We last tested the WRX sedan back in 2018, with me at the wheel for a week. The car mostly impressed, with few things to dislike. For 2022, Subaru has released an updated model with some small changes, the biggest change is that the car is now built on the new Subaru Global Platform chassis.
We’re testing the wagon version of the WRX this time, still fitted with a CVT transmission but it’s an all-new unit that Subaru calls ‘Subaru Performance Transmission’. They suggest that it has a 50% quicker downshift and 30 faster upshifts. This may seem strange for a CVT transmission but keep in mind it has an 8-stage stepped mode. It has new mapping too, and also “automatic downshift blipping control for engaging performance”.
Is the 2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon a poor man’s alternative to the 2022 Audi RS3? We spent a week and 600Km behind the wheel to find out.
What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon
|What we like||What we don’t like|
Performance in S or S+ mode
It’s a sports wagon
Steering wheel controls
Steering responsive headlights
Looks in Sapphire Pearl Blue
No engine or exhaust noise
So much beeping
No manual wagon
What’s In The 2022 Subaru WRX Range?
Gone are just two models to pick from for your WRX, now you can select from a sedan or wagon, with two spec variations in each body style.
In the sedan range:
WRX 2.4T Premium (manual) – $59,990
WRX 2.4T Premium (auto) – $59,990
WRX 2.4tS (auto) – $64,990
In the wagon range:
WRX GT Premium (auto) – $59,990
WRX GT tS (auto) – $64,990
The last WRX Premium sedan (automatic) we tested in 2018 was $55,990 so the price has gone up slightly. As you can see you can still buy a manual WRX, but only in the ‘base’ sedan.
Since there’s now no STi model, Subaru has added “flashes of STI’s brilliance through the tS model sporting STI branding on the steering wheel and instrument cluster and the tS wagon also featuring STI branded front seats and tailpipes.”
It’s nice to know that only Australia and New Zealand will be getting the new GT Wagon, one thing our two countries have over all others.
All models are powered by a 2.4-litre, petrol-turbo boxer four, increased from 2-litres in the previous model. The engine pumps out 202kW of power, up slightly from 197kW. Torque remains the same at 350Nm, but is produced lower in the rev range. Subaru says that STi has “had input into the vehicle”, and this is mainly via advisement on settings changes in regards to the drive modes, and transmission change points/behaviours.
Mechanical and other changes for the 2022 WRX include:
- Redesigned front
- Lip-style boot spoiler (sedan)
- A new cockpit design
- An 11.6” centre display
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability
- Built on the new Subaru Global Platform chassis
- More powerful 2.4-litre engine
- Electronic dampers on the tS models
- New dual-piston electronic steering
- Sedan 75mm longer, 30mm wider
2022 Subaru WRX Premium Standard Equipment Highlights
- Body-coloured mirrors, door handles and shark fin antenna
- Bonnet scoop
- Bonnet with gas strut
- Wiper de-icer
- Power folding door mirrors with indicators – Heated
- Door mirrors – auto dipping (passenger side), auto power-folding, position memory
- Electric sunroof
- Spare alloy wheel 17”
- Privacy glass on rear door, rear quarter and rear windscreen glass
- Rear spoiler
- Black Side cladding
- Driver Monitoring with Facial Recognition
- Ultrasuede and synthetic leather trim
- 18” alloy wheels
- LED cabin and cargo area lights
- Welcome lights (coming home function)
- LED headlights – dusk sensing
- LED headlights – auto high and low beam with auto-off
- LED rear combination lights
- LED front fog lamps
- LED daytime running headlights
- LED steering responsive headlights
- LED rear stoplight
- Air-conditioning – dual-zone climate control with rear vents
- Anti-dust filter
- Immobiliser security system
- Paddle gear shifters (auto only)
- Eyesight Driver Assist System (auto only)
- Automatic wipers
- Heated front and rear seats
- Leather steering wheel
- Alloy pedals
- 11.6″ centre screen
- Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
- SatNav with 3 years of updates
- Harman Kardon speakers
- Power sunroof
WRX tS model adds:
- Single CD player
- STi branded steering wheel and instrument badging
- Drive Mode Select system
- Electronic Damper Control
WRX GT tS adds:
- STi branded rear muffler
Both wagon models have a power tailgate with a hands-free sensor.
There is a generous range of 8 colours to choose from for your WRX:
- Crystal Black Silica
- Solar Orange Pearl
- Ice Silver Metallic
- Ignition Red
- Ceramic White
- Magnetite Grey Metallic
- Sapphire Blue Pearl
- WR Blue Pearl
For a full list of specs and options available for the 2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon, head on over to the Subaru New Zealand website.
How Does The 2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon Compare To Its Competition?
Want a performance wagon under $100K? She’s slim pickings out there.
|Price (excl CCP)|
|Cupra Leon VZ Sportstourer||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-petrol||228/400||4.9||7.6||620||$65,900|
|Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon||2.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-petrol||202/350||6.1||8.5||492||$64,990|
|Skoda Octavia RS Wagon||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-petrol||180/370||6.7||6.6||600||$57,990|
All prices exclude the refund/fee of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme (*CCP)
First Impressions Of The 2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon
I think it’s fair to say that the new model isn’t a huge departure from the old one, but that’s no bad thing. The WRX has always had a nice stance, and in a wagon? Even better. There are subtle changes at the front, and I was disappointed to see that the cool air vents on the front guards have been taken away.
Thankfully, the rear of the car retains those two purposeful exhaust tips – not fake in any way. They look excellent, and send a message to those cars behind you…this is a WRX.
Our car was finished in stunning Sapphire Blue Pearl, and that made the car stand out from all the grey and silver SUVs driving about. I got numerous comments on the colour of this test car.
What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon?
I’m going to be saying this a lot in this review; the car hasn’t changed too much. For the inside, there’s a nice, big new centre display. It’s got great resolution, but it can lag between screens a little. That’s the biggest interior change to the 2022 model that I can determine. On the plus side of the centre display, there is a small separate display at the top which shows your audio track/station, fuel economy, and the car’s angle. It’s there all the time and I looked at it more than I expected I would.
Our test car had a mostly black interior, with beige headlining and pillars lifting it a little and a definite improvement over the last one I tested that was totally black inside. It’s all very cosseted in there, feeling very much like a sports car in that respect. I see that an electric sunroof is standard across the range, a nice touch. There’s a manual blind to keep the sun out if you want to. Note that the sunroof is only a tilt unit, so it doesn’t slide back at all.
The black Ultrasuede seats do have red stitching and this is also carried over to the console, gear lever gaiter, steering wheel, dash and doors.
The steering wheel itself is flat-bottomed and has an STi logo on it and this is also on the gauges, and on the headrests too. The steering wheel controls haven’t really changed at all, but there was no need to change them; they work just fine and it doesn’t take long to not need to look down to see what button you are pressing. I love that the volume toggle on the left side of the wheel is so prominent, that your fingers fall to it very quickly. On the right side of the wheel, this toggle does your adaptive cruise control speed up and down. Weirdly, although the steering wheel is listed as being leather, it feels very plasticky to the touch. I would have put money on this not being a leather wheel. Not the end of the world but it did detract from the WRX driving experience, for me at least.
In front of the driver is a nice, clear rev counter with a 6,000rpm red line, and to the right is the speedo, pretty busy with markings right up to 280Km/h. It was interesting to see that Subaru has stuck with analogue dials, so there is no customisation or fancy options to pick from.
I made a point in the last review of saying that it was great that Subaru had not gone to touch controls for the AC, and instead was using 3 simple dials. Well, AC is now operated by touch, but it works quite well. You can access many AC controls directly from touch controls at the lower part of the centre screen, and they are always there, so that’s a bonus.
The front doors have some fake carbon fibre on them, and it looks ok. It was great to see that the door pockets are now felt-lined, meaning things – especially drink bottles – do not rattle around when on the move.
Ultrasuede seats front and rear will hold you and your passengers nicely, with lots of side support for the front seats. A nice touch is the 3-stage heating for both front seats, and the two outer rear seats. Rear legroom is the same as before, average but usable. Headroom is about the same, especially in the back seat. A bit tight (the sunroof sucks up some of the space) but usable.
Back seat passengers get access to two 2.1amp USB-A ports, grunty enough to keep tablets charged on a long trip. Front seat passengers also get two USB-A ports, an Aux port, a 12-volt socket and also a single CD player hidden inside the small centre cubby. The glovebox is definitely on the smaller side, and is mostly filled with the massive owner’s manual.
The best thing about a performance wagon is that it is a wagon, and the WRX GT tS Wagon has a good 492 litres of space available, increasing to 1,430 litres with the seats down. There are rear seat release latches back there too, as well as a steel full-size spare under the floor. The brochure says it’s an alloy spare but our test car’s spare was steel.
What’s The 2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon Like To Drive?
So, what about driving the new WRX? I have to admit, after testing the last model I lusted after a manual version. For me, a CVT doesn’t have a place in a performance wagon. However, I’ve got to say Subaru has done well with the “Subaru Performance Transmission” in this latest model WRX. Daily Driving will bring on some CVT flaring, but it’s not bad overall. Slightly spirited driving will see the transmission move into its 8-speed stepped mode, and this feels so much better, like a real automatic. As mentioned, it has new mapping for a more engaged drive.
When you are really pushing the car, on the whole it will ‘change gears’, giving the driver a much better experience and actually using torque to help things along. Only once on a slight uphill on a full-throttle did the car decide it was best to use CVT mode, and the rev counter sat on 6,000rpm and didn’t move. Still, that was only once. It seems this ‘new’ transmission is a big step forward from the old one.
Handling has improved as well. I recall the ‘old’ model was excellent, with lots of grip as you’d expect in a performance AWD. But I did feel the old model felt a bit nervous on the limit, like if you lost it on a corner, it was all over. The new model on the new chassis is much better in this respect. You can push this car right out to the limit of adhesion and then go beyond it. I had it drifting nicely at speed (on a closed road, of course), and it all feels very controllable, with little sign of nervousness. It was a big move to change the WRX to an all-new chassis, but boy has it worked. The car sits flat on most corners – flatter than the last model – and rotates nicely on its chassis. Turn-in is superb, too.
Getting to that point of adhesion takes some gusto, as with all-wheel-drive and those Yokohama tyres, the grip is very good. Those tyres can get pretty noisy, however, especially on coarse chip seal, and road noise can be quite evident at times as well. Perhaps this just adds to the driving experience of a WRX.
According to Subaru, “Electronically-controlled dampers debut on the WRX tS models to enhance the already sporty handling while refining ride quality. A new dual-pinion electronic steering system reduces steering resistance, for a smooth and linear steering response.” So, only the tS models get the adjustable dampers, but they certainly seem worthwhile. I thought the steering was very good on the last model, but this new one? The steering is excellent, with good feel, and the weight notably increases as you move through the different drive modes.
While the brakes have plenty of power, they can feel a bit wooden at times. Still, overall grip, handling, steering and braking all contribute to a car that can really hustle on any windy road.
Drive mode options are the same as before, with one small but nice change. The car always defaults to Normal drive mode, and hitting the mode button on the steering wheel will switch the to Sport, then Sport+, then Individual, Comfort is next, then back to Normal. The new feature is that when you tap that button, a new window pops up on the centre display to show you what the settings are for that specific mode, in relation to steering, engine response, AC, and other factors. It’s a great way of visually identifying what the car’s settings are. Naturally, in Individual mode you can select the settings you want.
Performance is as I remembered; in Normal or Comfort mode you can tootle about with the car feeling almost lethargic at times. You really need to give that gas pedal a good kick to get the car up and away. The gas pedal needs more pressure to it than I remember, making you take notice of just how much gas you are giving the car. In Sport or especially Sport+ mode, performance changes. The car is far more lively and WRX-like, with instant performance – with a slight bit of lag from a standstill – is available, especially in the midrange. The engine is certainly smooth enough too, right out to the redline, and is happy to hold those revs for as long as needed.
Getting to 100km/h takes 6.1 seconds, left in Drive to its own devices. I did try using the paddles to get a better time, but it made no difference. Slipping the gear lever to the right will shift the car into Manual mode, but there’s no option to use the gear lever to shift gears, so you have to use the paddles.
There are some other niceties, most of them carried over from the previous model, like a warning that the car in front has moved away if you are at the lights, and are distracted by some electronic device. Another carry-over is the automatic brake hold system. While you get a manual handbrake in the manual WRX sedan, all automatic versions have an electric park brake with an auto-hold function. I’ve mentioned many times how I love brake auto-hold. Just come up to a red light or stop sign, press harder on the brake pedal, and all the brakes on the car lock on and will not release until you press the gas pedal. It’s a great safety feature. I mentioned in the last review of the WRX that you have to turn this on in the menu system every time you start the car, which is a pain. Well, that hasn’t changed. Hopefully, in the next update, we’ll see this feature stay on if you turn it on.
Other little tricks I liked include the display of how much fuel you’ve saved at the lights. The WRX has the usual engine stop feature, and when it is turned off (at say a red light), the dashboard will show you how much fuel and time you have saved since the last trip meter reset. Over my 600Km in the WRX GT tS, I saved just over a litre of gas. At the current prices that will probably buy a house, or close to it. It’s one of those little things that is appreciated, and you can tell some thought has gone into it.
Like front and rear heated seats and a power sunroof, steering responsive headlights (SRH) are fitted across all models. I last saw these on the Subaru Forester, and in the WRX they are just as good. LED as well of course, but the simple act of turning the lights with the steering makes a huge difference to your safety at night. And yes, we all know Citroen did this first in a mass-produced car in the 1960s. You can turn off SRH in the menu system, but I’m not sure why you would want to. It’s brilliant.
The ride in the new model on this new chassis feels a little smoother than before. It is never jiggly, although – as expected – in Sport+ mode it’s fairly firm. However, it’s not to the point of making the car skip on a bumpy bend as we’ve seen in some other performance cars.
Some of the things in the last WRX that I didn’t like – such as the brake auto-hold function – haven’t changed. Adaptive cruise control still beeps too much, and on the mechanical side of things, putting the car into Drive or Reverse when the engine is cold can still be a jerky affair. I think for me, the biggest thing that is still missing is some sort of engine or exhaust noise. While the engine has moved from 2-litres to 2.4-litres, it still doesn’t have any character. It has no historic Subaru burble, and there’s certainly no snap, crackle or pop from the exhaust. The new model has an auto-blipping function for the automatic versions of the car (“automatic downshift blipping control for engaging performance”), but I never heard it at all (Subaru says that driving the car in say Comfort mode and then switching to Sport mode will make the noise more noticeable). In this respect, the Audi RS3 certainly has a massive advantage if you want to show your inner man-child.
There are a couple of other niggles for me. The digital speedo is tiny, ditto the digital gear indicator. It’s far too small, and I wish that when the car was in Sport or Sport+, the gear indicator at least would grow in size.
Fuel economy for the 2022 Subaru WRX is listed at 8.5L/100Km. Over my 600Km of sometimes spirited driving, I managed to get 9.4L/100Km out of it. To be expected in a 2.4-litre performance wagon. Interestingly, in the test with the 2.0-litre turbo motor, I managed 9.2L/100Km, so my result in the new model was pretty much spot on. Your mileage may vary.
2022 Subaru WRX GT tS Wagon – Specifications
|Vehicle Type||All-Wheel-Drive, Performance Station Wagon|
|Price as Tested||$64,990|
|Engine||2.4-litre, turbocharged petrol boxer, four-cylinder|
|Transmission||Subaru Performance Transmission|
|Spare Wheel||Full-size steel|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||1,653|
|Length x Width x Height,|
|Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,|
Litres (seats up/seats down)
|Advertised Spec – Combined – 8.5|
Real-World Test – Combined – 9.4
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
|Warranty||3 Years, 100,000Km|
|Safety information||ANCAP Rating – 5 stars (2014 onwards) – Link|
Rightcar.govt.nz – 4 Stars – 24TWGN
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