The 2022 WRX: A Series of Ugly Releases or a Case of an Emotionally Passionate Fan-Base?

The 2022 Subaru WRX has been getting a lot of hate. So much that the Japanese manufacturer allegedly pulled down the release video moments after it went up. Is the new WRX really that bad, or is it a case of loyal fans stuck in the past?
2022 Subaru WRX 9 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Subaru
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Noah Sykes of Donut Media has an interesting perspective of the love and hate relationship between loyal Subaru fans and WRX releases.

A couple of weeks ago, Subaru unveiled the latest generation of WRX, and within minutes of posting online, thousands of commenters made their opinions known. The most notable comment was that “it’s the ugliest WRX of all time.

Is the 2022 WRX really the ugliest? Well, according to Sykes, this argument sounds so familiar. Subaru has been dealing with this problem ever since they released the 2nd-generation WRX.

To find out if the 2022 Subaru WRX is really the ugliest, Donut Media went back into the convoluted history books to check out the entire line of WRXs from 1992.

The WRX debuted after Subaru shortened the wheelbase of the then rally Legacy for the reliable, compact Impreza. The performance version of the Impreza, the WRX or World Rally eXperimental took the world by storm winning the WRC (World Rally Championship) three times in a row, from 1995 to 1997.

Subaru GC8
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/JEO Films
Apart from winning the WRC, what caught people’s attention was its rally-focused styling. The WRX came with a hood scoop, aggressive fog lights, and a rear wing that transformed the look of the base model Impreza into a mean purposeful rally beast.

Unfortunately, fans in North America could not get their hands on this version of the WRX. The only version available was the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated RS version that wasn’t as eager on track.

Subaru release problems began after the 2002 Subaru WRX ‘Bugeye’ release. It was officially the first WRX in North America, and WRX enthusiasts had mixed reactions. According to Subaru, this design was new age. However, some of its loyal fans thought it looked like an alien, and it would literally bring the world to an end (I never really liked the Bugeye either).

But Subaru had a surprise under their sleeve. The Bugeye was a rocket underneath its ugly, pushing 250 hp outperforming the 2002 BMW 330i E46. After three years, Subaru released another WRX as a facelift version, the 2003 'Blobeye.'

Subaru Blobeye
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Carwow
The reaction to the 2003 WRX ‘Blobeye’ was so huge that Subaru had to employ Peter Stevens to handle the new look. The 'Blobeye' is arguably one of the best WRXs produced to date - it was in the era that the STi (Subaru Technica International) finally made it to America.

In 2006, the Subaru WRX got another facelift, the ‘Hawkeye,’ which in my opinion is perhaps the best looking WRX after the 1st generation. Subaru commissioned Andreas Zapatinas for the job, who was the Chief Designer at Centro Stile Alfa Romeo.

Again, Subaru experienced a negative wave of reactions despite the aggressively angled front-end. It also came with the controversial jet-intake and wings design paying homage to the Japanese Manufacturer’s aero manufacturing roots in WW2. The ‘Hawkeye’ was the last version of the 2nd generation WRXs and perhaps the most celebrated in its seven-year stint.

Did the third generation offer any relief to criticism? Apparently not. Critics felt the 2008 WRX was too soft and had too much compromise. Critics did not spare the 2011 version either when the WRX got the wide-body version previously only enjoyed by STi owners. Well, no one is happy when they share equal privileges with someone who paid less.

2022 Subaru WRX
Photo: Subaru
The 2014 WRX arrived under the VA platform that had its own share of troubles. At this point, the WRX was running under its own identity after dropping the Impreza badge, but critics still said it was no longer a race-ready sports car but a boring watered-down version of itself.

Subaru stirred the market once again with the Subaru VIZIV Concept, and for the first time, the reception was positive. Subaru fans felt it was bold and futuristic, uncompromised, and a complete departure from the WRX.

Instead, Subaru unveiled the 2022 WRX, which was nothing like the VIZIV but more of a love child between the Crosstrek and WRX. Subaru fans are not pleased with it very much.  Do you think the new WRX is a hit or a miss?

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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