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!
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.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.