Subaru has finally redesigned the WRX for the 2022 model year, and people are somewhat polarized by the Japanese automaker’s rally-bred sedan. The front-end styling kicks off the list of schismatic touches, and I wholly agree with the criticism because the lower half of the front bumper looks tawdry.
Another point of contention is the Civic-like taillight graphic, which dates back to the Viziv Performance Concept from the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. I can’t explain why Subaru describes the optional continuously variable transmission as an automatic, but don’t be fooled by this gargle because the eight forward ratios are virtualized, not stepped like a real automatic box.
Finally, the 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer that replaces the previous 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer is a little underwhelming. Subaru quotes 271 horsepower at 5,600 revolutions per minute and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm) from 2,000 through 5,200 rpm, figures that pose a straightforward question. Considering that an Outback produces 260 ponies and 277 lb-ft (376 Nm), couldn’t Subaru do better for this application? Honestly, I’m sure they can.
Although not a dealbreaker, Subaru offers the sporty four-door sedan only in this body style. Pixel artist Joao Kleber Amaral has imagined the WRX in the guise of a hatchback and station wagon, two variations that won’t see the light of day because hatchbacks and station wagons are not in demand.
These segments aren’t doing particularly well in the United States where pickups and crossovers reign supreme, and Subaru doesn’t see the point of deriving the WRX into unpopular body styles. There is, however, some hope for the Levorg station wagon in markets outside of the United States.
Even if the Levorg WRX actually happens, a niche product can’t stop the Japanese automaker’s electrification strategy. Thanks to a strategic partnership with Toyota, the peeps at Subaru intend to launch their first electric vehicle in 2022 for the 2023 model year in the form of the Solterra.
The automaker’s electrification strategy aims to achieve 40 percent of its global sales from EVs and hybrids by 2030. Come 2035, Subaru will be forced to sell only electric vehicles in the European Union because the legislators have already signaled the end of the internal combustion engine.