mileage, this current generation’s figures have fallen, rated at 19 City and 26 Highway. This equates to a one-mpg decrease.
The larger displacement will allow for significantly more tuning options. Tuners may significantly turn up the wick from 12 pounds of boost to maybe more than 20 pounds of boost. Also, because this is a boxer engine, you can expect a distinctive exhaust note.
The base transmission remains a six-speed manual. It’s not surprising, given that Subaru claims that nearly 85 percent of prospective buyers will choose the stick shifter. This unit is the same manual as the previous generation. You get a proper old-school manual handbrake.
A brand-new automatic transmission is also available. Although the company says that it is completely redesigned, benchmarking it against the best twin clutches out there. However, it is technically a Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT. It does incorporate paddle shifters and an 8-step manual mode.
With a symmetrical all-wheel drive system (GT trim offers variable torque distribution), the WRXs have never been about sheer speed, but rather about delivering excellent all-weather grip and outstanding handling. The system features a redesigned center coupling that distributes power 50:50 in manual transmission vehicles and appears to do 55 at the rear and 45 at the front with the Auto. Active torque vectoring is standard across all trims.
The new WRX’s chassis has seen numerous changes. The steering and suspension are also upgraded. In terms of suspension, all trims get a sport tuned suspension, but the adaptive dampers are only available with the CVT on the top-spec GT. The GT trim gets you an SI-DRIVE engine management system and four different drive modes to choose from.
With the fifth generation, WRX sitting on Subaru’s global platform, Subaru claims it has increased torsional rigidity by nearly 30%. Keep in mind that the WRX is a far more performance-oriented vehicle, thus the extra structural rigidity, broader body, and so on all add weight to a car. As it stands, the WRX weighs slightly over 3,300 pounds.
|Displacement||2.4 L Flat 4|
|Transmission||6-Speed Manual / CVT|
|Top Speed||155 mph|
When compared to the Impreza, every panel on the new WRX is different. Despite the fact that both sedans share the same global platform, Subaru maintains that everything is new and unique to the WRX. This includes the doors, hood, A-pillars, and the roof.
This offered Subaru a tremendous amount of freedom to do whatever they wanted. The WRX is longer and wider than the previous model. Its wheelbase has grown by around an inch to around 105.6 inches, and it is now wider and sits lower to the ground. As a result, the WRX has a more aggressive stance.
When it comes to styling, you can clearly tell that the latest WRX draws a lot of inspiration from the 2017 Subaru Viviz Performance Concept. One look at this compact sedan and you’ll know it’s a WRX, thanks in part to the huge signature hood scoop up front, which helps to draw more air for the intercooler. Unlike so many modern cars with fake vents, Subaru claims that the WRX’s vents and scoops are completely functional.
Upfront, you get a standard Subaru hexagonal grille, finished in gray. The Subaru hawk-eye headlights with full LED headlights are standard. Higher trims include LED turn signals, as well as LED low and high beams. Swiveling adaptive headlights and LED fog lights are standard on the Limited and GT trims.
Now onto the sides, which is possibly the most controversial part of this latest WRX. In keeping with the current market frenzy for SUVs and Crossovers, Subaru has chosen to add angular plastic body cladding over the WRX’s wheel arches and rocker panels.
To be honest, body cladding really has no place on a sedan. Now Subaru might argue that the WRX has rally roots, and it’s perfectly understandable if you do decide to take your WRX off the pavement. Outside of the WRX, the Volvo S60 Cross Country is another contemporary sedan that has received such treatment.
In terms of wheels, Subaru offers a choice of 17 or 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235-section tires on the base model. All other trims get 245s but notably, they are all summer tires, with no all-season tires.
It would be good if Subaru were to sell a WRX winter package that includes some gripping winter tires, especially given that the WRX’s target market is someone who lives in the snow belt and was looking for all-weather usability and fun.
In the back, the rear bumper once again has an overabundance of plastic cladding with a rear diffuser. A combination of C-Shaped LED tail light modules with incandescent turn signals and LED brake lights are not what you’d expect on a modern-day performance sedan. A small trunk-lid spoiler finishes off the rear, along with the WRX’s trademark quad exhausts.
Overall, Subaru has played it safe, again. when it comes to the design. In comparison to prior generations, the design of the newest WRX appears more mature and less boy racer-like.
|Ground Clearance||5.4 in|
|Curb Weight||3,297 lbs|
|Standard||WR Blue Pearl|
|Crystal Black Silica|
|Ice Silver Metallic|
|Magnetite Gray Metallic|
|Sea Orange Pearl|
Interior Quality and Technology
Stepping inside the WRX, the dash is where Subaru really has really upped the ante. The upper portion of the dashboard features soft-touch plastic along with interesting details like contrasting stitching and faux metallic trim pieces.
The steering wheel is completely new, with a flat bottom. While the base trim comes with a two-screen configuration (two seven-inch LCD displays), higher trims feature the updated 11.6-inch Subaru Starlink head unit. This is exactly the same infotainment system found in the Outback and Legacy models.
It comes with TomTom navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, but it is still a wired connection. Subaru should have gone with an all-digital display instead of traditional gauges for the gauge cluster. You also get USB dual charge ports rows in both rows.
When it comes to the seating, the upholstery varies depending on the trim level. The base seat is fully manual, but the limited trim includes a multi-way-powered driver seat. The Limited trim and up comes with Ultrasuede combo leather seats. The sporty Recaro seats are only available in the GT trim. Aside from the base trim, you get heated front seats across the board.
The legroom in the rear sees an improvement over the old WRX thanks to Subaru extending the wheelbase for this new generation by nearly an inch. The all-wheel-drive system does eat into some space, but it is certainly usable for the middle passenger.
Subaru doesn’t offer a panoramic roof. Instead, you get a standard-sized moonroof on the Limited and GT trims. Moving on to the trunk, Subaru claims to have reworked the opening. It has a larger opening trunk with 12.5 cubic feet of room. To make more room, the rear seat backs fold down in a 60:40 split. The trunk is still not very large; both the Honda Civic Si and Hyundai Elantra N-Line have a larger trunk.
|Headroom (front)||39.8 in|
|Headroom (rear)||36.7 in|
|Legroom (front)||43.1 in|
|Legroom (rear)||36.5 in|
|Shoulder room (front)||56.7 in|
|Shoulder room (rear)||55.6 in|
|Cargo Room||12.5 cu-ft|
2022 Subaru WRX Price and Availability
The base model of the 2022 Subaru WRX starts at $29,605. You need to pay an additional $995 towards destination and delivery charges. The Subaru Performance Transmission is a $1850 option. The top-spec WRX GT carries an MSRP of $42,395 plus destination.
In terms of driver assistance tech, you have to go for the CVT Auto to get Subaru’s full suite of eyesight features. So if you get a stick shifter, you’ll miss out on stuff like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist but the manual still comes with rear cross-traffic alert.
For the hardcore enthusiasts that Subaru is going after, missing out on any of these driver assist features won’t really matter so much. Still, electronic cruise control comes on all trims.
Standard safety features include:
- Front, Curtain, Knee, and Side-curtain Airbags
- Traction Control System
- Anti-lock Braking System
- Brake Assist
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- Rear-Vision Camera
- Subaru STARLINK Safety and Security
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested the 2022 WRX yet, however, the outgoing WRX received the Top Safety Pick for 2021 from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
This Subaru WRX’s main competitors include other high-performance models like the Hyundai Elantra N-Line, the Honda Civic SI, and the Volkswagen GTI. The aforementioned models only come with front-wheel drive while the WRX comes standard with all-wheel drive. While the VW is available with AWD, you have to step it up to the pricey $44,090 Volkswagen Golf R, unlike the WRX which starts at just under $30,000.
With the level of performance that these high-performance models pack, you should expect some amount of torque steer, not so with the AWD WRX. However, both the Civic SI and the Elantra come with rev-matching, a feature that the WRX misses out on.
Overall the 2022 Subaru WRX is a thorough makeover from the ground up. Bug-eye-style fog lights, golden rims, and a big wing would have been a nice nod to the past, perhaps it’s reserved for the long-rumored STi. It could also bring Brembo brakes and a properly loud exhaust found on the previous WRX. Check out our driven review of the 2022 Subaru WRX.