The Subaru WRX is focused on performance and performance alone. To that end, it's equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine that puts out 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque along with standard all-wheel drive. While that's about on par with most other sport compacts at that price point, the way it delivers that torque between 2,000 and 5,200 rpm makes it seem much faster at the right speeds. Unlike most sport compacts, the WRX handles great on all surfaces, including gravel, dirt, and snow, owing to a softer rally-inspired suspension. Despite that, the WRX retains the ability to maintain insane grip on the road.
The most confusing thing about the WRX is the inclusion of a CVT as an option. Sure, there are a lot of people that may not know how to drive a manual, but there's no reason to choose the CVT. It's competent, and does deliver power in an efficient manner, but it's absolutely antithetical to the entire idea of the WRX. You don't get that extra level of connection with the car, and they even swap out the mechanical differential with a 50:50 power ratio for an electric one that fakes it when you go for the CVT. Most egregiously, they even gave the CVT, a transmission typified by its lack of gears, paddle shifters so that you can "shift" the non-existent gears.
Subaru WRX models with the CVT are for people who want to pretend that they like driving. Learn how to use three pedals and buy the manual. It's absolutely worth it.