Putting the emphasis on ‘All-New’ the 2022 Subaru WRX adds a bold new look, engine, transmission, interior, and an array of new safety features. All of which, have motoring enthusiasts fighting and throwing their opinions around like it’s going out of style. We didn’t even have the chance to read the spec sheet before industry commentators let us know their opinion on the new styling, choice of gearbox, and engine performance. Quite frankly, we think everyone jumped the gun.
Does it look like a crossover? Yes. Is it still catching up to the Golf R? Yes. Is it significantly underpowered? Yes. Will it have character and manual transmission? YES. And in today’s car market, at this price range, your choices are slim when it comes to manual transmission turbocharged sedans. So maybe that’s all that matters after all.
The New 2022 Subaru WRX
The initials WRX stand for World Rally inspired performance in the truest sense of the word, and as it enters its fifth generation the new WRX does so with a complete redesign. The vehicle is set to be the most advanced and feature-packed model ever, and that’s important when you consider how good its main competitor – the Volkswagen Golf R – really is. Subaru has been playing catch-up for years, and it seems they’ve finally figured out the perfect blend between character and real-world ‘liveability’ with the new model.
Headline figures of the new model start with the 2.4-litre turbocharged BOXER engine that produces 271 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, and 258 lb-ft of torque from 2,000-5,200 rpm. On paper, it seems to share architecture with the new Toyota GR86’s 2.4-litre naturally aspirated powerplant – but we’d expect to see turbocharged suitable changes such as lower compression pistons and stronger internals.
Immediate impressions tell us this is going to be a very responsive motor, with a torque curve beginning at 2000rpm and a total of 3200rpm to play with acceleration out of corners will be very strong. Unfortunately, the headline horsepower figures are comparatively low by today’s standards and as mentioned, the 2022 Subaru WRX still has 30hp less than a Toyota Camry. We’d expect the eventual STI figures to sit more around the 340HP number.
Powertrain options remain the benchmark for the sector, with the legendary Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring. Transmission options include either the 6-speed manual, which has been fitted with optimised gear ratios and refined for improved shift quality or the new automatic CVT gearbox dubbed the Subaru Performance Transmission. An ironic choice of name in some respects as the words CVT and ‘Performance’ seemingly never fit together in a sentence, however, Subaru assures us that 30 per cent faster upshifts (2nd to 3rd) and 50 per cent faster downshifts (3rd to 2nd) are all on the playing cards. We’ll believe it when we see it.
Speaking of characteristics – an area in which its competitor the Golf R simply can’t – the new WRX is set to feature a 28 per cent increase in overall torsional rigidity and a 75 per cent increase in suspension mounting point rigidity, lending itself to a responsive turn-in and poise under braking. A longer suspension stroke increases vehicle stability and lateral grip on uneven surfaces and the rear stabilizer bar, now mounted directly to the body (vs. the subframe), operate more efficiently and sees less body roll during the mid-corner. We expect this to make up for a lot of the perceived ‘crossover’ characteristics that the new exterior design seems to point towards, we hope we’re right.
Evidently enough, the exterior receives a completely new design. And like like many others, we’re not sure what to make of those new taillights. They seem to scream a little too much ‘Honda Civic’.
The interior is where some serious strides have been made to catch up the 2022 WRX to its competition. Most notable is the 11.6-inch SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia Plus In-Vehicle display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This new screen offers an integrated cockpit experience by allowing the driver to control entertainment and vehicle settings at the touch of a button. Apps on the screen can be moved around just like a smartphone and we love the overall fit and finish – everything integrated into the dashboard. We hate nothing more than the ‘stuck on’ screen look that you get in Tesla’s and other new cars with big screens today. An available 11-Speaker Harman Kardon sound system and 504-watt equivalent amplifier round out the new notable technology offerings for the standard model.
New for the WRX line is the GT Trim Level that adds new Recaro seats offer the driver and front passenger with increased support, exclusive 18-in aluminium alloy wheels in matte grey, and standard. EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that includes Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control and new Automatic Emergency Steering. Unfortunately, you only access these features when opting for the CVT-only models.
We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the New WRX when it hits showrooms, and in the meantime we simply hold out, wait and hope that the improvements to vehicle dynamics, manual transmission and the new interior layout are enough to swing some buyers away from the dominant Volkswagen Golf R. For more information and to register your interest follow the link below, and check out the video linked above for driving footage.