Rally-inspired sport compact cars are on the verge of extinction, but the next-generation Subaru WRX aims to reignite interest for this enthusiast-focused breed. With the death of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo years ago, and the more recent exit of the Ford Focus RS, the WRX and the higher-performance WRX STI are the only remaining options for fans of the World Rally Championship—at least until the next-gen VW Golf R arrives. While we’ve only seen a camouflaged example of the new WRX, its large hood scoop and bulging fenders were clearly visible, and they were enough to whet our appetite. With the adoption of a new architecture that should improve driving dynamics, the possibility of a more powerful turbocharged flat-four engine, and the likelihood of a nicer interior, the 2022 WRX promises to be a big improvement over the outgoing version.
What’s New for 2022?
It looks like Subaru will unleash the next generation of the WRX and WRX STI for the 2022 model year. While there’s a lot of specifics that we still don’t know, the spy phots that we’ve captured as well as our well-informed speculation have us chomping at the bit to see the production-intent version, which we hope will be unveiled soon.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Subaru hasn’t said how much the next WRX and WRX STI will cost, but we expect each model to receive an uptick in price. Our guess is that the regular version will start around $30,000 and the STI will open at about $40,000.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
We’re not exactly sure what engine will power the next WRX, but we suspect it’ll be the turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four that motivates other Subaru models, such as the three-row Ascent. However, it will certainly be tuned to make more than its current 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. We’ve even heard rumors that it could make as much as 400 horses and 361 lb-ft on the higher-performance STI. Naturally, the regular WRX would be less powerful than that, but it should still pack more than the current engine, which makes 268 horses and 258 lb-ft. What we can say with confidence is that the company’s ubiquitous all-wheel-drive system will continue to be standard. We also expect Subaru to again offer the WRX with a choice of either a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) or a manual gearbox. The switch to Subaru’s Global Platform should also give the sport compact a stiffer structure and a lower center of gravity than its predecessor.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Neither the EPA nor Subaru have announced fuel-economy estimates for the 2022 WRX, so we don’t know how efficient the sedan will be in the city or on the highway. Once the official figures are made available and we have the chance to test one on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
We don’t expect Subaru to drastically change the next WRX’s interior design, but we do expect it to be updated with nicer materials and, hopefully, better sound deadening. Of course, there should be no shortage of desirable features that carry over from the current generation. We also expect the next WRX to offer a set of comfortable and supportive front seats, similar to the optional Recaro seats that are available on the outgoing model. However, we can only hope that Subaru preserves the old version’s excellent outward visibility and spacious trunk. Photos of the camouflaged test car indicate there is lots of glass area and a good-sized, conventional trunk.
Infotainment and Connectivity
While we don’t expect the next WRX to be available with the massive 11.6-inch vertically oriented touchscreen that can be found on the Subaru Legacy, it should boast a more modern infotainment system than the current generation. The list of popular features will likely include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as built-in navigation and USB outlets for front- and rear-seat passengers.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2022 WRX hasn’t been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While we can only guess what active safety systems Subaru will offer on the next WRX, the company’s suite of driver-assistance technology—called EyeSight—should continue to be available. Key safety features will likely include:
- Available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Subaru provides a competitive, albeit unspectacular, limited and powertrain warranty. There’s also no complimentary scheduled maintenance, but that’s not uncommon in this segment of sport compacts.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance