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The newest WRX is true to its rally heritage but easy to drive well on our rough Northwest roads.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Subaru comes in four trim levels with a turbocharged Boxer engine, standard all-wheel-drive, and a choice of six-speed manual of perormance Continuously Variable Transmission.Every time I drive the Subaru WRX, it becomes harder to justify the fact that I've never owned one. In the 20 years that the WRX has been on sale in the United States, I've driven every generation of this remarkable sport sedan and I've always enjoyed the car's power level, sure-footed handling, and abundant safety features.

When the WRX was first introduced in 2002, it came with 227 horsepower, which was impressive for a four-cylinder turbo back then. Today's 271 horsepower barely rates a mention by comparison, but the WRX has always had a delightful balance of usable power and supple handling. Many of the vehicles you can buy with hundreds more ponies don't really let you have all that power, at least not in normal driving mode, and not across a wide RPM band of the engine. So it's really a case of "power measured at the sales brochure."

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Most trim levels of the 2022 Subaru WRX come with an easy to use 11.6-inch display.

This is not the case with the WRX. The turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that is being used across Subaru's SUV lineup delivers torque and horsepower from low RPM, giving you a well-controlled performance driving experience. This remains true whether you select the six-speed manual transmission or the new Subaru Performance Transmission. The test car had the performance transmission, which is a highly developed continuously variable design.

It's fashionable to deplore continuously variable transmissions, especially in sports cars, but the first ride in the WRX should cure any doubts. The SPT responds quickly and delivers brisk acceleration without lag or the "rubber band" effect common to early CVT implementations.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The front bucket seats in the 2022 Subaru are comfortable and available with leather in the upport trim levels.

Inside, the 2022 WRX continues Subaru's standard of a no-nonsense sports car interior. The seats are comfortable and the cabin features are laid out in a standard configuration. It won't take you a week to learn how to turn on the headlights. Subaru has upgraded the infotainment screen to a large 11.6-inch touchscreen on most trims, though the base trim comes with dual seven-inch screens. As you move up the trim ladder, leather upholstery, heated seats, and navigation enter the picture.

On the road, the WRX reminds you that a sports car is designed to deliver a responsive and energetic driving experience. The WRX is true to its rally heritage with a softer ride that digs into corners as the standard all-wheel-drive finds traction. It's easy to drive the WRX well, and it's a forgiving car on our rough Northwest roads.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Rear seat room in the 2022 Subaru WRX is very reasonable for a compact sedan.

If you choose the Subaru Performance Transmission, you'll also enjoy Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance and safety system. This provides adaptive cruise control as well as automatic emergency braking and emergency steering assistance. Again, depending on trim, you'll find features like a blind spot monitor, automatic reverse braking, and steering-responsive headlights with automatic high beam control.

The 2022 Subaru WRX starts at $30,600 including all necessary fees. We tested the top of the range at $42,890, and it had all the advanced safety and infotainment features, including a nice Harman Kardon audio system. With four trim levels to choose from, it's easy to match the most important features to your budget. The 2022 Subaru WRX is available at area Subaru dealers now.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Subaru WRX is only avalable as sedan with a secure trunk.

2022 Subaru WRX

Base price: $29,605

Price as tested: $42,890

Type: Compact sedan

Engine: 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (271 hp, 258 lbs-ft)

Transmissions: 6-speed manual; Continuously Variable Automatic

EPA estimated mileage: 19/25

Overall length: 183.8 inches

Curb weight: 3,390 pounds

Final assembly: Gunma, Japan

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - A versions of Subary WRX have histroicvally held their value.

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