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$27,495 - 41,695 MSRP

2020 Subaru WRX Review

The 2020 Subaru WRX places near the bottom of our compact car rankings because its rivals surpass it in many areas. The WRX is one of the most fun-to-drive cars in the class, but competitors have nicer cabins and earn better predicted reliability ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Exceptional handling
  • Powerful engines
  • Comfortable seats with plenty of space
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • Less upscale than rivals
  • Rock-bottom predicted reliability rating
  • Below-average trunk space

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Subaru WRX's #11 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Subaru WRX has a score of 7.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 46 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 6.2
Safety: 9.5
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Subaru WRX a Good Car?

Yes, the Subaru WRX is a good compact car. It has a powerful engine, excellent handling, two rows of adult-friendly seats, and some intuitive tech features. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is uncommon for the class, and it offers a lot of driver assistance features.

There are plenty of areas where the WRX comes up short, however, which is why it sits low in our rankings. Most class rivals have better fuel economy and more trunk space. Several competitors have more standard active safety features and a more upscale interior. And the Subaru's predicted reliability rating is the worst possible, trailing almost every other car in the class.

Should I Buy the Subaru WRX?

If you value driving enjoyment above all else, then this Subaru should be one of your top choices among compact cars. Otherwise, this is a car that shoppers should avoid. On top of its low ranking, it's one of the most expensive cars in the class, so it's not a great value. Rivals like the Honda Civic and Mazda3 make for better choices.

Compare the WRX, Civic, and Mazda3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru WRX?

The 2020 WRX belongs to a generation that began with the car's debut for the 2015 model year (prior to 2015, Subaru made an Impreza WRX but not a standalone WRX model). Aside from minor updates to the available features list, there are no major changes for 2020.

For 2019, the WRX’s standard touch screen grows to 6.5 inches (from 6.2 inches), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and the engines in STI models gain an additional 5 horsepower. The 2018 WRX received an updated front fascia, improved cabin materials, and available Recaro front seats. This refresh also included a retuned suspension and improved shifting and steering feel, which results in better handling and performance.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for an older WRX, but you'd miss out on the newer models' improvements.

Check out our reviews of the 2018 Subaru WRX and 2019 Subaru WRX to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 WRX »

We Did the Research for You: 33 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current WRX generation, which runs from 2015 to 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Subaru WRX Cost?

The WRX has a base price of $27,495. That's well beyond the starting price of most other compact cars. The range-topping WRX STI Limited has a starting price of $41,695. That is also much more than the top trim price of almost every class rival.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru WRX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Subaru WRX or Honda Civic?

While the WRX comes only as a sedan, the Honda Civic is available in three body styles: coupe, sedan, and hatchback. The Honda has a couple of performance-oriented trims, the Civic Si and Civic Type R, and the latter’s engine puts out 306 horsepower, nearly matching the WRX STI's 310 horses. The Civic has a higher-quality interior and more cargo space than the WRX, and it gets better fuel economy, regardless of body style. In short, the Civic is a much better all-around choice than the WRX.

Which Is Better: Subaru WRX or Mazda3?

The Mazda3 joins the WRX in the quest to be the most fun-to-drive compact car. The Mazda3 is nimble, and while its engine doesn't have as much horsepower as the WRX, the Mazda3 gets better fuel economy and feels just as energetic. Inside, the Mazda3 has one of the nicest cabins in the class. It's available as a sedan or a hatchback, and both body styles offer more cargo space than the Subaru. All things considered, you're better off with the Mazda. It matches many of the Subaru's strengths and outperforms it in other areas.

Compare the WRX, Civic, and Mazda3 »

WRX Interior

How Many People Does the WRX Seat?

The WRX seats five people. The front seats are comfortable and provide plenty of head- and legroom. The back seats are also comfortable, with enough room for adults, even when a taller person is sitting up front. The seats remain supportive on longer drives as well.

WRX and Child Car Seats

The WRX provides two full sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The tether anchors are easy to find and identify, but the lower anchors are set a little deep in the seat.

WRX Interior Quality

Inside, this Subaru is just OK. It's plenty spacious, but it doesn't have as many soft-touch materials or the polished feel of class rivals.

WRX Cargo Space

Many other compact cars give you more trunk room than the WRX, which provides just 12 cubic feet of space. Still, that's enough room for nearly 10 grocery bags, and you can fold the rear seats down if you need to haul something bigger.

WRX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include the StarLink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Available features include a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch touch screen, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, and navigation.

The WRX's StarLink infotainment system features a responsive touch screen that's easy to reach from the driver's seat. The interface feels a tad out of date, but it works well and is easy to master. Helpful connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.

Read more about interior »

WRX Performance

WRX Engine: Plenty of Power

The standard WRX features a 268-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the performance-oriented WRX STI comes with a 310-horsepower turbo-four. Few class rivals match the horsepower rating of the base WRX. Both engines provide eager acceleration, with plenty of power for highway passing and merging.

WRX Gas Mileage: Pretty Poor

Most other compact cars get better fuel economy than the WRX, and some of them do it by a significant margin. With the base engine and manual transmission, the WRX gets 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Models with the continuously variable automatic transmission see ratings dip to 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. STI models get the worst numbers: 16/22 mpg city/highway.

WRX Ride and Handling: Among the Best in the Class

Few other cars in the class can match the sporty driving experience of the WRX. It's incredibly agile on winding roads, and it always feels planted around turns. Standard all-wheel drive provides terrific road grip as well. And despite the suspension's firmness, the WRX's ride is generally comfortable.

Read more about performance »

WRX Reliability

Is the Subaru WRX Reliable?

The 2020 Subaru WRX has the lowest-possible predicted reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power.

Subaru WRX Warranty

Subaru covers the WRX with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Subaru WRX?

The cost of insuring a Subaru WRX will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

WRX Safety

WRX Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 WRX. The nearly identical 2019 WRX was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS after receiving the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests.

WRX Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in this Subaru. Available active safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pre-collision braking, reverse automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, and Subaru's StarLink Safety and Security telematics system. Some of these features are part of Subaru's EyeSight suite of driver assistance technology.

Read more about safety »

WRX Dimensions and Weight

The Subaru WRX is 15.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,294 to 3,514 pounds.

Where Is the Subaru WRX Built?

Subaru builds the 2020 WRX in Japan.

Which Subaru WRX Model Is Right for Me?

You have five options when picking a WRX trim: base, Premium, Limited, STI, and STI Limited. The STI models are more powerful and have some performance-related upgrades. If you’re OK with the less-potent engine, which still has more horsepower than many competitors', the WRX Limited makes a great choice. It’s available with plenty of comfort and convenience features, and it costs thousands of dollars less than the STI trims.

Subaru WRX

The WRX has a base price of $27,495. It comes with a 268-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and all-wheel drive. Standard features include cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and the StarLink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

The base WRX doesn’t offer any option packages or notable available features. You can add several styling accessories, the most expensive of which costs a few hundred dollars.

Subaru WRX Premium

The WRX Premium starts at $29,795. In addition to the base trim's features, the Premium gains heated front seats and an upgraded StarLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.

You can add a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for $1,900. For $2,850, you can buy the Performance package, which includes Recaro sport seats and Brembo brakes.

Subaru WRX Limited

The WRX Limited has a starting price of $32,095. In addition to the lower trims' features, the Limited has a moonroof, push-button start, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

A CVT is available for $1,900, and an option package that includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded StarLink infotainment system with a Harman Kardon stereo and navigation can be had for $2,100.

Subaru WRX STI

The WRX STI starts at $36,995. The STI boasts a 310-horsepower turbo-four engine, a high-performance sport suspension, a rally-inspired rear spoiler, and Brembo brakes.

Standard features in the STI include leather and suede upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control. Recaro sport seats are available for $2,250.

Subaru WRX STI Limited

The WRX STI Limited has a starting price of $41,695. The STI Limited includes Recaro sport seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded StarLink infotainment system with navigation and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo.

There aren’t any notable features available for the STI Limited aside from some styling upgrades.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2020 Subaru WRX specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Subaru WRX delivers poised handling and quick acceleration, and it has a spacious interior. In most other areas, however, the WRX trails the compact car competition, making it hard to recommend over rivals like the Honda Civic, Mazda3, and Volkswagen GTI.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "In the 2020 Subaru WRX and WRX STI, you'll find a compact 4-door that can clean the clocks of pricier European performance sedans for a fraction of the cost. You'll also find a cult classic car brimming with Subaru's commitment to quality, safety and strong resale. … Best of all, unlike many high-powered performance cars, the WRX makes for an excellent year-round companion, because it's as comfortable being a daily driver as it is being an animal on an enclosed track." -- Autotrader
  • We do recommend checking out some rivals. Competitors such as the Honda Civic Si and Type R, as well as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R, have superior fuel economy and interiors that are quieter and better-looking. Hyundai's out with a new Veloster, too. For an affordable all-weather sport sedan, though, the 2019 WRX is hard to beat." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Unlike many cars in this class, the new Subaru WRX and STI are a blast to drive, rain, snow or shine, thanks to their sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems. If you like your speed balanced with 4-season usability, room for five and a sizable trunk, you'll like these turbocharged sedans." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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