The 2021 Subaru WRX may not have a sleek look or offer the smoothest ride, but it does come standard with all-wheel drive that driving enthusiasts will surely appreciate. Its 268-hp turbocharged flat-four engine provides an interesting grumbly soundtrack and can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or an available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The only downside is its noticeable turbo lag and odd acceleration surges; despite being able to potentially reach fast speeds, these issues make the car feel less powerful than what it actually is - as well as more difficult to drive in terms of smoothness.
If you don't mind a bumpy ride, then the Subaru's agile suspension will certainly be to your liking as it makes navigating winding roads much more enjoyable. It's worth mentioning that these positives come alongside some areas of criticism such as the WRX's dated cabin and related noise levels; yet this "rawness" is what gives this Subie its special charm - whether or not you appreciate it is entirely up to your perspective.
The WRX is an adrenaline-filled ride, with its standard turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four engine offering 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque that can be put to the pavement thanks to all-wheel drive. Whether you choose the six speed manual or optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) available on Premium and Limited models, you will feel like a rocket launching as soon as your foot hits the gas!
Driving the WRX on a daily basis can be problematic due to its inconsistent power delivery. However, when pushed hard, this turbocharged sedan reveals its true capabilities with an initial hesitation that is quickly replaced by sudden acceleration. The electric-assist steering works in tandem with the all-wheel drive and sticky summer tires to ensure that you maintain control over where your vehicle goes - no matter how fast you go! Its ride may be stiff but never punishing as it navigates corners and bends with ease.
Still, the Subie lacks the polish and refinement found in vehicles such as the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Credit the WRX's standard summer tires, as well as the Performance package's upgraded brake pads, for the sedan's impressive and fade-free braking performance.
Believe it or not, the EPA estimates that a manual WRX will give you an ultra-impressive 21 mpg in city and 27 mpg on highway! Surprisingly though, those numbers dip to 18/24 with the automatic version—lower than many mid-size crossover SUVs. We've tested our 200 mile route at 75 mph (realistic yet challenging) using a manual model only because why wouldn't we? But much to our surprise…the results showed 30mpg – 3 more miles per gallon than advertised!
The WRX truly shines when it comes to safety ratings, having earned a perfect five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA and being named a Top Safety Pick by IIHS. Moreover, all models come equipped with seven airbags as standard; while those looking for enhanced protection can opt for the EyeSight system on CVT-equipped WRX Limiteds which provides driver assistance technology.
The 2022 Subaru WRX makes a great choice for the right buyer. It's fully redesigned, but it retains everything that previous WRX owners loved. It's quick, agile, and fun to drive, and it's one of an increasingly small number of cars that still comes standard with a manual transmission.
We recommend going for any of the 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 Subaru WRX model years. These do not suffer from any chronic problems. You're not likely to spend any more than you would take care of ordinary repairs on any other reliable car.
What really sets the WRX apart from other sporty compact cars is its standard AWD. In addition to helping get its added power to the ground with minimal fuss and avoiding the torque steer that plagues some front-wheel-drive performance cars, AWD makes the WRX a viable candidate for year-round daily driver duty.