The Right Spec: 2022 Subaru WRX

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

This 2022 model year marks the introduction of a fifth-generation WRX – that all-wheel-drive hooligan that some of us first discovered on the screens of a PlayStation. The car has gone through several permutations over the years, including some ill-advised styling choices, but has never left the psyche of most gearheads as one of the preferred turbocharged tools for sliding around a dirt-covered back road.

For 2022, the WRX adds a new top-of-the-line GT trim, featuring electronically controlled dampers that can tailor the dynamic performance to the driver’s preferences. But – hang on a minute; according to the bumf, that trim is only available with a CVT!

The humanity.

Sorry, SPT. Subaru has ditched the three letters derided by most enthusiasts for a trio of their own creation: Subaru Performance Transmission. This is a ‘box that incorporates adaptive shift control that can quickly respond to perform rev-matching “downshifts” under braking. The jury’s out ‘til I try one. Your author will readily admit that bleating ‘save the manuals’ isn’t the right answer in every single circumstance – especially when certain gearboxes are lightning-fast, nearly telepathic in serving up the right gear, and swap cogs faster than a human’s right arm ever could. However, some cars simply just feel right with a manual transmission, delivering better driver engagement. Trap speeds be damned. The WRX is one of those cars.

So, trick suspenders or not, the $41,895 GT trim is not in the running for consideration on this day. What about the other bookend? Kicking things off is an entry-level model simply called the WRX, priced at $29,105 with the manual transmission. All the typical comforts you’d expect are present including good climate control, folding rear seats, and plenty of USB ports. The oddball dual 7.0-inch infotainment setup is present at this price point, a configuration of two screens that reliably flummoxes this driver every time he gets behind the wheel of a Subaru so equipped.

Up a rung, the $31,605 WRX Premium brings some visual drama to the party by way of a low-profile rear spoiler in matching body color and front-facing LED fogs. Given the Type A personalities who generally line up for a WRX, this is no small matter. All the same, if you think Subaru dealers won’t have their body shop bolting those spoilers onto base models with alarming regularity, I’ve got a bridge in Idaho to sell you. The Premium earns the brand’s 11.6-inch jumbotron infotainment screen, heat in the seats and mirrors plus a windshield wiper defroster grid, push-button start, and dual-zone climate control. One can add a banging Harmon Kardon stereo for about two grand.

Beyond that, a Limited heaves into view for another $2,500 and brings with it some Ultrasuede seats and a few driving nannies. That H-K sound system is included in the deal, as are a moonroof and satnav. I’d save my pennies for new tires and stick with the Premium.

Manual shift, of course.

Please note the prices listed here are in American dollars and are currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.

[Images: Subaru]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • TR4 TR4 on Feb 23, 2022

    The author said " One can add a banging Harmon Kardon stereo for about two grand. " Actually it is Harman; I should know since I work for them! Harmon is a glass company.

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Feb 23, 2022

    Hmmm, I sense that when the GR ,and now Integra AWD hatches avail w/ manuals hit the market , the fanbois will pivot from Subaru. Besides I doubt Subaru will get this out before its competition launches their new models. I've heard FHI has some serious chip issues.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
  • Geozinger Up until recently this was on my short list of cars to replace my old car. However, it didn't pass the "knee test" with my wife as her bad knee makes it difficult for her to get in and out of a sedan. I saw a number of videos about the car and it seems like the real deal as a sporting sedan. In addition I like the low price, too, but it was bad luck/timing that we didn't get to pull the trigger on this one.
  • ToolGuy I agree with everyone here. Of course there are exceptions to what I just said, don't take everything so literally. The important thing is that I weighed in with my opinion, which is helping to move things forward. I believe we can all agree that I make an important contribution (some will differ, that is their prerogative). A stitch in time saves nine. Life isn't fair, you know. I have more to say but will continue at our next meeting. You can count on that, for I am a man of my word. We will make it happen. There might be challenges. I mean, it is what it is. This too shall pass. All we can do is all we can do. These meetings are never really long enough for me to completely express all the greatness within me, are they? Let's meet to discuss. All in a day's work. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. At the end of the day, I must say I agree with you. I think you will agree. When all is said and done, there is more said than done. But of course that is just one man's opinion. You are free to disagree. As I like to say...(I am working on my middle management skills -- how am I doing?)
  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.