My Take on the New 2022 WRX

Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
4,261
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
Having owned a 2016 WRX for 3 years, I can say that this new WRX will be an improvement. While the styling is not for everyone, I like it, and I consider it an improvement over the old car.

Here's a quick consolidated list of the pros and cons that are on my mind, after reading through some of the magazine and reviewer info.

PROS:

- Improved styling. I actually like the changes they've made. For a lot of people, the plastic body cladding is the most controversial part of the styling changes. But, for me, it's the taillights. I guess the taillights can actually be mentioned in both my "pros" as well as my "cons", as I sort of have mixed feelings about them. I believe they'll look far better in person than on a 2D computer or phone screen. The body cladding adds a rugged look that is appropriate for a rally racing-inspired machine. And, the golf ball-like dimpling is said to aid aerodynamics.

- More interior space (car is now on Subaru's "Global" platform, which all their cars except the BRZ are based on now). It's 1.2" wider and 2.9" longer than before, but they say its CG is lower. Interestingly, though, they say ride height has been increased by .5". This is probably to allow more suspension travel, which, for me, is a good thing. The lengthened wheelbase will improve ride, along with the increased suspension travel. Let's hope it doesn't result in too big of a weight increase.

- Chassis rigidity is up a claimed 28% (the previous generation was already super stiff and had excellent handling, IMHO), which will improve ride and handling. It's also claimed that suspension mounting points are 75% stiffer. And, rear stabilizer bar mounting is now directly to the chassis, instead of just to the subframe, as with the old car.

- Better steering. The new car has dual-pinion steering, resulting in "quicker response, improved accuracy and a more natural feel". I had no complaints about my old 2016 WRX's steering, aside from wishing the ratio was a bit quicker. But, hey, if I'd wanted that, I should have sprung for the STi, right?

- Improved powertrain. As predicted, the new car has a version of the 2.4-liter FA24DIT from the Ascent and Outback XT, along with new electronic turbo wastegate that's said to improve responsiveness and reduce lag. Heck, my old 2016 had barely perceptible lag anyway, due to the twin-scroll turbo, especially at highway speeds, where the lag was almost non-existent. At a claimed-by-Subaru, 271 HP, they're only rating it at 3 more HP than the outgoing model, with the same 258 FT-LBS of torque. But, we'll see what the acceleration tests show. Lots of OEMs these days are underrating power figures. It should be quicker due to these numbers being accessible lower in the RPM band. The larger engine is good news for those who are looking to mod their WRXs, because this engine is obviously detuned at these ratings, and there will be a lot of headroom for power and torque increases. At the same time, being in a very relaxed state of tune, reliability should be great in stock configuration. The increased displacement should also help with power loss when the A/C is on, which, coupled with heat soak in hot weather, really knocked a hole in power output in my 2.0L 2016 WRX. That was one of my biggest gripes with that car - at times, it felt like you were losing 20% in HP when the A/C was running on a hot day. The manual, 6-speed gearbox is claimed to be improved. I also read that final drive has been shortened, giving it more aggressive gearing throughout the range, but honestly I'm not sure if that applies to both the manual and the CVT, or just the CVT. Obviously I won't be going into the CVT at all (who would buy that in this car, I don't know).

- Improved electronics and driver aids. The new car has larger screens, with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, which, now that we have that capability on our 4Runner, I wouldn't buy a new car that didn't have it. The rest of the junk, like the supposed safety electronic crap, I'm not going to go into, because I don't give a flip about it. I'm a base-model kind of guy, anyway.

- Remote oil filter mount is still on top of the engine, and it's still a spin-on filter.

- It's still, IMHO, the best value available in the sport compact car world, is a far better value than its 2 biggest rivals, the Honda Civic Si and the VW GTI, and will handily whoop up on both of those cars around a racetrack or up and down a crooked mountain road. And offers features and characteristics that aren't available on those cars.

- Hidden Hitch location looks to be the same. One of the best things about my 2016 WRX was the ability to mount a hidden hitch receiver, with full 2" receptacle. I could tow a small trailer with ease, or mount a bike carrier or hitch-mount cargo box, in addition to the ability to mount a rooftop cargo carrier. And, when I wasn't using the receiver, it was completely hidden by the pop-out panel in the rear fascia! Looking at the new 2022 WRX, it retains this same design. It might even be able to use the same Torqlift EcoHitch that I still have from my 2016. This ability makes the WRX one of the most utility-friendly sports sedans (if not the most) on the market. This is very valuable to me, personally, as I can't justify, at this point in my life, a dedicated 2-door sports car, as much as I'd like one. Maybe one day.

CONS:

- Styling. Again, the styling can be on either the pro or con list, depending on your take. Personally, as I said, I like pretty much all aspects of the car, including the front end, headlights, grille, and hood. I think the profile is improved. The only part I think they could possibly have done a bit better on is maybe the shape of the taillights. Some people think they're reminiscent of the old-generation Civic, but really they're very, very similar to the taillights on the BRZ. Personally I don't mind the black plastic cladding on the wheel wells, front bumper, grille, and rear bumper. I think it lends the new WRX a rugged look that is befitting of a rally racing-inspired car (for non-fans, remember, "WRX" stands for "World Rally Experimental"). And, it's not THAT radical of a departure from the old car (which has some black plastic cladding on the rear bumper, which I actually liked). Plus, the cladding will actually make these areas more durable for those who actually take their cars down gravel/dirt roads.

- The power and torque figures aren't the increases that many of us had hoped for. At 271 HP and 258 FT-LBS, it's essentially making the same power (3 HP more) as the old car, albeit probably at lower RPM, making the power more accessible. BUT...the fact that it's in such a low state of tune means that very good increases will likely be low-hanging fruit for those so-inclined. And, for those who aren't into modding (I never modded my 2016 over my 3 years of ownership), my personal prediction is that this will likely be a very solidly reliable powertrain. The old FA20DIT was actually reliable even with mods, as long as you didn't try to crank boost to the point where it was making 400 FT-LBS at 1200 RPM (the conrods weren't designed to take that kind of abuse). Still, it holds up better than the old 2.5 in the 2014-and-older WRXs.

- The optional Recaros are only available on the upper-trim-level "GT" model. And, in perhaps the biggest insult to their enthusiasts, the "GT" is ONLY available with the CVT! So, no way to combine the 2 biggest enthusiast features that are available, the Recaro sport seats and the manual gearbox. This has to be Subaru's biggest blunder with the new WRX, and is one of those things that makes a driving enthusiast really shake his head. I have literally no clue what Subaru was thinking here. They obviously weren't listening to those within the project who are enthusiasts. It smacks of a bean counter decision.

- Likely weight increase. I'm quite sure it will be heavier than the old car. We'll see though.

- No hatchback version.

All in all, they did a pretty good job on the new WRX, even if they were pretty conservative with the state of tune it's in. I look forward to the magazines being able to get their hands on it and put it through performance testing, weigh it, and review it. I wonder when that will happen.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
555
Location
Los Angeles
That plastic rear bumper looks ridiculous. It almost looks like a car that got into an accident and hasn't painted the replacement bumper yet. Another emissions tune I suspect with the power being down despite the displacement bump. If I lived in an adverse climate, this would be higher on my list - but nothing replaces a RWD sports car.
 

john_pifer

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
4,261
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
That plastic rear bumper looks ridiculous. It almost looks like a car that got into an accident and hasn't painted the replacement bumper yet. Another emissions tune I suspect with the power being down despite the displacement bump. If I lived in an adverse climate, this would be higher on my list - but nothing replaces a RWD sports car.
There’s not an affordable rear-drive sports sedan at this price point.

If there were, I’d be all over it.

Im with you though - I believe the WRX would be a superior car if they dropped AWD, and made it RWD only. Fun factor would increase, along with the decrease in weight and complexity.
 

gathermewool

Site Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2009
Messages
9,322
Location
New England
You already have a thread going about this car, why not post this there? With the new “new post” format, it’ll still get the hits you’re looking for.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
555
Location
Los Angeles
There’s not an affordable rear-drive sports sedan at this price point.

If there were, I’d be all over it.

Im with you though - I believe the WRX would be a superior car if they dropped AWD, and made it RWD only. Fun factor would increase, along with the decrease in weight and complexity.
Camaro LT1 V8, SS, or V6 if so inclined. That car drives more like a sports car than a muscle car. Pre pandemic a v8 LT1 or SS could be had in the low 30s. Even now, it still a decent deal. People have their gripes about that car but I drove a few and loved it. I just cant find any new ones now.
 

john_pifer

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
4,261
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
Camaro LT1 V8, SS, or V6 if so inclined. That car drives more like a sports car than a muscle car. Pre pandemic a v8 LT1 or SS could be had in the low 30s. Even now, it still a decent deal. People have their gripes about that car but I drove a few and loved it. I just cant find any new ones now.
I’d love one. But at this point in my life, with a wife, an 8-month-old, and a daughter due in Feb, I couldn’t justify a 2-door car.

Plus, I simply enjoy good-handling sports sedans and 4-door hatchbacks. I like the combination of good handling, power, and utility.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
16,678
Location
NE,Ohio
I should have said 30k-35k

I was really just being sarcastic and meaning A subaru with all that.

Gti well. dont think it would do too good in lake effect snow.

I'd prefer a WRX hatch, forester, etc. The last manual turbo forester was 2008 IIRC.

2022 Kona N except.. no manual(why???) they already have the same parts in the veloster N.. no reason it couldnt have one.

Oh and it has to be able to tow a small trailer.. ie 1k utility trailer or boat.. nothing I couldnt pull with a 2005 focus.
I only need more than that about 1-2x a year and could borrow a truck if needed.
 

john_pifer

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
4,261
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
I should have said 30k-35k

I was really just being sarcastic and meaning A subaru with all that.

Gti well. dont think it would do too good in lake effect snow.

I'd prefer a WRX hatch, forester, etc. The last manual turbo forester was 2008 IIRC.

2022 Kona N except.. no manual(why???) they already have the same parts in the veloster N.. no reason it couldnt have one.

Oh and it has to be able to tow a small trailer.. ie 1k utility trailer or boat.. nothing I couldnt pull with a 2005 focus.
I only need more than that about 1-2x a year and could borrow a truck if needed.
The ability to pull a trailer (after adding an EcoHitch) is one thing I love about the WRX.
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Messages
10,015
Location
Ontario, Canada
I think the refusal by subaru to compete power wise will make it less than a home run.
I think the engine may be a bit underrated. I was impressed how it slung around an Ascent with a CVT pretty well so we'll see what the numbers are. The people I know that have had a WRX know that its quick but not fast, but enjoy the AWD and like driving it on gravel, snow, wet roads etc.
 

john_pifer

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
4,261
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
I think the refusal by subaru to compete power wise will make it less than a home run.
But it does compete.

In fact, it’s more than just competitive, and always has been.

Performance-wise, it‘s way above its nearest competitors (Civic Si @ 200 HP and GTI @ 228 HP). Plus, it has AWD.

Ive always believed that the WRX offers the most performance for the money of anything that’s close, price-wise.

And if you narrow it down to non-FWD cars, it’s the only game in town, really. You need to go up to something like a Golf R, at $44,000 starting, or, far more than that for a BMW.

I wish there was such a thing as a semi-affordable, RWD sports sedan.
 
Top