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The Subaru WRX is heralded among enthusiasts as an affordable compact sedan that still pays homage to its rallying roots. While the modern WRX doesn’t have the same hooligan-forward approach as its predecessors, it is still a sprightly handler with respectable performance that can still be had with a manual transmission. Though the WRX nameplate is plenty popular among automotive circles, it’s proving not-so-prevalent among buyers, and its price could be to blame.

WRX sales are lagging behind the competition

The Subaru WRX’s lagging popularity is made evident by recent sales figures, according to stats gathered by GoodCarBadCar. Subaru WRX sales reached 15,373 units through the year’s first six months, but this Subaru significantly trails some more popular options. Honda sold nearly 94,000 Civic models, and Hyundai moved over 74,000 Elantra models over the same period, while the Mazda3 was just behind the WRX with 15,127 units sold.

The Subaru WRX price isn’t as attractive as some competitors

The 2023 Subaru WRX is available in four trims, with the base model starting at $31,625 MSRP with the top-of-the-range GT commanding $44,415, and compared to some of its fellow sport compacts, it lacks value prospects.

That’s especially true against the Civic Si. The WRX is notably more powerful, with its 2.4-liter flat-four delivering 271 hp to the Honda Civic SI’s 200-hp 1.5-liter, but for those who can sacrifice some power, the Si provides far more amenities while delivering a fun-to-drive nature. For instance, the Honda is equipped with features like leather upholstery, a nine-inch infotainment screen, Bose audio system, navigation, 18-inch wheels, and a host of other amenities the base WRX can’t match in its base trim, which is about $1,000 more expensive than the Civic.

The WRX features all-wheel drive as standard, but it’s no longer the only sport compact to offer a four-wheel grunt. The Mazda3 Turbo Premium Plus is the range-topper of the lineup, starting at $35,165. While that is slightly above the WRX’s second-level trim, the Mazda features AWD, a 250-hp turbo-four, and its cabin refinement is leagues ahead of the Subaru’s.

Of course, those less interested in performance can purchase a well-equipped Mazda3 sedan or hatchback for thousands less than the WRX.

The Hyundai Elantra N is another model which holds a greater value prospect than the WRX. The Elantra N starts at just over $34,000, about the same price as a WRX Premium, and it’s loaded with amenities while delivering 276 hp and a plethora of performance kit options.

The WRX’s 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway figures aren’t helping its value cause as they significantly trail its rivals.

A price cut could assist the WRX’s sales and popularity

The Subaru WRX is not as hardcore as it once was, and as such, it needs to appeal to a wider audience, but its price is likely holding it back. If it were to bring a better value proposition, its popularity would likely be boosted both among mainstream and enthusiast buyers.

Among sport compacts, the WRX ranks low. U.S. News ranks the Subaru WRX last out of 10 compact cars. However, if the WRX were priced lower, especially among non-base trims, the Subaru could present far better value prospects and thus be more appealing overall.


Only 1 Subaru Model Has Annual Maintenance Costs Over $700