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Tested: 2022 Subaru WRX Is Only Marginally Faster Than Before

Tested: 2022 Subaru WRX Is Only Marginally Faster Than Before

It's actually slower from zero to 60 mph than the last-generation WRX

  • It took longer for the new WRX to hit 60 mph than the last, but the new engine's additional power means its quicker and faster through the quarter mile.
  • Overall braking and handling performance have stayed about the same.
  • Don't expect a new version of the more powerful WRX STI anytime soon.

The fifth-generation Subaru WRX is here for 2022 with an all-new interior and exterior design, a more powerful engine, a stiffer chassis and a new suspension design. While it may be more comfortable and better equipped than ever, those hoping for a major upgrade over the last WRX in terms of performance will likely be disappointed with Subaru's efforts. Read through to see how the new WRX compares to its predecessor, as well as to competitors like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai Elantra N. If you want to know more about those two as well as the WRX, check out our three-way comparison video and the WRX vs. Elantra N U-Drags race video.

2022 Subaru WRX

2022 Subaru WRX

How does the new WRX perform?

For 2022, the WRX uses a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four engine (271 horsepower, 258 lb-ft) in place of the last model's 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four (268 hp, 258 lb-ft). As before, it's available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), though we've only tested the former as of this writing. Other changes include revised suspension and steering with an eye to improving the WRX's feel and responsiveness. As with all Subarus save for the BRZ coupe, the WRX comes standard with Subaru's all-wheel-drive system.

2022 Subaru WRX

2022 Subaru WRX

Edmunds logo
2022 Subaru WRX1/31/226.0 sec14.1 sec @ 97.7 mph110 ft0.98 g3,400 lbs
2019 Subaru WRX12/3/185.9 sec14.4 sec @ 95.1 mph113 ft0.99 g3,332 lbs
2018 Subaru WRX STI1/15/185.5 sec13.7 sec @ 99.7 mph108 ft0.95 g3,462 lbs
2022 Hyundai Elantra N1/31/226.4 sec14.7 sec @ 99.0 mph105 ft1.02 g3,196 lbs
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI1/31/226.5 sec14.6 sec @ 99.1 mph108 ft0.96 g3,192 lbs
2022 Honda Civic Si12/13/217.7 sec15.5 sec @ 91.5 mph106 ft0.99 g2,944 lbs

Alongside the 2022 WRX's numbers from the Edmunds test track, we've included results for some of its closest competitors in terms of price, size and performance. We've also added numbers for a 2019 WRX Series.Gray and a 2018 Subaru WRX STI that Edmunds previously tested. All of the cars on this chart use turbocharged four-cylinder engines paired with six-speed manual transmissions. The Elantra N and Golf GTI are both available with dual-clutch transmissions too. With the exception of the acceleration times for the STI and Civic Si, the cars all posted close performance figures.

2022 Subaru WRX

2022 Subaru WRX

But how does the car actually drive?

You can see from the chart that the all-wheel-drive Subarus get off the line quicker than the front-wheel-drive Hyundai and Volkswagen, posting quicker 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times than those cars. The new WRX was a tenth slower to 60 mph than the last one, but it made up the difference by the end of the straightaway, nipping the old WRX by three-tenths at the quarter-mile mark. That said, getting the best launch required a lack of mechanical sympathy. From the WRX test notes:

"Welp, I'll be honest and say I thought I broke this car trying to launch it. Even with the new engine, there's a significant amount of turbo lag below about 3,000 rpm. That means getting the ideal launch basically means dropping the clutch from about 5,000 rpm. The best run was done with ESC/TC disabled. If you leave it on, the car just wants to buck and bog off the line. The driveline shock when you drop the clutch is so harsh and severe that I half expected a pile of metal and fluid on the ground. The transmission is geared short enough that you stay in boost on the upshifts. You have to shift to third to hit 60 mph. Each upshift is harsh, too, and the tires want to chirp on the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts."

2022 Subaru WRX

2022 Subaru WRX

While the Subaru starts well, the Hyundai and Volkswagen reel it in by the end of the straightaway. Take a look at the trap speed and you can see that the WRX isn't accelerating as hard as its rivals. It doesn't feel as quick around the handling course as those cars either. There's a significant amount of turbo lag and the WRX feels sluggish and lazy off boost. You have to make sure to downshift to second in tight corners to keep the revs up. Good thing the pedals are well placed for easy heel-toe downshifts. If you get it right, the WRX can rocket out of corners thanks to the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system and sticky Dunlop summer tires that make sure all of the car's power is put to use.

Overall handling and braking are good, but the new WRX doesn't feel substantially different from the old one. The car corners flat and has good grip, but it doesn't feel as nimble or as lively as the Elantra N. Steering feel is middling too. It's not numb, but it also doesn't communicate as much of the road surface as we'd like. Braking performance was solid, with straight, even stops that actually improved as the tires got warmer. The pedal was softer than we prefer, though there was no noticeable fade during testing. 

2022 Subaru WRX

2022 Subaru WRX

Edmunds says

The new WRX improves on the last car in terms of in-car tech, comfort and space, but you may be disappointed if you were hoping Subaru would move the needle in terms of performance.