The all-new 2022 Subaru WRX is quite the performer on the streets and on the track. However, with a starting price of around $30,000, the WRX isn’t accessible to some buyers. Considering the current market is a little crazy, it’s hard to find anything under $30,000 unless you look at the used market. Here are five used examples that can be good substitutes for those who can’t afford a new Subaru WRX.
1. 2017 Honda Civic Si
There’s no denying that the new 2022 Honda Civic Si is an amazing sport compact, but the one that came before is still worth a look. Under its hood is a 205-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The only bummer is that it’s front-wheel-drive, but it’s still a lot of fun on the streets.
Even better, this vintage of the Civic Si can be found as a sedan, which makes it practical for everyday driving like the Subaru WRX. It even has heated seats, Apple Carplay, and all the tech features you could want in a sporty compact car.
2. 2018 Ford Focus ST
The 2018 Ford Focus ST was the last model year for the hot hatchback, and it can now be found all over the used market. For far less than $30,000, you’ll get a four-door hatchback that comfortably seats five people with the cargo capacity to carry much of their stuff. The real star, though, is under the hood.
The 2018 Focus ST is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that puts out 252 hp through the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. The Focus ST is about one second slower to 60 mph compared to the new WRX, but it still offers plenty of on-road fun despite its age.
3. 2020 Acura TLX
If you want a little more comfort than what the Subaru WRX has to offer and similar performance, the Acura TLX is a good substitute. The 2020 TLX features a standard 206-hp, four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s a front-wheel-drive car with this engine, but it has rear-wheel steering, which is an added plus.
If you want more power, the optional 3.5-liter V6 puts out 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque for a more exciting driving experience. That power is routed to all four wheels using Acura’s SH-AWD system and a nine-speed automatic transmission. It might be a little unique compared to the WRX, but we think that the Acura TLX is a bit more sophisticated.
4. 2021 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
The 2021 Hyundai Veloster Turbo is another hot hatchback offered only in a front-drive configuration. Under its hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that produces 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to scoot the car up to 60 mph from a standstill in only 5.9 seconds, according to Car and Driver’s testing.
Performance aside, one thing that makes this WRX alternative unique is its three-door architecture. It may be funky, but the Veloster is still quick and practical, just like the new WRX.
5. 2020 Audi A3
According to Car Time, “The 2016 Audi A3 rolled out in 1996, just a few years before the Subaru WRX, and it’s been a popular choice since. One of the early adopters of advanced technology, the Audi Q3 Quattro not only beat out competitors with performance, it also did it with style.”
We couldn’t agree more. The 2020 Audi A3 benefits from the brand’s legendary Quattro all-wheel drive system and a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. That powerplant puts out 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is on par with the WRX. If you’re looking for a German sedan with the same characteristics as the WRX, the A3 is a great choice.
Five used Subaru WRX alternatives
The 2022 Subaru WRX might be out of reach to some buyers, given its $30,000-plus price point. However, any one of these five substitutes should suffice if you’re looking for something cheaper with the same type of driving excitement.