The Right Spec: 2022 Subaru WRX

the right spec 2022 subaru wrx

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]

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2 of 29 comments
  • 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.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.