When it came down to it, Consumer Reports found the 2021 Subaru WRX a bit underwhelming compared to the competition. What made this mild-but-fun four-door sedan slip into the last place? Nothing too substantial. With an MSRP of $27,495, the WRX is still a fun little car.
Consumer Reports didn’t love the 2021 Subaru WRX
On the list of sports cars under $40,000 by Consumer Reports, there was quite a bit of variety. At the top of the list were the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata and the 2021 Hyundai Veloster. But the most surprising vehicles sat at the end. The 2021 Subaru WRX came in the last place. Ninth out of nine vehicles, only ahead of the unrated 2022 Subaru BRZ, 2022 Toyota 86, and the 2022 Volkswagen GTI.
What made Consumer Reports diss the WRX? The overall score came in at 58, fairly low for such a well-loved vehicle. The road test saw a score of 75 out of 100. Both the predicted owner satisfaction and predicted reliability only scored two out of five. Subaru does offer a solid warranty. The basic warranty is three years or 36,000-miles. The brand also offers the same for roadside assistance. No maintenance is included.
The 2021 Subaru WRX is lacking in safety features
Safety features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection are all optional. Lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot warning are also optional. For a 2021 vehicle, Consumer Reports argues that some of these should be standard.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did give all of the listed crash tests a rating a “good.” From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost all of the ratings were five out of five stars. While these ratings are good, the added safety features would be a big help.
With three different engines, the 2021 Subaru WRX is still a solid pick for many brand fans. It is offered in a 2.9L four-turbo (268 hp), a 2.5L four-turbo (310 hp), and a 2.5L four-turbo (342 hp). The Subaru WRX either comes with the CTV or a six-speed manual, which accounts for the varying horsepower.
It did get an overall EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined for fuel economy. This includes 19 mpg in the city and 33 mpg overall. The estimated annual fuel cost was $1,310. The smog rating was almost humorous, coming in at one out of 10.
What did Subaru get right?
While the 2021 Subaru WRX did come in the last place, it still got many things right. The WRX is extremely capable with its all-wheel drive traction. It accelerates quickly, and the four-door nature of the sedan is an added benefit. It also offers affordable high performance.
Consumer reports noted that the WRX was “painfully short in refinement,” but that’s the Subaru way. CR also noted that the ride was quite brutal, with a lot of noise in the cabin. The WRX can be difficult to drive and maneuver due to the trigger-happy throttle and clunky shifter. However, most people buying a WRX find these things more positive than negative.
Overall, fans of the 2021 Subaru WRX won’t be swayed by Consumer Reports’ opinion of the vehicle. It is safe, moderately affordable, and fun to drive. For under $40,000, the WRX is still an all-wheel drive beast with enough engine noise to make you smile.