The 2021 Subaru WRX performance sedan is entering the new year with the same base price as before. On the other hand, the big daddy WRX STI is $250 more, but Subaru has given it more standard equipment in return.
In hindsight, the Subaru WRX and STI are faithful reminders of the brand’s rallying pedigree. I’ve always thought the second-gen “New Age” Impreza was the best of the breed. Yes, I’m talking about the “bug eye” model with round headlights and fog lights since the second-gen car underwent three facelifts ending with the “Hawkeye” sedan of 2006.
In my view, the bug eye Impreza WRX STI combines quirky Japanese styling with rally-bred performance. And back then, I was smitten despite my lingering fascination with everything Mitsubishi.
2021 Subaru WRX: Engine & Powertrain
Powering the 2021 WRX is a 2.0-liter turbocharged Boxer engine with direct-injection, pumping out 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system with active torque vectoring. A six-speed manual gearbox with multi-mode vehicle dynamics control is standard across the range, although a CVT automatic is available.
2021 Subaru WRX: Pricing & Trim Levels
The 2021 Subaru WRX comes in three trim levels: Base, Premium, and Limited. The starting MSRP figures below include the $925 destination and delivery fee.
The base model starts at $28,420 and is richly-appointed with remote keyless entry, summer performance tires, automatic climate control, a 5.9-inch multi-function LCD screen, dual USB ports, a rear camera, aluminum pedal covers, and Incline Start Assist.
Additional standard equipment includes Subaru’s STARLINK multimedia system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM, and a single-disc CD player if you can’t be bothered with Spotify or digital audio files.
If you want Subaru’s Sport Lineartronic CVT automatic, you’ll have to opt for the WRX Premium variant, which starts at $32,870. For the money, the Premium gives you 18-inch dark gray alloy wheels, a power moonroof, fog lights, auto on/off headlights, automatic wipers, and the All-Weather Package that includes heated front seats and a windshield de-icer.
The 2021 Subaru WRX Premium is also available with a six-speed manual for $30,045. But for reasons unknown, only the CVT variant gets Subaru EyeSight as standard. This safety package includes lane departure prevention, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control, among many others. Automatic variants also receive Subaru SI-Drive with three driving modes: Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp.
Meanwhile, the WRX Limited starts at $33,020 (manual) and $34,920 (CVT). It comes with all the Premium trim’s standard features and includes steering-responsive LED headlights, LED fog lights, and a 10-way power driver’s seat.
An option package for $2,100 adds the larger seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Harman Kardon audio system, and more EyeSight safety features, including lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. When paired with the Sport Lineartronic CVT, Reverse Automatic Braking and High Beam Assist are added to the package, although it’s priced slightly higher at $2,400.
2021 Subaru WRX STI: Engine & Powertrain
The new WRX STI remains the halo car of Subaru and is the brand’s highest-performance model. With all its impressive hardware, the 2021 Subaru WRX STI is a scorcher. The STI has a high-strung 2.5-liter turbocharged Boxer engine pumping out 310 horsepower and 290 lb-ft. of torque.
It still has symmetrical all-wheel drive, but with a multi-mode driver-controlled center differential (DCCD) with active torque vectoring (excellent!) and multi-mode vehicle dynamics control. STIs are only available with a six-speed manual.
2021 Subaru WRX STI: Pricing & Equipment
The WRX STI starts at $38,170 (with the $925 destination fee) and includes welcome lighting, push-button start, steering-responsive LED headlights with height adjustment controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, dual USB ports, and a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen. Subaru’s latest WRX STI has 19-inch black-machined alloy wheels wrapped in 245/35 R19 summer performance tires. Brembo brakes, with six-piston front and dual-piston rear calipers, are standard.
Inside, WRX STI offers moderate refinement with black Ultrasuede upholstery (with red and black leather bolsters for the front and rear seats), aluminum pedals, carpeted floor mats, and a flat-bottom leather-wrapped tiller with integrated switches for cruise control, audio, and Bluetooth settings. For $2,250 more, you can have Recaro performance front seats with an eight-way power driver’s seat.
WRX STI Limited
Last but not least is the WRX STI Limited. Starting at $42,870, STI Limited has Recaro front seats, leather-trimmed upholstery, a power moonroof, and a seven-inch touchscreen with navigation and Harman Kardon audio. Interestingly, STI Limited also comes with more safety features, including blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
And if the STI’s largish rear wing is not to your liking, Subaru will replace it with a low-profile, trunk-mounted lip spoiler at no extra cost.
2021 Subaru WRX Warranty
Every Subaru customer receives a New Vehicle Limited Warranty with a term of three years or 36,000 miles, and a powertrain warranty of five years or 60,000 miles. For more information on Subaru’s factory warranty and to determine if you need more coverage, see this helpful guide. In the past, owners have reported problems with Subaru’s CVT automatic. This comprehensive guide covers the topic more in-depth.
2021 Subaru WRX Availability
The new WRX and STI will arrive at U.S. dealerships in March 2021. True, the fifth-gen 2021 WRX and STI are not as hardcore as its post-millennium brethren. But if you’re itching to get your knobby paws on a rallying-inspired, high-performance, practical, and relatively affordable family sedan (hello, Mitsu Lancer Evolution), the new Subaru WRX and STI are worth a look.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.