2022 Subaru WRX: A Design Reboot That Still Performs

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This year’s WRX introduced a facelift that some of its staunch loyalists may be having problems with. But Dan Neal gets a lot to like, especially under the hood.

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Willie knows that one day the dragon will flower. And he knows the replacement will look like our test car. The 2022 WRX is the fifth design generation of the moto-cult icon, featuring the company’s latest global architecture and driver environment. The design lifetime of the fourth generation WRX was seven years. So for the foreseeable future, it’s the WRX.

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Willie is not happy. No. Happy.

Direct quotes would be unproductive; But he has a strong hatred for the exterior styling, especially the prominent wheel-arch cladding, hexagonal geometry with a stop sign like it. These molded composite bits also have short strokes for the purpose of removing trapped air. Willie has no interest in taking out Subaru.

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Oddly, I find myself appreciating the new WRX more than many in its fancier community. First, I consider it a small miracle of commerce that these bold, bawdy, turnkey tuner cars are also available in the US and will be for a few more years.

styling, schmiling, The way Subaru has put this thing together allows, even with its emphasis on customization and upgrades, from splitter to spoiler, turbo to tyre, of warranty-validated parts and accessories. Drawing on a strong global aftermarket. Slam it, stance it, up the WRX, safari-style, make it a door-slamming, alcohol-burning dragster. Like painter Bob Ross, Subaru believes there are no mistakes, only happy accidents.

But swapping the transmission is really impractical. For the faithful, the best news is that the WRX will continue to offer a geyser-stick option: a taut, tough six-speed manual transmission with a stitched leather shifter knob, reverse-gear lockout rings, Pleather Gusset, Works.

You may have wondered why auto manufacturers stopped offering manual transmissions. It wasn’t just a drop in consumer demand. In the case of exotics such as Ferraris and Corvettes, the single-plate clutch design could not keep up with the increase in engine power. Manually-shifted cars also tend to accelerate faster than their counterpart with robo-gear shifters. As a result, they are handicapped in marquee performance metrics such as 0-60 mph and -mile times. Bad for marketing.

In fact, with the CVT automatic the WRX is about half a second faster than the one favored by motorheads at 60 mph.

The big disincentive for automakers is the hit of federal CAFE numbers. Cars with manual transmissions generally have lower fuel mileage than their automatic-equipped twins; So the fewer automakers they sell, the better their numbers are – none are the best.

In the case of the cult WRX, Subaru really didn’t have a choice. For calendar year 2021, 95% of these cars were ordered with a manual transmission, the highest rate in the industry. It was a short encounter.

Willie—whose car is putting out 320 hp on the wheels—tells me that many in the tribe consider the new car underpowered. The 2.4-liter, direct-injected, horizontally opposite four-cylinder peaks at 271 hp at 5,600 rpm, just 3 hp more than the outgoing version.

I tell them, man: drive the competition, like a Hyundai Veloster N or a Mini hardtop. The WRX is a terrifying, tire-wielding velocity monster right out of the box. Breathing assisted by a twin-scroll turbocharger and E-controlled wastegate, the Flat Four is always on the alert, always answers calls, minimizing the turbo lag you used to worry about.

Peak torque (258 lb-ft) comes early from 2,000-5,200 rpm and remains late. That’s enough to propel a 3,320-pound mass to 60 mph in about 5 seconds, without undue histrionics. just cry it out And that’s the engine control code Frankenstein in front of you.

As soon as you kick the WRX off the chain, you begin to appreciate the rest of the formula, starting with a firm all-wheel drive system, with active torque vectoring and a low center of gravity. These are big little cars. Some of the WRX’s more exotic hardware—like a driver-controlled center differential—will feature in later performance models.

Dynamics options on this WRX include a track mode, should you want to move around empty parking lots, and who shouldn’t?

Our car was fitted with summer performance tires, for which I gladly gave myself up. But imagine what this very attainable sedan can do, what feats of heroism it can accomplish with a manual transmission and a set of studded winter tires. You can leave the Sno-Cat in the garage.

Even though it’s fitted on a newer, more rigid platform shared with the rest of the company, the WRX’s interior dimensions are only slightly roomy, though the tailoring and materials represent a step up. The swollen fenders help to accentuate the wider stance of the car. With a 28% increase in torsional stiffness, the WRX feels pretty solid, but so did the previous one.

The 2022 reboot includes modifications to the car’s front-strut suspension as well as dual-pinion connections for electrically assisted racks. The nose tracks beautifully through the corners. Hasty steering inputs are responded to in kind. Pretty athletic break too.

Willie doesn’t care about the touch screen. I wish they had the next generation WRX. In the premium model, the screen is mega: 11.6-inches on the diagonal, with icons the size of mahjong tiles and madness-inducing graphics.

Willie says he will try to adapt. Until then, long live the Blue Dragon.

2022 Subaru WRX Premium

Price as a test: $31,000 (est.)

Powertrain: turbocharged 2.4-liter direct-injection flat-four engine with variable valve timing; six-speed manual transmission; Full-time all-wheel drive with automatic torque vectoring

Length/Width/Height/Wheelbase: 183.8/79.3/57.8/105.2 inches

Power / Torque: 271 hp at 5,600 rpm / 258 lb-ft at 2,000-5,200 rpm . Feather

curb weight: 3,320 pounds

0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds (er.)

EPA Estimated Fuel Economy: 19/26/22 City/Highway/United

Luggage Capacity: 12.5 cubic feet

Businesshala is not compensated by the retailers listed in its articles as outlets of the products. Listed retailers are often not the only retail outlets.

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