An orange and a black 2022 Subaru WRX are shown driving in the open desert.

Diamond in the Rough: The Subaru WRX

What comes to mind when you think of Subaru? I’ll wait. Did “extremely high-performance and stylish sports car” come to mind? If not, it probably will by the time you are done reading this. The Subaru WRX may not look from the outside to be the sportiest of all sports cars, but its inner workings suggest otherwise. This car is built to be sharp, precise, and exciting in all of its operations. Pair that with an exciting and sleek interior, and you’ll be enjoying quite a ride behind its high-ratio steering wheel. A good Subaru WRX dealer will know the ins and outs of this vehicle, whether you’re looking to cruise through the suburbs or the city streets. But, before you get behind the wheel of one yourself, let’s take a closer look at this unique model. Here we go.

A High-Performance Machine

The WRX is home to an engine like no other. The Subaru Boxer engine has a unique horizontal layout, using pistons that move from side to side to cancel out each other’s vibrations. This makes for a smoother driving experience, as its balance allows for a maximum power transfer. The engine is direct-injection turbocharged and hosts a twin-scroll turbocharger for near-instant boost response. All of these features collaborate to produce 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque on the 2022 WRX. No, this engine is not exclusive to a single advanced trim; this is standard on all WRX models.

Speaking of power distribution, the WRX is equipped with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, which crafts an extremely stable ride, ideal for taking tight and fast corners. Now that we’ve arrived at cornering, we will stay here for a moment because cornering really is one of the main tricks of the WRX. The vehicle is also equipped with three features to help enhance the capabilities of symmetrical all-wheel drive: track-tuned suspension, Vehicle Dynamics Control with active torque vectoring, and electric power steering with a very quick ratio.

Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) with active torque vectoring enhances cornering response by reducing understeer, giving each corner the potential for thrills. The track-tuned suspension features double-wishbone rear suspension with pillow ball bushings, combined with impressive spring and damper rates and large anti-roll bars, allowing for next-level grip, control, and cornering. Meanwhile, the electric power steering produces a steering ratio 13.5:1 ratio, which sharpens the steering experience while giving it a centered, controlled, and even feel. Finally, the aluminum front lower control arms work to reduce unsprung weight and pivot on pillow ball bushings for immediate response. Any one of these features is impressive in and of itself, but the combination of all of them makes for an incredibly sharp, precise, and balanced drive.

A silver 2021 Subaru WRX STI is shown parked below a bridge.


The WRX offers an even more impressive model in the WRX STI. The STI (which stands for Subaru Tecnia International – the brand’s performance arm) takes the WRX’s steering another rung up the ladder by offering an STI-exclusive steering ratio of 13.1:1. So, if you thought the regular WRX could rip around corners, just imagine what the STI can do.

Additionally, the STI comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels with y-shaped spokes. These have very low unsprung weight, allowing for an awesomely fast suspension response. These wheels are appropriate for a vehicle that includes a Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD), a system that allows the driver to manually dial in the torque distribution between the front and rear.

The WRX STI also hosts Brembo performance brakes, which include 6-piston front and 2-piston rear monoblock calipers. These are finished in yellow (because why not?) and are combined with cross-drilled rotors to make for first-class braking and fade resistance.

But it’s not just the performance that makes the WRX and the WRX STI stand out; this is a sports car, so it has to look sporty, too.

Rally Style

While performing at a high level, the WRX also provides a very stylish aesthetic. The exterior bears a sleek, sporty stance supported by edgy all-black wheels. These wheels will go nicely with all the available color options, including the flashy new Solar Orange Pear. But while standing in a fashionable and sporty way, the car maintains a humble, understated appearance without going over the top or being distracting. In fact, the hood scoop for the intercoolers is the only clue that the WRX is more than a sporty-looking family car.

There is something to be said for the understated look of the WRX. Sometimes it seems like there is a harsh divide between a regular compact car and intense performance vehicles, but the WRX has found an excellent balance with its sporty yet simple appearance, making it appropriate for all kinds of situations.

Inside, the WRX offers a variety of different options. Simple black cloth feels casual and homey, with both light and dark shades of black and a red lining stitched on the edge of the seats. The black leather design feels more elegant, not only due to the leather but due to its uniformity in black color, sticking primarily to one lighter shade of black with just a tiny hint of red sprinkled in. In this design, the red serves only to complement the sleekness of the black and draw one’s eye without even really noticing it is there.

However, the interior of the WRX is designed for performance as well as style. The available Recaro sports seats are one of the most noticeable options designed to up your driving game. The two front seats are the only thing to change, and they both offer a well-bolstered and comfortable seat bearing the Recaro logo. The red is still featured in this design, but it shifts its focus on the two front seats to draw attention to the Recaro logo. This is by far the sportiest option of all, taking on an almost futuristic appearance.

The rear folding seats and cargo area of a 2021 Subaru WRX are shown at a Subaru WRX dealer.

Room for Cargo

The WRX is a sports car. But that doesn’t stop it from providing a generous amount of cargo space. Now, I will repeat: this is a sports car; you can’t expect the same kind of cargo space as you would find in a CUV. That being said, the WRX is unique in its design in that it is a compact sports car that features 60/40 rear seats making way for a 12.5 cubic foot trunk. Most other sports or compact cars have a trunk space that is completely separated from their seating area. You can fit a good amount of stuff in 12.5 cubic feet, so if you’re looking for a compact car but are looking for more cargo space than what most other models can offer you, the WRX will have you covered.

Subaru Keeps You Safe

Chief among the safety features of the safety features of the WRX is EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. Subaru defines this state-of-the-art system as “An extra set of eyes on the road and, if need be, an extra foot on the brake when you drive.” The EyeSight system utilizes a set of dual color cameras placed near the rearview mirror to monitor your surroundings. If an obstacle is identified, the vehicle will engage in automatic pre-collision braking, which can apply brakes at full force to bring the vehicle to a complete stop if need be. The system also optimizes cruise control and warns you if you are veering outside of your lane. The EyeSight system comes in very high acclaim, and all 2021 Subaru models equipped with the system received the highest possible front crash prevention rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Long Run

The Subaru WRX is a highly capable car. It is well-engineered and well-thought-out in every regard. It breaks the mold of sports cars by providing excellent cargo space and safety while not in any way compromising its compactness, sportiness, or stylishness. Best of all, it provides all of this at an affordable price tag, which is quite generous for a sports car that provides as much as the WRX. Subaru provides excellent vehicles for very competitive prices, and critics continue to acclaim the quality of the brand’s vehicles. The WRX seems to be an underrated sports vehicle, but as you can see, it is one of the hidden gems of the sports car market.