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Sunday, July 24, 2022

Review: 2022 Subaru WRX Sedan CVT


The moment you step inside the all-new, 2022 Subaru WRX. It’s all business. In a price segment filled with many choices from affordable sportscars like the Mazda MX-5 and the Subaru BRZ to hot hatches like the Toyota GR Yaris, the ‘Rex is the most well-rounded of them all. It’s a car that’s polished and all grown up now, but is still down to clown when you want it to. It’s great, but the moment you get down from it, you’re thinking: what the fuck was Subaru thinking?

Subarus can never win beauty contests. Often enough, they end up with something so bland, it makes flour seem like a great spice. But when they put their best effort into it, they actually come up with something that would want you to poke your eyes out. This “VB” WRX is one of those times. Granted that they do serve an aerodynamic purpose (and a practical one, if you count it being able to resist stone chips and badly designed parking ramps), it’s still hard to warm up to it after a week’s worth of driving. It’s even worse with this shade of Solar Orange Pearl. It’s eye-catching, yes, but it also makes it look like a sedan version of a Subaru XV too. Things are so dire in the design department that the aftermarket has done an intervention by providing body-color matched fender flares. Trivia: at 135 mm, the WRX’s ground clearance is better than the Civic RS Turbo’s, and couple that with a stubbier nose means no danger of scraping through driveways.



As bad as the fifth-generation Subaru WRX looks from the outside, it’s on point inside. The first thing that greets you as you settle in those nice, bolstered Ultrasuede seats is the stellar visibility. Resisting the low roof/high beltline trend found everywhere else, the Rex has an expansive windshield and giant side glass that reduce blind spots to a minimum; even then, those areas are covered by the standard blind spot indicators. The generous greenhouse also gives the interior a slightly airer feel to it; important given its doom-and-gloom all-black color scheme. Oh, and don’t worry about getting an impromptu tan with all that glass, they’re UV-treated so they cut down the searing effect of the midday sun even with the absence of tint.

Old school enthusiasts will be taken aback by the WRX’s gaggle of screens and displays. The gauge cluster alone displays 14 pieces of information at any given time (10 of them all crammed into the 4.2-inch display) on top of what’s displayed on the 11.6-inch center screen. But thanks to Subaru’s aeronautical background, they actually become second nature after a while. In fact, it enables you to geek out on all sorts of info from the amount of boost the turbo’s running to the amount of fuel (in milliliters) the auto start/stop system’s saving you. It can get quite nutty. If there’s one negative aspect, it’s that several vehicle functions are only accessible via the touchscreen. Thankfully, there’s a permanent shortcut that brings up the driving and driver assist page, so at least the pertinent controls are always just a screen away.




Even when you strip all the in-cabin tech, the WRX’s still a great place to be. There are some attempts to spruce things up with ambient interior lighting, lit cup holders, and all, but despite the level up in materials, the overall form still veers on being functional rather than luxurious. Still, the driving position is spot on and comfortable even for long, continuous stints behind the wheel. The rear, despite what look to be carryover seats from the previous WRX, can still sit three abreast. And like before, the headrests drop down almost flush with the seatback giving a completely unobstructed view of the back. And speaking about the trunk itself, the hold is mighty generous. The helper spring’s a bit aggressive (a sign that it can take on a large rear wing with minimal mods) and the opening’s oddly-shaped, but once you get past those, it can fit a month’s worth of groceries in there. And if that’s not enough, the rear seats drop down in a 60/40 split.

As practical as the all-new WRX is, its main reason for existence is to provide on road excitement, and thankfully, it also delivers on that front. The turbocharged motor may be larger than the outgoing model, but it “only” produces 275 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque—outputs which are considered pedestrian by today’s standards. Still, mash the gas pedal when merging on the expressway, and it’ll deliver a satisfying thrill. Zero to 100 km/h is done in about 6.1 seconds, but more crucially, 80 to 120 km/h speed is done in just 5.2 seconds (the manual’s a tad slower at 5.5 seconds) making any overtaking maneuver a cinch. But max figures only tell a part of the story. The extra displacement actually makes it more adept not just at full song, but as a daily driver as well. By flattening the torque curve, the power delivery becomes linear. Compared to previous outings, this FA24’s much quieter than before, but the telltale rumble’s still present here, though a part of me thinks its artificial—piped into the cabin through the speaker system.



If there’s a downsize to the extra displacement, it’s that the WRX is even thirstier than before. Within the confines of the city, it’s more or less the same as before—6.62 km/L (despite the idle start/stop), but on the highway, it’s about 10 percent less efficient than before, registering just 13.33 km/L—or about the same as the outgoing WRX STI.

The WRX is available with a manual gearbox for the Philippine market, most variants come only with what the brand calls Subaru Performance Transmission. Don’t be fooled by the label though, it’s simply an improved version of their CVT. Still, like the Rex’s on-paper output, there’s enough differentiation done to feel an actual improvement. On Intelligent mode, it behaves pretty much like it did before, but on Sport it goes through pre-programmed shift points improving its overall tractability. On Sport Sharp, it even performs rev holds that keep the turbo spooled up even during mid-cornering.



With no body panels shared with any of its siblings, Subaru’s now announcing to the world that the WRX is its own separate model. However, underneath it happens to share the same Subaru Global Platform as the rest of the Subaru family. Here though, it’s been enhanced for performance duties and for that, it gets additional welds and adhesives. The result is a more rigid chassis with way less body flex than it did before. As such, rattles and jiggles—a common Subaru trope—is truly a thing of the past. It also means that the suspension has far less to compensate for, transforming the entire driving experience.

The WRX is now a capable, well-rounded long-distance tourer. Putting in close to 1,000 kilometers in a week never felt so satisfying as it never hiccupped, no matter the corner or driving condition. On twisty, paved roads, it’s planted, predictable, and easy to hustle—everything a Rex should be. The sticky tires and seamless torque-vectoring all-wheel drive means it sticks to the road without fuss. Toss it into a corner a little quicker than you should, and the competent chassis soothes any sense of panic quickly. The ride is on the firm side, but it’s not uncomfortable save for over badly cracked-up roads. Now, if there’s one thing to complain about, is that the steering, while accurate and precise, lacks road feel. If you want to grind to a halt, the brakes also do their job well. The firm pedal requires a bit of an effort, but once adjusted for, does well to stop this high-po sedan.




Subaru, and most especially the WRX is no stranger to creating divisive opinions about its looks. But get beyond that, or go the aftermarket route by applying body-matched fender trims, and the all-new WRX represents a phenomenal performance value. The segment now has more choices, but none of them can come close to being a well-rounded sports sedan that’s as equally capable of the daily commute as it is on a slick, mountain road. Driven sensibly, and it can be a bit docile, but egg it, and you’ll find down for some playtime. In short, it’s the performance sedan that’s able to take you anywhere anytime fast as only a WRX can.

2022 Subaru WRX Sedan

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Ownership 2022 Subaru WRX 2.4 EyeSight CVT Sedan
Year Introduced 2022
Vehicle Classification Sports Sedan
Warranty 5 years / 140,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 4-door sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders F4
BHP @ rpm 275 @ 5,600
Nm @ rpm 350 @ 2,000-5,200
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive w/ Limiter
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 6.62 km/L @ 19 km/h,
8.19 km/L @ 25 km/h
13.33 km/L @ 71 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,670
Width (mm) 1,825
Height (mm) 1,465
Wheelbase (mm) 2,675
Curb Weight (kg) 1,588
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600A 245/40 R 18 Y (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Pre-Collision Braking System
Pre-Collision Throttle Management
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Centering Control
Lead Vehicle Start Alert

Blind Spot Indicators
Reverse Automatic Braking
Driver Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Active
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 8-way, Electric
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 4-way, Manual
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
Sunroof Yes
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

12 comments:

  1. How did you test the 0-100? GPS, vbox or timer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean stopwatch. Because others have tested it and it seems to get more than 7 seconds usually.

      Delete
    2. I only use manufacturer estimates. But other foreign publications do report a 0 to 100 km/h time of about 6.33 to 6.5 seconds which is close to the quoted 6.1 seconds.

      I don't go out doing instrumented tests on public roads.

      Delete
    3. getting soft.

      Delete
  2. This or the Geely Emgrand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you're being sarcastic

      Delete
  3. Emgrand the best all-rounder... Char.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Na not your boy wigo he he.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kuchi owns this comment section.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Will there be a video review of this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, not right now. We're still sticking to traditional long-form story-type reviews. The videos are meant to supplement, not replace our stories, if ever.

      Delete

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