The CVT is said to be an efficient transmission but these claims prove otherwise.
The 2022 Subaru WRX was revealed to us last year with somewhat of a new take on the Japanese performance sedan. One of the most notable changes was the new turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four powertrain which doesn't look that much more capable than the previous-gen's 2.0-liter unit at first glance. Its power has been increased by 3 horsepower to 271 hp while the twisting force remains unchanged at 258 lb-ft of torque.
Subaru has already confirmed that the reason for increasing the car's displacement was so that the responsiveness and acceleration of the car could be improved. This is supported by an electronically controlled wastegate and air bypass valves. Subaru also made some changes to the two transmissions with the manual's ratios being slightly revised while the CVT sees an improvement in shift times. Another key difference is that the maximum torque is achieved at a lower rpm than before.
Interestingly, the decision to upsize the engine and add throttle responsiveness has not had a drastic effect on fuel consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency has revealed that the CVT consumes 21/19/25 mpg city/highway/combined whereas the six-speed manual scores lightly more frugal 22/19/26 mpg estimates.
The old 2.0-liter model with the manual gearbox was rated at 23/20/27 mpg making it a fraction lighter on gasoline than its replacement. The previous CVT however, was rated at 21/18/24 mpg which reflects an increase in consumption by a nominal amount. What's peculiar is how Subaru was able to make the manual gearbox slightly more efficient than the automatic for yet another generation as CVTs are typically used for fuel efficiency over driving pleas.
Largely unchanged EPA figures are a relief when you consider that the reveal of the new model was met with criticism from some fans. The main talking point of the car was the crossover-ish plastic fender flares which some argued strays the car further away from its rally roots. It turns out that Subaru didn't put this on the car in a bizarre attempt to capture the SUV market.
The brand's product manager has revealed that these panels are functional as they have been designed to improve the airflow of the car, as supported by the manufacturer's wind tunnel test results. There's no indication of how much this adjusts the car's drag coefficient but there is a chance that we may have these panels to thank for the consistent consumption estimates.