HEALDSBURG, CA – There’s nothing limited about the 2022 Subaru WRX Limited that we recently introduced here. Subaru has redesigned and built an almost entirely new sports car that takes driving to the next level.
Based on Subaru’s new global platform, the chassis, suspension, engine, transmission, steering, seats and body are new and improved. The platform of this fifth-generation car has higher frontal lateral stiffness and 30% more torsional rigidity, allowing Subaru to use slightly softer shock absorbers with a longer stroke, providing a smoother ride while maintaining that sporty feel.
Subaru engineers took advantage of the stiffness of the new platform to fine-tune the suspension and steering, fitting the tire to thicker bushings, which certainly helps reduce vibrations and noise from the road.
The end result is an explosion of driving, responding eagerly to acceleration, braking and steering commands while providing a sense of complete control.
The all-new WRX is at home on the highway or city streets, but it really comes to life on the winding roads here in wine country. Built for excitement and style, the WRX is a comfortable everyday driver that’s expected to be competitively priced (expect pricing information this month).
According to Subaru, the WRX attracts the youngest drivers in all of its high-performance cars. This forms a focus on marketing efforts aimed at young drivers in their thirties who want an SUV.
Most of these drivers are college educated, enjoy action-driven activities and have image awareness. They want a car that is stylish, fun and exciting, but that can also be used for everyday driving at an affordable price.
After spending a day with the WRX, I feel they have struck that balance really well. The “Featured, Aggressive and Powerful” marketing strategy works well.
WRX styling flows from a hexagonal grille to the headlights, bypassing the slightly bulging fenders, and ending with a sleek rear window, trunk and rear end with an integrated spoiler.
Compared to the 2021 WRX Limited, the 2022 version is 3.0 Extras. (76 mm) is longer, with a 1.0 in (2.54 cm) longer wheelbase, and carries an additional 19 lbs. (8.6 kg), likely due to the larger 2.4-liter engine.
INTERIOR AND HMI
The WRX’s interior design is attractive while being functional, with few distractions, which is what you want when the focus is on performance and excitement. The Recaro seat is one of the most comfortable I have ever felt, even after a full day of driving. You can sit up straight, with shoulders back, not curved like most car seats impose on you.
The WRX dashboard and touchscreen are designed for both looks and functionality. In addition to HMI’s high-tech access to features, the WRX retains physical knobs and buttons for environmental control, audio, and more.
Speed and audio settings are also available on the D-shaped steering wheel, which Subaru says is “designed to make getting in and out of the driver’s seat easier.”
Bright, clear instrument cluster shows rpm, speed, oil temperature, tire pressure and gear. This gear indicator comes in handy when shifting between the six-speed manual with a close ratio.
The WRX’s touchscreen provides a streamlined experience that takes very little time to learn and use, a welcome change to the technological overload often found in new cars. No wonder Subaru won one of the Wards’ 10 Best User Experience Awards in 2020.
11.6 inches. (28 cm) High-resolution touch screen icons and menus similar to those on a smartphone, making it easy to find the features, settings, and commands you need.
The top of the screen shows the time, outside temperature and radio channel. The center of the screen provides access to all the major commands, and the bottom of the screen provides access to the dual climate control features.
Physical buttons on either side of the display allow for individual temperature settings.
Exciting handling and response
yearning. That’s the word that comes to mind when thinking about how the WRX responds over a wide rpm range. The turbocharged 2.4-liter DOHC direct-injection engine has the same maximum torque as the 2.0-liter engine in the 2021 model. However, horsepower is slightly higher (3 hp), and this additional displacement feels more responsive over a wider range, including That’s less than 2000 rpm.
Subaru admits that part of the reason for switching to the 2.4L is compatibility with other 2.4L models in the lineup. High and relatively low torque 3,390 lb. (1,538 kg) Curb weight, combined with close ratio gearing, allows you to rev up quickly and zoom through gears even faster now with the dramatically improved shifting in the updated manual transmission.
The available automatic transmission has also been improved to provide faster, smoother upshifts and lower gears.
Power is transferred to the road via an all-wheel drive (AWD) system at 18 x 8.5 inches. tires, with the wheels positioned slightly wider than the rear. Subaru engineered this to help the WRX hold the road better and the lower center of gravity provided by the stiffer Subaru Global Platform helps reduce rolling on steep bends.
The steering feels perfect and provides complete control, even with aggressive cornering as we make our way through country curves and onto Highway 1 on the slopes next to the Pacific Ocean.
While driving uphill on twisty roads, the sports car accelerates passionately even in the range of 1200 to 1500 rpm. Shifting to a lower speed increases the speed in a few seconds in successive tracks. The WRX did not disappoint in any driving condition. In fact, it exceeds expectations.
The model we drove had blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, lane departure prevention, rear cross-traffic alert, emergency braking, and advanced adaptive cruise control.
It is based on improved Subaru EyeSight technology with dual front cameras and a wide range of available driver assistance features. New features include automatic emergency steering that works in conjunction with pre-collision braking at speeds below 50 mph (80 km/h).
Since 90% of the drive was on winding country roads, we didn’t get a chance to try out the ADAS features. But based on my experience driving the 2022 Forester Outback Wilderness last month in Oregon, I would rank Subaru’s ADAS on par with the best systems I’ve encountered so far for the type and number of situations it can handle, its reliability and smoothness of control.
Overall, it’s no wonder the Subaru WRX is one of the best-selling performance compact cars. Given the improvements made to the 2022 model, I expect Subaru to grow its market, especially with the automatic transmission version.
View more photos at the 2022 Subaru WRX showroom.