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The Subaru WRX was completely redesigned for the 2022 model year. It now rides on a new platform, has a larger and more powerful engine, and has a new look. The new WRX came with a host of safety features, including some driver-assist features, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) only awarded it with a “Top Safety Pick” award. Fortunately, for the 2023 model year, Subaru made the WRX safer, and the IIHS awarded it with a higher honor.

The 2023 Subaru WRX improved in one key safety area

2022 Subaru WRX in blue
2022 Subaru WRX | Subaru

After the 2022 WRX was awarded the IIHS “Top Safety Pick” award last year, Subaru addressed the one key area where it was lacking – the headlights. According to Autoblog, “The weak spot in the previous model was its standard halogen headlights were rated ‘poor.’”

It’s rare to see halogen headlights on nearly any car nowadays, but fortunately, the 2023 WRX now comes standard with LED headlights. After the Japanese automaker made the change for the new model year, the IIHS scored the WRX’s headlights with an “acceptable” rating and the optional LED lights with “good.”

But the improvements didn’t stop there. Subaru also modified the child anchor access, which improved the score in that area from “acceptable” to “good +.” Additionally, the 2023 Subaru WRX scored well in all of the crash tests, including the forward collision prevention test. All of these improvements led to the 2023 WRX earning the highly coveted “Top Safety Pick +” award.

Other sport compacts in the same category are Top Safety Picks as well

The 2022 Honda Civic AWD never came to be, despite market competition.
2022 Honda Civic | Honda

The 2023 Subaru WRX isn’t the only sport compact to earn a Top Safety Pick + award. Other cars in the same class that won it include the Honda Civic (and Civic Si), the Subaru BRZ, and the Toyota GR86.  

The Hyundai Elantra N and the Volkswagen GTI won a Top Safety Pick award. However, they could be making changes in the future to better their scores as well.

What other changes can we expect with the 2023 Subaru WRX?

Blue Subaru WRX STI Posed
Subaru WRX STI | Subaru

Aside from the minor safety equipment changes, it doesn’t look like the 2023 Subaru WRX will see any other major changes. Edmunds noted that the Subaru WRX STi would no longer be part of the lineup, but the WRX will carry on to compete with the other sport compacts in its class.

However, the WRX is no longer the only car in its class to offer an all-wheel drivetrain. The Mazda3 Turbo and Volkswagen Golf R both come with that feature. However, the WRX offers a bit more value with its new large infotainment screen, driver-assist features, and the option for either a manual transmission or a CVT.

We hope enthusiasts will continue to opt for the manual transmission, as that is the best way to enjoy the 2023 Subaru WRX and all of its turbocharged power. Of course, no matter which transmission they choose, buyers will at least know that the car is safe and it has the highly coveted award to prove it.


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