2022 Subaru WRX: Unfrozen Caveman Sports Car

Competes with: Honda Civics Si and Type R, various Hyundai N cars, Volkswagen Jetta GLI and Golfs GTI and R

Looks like: The Impreza sedan but meaner, as is tradition

Powertrains: 271-horsepower, turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer four-cylinder engine; six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission; all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Early 2022

After fits and starts and a would-be concept years ago, the next-generation Subaru WRX performance sedan is finally here. The 2022 WRX is the first redesign of the WRX since the 2015 model year, so it switches to Subaru’s global platform, gets a larger-displacement turbocharged engine, adds a new GT trim level with extra performance goodies and reprises the prior generation’s continuously variable automatic transmission.

Related: ​​2022 Subaru Forester: Gone Wild

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2021 Subaru WRX Premium
5,096 mi.
$34,956 $751 price drop
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2021 Subaru WRX Premium
4,050 mi.
$34,990 $600 price drop
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What all these updates mean for the WRX’s performance remains to be seen — we haven’t driven it yet — but after seven model years, it’s hard to argue that the current WRX wasn’t getting a bit long in the tooth.

New Looks Outside

Looking like the current-generation Impreza sedan with a tasteful wide-body kit, the new WRX also keeps its traditional low, wide hood scoop. Subaru used aluminum for the front fenders to save a claimed 5 pounds of weight and added a few subtle aerodynamic enhancements. According to the automaker, outlets at the rear of the front wheel openings reduce lift to the front tires, while similar outlets at the edges of the rear bumper reduce body movement induced by air trapped under the car. The wheel arches and underbody coverings have textured surfaces to reduce air resistance, and the underbody coverings are channeled to improve downforce.

Wheel choices are 17- or 18-inch alloys, with GT models getting standard 18s wrapped in high-performance summer tires.

Updated Interior

The biggest change inside the WRX comes in the form of a standard 11.6-inch touchscreen, with an upgraded version including built-in navigation and voice control. The screen can be split to show multiple pieces of information, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The sole interior color available is black with red stitching and carbon-fiber accents. An 11-speaker premium Harman Kardon stereo is optional.

New Under the Skin and Under the Hood

The WRX’s most significant updates are mostly hidden from view. The sedan finally makes the switch to the Subaru Global Platform — the same architecture underpinning the current-generation Impreza that dates back to the 2017 model year. Subaru says the platform improves safety and dynamics while reducing noise, vibration and harshness; it also says the platform makes the WRX’s chassis stiffer and lowers its center of gravity. The WRX’s suspension has been retuned, and new dual-pinion electric power steering has been implemented to improve ride quality and handling.

Under the hood, the WRX is now powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder, an increase in displacement over the previous generation’s turbo 2.0-liter (though not quite back to the days of the WRX’s 2.5-liter four). That leads to an increase in horsepower, but only a modest one, up to 271 hp from the prior 268. Torque remains at 258 pounds-feet, but Subaru says the 2.4-liter’s torque curve is broader than that of the outgoing 2.0-liter.

A six-speed manual transmission is still standard, but the gear ratios have been optimized and the shift quality improved, according to Subaru. As was the case before, a continuously variable automatic is available (and standard on the new GT, which we’ll get to in a moment). Called the Subaru Performance Transmission, it purportedly offers improved performance as well as an eight-speed manual mode.

With all of these enhancements, Subaru claims “the 2022 WRX has achieved the highest levels of dynamic performance and ride comfort in its history.” We can’t confirm that yet, but we look forward to finding out.


Ah, yes, the new WRX GT. Subaru fans may recall the Impreza 2.5GT, an erstwhile turbocharged Impreza with performance slotting between the regular Impreza and the WRX. A GT of sorts returns for 2022, but now it sits atop the WRX range with a host of performance upgrades inside and out. Inside, those include suede-upholstered Recaro seats to better hold occupants in place. Under the skin, the GT gets adaptive shock absorbers with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings as well as new selectable driving modes allowing for adjustments to the steering, shock absorption, powertrain and more. As mentioned, the GT also gets exclusive 18-inch wheels and summer performance tires.

The bad news for enthusiasts is that the GT is available only with the Subaru Performance Transmission CVT, at least for now. We weren’t huge fans of the CVT in the WRX’s past generation, but Subaru says the SPT is much better than before. LIke its predecessor, the SPT has an eight-speed manual mode that simulates a conventional eight-speed automatic, and Subaru says both upshifts and downshifts are much faster. (The shift points are little more than programmed responses to simulate the sensation of upshifts or downshifts, of course, but that’s what most CVTs do nowadays.) Subaru also says it’s improved the range of ratio coverage, as well as revised the lower gear ratios, for improved responsiveness and acceleration. Once again, naturally: Stay tuned for our driving impressions to confirm that.

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All versions of the WRX come standard with Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety technology. Subaru also claims the switch to its Global Platform will further improve occupant safety. This version of EyeSight includes updated lane departure prevention and automatic emergency steering assist. For the first time in a WRX, EyeSight also includes Subaru’s adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering.

Pricing and Release Date

Pricing information for the new WRX will be available closer to its release date in early 2022.

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