2022 Subaru WRX Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Sep 10, 2021
  • Redesigned sport compact sedan
  • Turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive
  • Manual or continuously variable transmissions
  • New infotainment and driving assistance technologies
  • 2022 Subaru WRX release date is early 2022

The Subaru WRX needs no introduction. Steeped in Subaru rally racing history, and long a piece of forbidden fruit lusted for by American driving enthusiasts, the WRX finally came to the U.S. twenty years ago and has prevented the brand “Subaru” from becoming totally synonymous with “SUV” ever since.

2022 Subaru WRX GT Orange Front Quarter View

Now, the 2022 Subaru WRX gets a full redesign, and it’s been a long time in coming. The car finally moves to the Subaru Global Platform that the Impreza adopted for the 2017 model year, but this isn’t the same car. Available as a 4-door sedan, the new 2022 WRX comes in Base, Premium, Limited, and new GT trim levels. It’s got a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with a manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT), and, naturally, standard all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring.

Exterior Features - Find the best Subaru deals!

2022 Subaru WRX White Rear Quarter View

Subaru has nailed the new WRX’s exterior design, even if it appears that assembly line workers have it confused with a Crosstrek. The gray lower cladding, common on crossovers, looks out of place and shrinks the visual impact of the wheels, which in GT-spec are the nearly the same color. But, when you consider the WRX’s rally history and what a blast they are to scream down gravel roads in, the treatment makes sense.

In any case, aside from the trapezoidal wheel arch moldings, the new WRX exhibits equal parts symmetry, balance, and proportion. There’s nothing weird about it, and there’s almost always something weird about a Subaru. Both the hood scoop and flared fenders are entirely appropriate, and expected. 

If there’s a misstep here, it relates to the excessive front overhang, but you only notice it when viewing the car in profile.

Interior Features - Find the best Subaru deals!

2022 Subaru WRX Interior Dashboard

If you like black, you’ll like the 2022 Subaru WRX model’s interior. That’s the only color it comes in, with red contrast stitching and simulated carbon fiber trim. The flat-bottom steering wheel is thick in all of the right places, and the dashboard features analog instrumentation, stylish air vents, and Subaru’s portrait-mounted 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The WRX GT has exclusive Recaro performance seats wrapped in simulated suede material.

Under the Hood - Find the best Subaru deals!

Subaru equips the new WRX with a turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer-type 4-cylinder engine. It makes 271 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 rpm and 5,200 rpm. 

Despite nearly half a liter of extra displacement, the new engine offers just three extra horsepower over the outgoing WRX. Peak torque output is identical, and over the same rev range. Nevertheless, Subaru says the larger engine, in combination with turbocharger enhancements, “improves responsiveness and acceleration.”

Yes, you can still get a stick shift in the new WRX. In fact, the 6-speed manual gearbox offers revised shift ratios and refined shift quality, according to Subaru. 

If you can’t operate a clutch pedal (learn how), you’ll want the Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT), which is a highly evolved CVT. Subaru promises improved response and acceleration with the new SPT, and more satisfying performance across the board whether the driver seeks rev-matched downshifts on corner entry, more power on corner exit, or manual control over the eight programmed gear ratios via the steering wheel’s shift paddles. 

When equipped with the SPT, drivers can calibrate the powertrain’s performance characteristics via the SI-Drive system, while in the GT model a new Drive Mode Select system provides different driving modes that adjust the steering, suspension, and other dynamic settings.

The WRX’s move to the Subaru Global Platform reduces the car’s center of gravity and provides a 28% increase in overall torsional rigidity. Subaru promises reduced body roll and increased grip and stability when driving hard over uneven surfaces. 

Subaru track-tunes the suspension at the factory, and the WRX GT features a new adaptive damping suspension with Comfort, Normal, and Sport settings. Summer performance tires and 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes are standard, and a new electronic brake booster improves pedal response and feel. A new dual-pinion electric steering system should result in quicker response to driver input, improved precision, and better road feel.

Safety Systems - Find the best Subaru deals!

Subaru says the WRX’s new platform and architecture will provide better crash protection than the old car, which already earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

If you choose the manual transmission, you’ll forego the EyeSight advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). They come only with the SPT automatic, and are standard with Limited and GT trim levels. For 2022, new cameras and software improve EyeSight’s performance, according to Subaru.

EyeSight equips the 2022 WRX with the following features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Lane-centering assistance (first time in a WRX)
  • Evasive steering assistance (first time in a WRX)

Though Subaru hasn’t spelled it out, the new WRX certainly offers blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, and the automaker’s Rear Automatic Braking system.

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best Subaru deals!

Subaru offers a new 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the 2022 WRX. When equipped, the screen is mounted portrait-style in the middle of the dashboard, and provides physical controls for the stereo and climate systems. It also offers a new split-screen function to show different types of information, and owners can reconfigure the display to move application icons to preferred locations.

Standard features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio and Travel Link services, and HD Radio. Starlink connected services are also available, and, in addition to the larger display, upgrades include a navigation system and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system with Clari-Fi digital music restoration technology.

2022 Subaru WRX Competitors - Find the best Subaru deals!

Subaru faces few true competitors to the new WRX. Because consumers prefer to buy crossover SUVs, many automakers are eliminating cars from their vehicle lineups. Those that remain are often unavailable in performance-tuned trim.

However, there are some alternatives to the WRX. They include the Mazda Mazda3 2.5 Turbo and Volkswagen Golf R, each of which includes all-wheel drive. Front-drivers include the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Elantra N. Some people might even cross-shop the new Hyundai Kona N with the WRX.

Subaru is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of September 10, 2021, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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