Subaru’s Controversial Redesign of the WRX Might Have Cost Them

Redesigns can be a bit of a risk for automakers. They may love what has been done to a vehicle, but then it pans with critics, and consumers aren’t buying. That seems to be the case with the 2022 Subaru WRX. The only ones who were in love with it seem to be Subaru.

The front grille of the redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX.
Subaru redesigned the WRX for 2022 | Subaru Media

The 2022 Subaru update was met with some criticism

Cars.com had some flattering things to say about the updates to the 2022 Subaru WRX, but it wasn’t all good. One of the things the review site liked was the updated engine.

The new WRX came equipped with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which generates 271 hp. This is slightly more powerful than that of previous generations. The manual transmission and AWD is another nice touch.

The handling has also definitely improved, as well as some features on the interior. The WRX was slammed for having a huge display for Apple CarPlay, but a rather small one for drivers who tried to integrate Android Auto. Subaru fixed this with an update, so it is no longer an issue.

Cars.com wasn’t totally thrilled, however, and stated,

“The new WRX felt a little soft compared with the previous generation. Considering the previous car’s jarring ride, I didn’t find this completely offensive, but Subaru might have gone a little too far in making the WRX more daily-drivable, especially considering there’s no longer a WRX STI (it’s been discontinued) for those who want higher performance capabilities.”

Subaru WRX sales numbers don’t lie

According to GoodCarBadCar, 2021 was a great year for the Subaru WRX. After some rather middling numbers in 2019 and 2020, which were probably thanks in large part to the pandemic, things were looking up in 2021. Sale totals rose from 21,178 in 2020 to 27,141 in 2021.

Unfortunately, that all changed with the 2022 model year. There was a massive drop of 8,479 sales as Subaru only sold 18,662 total WRX vehicles.

February 2022 was the worst month for sales for the WRX. In fact, it only sold 31 models that month, which is the worst sales the WRX has ever had. March only had 204 sales, but things began to pick up after that. 

The best month for sales was July, when the WRX sold 2,530 vehicles. Even so, it wasn’t enough to bring up overall sales numbers.

This is obviously a huge blow for the Japanese automaker, and many consider the recent updates made to have a huge role in why the WRX underperformed. There may be other factors involved, however, which may have negatively impacted the WRX. 

There may be other factors at play in the lack of sales

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There are many factors to consider when looking at sales numbers. While Covid is still around, and new variants are popping up, it’s not exactly impacting sales numbers like it was two years ago.

Even so, consumers are less enthusiastic about purchasing sedans at the moment. SUVs and trucks are where the most interest is at, and while sedans are still seeing sales, they are falling behind.

Then there’s the fact that there is a huge push to go green. The WRX is still a gasoline-powered vehicle, and many drivers are turning to EVs. It’s not going quite as well as some would hope, but hybrids have seen a huge jump in sales as many people who are on the fence about going fully electric are more open to a happy medium.

So is the WRX worth buying? It’s received some positive reviews, although things seem to be mixed. If you aren’t sure if the WRX is for you, why not try a test drive?