The 2020 Subaru WRX is a familiar friend, and not just because the current model has been around for seven model years. With its sharp reflexes, turbo thrust, spacious interior, and occasional rough edge, the WRX is a go-to flannel shirt that just fits and seems to get better every time it’s run through another wash cycle. Or, in the WRX’s case, maybe it’s a pair of track running shoes.
Changes this year are modest and do little to alter our 6.0 out of 10 score for both the WRX and the racier WRX STI. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Base, Premium, and Limited trim levels are on offer, with prices that start around $28,500 and top out about $14,000 later.
Review continues below
The base WRX can handle daily-driver duties where its 268-horsepower flat-four barely breaks a sweat. The standard 6-speed manual suits it far better than the optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), though we can’t fault you for opting for a CVT WRX to occasionally go PDQ should you have a grueling commute.
The performance-oriented WRX STIs swap in a different flat-four rated at 310 horsepower, plus a stiffer suspension, uprated brakes, and an adjustable center differential for their all-wheel-drive systems. They are essentially street-legal rally cars that trade refinement for traction and speed. Drive one and you’ll understand the big wing. Few cars offer WRX STI-grade thrills, but that’s probably best for all of us.
The WRX is based on the last-generation Impreza, which is hardly a high-water mark for interior refinement. Though plenty spacious, the cars have a dated, low-buck feel inside offset only slightly by easy-to-use infotainment software and other controls. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard fare, while CVT-equipped WRXs this year come standard with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. That collision-avoidance tech can’t be had with the stick shift, which is a shame.
On the flip side, the WRX Premium with a manual can be had with an optional Performance Package, which for a reasonable $2,850 adds supportive Recaro seats and Brembo brakes, as well as deleting the otherwise standard moonroof that would probably get in the way of your race helmet anyway. The WRX’s intended use is obvious, and we love it for it.