2024 Subaru WRX review

Posted on June 8, 2024Comments Off on 2024 Subaru WRX review

The Subaru WRX was reborn in 2022, with a new look and a new lease on life.

Sitting further than ever from the Impreza on which it was once based, Subaru pitched the latest model as a more grown-up take on the formula. It even axed the WRX STI, breaking the hearts of rally enthusiasts, yobbos, and bank robbers the world over.

The new 2024 Subaru WRX Club Spec aims to fill that void. It’s not an STI, and you don’t get more power… but there’s an oversized rear wing, more focused tyres and brakes, an upgraded interior, and a prominent Club Spec badge calling to mind legends from the mid-2000s.

We’ve criticised the new WRX for overachieving at the boring stuff, and falling short on the metrics by which its predecessors have been judged.

WATCH: Paul’s video review of the WRX RS Sedan

Does the Club Spec cure those ills?

How does the Subaru WRX compare?

View a detailed breakdown of the Subaru WRX against similarly sized vehicles.

Subaru WRX cutout image

Subaru

WRX

How much does the Subaru WRX cost?

The new Club Spec is smack in the middle of the WRX line-up.

Model Variant $RRP
2024 Subaru WRX manual $47,490
2024 Subaru WRX auto $49,990
2024 Subaru WRX Club Spec manual $52,590
2024 Subaru WRX RS manual $52,990
2024 Subaru WRX RS auto $55,490
2024 Subaru WRX tS auto $57,990

Prices exclude on-road costs

To see how the Subaru WRX stacks up against its rivals, use our comparison tool.

What is the Subaru WRX like on the inside?

The Club Spec has a few choice upgrades over the regular WRX inside, led by the Recaro-branded seats.

They’re lifted from the WRX TR offered in the USA, and hold you that little bit tighter than the stock units in the corners. You also get extra kudos from car enthusiasts for driving a car with a Recaro logo on the backrest…

Beyond that, the changes are limited to a special decal in the coin tray ahead of the cupholders.

It’s a nice touch, but it looks likely to get scratched off if you’re actually using the coin tray for… coins, or garage buzzers, or any of the other things most people will logically put there.

A proper plaque or badge on the dashboard would have been a nicer way to make the Club Spec feel more special.

Beyond the Club Spec parts, the fundamentals are solid in the WRX.

The driving position is excellent, and even with the Recaro seats there’s an excellent balance between bolstering and long-haul comfort in line with the latest model’s pitch as a more grown-up daily driver.

Subaru’s chunky flat-bottomed wheel feels good in your hands, and most of the things you need to poke and prod fall easily to hand. The shifter is the same chunky unit you get in the base manual WRX… and in every manual Subaru since the fourth-generation Outback – no compact STI unit here, despite the Club Spec billing.

The vertically-oriented touchscreen takes care of your climate and media, and has swallowed the trip computer Subaru has traditionally situated atop the dashboard.

With sharp graphics and smooth responses, it manages to make moving away from buttons relatively painless.

There are prominent shortcuts for commonly-used functions like fan speed, and the physical controls for the volume and temperature are a welcome touch.

It’s also easy to create shortcuts for key safety features like the driver monitoring system and lane-keeping assist, which makes turning them off so much easier than in rivals with convoluted sequences of menus and button presses.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto didn’t feature at launch, but both do now. CarPlay worked flawlessly throughout our time with the car, and looks great on the vertically oriented display.

The analogue dials are unusual in 2024, given most rivals have made the jump to fully digital readouts.

They’re not the last word in modernity, with a small font that can be quite hard to read on the move, but they flank a colour trip meter that can show your speed, fuel consumption data, or media information.

The manual features an old-fashioned handbrake in place of the CVT’s electric unit, but still has big cupholders and a broad space beneath the dashboard. Just beware, it won’t wirelessly charge your phone.

Rear seat space is good. Despite its compact proportions (a Hyundai i30 Sedan is longer), legroom back there is generous enough to seat average-sized adults behind average-sized adults.

Headroom is compromised slightly, but six-footers will be able to get comfortable back there without ruining their hair.

A trio of top tether points feature for child seats, and the rear doors open wide enough to make loading kids into child seats

There’s a fold-down central armrest is standard, but rear air vents are only included on CVT models.

That does undermine the manual’s credentials as a family car, which is disappointing for mums and dads who prefer to row their own gears on the school run.

Dimension Subaru WRX Sedan
Length 4670mm
Width 1825mm
Height 1465mm
Wheelbase 2675mm
Boot capacity 414L
Tare mass 1519kg

What’s under the bonnet?

The Club Spec doesn’t get any more power or torque than the base WRX.

Tech Specs Subaru WRX Club Spec
Engine 2.4L 4cyl turbo
Power 202kW
Engine torque 350Nm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Driven wheels All-wheel drive
Weight 1342-1389kg – kerb
Fuel economy (claim) 9.9L /100km
Fuel economy (observed) 10.0L /100km
Fuel tank size 63 litres
Fuel requirement 95 RON

To see how the Subaru WRX stacks up against its rivals, use our comparison tool.

How does the Subaru WRX drive?

There’s just a hint of extra purpose to the Club Spec.

It still fires with the same subtle boxer burble, but the more serious Bridgestone tyres feel brittle on cold mornings until they have some heat in them, and the steering wheel is keener to follow cambers in the road than on the stock car.

There’s also a hint of extra firmness to the brake pedal, compared to the slightly squidgy first movement in the non-Club Spec… but it’s still a pretty amenable daily driver.

Ride quality is pretty damn good considering this is pitched as a performance car. It’s tightly tied down, but even on the unique 19-inch alloy wheels that are part of the Club Spec package the sharp edges of city potholes are nicely softened off.

It’s an easy car to drive daily, with a fat torque curve and intuitive clutch combining to make it simple to pilot in heavy traffic. First and second are short – first runs to 40km/h, and second tops out at 86km/h – so it’s never short of punch at city speeds.

You just never get enough noise. You can hear an old WRX coming from a mile away and know what it is, but the new one is quite subdued in the cabin to the point I banged into the redline a few times; there’s just no audio cues, nor the wobble of an engine with unequal-length headers to remind you what you’re driving.

That lack of drama is a win for daily driveability, and for anyone who wants to convince their significant other the WRX is a practical family car. But we were disappointed by the slightly flat feeling even the base car gives you, and the Club Spec – with its towering rear wing and pink interior graphics – exacerbates that further.

What the WRX still does do well is go fast in any weather, without any fuss. This is a seriously sticky sedan, and can be flung down a road with the sort of reckless abandon that would have front-wheel drive alternatives gasping for breath in the rain.

The more performance-oriented tyres, unique steering tune, and updated suspension on this Club Spec have removed some of the slack from the front end in the broader range, so it dives into corners more determinedly than before and, crucially, make the whole package just that bit more trustworthy.

It probably brings the car into line with where it should have been originally if we’re being harsh, but progress is progress nonetheless.

The goalposts have moved when it comes to fast cars. By 2024 standards the WRX is a bit pedestrian on paper, but it still feels quick in gear and packs enough of a punch to squeeze you back in your seat. The 6000rpm redline is a bit of a buzzkill though, and really sneaks up on you.

You also need to be deliberate with the gearshift, which is the nicest take on a Subaru gearbox we’ve experienced yet… but remains a Subaru gearbox, with a chunky action that doesn’t love being rushed. At least the pedals are nicely placed for rev matching.

For its flaws, there’s something refreshing about how simple it all is. There are no drive modes to mess around with here, nor an expectation you’ll spend nine hours setting up an individual mode after a few weeks with the car.

Subaru has added some technology for 2024. At launch, the WRX manual missed out on autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and a raft of other handy safety features.

They’ve since been added to the mix, and make this a more rounded car for long trips. Subaru’s camera-based EyeSight assists are well tuned, and their addition doesn’t suddenly turn what’s a relatively analogue beast into a car that’s constantly binging and bonging at you.

What do you get?

The Club Spec builds upon the specification of the entry-level WRX.

Subaru WRX standard equipment:

  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto – wireless, wired
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic LED Steering Responsive Headlights
  • Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp drive modes
  • 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • 4.2-inch instrument cluster screen
  • 6-speaker sound system
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Split-fold rear seats (60/40 in sedan, 40/20/40 in Sportswagon)
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Power-folding exterior mirrors
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Electronic parking brake with auto hold (auto models)
  • Paddle shifters (auto models)
  • Automatic stop-start (auto models)

WRX Club Spec adds:

  • Matte grey 19-inch wheels
  • Bridgestone S007 tyres
  • Brembo brake calipers
    • 6-piston front
    • 2-piston rear
  • Tuned steering and suspension
  • STI style rear spoiler
  • Recaro front seats 

Is the Subaru WRX safe?

The current generation Subaru WRX is yet to be tested by ANCAP, and therefore doesn’t have a safety rating.

A comprehensive update has resulted in manual variants gaining safety systems previously reserved for the CVT auto.

As such, all Subaru WRX models are now equipped with:

  • Autonomous emergency braking – forward, reverse)
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Emergency lane keep assist
  • Lane keep assist with lane centring
  • Leading vehicle departure alert
  • Autonomous emergency steering
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane-change assist
  • Front, front-side and curtain airbags
  • Driver’s knee airbag and front passenger seat cushion
  • Reverse camera

Driver attention monitoring remains as an RS and above feature, while automatic grades add an intelligent speed limiter, traffic sign recognition and automatic high-beam headlights.

How much does the Subaru WRX cost to run?

The warranty in the WRX is aligned with the broader Subaru Australia range.

Aftersales Subaru WRX
Warranty 5 years, unlimited kilometres
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000 kilometres
Capped price service length 5 years
Average annual capped-price service cost $588.47

CarExpert’s Take on the Subaru WRX

The Club Spec takes the WRX and turns it into a slightly more focused, aggressive car – but it arguably doesn’t go far enough.

The wing will make anyone yearning for an STI feel better, and the new wheels, tyres, and brakes all unearth more of the talent within the chassis…

But there’s no more grunt, no more noise or emotion from the engine, and it’s arguably too polished as an all rounder.

As it stands, the Club Spec is a nice addition to what’s already a nice range of daily drivers with a performance bent.

Call us greedy, but we’re still begging for more mongrel – come on Subaru, give us something harder again.

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