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Is the 2022 Subaru WRX a Good Car? 5 Pros and 3 Cons

subaru-wrx-2022-36-dynamic-exterior-front-angle-orange-sedan 2022 Subaru WRX | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

It may be a little soon to start referring to the Subaru WRX as iconic, but the argument could be made. Since making its U.S. debut 20 years ago, the WRX has enjoyed a loyal following of enthusiast drivers looking for a sporty four-door compact with all-wheel drive and willing to make some compromises in exchange for an exhilarating ride.

With the launch of the redesigned 2022 WRX, Subaru has changed the formula somewhat. The new WRX is ever so slightly softer around the edges and a bit easier to drive, but it still delivers the quick acceleration and performance that made it famous.

Related: 2022 Subaru WRX Review: Party of One

The redesign may help bring more drivers into the fold, though it may cause some howls from a certain segment of WRX loyalists. Either way, if you’re in the market for an affordable compact sports sedan with AWD and a six-speed manual transmission, your buying decision should be easy because the WRX remains a class of one.

Overall, our first impression of the 2022 WRX left us with more positives than negatives, even with the caveat that our test car came equipped with all-season rubber rather than the standard summer tires. With that in mind, check the link above to read Cars.com editor Joe Bruzek’s complete review. For a quicker look, read on to find out five things we like about the 2022 Subaru WRX and three things we don’t.

Things We Like

1. Agreeable Engine

subaru-wrx-2022-39-engine-exterior-orange-sedan 2022 Subaru WRX | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The WRX gets a new engine for 2022: a 271-horsepower, turbocharged 2.4-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder that has exactly 3 hp more than the old one. But it completely transforms the car; it has a broader torque curve and mostly eliminates the previous engine’s pronounced turbo lag. Immediate power is available throughout the rev range, and the engine sounds and feels more refined overall.

2. A Manual for the Masses

Subaru tweaked the six-speed manual transmission to better match the new engine, with revised gear ratios and shifting action. Better still, clutch engagement is more gradual than in the last WRX, making it more forgiving and easier to drive smoothly.

3. Balanced Ride and Handling

subaru-wrx-2022-37-dynamic-exterior-orange-rear-angle-sedan 2022 Subaru WRX | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

With all-season tires, the WRX rode very well, absorbing bumps and broken pavement without much fuss. Tire noise was also less prevalent than in the last WRX we tested. The ride is firm and delivers good handling, and it’s less punishing than previous WRXs. We look forward to testing a WRX with stock summer tires for comparison.

4. All Hail AWD

What really sets the WRX apart from other sporty compact cars is its standard AWD. In addition to helping get its added power to the ground with minimal fuss and avoiding the torque steer that plagues some front-wheel-drive performance cars, AWD makes the WRX a viable candidate for year-round daily driver duty.

5. Improved Infotainment

subaru-wrx-2022-53-interior-apple-carplay-infotainment-system-sedan 2022 Subaru WRX | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The redesigned WRX gets a new infotainment system with a big 11.6-inch touchscreen. It enables a more engaging presentation of Apple CarPlay, with vivid graphics and big buttons making for easier menu navigation while underway. Android Auto users don’t get the same benefit, however, and are relegated to a smaller view.

Things We Don’t Like

1. Reduced Grip

One penalty of the more grown-up ride and driving dynamics is that the new WRX feels a little less sporty than the older versions of the car. Admittedly, at least some of that can be chalked up to our test car’s all-season tires, which may help explain a somewhat vague feel and lack of crisp turn-in response in corners in spite of a quicker steering ratio. We also noticed some uncertainty during twisty on-ramp maneuvers at speed.

2. Clad in Cladding

subaru-wrx-2022-18-badge-exterior-grille-headlights-orange-sedan 2022 Subaru WRX | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

A generous helping of black plastic cladding around the wheel openings and on the sills helps visually set the WRX apart from its Impreza roots, but it’s not without some drawbacks. The cladding arguably cheapens the look, although we felt it looks better in person than in photos. It also scuffs easily and may require more effort to keep clean. The best bet may be to simply order the WRX in a darker color to minimize the visual impact.

3. More Subtle Soundtrack

The more civilized WRX is a bit less raucous in the cabin, with no notable noises making their way inside. A few pops and spits at high rpm can be heard, but overall, the aural experience is more sedate and less distinct than some performance cars. Longtime WRX fans need not fret, however, because the aftermarket army will undoubtedly step up to offer help.

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