2022 Subaru WRX: Review

© Subaru of America 2022 Subaru WRX
The fifth generation of Subaru’s rally inspired WRX is scheduled to arrive this spring with a new exterior design, refreshed interior and a new turbocharged 2.4-liter engine. It’s been two decades since the WRX first arrived for the American market. In that time more than 400,000 have been sold, helping raise Subaru brand awareness as well as the profile of other models not directly associated with Subaru’s World Rally success. The 2022 Subaru WRX should raise that awareness even more.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience 2022 Subaru WRX
The 2022 Subaru WRX continues to be offered in Base, Premium and Limited trim levels, while also adding a new line-topping WRX GT. Subaru provided us with a 2022 WRX Premium finished in Sapphire Blue, equipped with the standard-equipment 6-speed manual transmission. The starting price for the 2022 Subaru WRX Premium is $31,605 plus a destination and delivery charge of $995 for a price as tested of $32,600.

© Subaru of America 2022 Subaru WRX Design
With new body panels no longer shared with Impreza, the evolutionary design of the 2022 WRX features a larger hexagonal grille, smaller headlights sculpted back into the front fenders, a hood scoop, a revised front fascia, bulging fenders and somewhat controversial fender cladding. Subaru says the cladding improves aerodynamics, including its textured surface. The new design tapers at the rear with new connected taillights, a spoiler and aggressive quad exhaust.

© Subaru of America 2022 Subaru WRX Premium
The WRX Premium adds steering-responsive LED headlights with automatic headlight height adjustment, LED fog lights and a low-profile body-color trunk spoiler. WRX Premium is fitted with dark gray 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/40R18 summer performance tires.

© Subaru of America Inner Space
Inside, the WRX’s sport-inspired black interior has red contrast stitching and carbon-fiber-pattern trim accents. The leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel includes controls for audio and voice recognition. New seats feature more panels, larger side bolsters and larger lower seat bolsters that are both more comfortable and offer additional support.

© Subaru of America 2022 Subaru WRX Premium
The WRX Premium features a new tablet-style, high-definition 11.6-inch center multimedia screen. Subaru Starlink in-vehicle technology allows the driver to control entertainment and vehicle settings with onscreen controls for audio, climate control and vehicle features. The WRX Premium also includes dual-zone automatic climate control, aluminum alloy pedal covers, and an all-weather package with heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper deicer.

© Subaru of America Under the Hood
The 2022 Subaru WRX is powered by a new turbocharged 2.4-liter engine producing 271 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, combined with a standard 6-speed manual transmission or available CVT Subaru Performance Transmission. The new engine is the most powerful standard WRX powerplant ever (not including STI versions), although it is rated a mere 3 horsepower more than the outgoing model and the same maximum torque rating.

© Subaru of America Standard All-Wheel Drive
As with all Subaru models except the sporty BRZ, all-wheel drive is standard on the WRX. With the 6-speed manual transmission, the continuous all-wheel drive features a viscous-coupling locking center differential that distributes torque 50:50 front to rear under normal circumstances. When the tires slip, the system can transfer more torque to the wheels with the best traction.

© Subaru of America Stiffer Platform, Sport Suspension
The 2022 Subaru WRX gets built on the Subaru Global Platform for increased chassis stiffness as well as a lower center of gravity for improved ride and handling. The new platform has full inner-frame construction and increased use of structural adhesives for a 28 percent increase in torsional rigidity and a 75 percent increase in suspension mounting point rigidity. A longer suspension stroke increases stability and lateral grip on uneven surfaces. The rear stabilizer bar is now mounted directly to the body. The sport-tuned suspension includes front struts with internal rebound springs. The WRX also has new dual-pinion electric power steering for quicker response, improved accuracy and better steering feedback.

© Subaru of America On the Road
The 2022 WRX has plenty of power that makes it a blast to drive, and the 6-speed manual shifts cleanly and precisely. The car is predictable and balanced; it creates confidence in an average driver to push a little bit and have fun without getting into trouble. The all-wheel drive and active torque vectoring help stabilize the car through corners as well as accelerate out of those corners with confidence — even when conditions are less than ideal. The WRX is a performance bargain with the additional advantage of standard all-wheel drive.

© Subaru of America On the Road
Given the Pacific Northwest’s daily damp roads and slippery conditions during the last vestiges of winter, the 2022 Subaru WRX reminded us precisely how fun, stable and predictable this car has always been — and the new one is even better. We were actually surprised how well the Dunlop Sport Maxx GT 600A tires perform in cool conditions. With the AWD performing its magic, the WRX puts the power down in adverse conditions, remaining predictable and easy to control.

© Subaru of America On the Road
Most of our spirited driving took place in third gear, slowing and then accelerating out of tight corners without downshifting. At times second gear was probably needed, so we would have appreciated a bit more low-end torque for quicker acceleration in third gear. A good thing about the new WRX that carries forward from previous models: the tall gearshift. Gear changes remain crisp and precise; that said, if the shifter was even a tiny bit shorter it would add even more pizzaz to the sporty feel of the car.

© Subaru of America Improved Design, Looks
Viewing the 2022 Subaru WRX on the road, we like the new exterior design that has more differentiation from Impreza. The front view is crisp and clean, and the rear taillight design is attractive when combined with the aggressive rear diffuser and exhaust outlets. Although many pundits have been discussing the efficacy of the wheel arch cladding, we grew to appreciate the overall design and feel the cladding works with the rest of the exterior trim. The interior is comfortable and telegraphs the feeling of a sport sedan.

© Subaru of America Rating: 8.5
The WRX is a car that drivers can enjoy with confidence every day thanks to its predictable handling, stability over rough surfaces and ability to put the power down in slippery conditions. The WRX has plenty get-up-and-go to make it fun without becoming too difficult to handle. With the new stiffer platform, the WRX suspension is firm but not as jarring as the previous model. Although the new styling might be considered controversial to some, for our money the 2022 Subaru WRX remains a performance bargain that both driving enthusiasts and everyday commuters will enjoy. Without hesitation we can call the 2022 Subaru WRX the best one yet.

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