2022 Subaru WRX Road Test Review | Subi’s new turbo top dog

We have entered a new era of new-but-so-differently enthusiastic cars. Whether it’s a blackwing, a GR86 or a fairy, “new” has a different meaning. Take the 2022 Subaru WRX. Its platform is “new” although it debuted at Standard Impreza six years ago. Its engine is “new”, though it shares much of its architecture with the replaced small boxer. Its sheet metal is “new” though, at least in addition to the in-your-face plastic fender cladding, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Last year, I admired the WRX’s politeness and balance, and I jumped at it for its probably-too-short gearing – oh, and the fact that it can’t be equipped with the adaptive suspension or drive mode selection systems that were the new GT trim behind the firewall. “STI is coming,” I said. Yes, sorry for that.

You probably know the rest: Subaru came with the death certificate of the internal-combustion STI and turned the whole formula over to his ears. So, here it is – the only way to get a manual, petrol-powered Impreza. And, yet, at least, Subaru has no desire to offer it with all the bells and whistles available on the new, CVT-only WRX GT. That means Subaru has all his AWD enthusiastic eggs in this single World Rally Blue basket.

They have some reasonably shiny eggs, at least. Its new 2.4-liter Boxer-Four produces 271 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. Subaru says the larger engine offers a much wider torque curve than the replacement engine. It all goes through a six-speed manual gearbox (in this case, however) and standard all-wheel drive.

And while the roads I traveled to in Northern California last year weren’t perfect, they have nothing to do with the old infrastructure cracked advice for greater Detroit roads. Subaru said WRX’s new, stiffer chassis has allowed them to soften the ride. We already know that this did not dim the image of WRX; It’s time to see if the ride comfortably pays dividends.

But first, I have to admit: I’ve never been a huge fan of WRX. Sure, it’s great on paper and I’ve always enjoyed turbocharged sport compacts, but every time I’ve piloted a Plain-Gen WRX, I’ve found it uncomfortable. Blame it for the imperfect characteristic rough edges, parasitic damage to the AWD drivetrain or the ho-hum interiors, you pick, but I’ve never liked the experience so much.

Even after the NorCal Giant, I wrote my expected impressions that Subaru had a lot more control over our driving environment. Here, close to home (and 500 miles from Subaru’s New Jersey headquarters), they would have no such opportunity. Of course, I thought the spelling would be broken. Not so.

In fact, the improvement in chassis and suspension is even more evident here. WRX admires Michigan’s broken pavement and its traction or stability control system without additional complaints, even VJ. And while first and second gears may be small, the all-wheel-drive system encourages you to use them to their full potential. Also, Subaru has done a great job controlling the WRX’s drivetrain lash, so you won’t feel like you’re trying to break a horse if you have to aggressively modify the throttle module at high RPM.

For the first time, driving a WRX really clicked. In fact, I’m probably starting to enjoy it a little bit Too much A lot, digging from almost every stop and applying force outside the corners. The stereotypical Midwestern AWD Sport Compact Driver may be a dying race due to the fact that there is less and less distance between the required vehicles, but a new one was built almost deeply. Autoblog Lab

Now, the bad news. The WRX has the same infotainment options as the Outback: a bizarre dual-screen setup for the base trim layer that we haven’t sampled, and a portrait-style single touchscreen with this limited trim. While certainly better than Subaru’s efforts in the past, it is still far from perfect. In my first experience with the system, I found the UI to be crowded and anonymous, and it has some weird features that make the learning curve particularly punitive. Screen responsiveness is simply that, with some on-screen elements, multiple presses are required to register. And if you take too long to navigate to a sub-menu, it will simply disappear, assuming you are confused and no longer need what you first got there. Honestly, the smaller screens and accompanying UI found in Ascent, Forrester and Crossstrack could be even better.

The manual-equipped WRX also features driver support technology without the iSight suite (similar to the manual BRZ). So if you need a little extra help with adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alerts or identifying impending deer, this is the CVT for you – whenever Subaru comes to make something, that is. Its launch was stunned (probably due to a lack of running chips) and we still haven’t heard when to expect a load-up GT model “soon”.

Subaru will always be a little rough around the edges, but the new WRX has brought enough to the table to make trade-offs a success. We still like to see manual-transmission adaptive suspension shifted to WRX, but as hard steel setups go, it’s hard to lose. For my part, I’m probably still looking at the BRZ sitting next to it in the showroom, but for once I wouldn’t blame you for going the other way. The WRX is now the king of Subaru’s rally-inspired sport compacts, and until an electrified STI arrives, it’s likely to get performance cars from our favorite all-wheel-drive brand as “new”.

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