2020 Subaru WRX Sedan

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Review: The Four-Wheel Fun Machine

If you've ever had to have the kind of disappointing conversation with your significant other that usually ends with phrases like "no, because we need a family car", allow us to present to you the 2020 Subaru WRX sedan. A compact performance sedan that is both affordable and free of frills, the Subaru WRX will not appeal to everyone, but it should. Available with either a six-speed manual as standard or a Sport Lineartronic CVT, the 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four that powers the WRX sends 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through an outstanding all-wheel-drive system. While it may lack the refinement of some competitors in the USA, this Subaru is brimming with character and is definitely worth a test if you're a keen driver.

Read in this review:

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 WRX Sedan?

A few small changes have been made for the 2020 model year, with driver aids under the EyeSight banner now standard on CVT-equipped WRXs. In addition, the Performance Package that can be added to the WRX Premium has been revised, with new Brembo brake calipers added to the deal. The paint options also got a mild update, with Dark Gray Metallic being axed in favor of Magnetite Gray Metallic. Subaru has also seen fit to introduce a WRX Series.White for the new model year - based off the WRX Premium it wears a unique shade of white paint, bronze wheels, and gets mechanical upgrades in the form of Brembo four-pot brakes and a specifically-tuned Bilstein sport suspension.

Pros and Cons

  • Immensely fun to drive
  • All-weather capability
  • Exceptional interior room
  • Good balance between body-roll mitigation and comfort
  • Manual transmission
  • Not as refined as many rivals
  • Infotainment system is poor
  • Customization choices are minimal, as are standard safety features

Best Deals on WRX Sedan

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
All-Wheel Drive
$27,495
Premium
2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$29,795
Premium Series.White
2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Other
$29,795
Limited
2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$32,095

WRX Sedan Exterior

Unlike the WRX STI that we review separately, the standard WRX sedan does without a big rear wing. However, you still get a functional hood scoop feeding the top-mounted intercooler, along with stylized fake grilles and muscular haunches. At the back, a quad-exit exhaust system creates images of aggression and sportiness. 17-inch wheels are standard, with 18s fitted on the mid and top trims. The Series.White gets further differentiation, not only with a unique shade of white paint, but 18-inch wheels finished in matte bronze, black badging, Crystal Black Silica wing mirrors, and red Brembo brake calipers.

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Front Angle View Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Side View Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Front View Driving Subaru
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Dimensions

Thanks to its all-wheel-drive system, the base WRX weighs in at 3,294 lbs. The Premium model has more equipment, and weighs 3,340 lbs with the manual transmission and 3,490 lbs with the CVT, while the Limited starts at 3,371 lbs and has a base curb weight of 3,512 lbs with the CVT. Other dimensions are identical across the trims, with length at 180.9 inches, width at 70.7 inches and wheelbase at 104.3 inches. Height is quoted as 58.1 inches.

  • Length 180.9 in
  • Wheelbase 104.3 in
  • Height 58.1 in
  • Max Width 70.7 in
  • Front Width 60.2 in
  • Rear Width 60.6 in

Exterior Colors

The WRX is available in a choice of seven exterior colors, the newest of which is Magnetite Gray Metallic, a shade that replaced Dark Gray Metallic. An iconic color for the Subaru brand is WR Blue Pearl, but if you want something less nostalgic of the company's past rally dominance, Crystal Black Silica, Ice Silver Metallic, Lapis Blue Pearl, Pure Red or Crystal White Pearl can be had. If the latter isn't quite to your taste, the limited Series.White gets an exclusive shade dubbed Ceramic White, while the mirrors are finished in black.

  • WR Blue Pearl
  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Lapis Blue Pearl
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Pure Red
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Ceramic White
  • Ceramic White

WRX Sedan Performance

Subaru's legacy is built on their dominance of the World Rally Championship in the late 90s and early 2000s, and the standard all-wheel-drive system fitted to the WRX is evocative of that golden era. With permanent propulsion of all four wheels, the WRX is a car that is highly capable both on the tarmac and on slippery surfaces like gravel and ice. The 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four produces 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, allowing the sedan to rocket from 0 to 60 mph in around five seconds, confirmed by independent test drives. Top speed is limited to 150 mph, but this car is not about outright bragging rights so much as it is about being capable of replicating those figures on almost any surface. The WRX's sweet six-speed manual is plenty of fun, but the optional CVT is one of the few that won't completely destroy a gearhead's will to live. With the ability to mimic either a six- or an eight-speed auto through its paddle shifters, the unconventional transmission is not as offensive as it can be in other similarly equipped cars.

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Front View Driving 1 Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Rear View Driving Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Rim Subaru

Engine and Transmission

All three variants of the 2020 Subaru WRX are fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer four-pot. Output is a respectable 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and coupled with the standard six-speed manual gearbox, threading corners together is an engaging and fun experience. The turbocharged mill provides a good boost of power, but it's not all available from low down, which means that those who don't enjoy turbo lag followed by sudden propulsion probably won't appreciate the output. For everyone else, the wave of torque is a joy to experience. If you opt for the CVT, the experience isn't devoid of fun either, but some may find the variable drive modes that accompany this transmission to be a little unusual. Sport is as you'd expect from a mode that is so named, but Sport Sharp provides up to 100% of the available torque with throttle inputs as low as 20%, thus making the accelerator pedal feel like a hair-trigger and greatly enhancing that rocketship feeling of acceleration. If you're in traffic, steering clear of this mode would be for the best - but when you want to go as quickly as possible, it's a unique experience.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Flat 4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, Other

Handling and Driving Impressions

Previous iterations of Subaru's compact performance sedan were plagued by a heavy nose that resulted in tremendous understeer. The current generation, however, is far more willing to turn in, allowing one to dive deep into corners and allow the all-wheel-drive system to claw the front end of the car out. The WRX likes to be pushed to the limit and even has a quicker steering rack than that of the more performance-focused STI. Unfortunately, the steering is electrically assisted and therefore lacks feel until you're really approaching the limits of what the front wheels can take - but it's responsive nevertheless. The chassis and suspension work together to create a driving experience that belies the car's heft, and the WRX feels lighter, and therefore more willing to turn, than its curb weight figures may suggest. From a dig, the WRX is a lot of fun too, with the AWD system hooking up instantaneously and allowing you to out-launch plenty of faster cars. With such an emphasis on handling and performance, as well as that signature rally heritage, the WRX is still a car built for the road, and although the suspension is stiff, it's never jarring and will soak up small imperfections and large bumps well. Rivals are more refined and more comfortable from day to day, but most lack the carefree and fun demeanor that this car conveys. The standard brakes are impressive too, but the upgraded Brembos available on the performance package are even better, with easy modulation and a willingness to soak up abuse.

WRX Sedan Gas Mileage

Gas mileage has never been a strong suit of Subaru boxer engines, and the WRX's mill is no different. Official EPA figures for the CVT are poor for the average 2.0-liter turbo, with a score of 18/24/21 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The manual transmission allows the WRX to score considerably better, with figures of 21/27/23 mpg on the same cycles. With a 15.9-gallon gas tank, mixed range is estimated at around 365 miles. The WRX STI, despite being manual-only, returns considerably worse figures from its 2.5-liter boxer of 16/22/19 mpg, giving it a range of only around 302 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/27 mpg
* 2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Manual

WRX Sedan Interior

The WRX has an interior that can only be described as typical for a Japanese car in this segment, with a simple layout and a design that is more focused on function than form. It's not ugly per se, but it's nothing groundbreaking either. Plastics are a mix between hard and soft, but the seats are greatly supportive and comfortable; the optional Recaros even more so. While you won't get features like heated seats or a head-up display here, there is a narrow screen atop the dash to monitor additional engine characteristics like boost. The best part of the WRX is not feature-related though - it's space, and there's plenty of it. Overall, the interior will please most and has come a long way from what Subaru offered a decade ago.

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Infotainment System Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Gear Shifter Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Drive Mode Switcher Subaru
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Seating and Interior Space

The WRX seats five individuals easily and comfortably, with six-footers finding plenty of legroom and headroom, whether they are seated in the front or at the back. At this price point, few cars offer the same sort of interior space. Getting in and out is also a simple task, and even the base model's six-way manual driver's seat provides enough range for the pilot to find the perfect driving position. The pedals are well-spaced for heel-and-toe, if that's your thing too. In terms of minding your surroundings, the view in all directions is good, and the general feel is one of airiness.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 43.3 in
  • Front Head Room 39.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 35.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.1 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Outlandish colors are nowhere to be found in the WRX's cabin, but it is at least easy to tell which trim you have by the colors and materials. Base models get Carbon Black checkered cloth, with the mid-range Premium models earning access to optional black suede with leather accents and red stitching. Top-trim Limited models get black leather only. A suede steering wheel with red stitching is also available. Subtle red accents can be found on the gear-lever too, while the pedals are aluminum-look items. The dash features trimmings of gloss black to help break up the flow of all that plastic.

WRX Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

The WRX has an impressive trunk considering that the floor is raised to accommodate the all-wheel-drive system. Total capacity is 12 cubic feet, which is enough to carry luggage for four with room to spare, but if you need more practicality, the rear seats can fold in a 60/40 split too.

In the cabin, storage options are more limited. The door pockets are fairly small but do at least feature space for water bottles. The center console features a space in which you can fit a phone and a wallet, but the cupholders are supplemented only by an average glovebox and a small tray for loose change.

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Front Seats Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Side View Driving Subaru
2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Top View Subaru
  • Trunk Volume
    12 ft³

WRX Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

The WRX features many of the typical conveniences that you'd expect in a modern car, but it also does without a number of them - dual-zone climate control is one example. What you do get are features like cruise control, a dash-top info display, and a rearview camera. If you opt for the Premium model, you can get a sunroof and auto headlights and steering-responsive LEDs too, while the top trim earns keyless entry and push-button start, auto high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and StarLink. If you spec a CVT model, you get more than just a different transmission - you also get lane-change assist, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision braking.

Infotainment

The base infotainment system uses a 6.5-inch touchscreen display hooked up to six speakers. As standard, the system allows for aux input and Bluetooth connectivity, and features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, a pair of USB ports and SiriusXM satellite radio. On the Premium trim, the screen is upgraded to a seven-inch display, while the top Limited trim earns access to an optional nine-speaker Harman Kardon upgrade and navigation. Overall, the infotainment system has the makings of a good setup as it has all the major functions one would want, but it's not particularly intuitive, nor is it all that quick to respond.

WRX Problems and Reliability

The WRX helps Subaru maintain their good reliability rating, with the model being free of recalls in every iteration since 2016. Back then, just two recalls were issued: one for a faulty turbo intake duct and another, more serious issue in June 2015 for autonomous braking that may not function.

In terms of the warranty coverage, Subaru offers a limited warranty for the first three years or 36,000 miles of ownership, with the powertrain covered for the first five years or 60,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

2020 WRX Safety

The new Subaru WRX earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, with the NHTSA's review of the Subaru WRX ending with a five-star rating. The former award applies to models featuring Subaru's steering-responsive LEDs that can only be added to the Limited trim.

Key Safety Features

The base model of the WRX is fairly well equipped with safety features and comes with a rearview camera and brake assist, as well as the usual ABS, stability and traction control and Starlink. It also features frontal, side-impact, and curtain airbags, as well as a driver's knee airbag. Available equipment includes the EyeSight suite of driver aids, but only if you spec a CVT variant, which you can't have on the base model. This adds adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and a lane-change assist system. Other available safety features include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and auto high beams, as well as steering-responsive LED headlights.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Subaru WRX Sedan a Good Car?

The Subaru WRX sedan is a special breed of vehicle. It's not the type of car that you will impress your mother-in-law with. It's not overly-assisted, or excessively luxurious. The Subaru WRX is a mechanical thing in almost every way, and is all the better for it. It may not have the greatest infotainment system and it may be heavy on fuel, but it's a spacious and capable all-weather family car that is comfortable enough to use every day. It's also phenomenal to drive, especially when you're pushing it to its limits, and the thrill of quickly evaporating turbo lag and sudden acceleration combined with unbeatable traction, creates a machine that is full of character and fun, but can still be civilized enough so as not to offend your neighbors. It doesn't shout about its abilities, it's affordable and it's reliable. It has its faults, but it's definitely worth considering if you eschew convention.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Subaru WRX?

The base model will cost 27,495 of your US dollars, and is only available with a manual gearbox - this is the cheapest enthusiasts' WRX on sale. The mid-level trim is the Premium, which retails for $29,795. The top-trim, which earns leather and other added features, starts at $32,095. Opting for the Lineartronic CVT on either of the latter two trims bumps the MSRP up by $1,900. Fully loaded with options, the end cost can exceed $45,000.The Series.White is priced from $33,395 but is limited to a mere 500 units. The Subaru WRX's prices exclude the destination charge of $900.

New Subaru WRX Models

There are four Subaru WRX models available: Base, Premium, Limited, and the limited edition Series.White.

The base configuration is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, but shares the same all-wheel-drive system and turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four as the rest of the range, with 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. 17-inch wheels, a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control, and fabric interior upholstery are among the standard equipment. Other features include automatic climate control, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers and emergency brake assist.

The mid-level trim is the Premium, and adds 18-inch wheels, fog lights, sunroof, automatic headlights, and a seven-inch touchscreen display. You also get access to an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and a performance package with bigger brakes, a sunroof delete, and two-tone Recaro seats.

The top trim is the Limited. This model has a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat, leather upholstery, keyless entry, push-button start, and steering-responsive LED headlights. It also has access to more options like auto high beams, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-change assist. A Harman Kardon sound system upgrade and navigation are also available here.

Based on the Premium, the limited-run WRX Series.White will be limited to just 500 units, all finished in Ceramic White with black badging, Bilstein suspension, Brembo brakes with red calipers, and 18-inch alloy wheels in matte bronze.

Opting for the CVT over the manual transmission in the Premium or the Limited trims adds additional features like adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

See All 2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The base WRX doesn't have access to any bundled packages, but you can upgrade the tweeters and mids of the sound system with Kicker components for $152 and $328 respectively. Another option worth considering is an STI performance exhaust system, for $1,171. The Premium model has access to a unique performance package with Recaro seats, larger Brembo calipers, and a sunroof delete at a cost of $2,850. STI 18-inch wheels can also be added for $1,785,56, while a suede steering wheel costs $499.99. Other STI upgrades include a short-shifter for $426 and side-skirt extensions for just under $500. The Limited model also has access to a package that adds navigation, auto high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a Harman Kardon sound system upgrade for $2,400.

🚗What Subaru WRX Model Should I Buy?

To maximize the performance potential of the WRX without opting for the more expensive, thirstier, and less comfortable STI, the best model for us is the Premium with the optional performance package. This gives you a WRX with a set of 18-inch wheels, a larger seven-inch touchscreen, bigger Brembo brake calipers, and impressively comfortable and supportive Recaro seats. This also gives you more color, as this package is the only way to add red to parts of the upholstery. We'd opt for the manual transmission to maximize how much fun you can have without sacrificing frugality, and thus maintain a balance between driver enjoyment and economic responsibility.

Check out other Subaru WRX Styles

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Comparisons

Subaru WRX STI Subaru
Subaru BRZ Subaru
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Subaru WRX Sedan268 hp21/27 mpg$27,495
Subaru WRX STI 310 hp16/22 mpg$36,995
Subaru BRZ 205 hp21/29 mpg$28,845

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan vs Subaru WRX STI

Since the WRX is so good, the STI offers more and should be even better. With a 2.5-liter flat-four turbo producing 310 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque, this STI is the kind that sets your pants on fire in a fun way. Easy to spot thanks to a large rear wing and model-specific fender vents, the STI also gets Recaro seats and numerous red interior accents as standard, along with 19-inch wheels. However, the STI's stiffer suspension makes it less compatible for daily use, and although the improved feel from the hydraulic steering setup gives you a lot more feedback, the cons outweigh the pros. The Subaru WRX costs around $10,000 less in STI guise and fuel economy is far worse, with city EPA figures at a reprehensible 16 mpg. As a toy, the STI is undoubtedly better, but as a daily driver, we'd rather have the WRX.

See Subaru WRX STI Review

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan vs Subaru BRZ

If you're after a fun car that won't exceed a base price of $30k, the Subaru BRZ could be tempting. It too comes standard with a manual transmission, but is rear-wheel-drive and therefore should be more fun to play with. Its 2.0-liter flat-four is naturally-aspirated, so power is low at just 205 hp, but it weighs less than 2,800 lbs. Coupled with skinny tires, it's easy to slide even for the novice. However, you also get a lot less car. The trunk is tiny in comparison to that of the WRX, with just 6.9 cubic feet of volume, and its coupe-style body means that it's only usable as a two-seater, despite supposedly having space for four. In essence, you'd be buying a car with broadly similar fuel economy, but less power, less space, and less practicality. The WRX is the undeniable winner of the competition when compared to the overpriced BRZ.

See Subaru BRZ Review

Subaru WRX Sedan Popular Comparisons

2020 Subaru WRX Sedan Video Review

Check out some informative Subaru WRX Sedan video reviews below.

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Subaru WRX Sedan