October 17, 2021

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2021 Subaru WRX

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What kind of car is the 2021 Subaru WRX? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Subaru WRX and its STI spin-off are performance four-doors with plain wrappers and hot turbo filling—a Crunch Wrap minus the heartburn. A turbo flat-4 sits in the middle of standard all-wheel drive to crank out cornering prowess by the mile, paired with another excellent track record, that of safety. The WRX is a rival for cars like the Benz CLA45 AMG, just not price—there it’s more like a Hyundai Veloster N or a Honda Civic Type R.

Is the 2021 Subaru WRX a good car?

Review continues below

It’s nearly ideal for those who want to pinball around mountain passes without a second look. We give it a TCC Rating of 6.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.) 

What’s new for the 2021 Subaru WRX?

Premium-package cars get keyless start. A new WRX is in the works.

Until it arrives, the current car’s electrifying handling will have to do—since its four-door sedan body doesn’t get amped up about much. It’s a stolid shape, one that wakes up in STI livery with a big rear wing and big 19-inch wheels. The WRX’s cabin couldn’t be more straightforward: Its small touchscreen, big analog gauges, and cloth upholstery are in some ways a welcome throwback to simpler car times, but they don’t look the $40,000 part.

The WRX is equal part turbo-4 strength and all-wheel-drive finesse. In base spec, the WRX’s 268-horsepower flat-4 hardly breaks a sweat to deliver sub-six-second 0-60 mph times through a long-throw 6-speed manual and all-wheel drive with a 50:50 torque split. That’s the spec we’d pick—except for the omission of automatic emergency braking. If you’re daily-driving it, you’ll probably pick the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which paddles through its synthetic ratios eagerly enough, while splitting power through a more sophisticated center differential. In either case the WRX’s flat cornering attitude and its precise steering will have you tackling old corners with new interest.

Then there’s the STI, which storms out of the gate with a 310-hp flat-4, a different 6-speed manual, a stiffer suspension, an adjustable center differential, and uprated brakes. It’s a rally car tamed slightly for the street and it handles like one, from the razor-sharp steering to the brittle, bruising ride. 

All WRXs get a plain-looking interior with room for four adults. The base sport seats in front can swap out for Recaro buckets that cinch and pinch too tightly for large bodies. The back seat’s snug, too, and the WRX’s trunk is small, at 12.0 cubic feet. 

Safety scores, though, have been impressive. The NHTSA and the IIHS both give the WRX top scores, though the manual-transmission WRX lacks automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. 

How much does the 2021 Subaru WRX cost?

The $29,345 WRX 6-speed manual has power features and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We like the $30,970 WRX Premium despite its CVT—it gets a power driver seat, leather upholstery, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen, with options for Recaro front seats and Brembo brakes. Costing more than $42,000, the STI edition is primed for track time, but it’s poorly suited for the street.

Where is the 2021 Subaru WRX made?

In Japan.

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