The way the Internet works now, everything has a
community of fans behind it. Automakers and their models have always had clubs of enthusiasts, but their ability to connect and communicate has increased these groups’ influence to sci-fi film and comic book proportions.
Subaru’s recent WRX reveal, for example. With a history of rally wins, the all-wheel drive (AWD) sports sedan has garnered a devoted following over the years. And in turn, Subaru has earned a reputation for listening to the community’s reactions and adjusting the car accordingly.
This is why WRX fans are so frustrated with the model’s latest installment. They say that this time, instead of paying attention to how they responded to the 2017 concept, Subaru turned the WRX into the same boring sedan made by other automakers.
A short history of the Subaru WRX
Subaru quickly released the high-performance WRX badges domestically but didn’t deliver them to U.S. dealers until 2002. By then the WRX had already acquired a fanbase here, and when it arrived, Pumphrey says it reintroduced the fun, affordable
sports carto the American market.
People who loved the Subaru AWD sports car really loved it until an ill-conceived redesign in 2008 made the WRX look and drive much like the other sedans of the era. But Subaru admitted its mistake and upgraded the car’s horsepower and suspension the following year.
How Subaru repeated history with the 2022 WRX
Going back on their attempts to turn the WRX into a mainstream commuter in 2008 showed the car’s enthusiasts that the automaker cared about their opinions and was willing to adapt the car’s design to satisfy their desires. But the good blood didn’t last long.
Redesigns since have received mixed reviews from the community, many of whom feel they were steps back in the direction of less aggression to appeal to mainstream markets.
Fans were ecstatic when the automaker presented a rally-ready WRX Viziv concept in 2017, but the final product revealed via video in September 2021 failed to deliver.
Complaints focus on the crossover-like design, the mellow 271 horsepower, and the decision to only offer a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in higher trim levels. Comments on YouTube were so negative that Subaru unlisted the video on its channel.
Other affordable sports cars from this year
The Impreza WRX might’ve sparked renewed interest in affordable, powerful cars, but Subaru’s rivals responded with their own models for the segment, and some of the most recent examples blow the WRX out of the water.
2022’s Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai Veloster N, and Nissan Z are all vying for similar space in the auto market, and they all offer more power and better performance than the WRX. They also, however, all cost more than the Subaru WRX.