How To Build a Custom Subaru WRX

Find out what factory trim levels and aftermarket upgrades are best for your Subaru WRX.
Written by Zachary Morgan
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Mar 23, 2023
Now in its 30th year of production, the Subaru WRX has a lot to offer drivers who want a sporty little car with great customization options. Between the four available trim levels and an array of available upgrades, you’re in a great position to build a custom WRX that suits your exact needs.
When you buy a car, you first need to consider the role you want that car to play in your life. It’s a major purchase, so you should know what you want and expect from a vehicle before going to a dealership or booting up Craigslist. You should be thinking about road trips, car seats, storage capacity, or any number of things that are relevant to your automotive needs right now.
If you think you want something a little sportier than the rest, maybe consider the Subaru WRX. It has great customization options, so you can even fine-tune a model to fit your exact needs. Here a handy guide to building a custom
Subaru WRX
.
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2022 Subaru WRX customization options

The Subaru WRX is a sporty compact car inspired by rally races and culture. Its superb handling, powerful little engine, and sleek aesthetic has made the WRX a popular choice for racing enthusiasts for three decades now. Aside from its roots in the rally scene, the WRX is known as a fairly customizable car, with an array of available options for wheels, suspensions, and driver-assistance features.
The Subaru WRX exists in a more niche corner of the car market, competing with other sports compacts like the
Volkswagen Golf
,
Mazda 3
, and
Hyundai Elantra N
. While it may not beat some of these models in a head to head race, the WRX is the only car in its class that has the option of all-wheel drive.
The 2022 WRX is offered in four trim levels: Base,
Premium
,
Limited
, and GT. Prices range from $30,000–$43,000, with most of the additional features for the higher trims focusing on driver-assistance technology (like keyless entry and bigger touchscreen display).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal of variety when it comes to the engine options, as all WRX models are equipped with the same 271-hp 2.4L turbocharged flat-four engine.
Your best choice when it comes to factory upgrades will be the transmission. All WRX models come equipped with a standard six-speed manual transmission, but you have the option of upgrading to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Outfitting your WRX with a CVT (also known as a Subaru Performance Transmission) will also net you the following features:
  • Forward collision mitigation: Warns the driver of an imminent collision and automatically applies the brakes in certain situations.
  • Adaptive cruise control: Keeps a specific distance between your car and the one in front of you. Distance is set by the driver.
  • Lane-keeping assist: Automatically steers your WRX back into the middle of the lane if you drift over the center line.
  • Evasive steering assist: Aids the forward collision mitigation with steering-based collision avoidance

Subaru WRX optional packages

Subaru does not really offer much when it comes to additional packages for the WRX. Most models have nothing to choose from in the way of add-ons. The Premium is the only model offered with a choice of upgrade packages, but these are limited to a powered moonroof and/or a premium Harman Kardon audio system.
While the WRX may not have a host of performance-oriented packages to choose from, Subaru does offer an array of
branded individual add-ons
for interested drivers to choose from. Mud flaps, cargo nets, all-weather floor mats, and roadside emergency kits are just a few of the accessories available for the WRX.

How to customize your WRX to save money

Most dealership packages will noticeably increase the price of a vehicle, either by a few hundred dollars or several thousand. In addition, certain add-ons can actually increase your insurance rate if they require additional protection.
Of course, the WRX doesn’t actually have many options when it comes to dealership add-ons, so your best bet to save money on a new WRX is to choose a lower
trim level
that still suits your needs. You can actually save quite a bit this way, as there is almost a $10,000 difference between the Base and GT trims. The Premium is the most popular trim level, as it is only $1,500 more than the Base and comes with great features like keyless entry/ignition, automatic climate control, and LED fog lights.
However, there are some aftermarket upgrades you can make yourself to help save money. The WRX really shines in the aftermarket, so consider some of the following add-ons for your custom WRX:
  • Air/oil separator: Like most turbocharged engines, the WRX’s four-cylinder has a problem with excessive oil in the ventilation system. Adding an aftermarket air/oil separator can address this problem and reduce oil consumption, increase fuel octane, and improve overall engine performance.
  • Tuning: If you plan on making various upgrades to your WRX, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly tuned for these upgrades. Fine-tuning your WRX will keep your engine running safely, optimize power input, increase fuel efficiency, and improve overall performance.
  • Security system: Although your WRX will come with a standard Subaru theft prevention system, installing additional anti-theft measures will help protect your vehicle and can even get you a discount on your insurance rate.
There may not be much you can do to save money at the dealership, but picking the right aftermarket upgrades for your WRX can save you money in the long run by increasing fuel efficiency and engine performance.

The best Subaru WRX mods

Subaru might not offer much in terms of customization at the dealership, but this is offset by the extensive
aftermarket upgrades
and modification options for the WRX. Here are a few upgrades popular with WRX owners:

Tires

As a rally racer at heart, tires are very important for a WRX. Many drivers choose to upgrade to a more flashy set of wheels while skimping out on the tires, but performance will suffer as a result. 
For racetrack or canyon drivers, a sticky, performance-oriented tire like the
Toyo R888
will best suit your needs. Alternatively, if you use your WRX more for commuting or Sunday driving, something with a higher treadwear rating like the
Dunlop Direzza DZ102
would be better.

Engine

The 271-hp four-cylinder engine on the WRX might not seem powerful enough for drivers intrigued by its racing design and heritage. That said, the WRX’s engine is still a turbocharged rally engine by design, and its performance can be elevated via a few tweaks.
A cold air intake is a great upgrade for the engine on your WRX, increasing air flow and unlocking more potential from its turbo capabilities. Keep in mind, though, that Subarus can be a bit temperamental with aftermarket intakes, so do the research and read the reviews before making your decision.

How to find affordable insurance for your Subaru WRX

No matter what upgrades you make to your WRX, there’s one you absolutely can’t overlook: proper
car insurance
coverage.
That’s where
Jerry
comes in. Jerry is the
trustworthy super app
for car owners and the easiest way to compare quotes online. Our process is simple, just download the app and enter your information.
In less than a minute, you’ll get a list of quotes from some of the nation’s top-rated insurance companies. Much like your WRX, this list will be completely customized to you and your needs. If you see something you like, our team of experts will walk you through finalizing your new policy and can even help you cancel your old one.
The best part? Jerry users save an average of $887 a year on their car insurance! Savings like that can help you buy even more upgrades for your WRX, like that spoiler you’ve had your eye on… 
Jerry
had a super simple app that was easy to navigate. And their terrific customer service made everything even easier. Plus I saved $700 in a single year.” —Lucia M.
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