2022 Subaru WRX

Consumer Reviews
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2022
The Car Connection
2022
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
January 7, 2022

Buying tip

Move up to the WRX Premium model to get features most buyers will want.

Practical and sporty, the 2022 Subaru WRX is a fun car to drive every day.

What kind of car is the 2022 Subaru WRX? What does it compare to?

The redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX is a performance four-door sedan inspired by rally cars. A turbo-4 provides the power and standard all-wheel drive ensures it goes to the pavement efficiently. The WRX competes against cars like the Hyundai Veloster N and Elantra N, Honda Civic Si, and Volkswagen GTI.

Is the 2022 Subaru WRX a good car?

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It’s a little ball of fun with some practicality. Its styling has more personality this year, and it offers frisky power and sharp moves. We rate it a 6.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.) 

What’s new for the 2022 Subaru WRX?

The WRX gets a new design for 2022, and the even faster WRX STI awaits the same treatment. Additional changes include a larger turbo-4 engine, a revised CVT with quicker shifts, a new GT model with adaptive dampers, and more standard convenience and safety features. 

Like it always has been, the WRX’s design is based on the Impreza compact sedan. The look is an evolution of the last design, with the notable exception of dark cladding around the wheel cutouts. The fender haunches are more defined, the rear diffuser is larger with more creases, and the front grille stretches wider under a prominent hood scoop. It’s also slightly longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing car.

Inside, the cabin is dominated by a large vertically oriented 11.6-inch center touchscreen within a shield-like bezel. A small-diameter flat-bottom steering wheel, metal pedals, and dark hues give the interior a sporty look. Larger dimensions make the back seat more usable.

The 2022 Subaru WRX adopts a stiffer platform that underpins every new Subaru but the BRZ. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 gives way to a 2.4-liter turbo-4 that debuted in the Ascent full-size SUV. It spins up 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

The turbo-4 is backed by a choice of two transmissions, a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic. This year’s CVT has fixed gear ratios that have been lowered for better responsiveness. 

Adaptive dampers are a first for the WRX, and they’re standard on the GT, which also comes with heavily bolstered Recaro front buckets, matte gray wheels, and the CVT as the only transmission choice. 

Thus far we’ve only driven a WRX with the manual transmission. It offers short shifts with positive throws and lets drivers get the most out of the turbo-4, which has a richer torque curve this year. The standard all-wheel drive gives the WRX good grip in any conditions and helps the car hit 60 mph in a little over five seconds.

The WRX’s sporty character is evident with the first turn of the wheel, as the car reacts sharply to steering inputs. The body leans a little, but that provides feedback to the driver.

While the CVT won’t be as fun to drive, it comes with more safety features. They consist of adaptive cruise control, active lane control, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitors. Manual models come only with blind-spot monitors. Subaru will also offer an automatic emergency steering system to avoid objects when traveling at speeds below 50 mph.

How much does the 2022 Subaru WRX cost?

Expect it to start below $30,000. The new GT model joins base, Premium, and Limited models. Standard equipment in the base model is pretty basic with a 7.7-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 4.2-inch digital information center, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front sport seats, and 17-inch alloy wheels on summer performance tires.

We recommend moving up to the extra equipment of the Premium model for its 11.6-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 18-inch wheels. 

Where is the 2022 Subaru WRX made?

In Japan.

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2022 Subaru WRX

Styling

The 2022 Subaru WRX announces its sporty intentions more than ever.

Is the Subaru WRX a good-looking car?

The 2022 Subaru WRX delineates itself better from the Impreza it’s based on. Its bodywork is more expressive and it looks more athletic. We rate it a 6 out of 10 here for its serious stance. 

The new WRX echoes the last generation, but it’s more creased with more prominent bulges and a larger rear diffuser. New dark body cladding surrounds the wheel arches and really sets off this car from any previous WRX. The hexagonal grille returns, but it’s wider, and a prominent and functional scoop is the cherry on top of the hood. 

The WRX is bigger, too. It stretches 2.9 inches longer than the outgoing model with a wheelbase that’s 0.9 inch longer, and it’s 1.2 inches wider.

Inside, the look balances standard compact car elements with some sporty flavor, topped off by a much larger touchscreen. Sporty bits include a D-shaped steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and sport bucket seats upholstered either in cloth or leather and synthetic suede and outlined in contrast stitching. The new touchscreen spans 11.6 inches in a portrait format. Flanked by vertical air vents, it sits within a bezel that looks like a medieval shield. The rest of the materials are hard plastics.

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2022 Subaru WRX

Performance

The Subaru WRX provides willing power and plenty of grip in any conditions.

The WRX is a great all-arounder. It hugs corners, handles poor weather conditions, accelerates quickly, and even rides well. We rate it a 9 out of 10 for performance. 

Is the Subaru WRX 4WD?

Subaru outfits every WRX with all-wheel drive. The manual transmission version uses a viscous coupling that splits torque 50/50 front to rear, and CVT models use a center differential with an electro-hydraulic clutch to distribute the power 45/55. 

How fast is the Subaru WRX?

It’s fast and fun, with a 0-60 mph of about five seconds. The STI will be faster when it arrives.

The WRX’s formula teams a flat turbo-4 with all-wheel drive to ensure good grip. The new 2.4-liter turbo-4 replaces a 2.0-liter and gets a slight power bump from 268 to 271 hp; torque remains the same at 258 lb-ft. The additional displacement teams works with a new wastegate and new turbocharger air bypass valves to make it more responsive and give it a richer torque curve. 

A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, and the other choice is a CVT with fixed gear ratios. Subaru says the CVT is better this time around with 30% quicker upshifts, 50% quicker downshifts, down-shift rev matching, and lower fixed gear ratios. We haven’t sampled it yet. 

The manual transmission’s natural clutch engagement and positive throws make it fun to operate. It also lets drivers dig deep into the torque to get the WRX going and to provide ready passing power. The turbo spins up quickly, but there’s still a slight pause at launch. From there, the turbo makes the little flat-4 feel like a larger engine. 

The flat-4 has a low center of gravity that teams with a MacPherson strut front and double-wishbone rear suspension and grippy tires to give the car agile moves. The new structure helps, too. It has 28% more torsional stiffness, which translates into quicker reactions to steering inputs. The car turns sharply into corners, and leans a little as it tracks predictably through them. The damp tuning is firm, but not harsh, and it’s easy to live with on a daily basis. The GT model has adjustable dampers that will likely firm up for a harder ride and quicker moves, but we haven’t tried them yet. 

The brakes provide a firm pedal and strong stopping power on the street, but they aren’t sized for track duty, so we recommend the optional Brembos for anyone who wants to go to a track or carve through the canyons.

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2022 Subaru WRX

Comfort & Quality

The WRX’s sporty bits elevate an otherwise mainstream cabin.

The WRX’s cabin balances economy-grade compact car elements with sporty touches and tops it with useful space. We add a point for supportive front seats to give it a score of 6 out of 10 here. 

The WRX cabin is highlighted by supportive seats that play off a small, D-shaped steering wheel and alloy-faced pedals to fulfill the car’s sporty mission. The seats come standard with cloth upholstery and buyers can move up to grippy synthetic suede to better hold them in place during aggressive cornering. 

In all but the base model, the center stack is dominated by a large 11.6-inch touchscreen mounted vertically. The rest of the materials are like those of a typical Impreza: durable, functional, but mostly hard plastic.

The rear seat has decent space for a pair of adults or three for short trips with close friends. It’s more comfortable this year thanks to about an extra inch of rear leg room thanks to the car’s larger dimensions. The trunk is small at 12.5 cubic feet, but a 60/40 split-folding rear seat makes it more useful.

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2022 Subaru WRX

Safety

The WRX hasn’t been crash-tested yet and manual-equipped models lack many essential safety features.

How safe is the Subaru WRX?

As a new model, the 2022 Subaru WRX has not yet been crash tested. We’ll wait for those scores before we give it a rating.

The WRX has either very few or quite a few safety features based on the transmission and model. The WRX Limited with the manual transmission has blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts and adaptive headlights. Models with the CVT get the full EyeSight suite that adds adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic forward emergency braking. Subaru also offers an emergency steering system to avoid potential crashes under 50 mph. Outward vision is good in all directions.

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2022 Subaru WRX

Features

The WRX’s is a performance value at any level.

The WRX base model could use more equipment, including safety features, though Subaru does offer a good variety of models and we see value throughout the lineup. The value earns it one point over average for a score of 6 out of 10 for features.

Subaru offers the WRX in base, Premium, Limited, and the new GT models. Prices aren’t available yet, and the WRX STI awaits its redesign. 

The base WRX comes standard with a 4.2-inch digital information center, a 7.7-inch infotainment touchscreen, automatic high-beam LED headlights, cloth upholstery, front sport seats with manual adjustments, and 17-inch alloy wheels on summer performance tires.

Which Subaru WRX should I buy?

The Premium adds an 11.6-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, a satellite radio trial, aluminum pedal covers, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED fog lights, a rear spoiler, Subaru’s StarLink telematics system, and 18-inch alloy wheels on summer performance tires.

How much is a fully loaded Subaru WRX?

The top-line GT model comes with Recaro front seats with synthetic suede upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, a 504-watt Harmon Kardon audio system with 11 speakers, a sunroof, adjustable dampers, and a drive mode selector.

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2022 Subaru WRX

Fuel Economy

Get into the boost and fuel economy suffers.

Is the Subaru WRX good on gas?

With a small turbocharged flat-4, the 2022 Subaru WRX isn’t too thirsty. We base our 4 rating on the 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined rating for a WRX with the manual transmission. You’ll get much better numbers if you go easy on the throttle to keep the turbo from building up the power.

The CVT is slightly less efficient at 19/25/21 mpg.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 6
Fuel Economy 4
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