Middling styling. The 2020 Subaru WRX won't win many design awards, with looks that have been around since 2015. Competing models such as the new Hyundai Veloster N and Honda Civic Si have sharper lines and fresh looks. Part of the reason for the subtlety is that the WRX is based on the Subaru Impreza, which is your usual compact car.
The WRX has oversized front intakes, pronounced sills, and broad rear diffusers, each noteworthy features of performance cars. Opt for the WRX STI, and this one adds 19-inch wheels and a rear wing. If you want, you can swap out the wing for the same small lip spoiler included with the WRX.
The cabin features an instrument panel with traditional analog displays and the performance readouts perched on top of the center console. A thick three-bar steering wheel and aluminum pedals are other features of note. Overall, the interior simply is showing its age. We hope the next WRX is sufficiently modernized, and maybe Subaru will bring back the hatchback.
Roomy for four. The WRX seats four in comfort. The front seats with the optional Recaro sport seats are the prize. If you don't want the added cost, the stock seats are supportive and bolstered.
The wide-opening doors and upright roofline make getting in and out a breeze. The rear seat is ideal for two, but we wouldn't have a problem squeezing in a third body, at least for short jaunts.
As for the trunk, it measures just 12 cubic feet, which is below average for the segment. That's a trade-off for making room for all-wheel drive, a worthwhile exchange in our book.
Standard and optimum performance. No matter how you order one, the Subaru WRX delivers copious amounts of power. The standard 2.0-liter flat-four bangs out 268 horsepower.
Superior steering, wonderful handling, good gripping, and overall front-to-rear balance are its strong suits. We recommend the manual transmission, but understand that the continuously variable transmission (CVT) may be the better choice for you.
Jump up to the WRX STI, and the flat-four is enlarged to 2.5 liters. This one produces 310 hp and works with a different six-speed manual transmission to shuttle power to the corners. It offers shorter throws too. Another benefit is its unique all-wheel-drive system with a center differential. This one begs for track time, although it won't necessarily win many races.
Tech and safety are a mixed bag. We applaud Subaru for supplying Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, something not all manufacturers offer. You'll also find Bluetooth connectivity, one USB port, and a 6.5- or 7-inch screen. Having the option of a larger screen would be ideal, as would wireless charging.
Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist technology is finding its way to more Subaru models, but it's not standard here. Buyers have to select the optional CVT to get the suite of active safety features. EyeSight brings in such features as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
Final thoughts. There just aren't many performance cars of the stature of the 2020 Subaru WRX left. Mitsubishi and Ford abandoned the segment and Chevrolet is a no show. Only the Volkswagen Golf R has an all-wheel drive, something that's not available on other Golf models.
We think a new WRX is in the works with the STI's current engine not likely to return. Instead, a specially enhanced version of the WRX's flat-four seems possible, offering comparable power but with a slight uptick inefficiency.
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