Subaru's WRX is Everything You Expect, Nothing You Hoped For
Subaru finally gave the 2022 WRX a media day, it's a little dissapointing but on par for Subaru
Subaru recently unveiled its next generation WRX, set for sale in 2022. The car itself is exactly what one would expect if you’ve been following Subaru at all, disappointing. Aesthetically, Subaru always dissatisfies, especially compared to the early concepts, and this model is clearly about as attractive as a garden hose. Those that expected anything better looking were deluding themselves. Every WRX has been received poorly, so this is nothing new. They are often jokingly compared to small sedans like Civics, Corollas, and Altimas. Which makes no sense at all because the WRX is a small sedan.
It’s not bad, though it is underwhelming. Like when your parents weren't surprised but just dissapointed in your carreer choice. The motor is a little bigger, 2.4 liters instead of 2.0, making an extra 3 brake horsepower. The torque hasn’t changed at all but the suspension is “track-tuned” which I predict will make it feel faster but far less comfortable. If I’m honest, I don’t think the new WRX needed much more horsepower but I expected more than 0.75 hp gain per liter. It really makes me think that Subaru is falling victim to the dying sports car industry and must be working on other things (maybe, probably EVs). In my opinion they should take a note from Nissan and go all out in this, the last few generations of petrol sports cars.
The other thing in question is the STI model. Subaru always has an STI model to go with its WRX but this time it is strangely absent on the media release. STI’s are a bit more expensive and a bit faster. They have more bells and whistles that make it Subaru's flag ship car. This generation has a bit to prove since it had a bit of an identity issue a few years ago. The 2015 - 2021 models were still using the EJ257 engine, which was port injected, less efficient and out of date (if it were a person it would be old enough to drive a car). While, the WRX was using the FA20, a brand new block with direct injection. It even made just as much hp as its predecessor with half a liter less of displacement. This left us all to speculate that the STI would catch up by the next generation and it still might. However, it does raise concerns that it is lacking from the story as of right now.
Nonetheless, none of this is bad news. Every time Subaru releases a WRX it ultimately sells. In 2015 enthusiasts voiced similar concerns and made all the same jokes, but those WRXs and STIs are now ubiquitous. This model will probably do just as well provided there really is no competition. The only thing that comes to mind is the Golf GTI, which is less powerful and front wheel drive, or the Golf R which is more expensive and basically front wheel drive. Subaru is doing quite well for itself despite underdelivering for a few years now.