There's no car like the Subaru WRX. At least not in 2023. The spacious Subaru sedan has: a 271 hp turbo engine whose double banks of two cylinders are arranged one behind the other, like a boxer. A manual transmission. Four powered wheels. Five seats. And a starting price of 30 grand.
We are excitedthe WRX is back for a fifth generation, something that wasn't guaranteed by a brand that makes far more money off its boring crossovers and SUVs. However, fans are rightly upset that Subaru hasn't done much to improve the car's performance since the first models came to the US in the early 2000s. The 2002 WRX made 227 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four and hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. Even with 44 extra horses and a displacement of 2.4 liters, today's version is not much faster. (Subaru didn't provide an official 0-60mph figure, but based on our unscientific test and the results of some of our competitors, 5.8 seconds is a reasonable estimate).
Almost two decades later, one could argue that the WRX is still trading on the street credit earned by this OGheated imprezawhich Subaru homologated for road use for the first time as part of its participation in the World Rally Championship (WRC).
Subaru retired from the rally series in 2008, but the WRX continues to fly the flag for all-weather performance in the marque's lineup, even as the car moves further and further from its roots: from 2015, the first model year ofthe fourth generation car (VA).the WRX was no longer based on the Impreza. From 2022 it evolved into a global platform shared with SUVs like thatFörster,Hinterland, Andrise. There won't even be a full STI version of this WRX like there has been for every previous generation, meaning the iconic combination of WR Blue (for World Rally) livery and gold BBS wheels will soon be in the history books could .
Many of the marque's most visible fans - beanie-wearing YouTubers who love the WRX's affordable price point and tuner-friendly four-pot - are barely old enough to remember any of the marque's six WRC titles. But the appeal of a scrappy hero like the WRX lingers, especially when that hero has no direct competition.
The WRX remains an enticing one-car solution for the enthusiast on a budget, especially if you live where winters get nasty. True, all-wheel drive is represented in old and new hot hatches (see more expensiveVW Golf Rand limited-edition Toyota GR Corolla), but there aren't any sporty sedans in the $35,000 range that spin all four wheels all the time via a manual transmission. The question is whether the Subie's novelty -- and legacy -- is enough to cover up its shortcomings.
It's a tough call. We tested a loaded Limited model whose dash-mounted screen is as uselessly large as its graphics are from 2000. With the car's trunk and back seat laden with a 90-pound dog and weekend bags, a mysterious chime chimed over rough freeway pavement at over 70 mph for minutes and for no apparent reason, muting the music and providing no warning of the situation diagnose. The premium modelTested by Hagerty's Sam Smith in Maybricked his electrical system twice in 300 miles. The Limited Harman Kardon's 11 speakerDespite the volume, stereo still had a hollow character. The plastics are cheap, dark and everywhere.
On the other hand, the WRX is a better all-rounder than ever. When the WRX moved to this global platform, Subaru lowered the center of gravity, stiffened the chassis and increased suspension travel. Clutch intake might be high and pedaling relatively stiff, but the ride strikes a nice balance between sporty and squishy: none of the sticky, shaky ride of the Crosstrek or Outback here - you can commute in this car and still get a grin on the flogging twisty
The stiff chassis and all-wheel drive give the WRX a planted, secure feel, even on cold, wet back roads. A wide torque band and well-spaced pedals for heel-toe shifting encourage you to rev up and hit 5600 rpm, which is where the horsepower peaks. The unpolished interior is easy to forget, even if the controls lack a sense of delicacy: the shifter clatters rather than buzzes, the turbo-four is barely sonorous, and the steering wheel feels fat and Vibram-like. But a car that is easy to turn and that is always stable on its feet? This is the good, clean fun we want from a daily driver over the weekend.
Buyers weighing the $42,000-plus Auto-only GT trim-exclusive Recaro seats against the performance chairs on cheaper models might prefer the gearbox to the seats: you can replace the latter much cheaper, and the seats in the Limited are in Okay - not great, not terrible either. Our main complaints were the brake pedal, which was slow to engage and felt numb and disconnected, and the exhaust; Hyundai's front-wheel drive Elantra N sedan brings fun pops and crackles from the factory, and this WRX sounds underwhelming.
Specifications: 2022 Subaru WRX Limited (Manual Transmission)
• Price, base / as tested:37.490 $ / 37.490 $
• Drive train:2.4-liter boxer four-cylinder with turbocharger; Six-speed manual gearbox
• PS:271 at 5600 rpm
• Torque:258 lb-ft bei 2000–5200 U / min
• Layout:Four-wheel drive, front-engine, five-passenger sedan
• Curb weight:3390 pounds
• EPA-rated fuel economy (mpg), city/highway/combined:19/26/22 MPG
• 0–60 mph:5.8 seconds (estimated)
Even if you live in fairer climes, you'll find the WRX to be both a practical vehicle and fun around town. The trunk is cavernous, the cabin easy to see. (At least when the sun isn't shining through the sunroof and staring you in the eye from the 11.6-inch screen.) All 258 lb-ft of torque is available to move the car's roughly 3400 pounds at low to moderate engine loads (2000–5200 rpm), giving the WRX manageable spunk and scoot.
Even performance-oriented Subaru fans should considerthe excellent BRZ with rear wheel drive. This two-door coupe has fewer adult-sized seats and bells and whistles, but it's 10 grand cheaper, has comparable features, and is a much more adept handler. When you also have an SUV to handle big loads and long distances, and can afford multiple vehicles with more specialized talent, the WRX's one-size-fits-all offering becomes irrelevant.
In fact, unless you're committed to the Subaru brand, more polished competitors beckon. Honda front-wheel drive onlyCivic Siis just as entertaining, with an interior and price tag ($29,000) that beats the WRXs. And if you look at the $36,990 WRX Limited, that's a comparable priceAcura Integra A-Spechas a fantastic audio system and fancy adaptive dampers. TheVW-GTIThe dual clutch transmission is the best automatic transmission on the market. A Mustang or Camaro look like real sports cars, and atElantra Npromises more out-of-the-box track capability.
The truth is that there are a number of compelling everyday sports cars in related genres, albeit admittedly few with all-wheel drive at this price point. Despite some improvements, Subaru failed to raise its own bar. The latest WRX offers brand-loyal nostalgia, but it's a trait tarnished by a heavily dressed "life-styling" that reflects the more charming Crosstrek and Outback.
Even for an expectant and sympathetic buyer, the 2022 WRX is less magical than the stories predicted. We wouldn't blame Subaru believersto invest their loyalty in previous generations, or just looking for new heroes.
2022 Subaru WRX Limited (Handbuch)
Price, base / as tested :37.490 $ / 37.490 $
Heights:True all-weather capability, manual transmission, all in a practical three-box sedan. It's not a truck or SUV - Hallelujah!
lows:Lively interior, dominated by plastics. The cartoonish touchscreen isn't as useful as it could or should be.
Getting away:A rally legend who, for better or for worse, has become a tame lion.
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Are they discontinuing Subaru WRX? ›
The 4th Generation WRX STI
The last production of the WRX STI was under the 2021 WRX and WRX STI. Fans of the high-performing sedan were disappointed by the news. The 2021 WRX STI had an electronic Driver Controlled Centre Differential that improved cornering capability and response.
The microchip shortages, supply chain issues, and the recent Subaru plant shutdowns are some of the reasons for slow sales, but it's only part of the problem. Performance fans can order a new 2022 WRX from retailers to their specs and have it shipped from the factory. But it's not happening in any significant way.What is the difference between 2022 and 2023 Subaru WRX? ›
The Subaru WRX received major updates for the 2022 model year with all-new styling, a redesigned interior and tweaked performance hardware. As such, 2023 adds no major updates except a revised pricing ladder, with the base price now up $1,025 to $31,625 (all pricing includes destination).Is there going to be a 2023 Subaru WRX? ›
INTRODUCING THE 2023 WRX
The all-wheel drive performance car also comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in summer performance tires; 6-speed manual transmission; Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control with Track Mode; and Incline Start Assist.
Subaru says plans are now in place to launch the Solterra STI in time for the 2025 model year. This means that the WRX STI's replacement will be an electric vehicle.What is the problem with WRX? ›
One major issue drivers have cited with the Subaru WRX is internal engine failure. An engine's many moving parts can become costly to replace or repair. The WRX doesn't have the best reputation in this area, according to owners. The model's known weak points include pistons, rods, piston rings, and rod bearings.