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Article Highlights:

  • The 2022 Subaru WRX debuts to much criticism
  • What is there to complain about in the new ‘Rex?
  • Does the WRX need fixing?

Apparently, and much to my surprise, people are kind of mad at Subaru and the new 2022 Subaru WRX. What they’re mad about is even more puzzling. The masses are upset about a manual transmission, AWD, sports compact with rally pedigree, and great color choices. Oh, and an estimated $30,000 price point. For many of us, it’s a car that’s a perfectly attainable driver’s car that won’t be around for long. So what’s everyone so upsetti spaghetti about?

The 2022 Subaru WRX is a $30,000 gem

An orange 2022 Subaru WRX shot from the front on a dry lake bed with a blue model close behind
The new WRX can’t get good PR | Subaru

Let’s ignore the on-paper stats of the WRX for now and focus on matters of the heart. That, in essence, is why so many are against the new model. For starters, that’s why almost every new car is met with “oh man, I don’t know… we’ll have to see what it looks like in person.” The BMW M3 for example. Every new M3 is held to the impossibly high, rose-tinted standard of the E46 and E92 generation M3.

That’s exactly the same story with the 2022 Subaru WRX. People grew up with these cars. They drove one in high school, or knew someone who did. For the current generation of ‘Rex models, those cars were the first “attainable dream car” for many. And then Subaru went and changed the looks. That new WRX body cladding isn’t helping public opinion.

Cars like the WRX won’t be around forever

The manual transmission in the new WRX with red contrast stitching
The WRX returns with a stick shift | Subaru

Now, let’s ignore these matters of the heart and focus on what the new car is in reality. Consistency is king with the WRX, and the brand has yet to shift the fundamentals of the 2022 Subaru WRX away from that, at least on paper. Subaru is very much like Porsche in that regard. Consistent improvement on the same formula. And on paper, that formula really hasn’t changed much.

There’s still 300-odd horsepower, AWD, and a manual transmission. Plus, some niceties like a larger infotainment unit that replaces the desperately clunky old one. Moreover, there’s a new WRX “GT,” with an adaptive suspension setup and an automatic transmission. Unfortunately, you can’t get the new GT trim and its adaptive dampers with a stick. That, to us, is Subaru’s biggest grievance with the 2022 Subaru WRX.

Why can’t we all just get along?

An orange 2022 Subaru WRX shot in the foreground from the 3/4 angle with a blue model behind
The 2022 Subaru WRX has been heavily criticized for its looks | Subaru

Really, if there’s anything to be mad about here it’s that. But remember, cars like this make up a very, very small portion of Subaru sales. The brand will sell far more Crosstreks and Forester SUVs and Outbacks than they will WRXs. Let’s not be too hasty with the new model, cladding aside, and wait to see what it’s really like. After all, hasn’t the brand that brought us Colin McRea and generations of killer performance cars earned at least a shot at something a little new?


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