The Subaru WRX is a car that has earned its place in modern sales a lot over the last thirty years or so for being a solid mid-range option for all kinds of people.
However, if you don’t know how to drive a manual, you might be wondering if this car comes in automatic.
Is the Subaru WRX Automatic Or Only Manual?
The Subaru WRX comes in automatic. Almost all versions of this vehicle come with the choice of a manual or automatic transmission. Starting in 2015, Subaru switched from traditional automatic transmissions to the more modern CVT. Contemporary models use similar CVTs despite the recent re-design.
If you’re looking for a Subaru WRX with the traditional hydraulics-based automatic transmission, without sacrificing horsepower or torque, you can still get them!
And of course, the vehicle has always had the option of a manual transmission alongside the automatic.
What Subaru WRX Comes with Automatic Transmission?
The original 2002 Subaru WRX was released in both a manual transmission model and an automatic one.
With the exception of the second generation of WRX from 2008 to 2014, The transmission options stayed pretty much consistent until 2015, offering a five or 6-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic one, which includes manual mode.
In 2015, Subaru decided to switch from using traditional automatic transmissions to using Continuously Variable Transmissions, or CVTs.
They offered CVTs as an option for the WRX from their third generation, which started that year onward.
What Is the Difference Between Automatic Transmission and CVT?
Automatic transmissions operate fairly similarly to the six-speed manual transmission.
While the driver doesn’t need to change the gears manually using a manual shifter, the automatic transmission does still have sets of gears that are used to change the rate of energy conversion.
The difference between an automatic and a manual transmission is that the automatic transmission’s hydraulic system shifts gears depending on the situation.
CVTs don’t actually use gears, making upshifts and downshifts a breeze.
While there are multiple kinds of CVT, the one that Subaru uses is called a Lineartronic CVT.
A Lineartronic CVT is a transmission that uses a pair of pulleys that change their width, whereas an automatic transmission would use gears.
Because a CVT doesn’t use gears, there is no moment of transition going from one mode to another.
It’s also slightly more energy efficient than a gear-based transmission, which allows CVTs to get slightly better gas mileage and be slightly more eco-friendly, although neither are really impactful enough to be major selling points.
There are some downsides to CVTs, however. They are much more specialized than traditional transmissions which means they can be more expensive to repair or replace.
Since they’re newer technology and each manufacturer has their own proprietary design, they may also need to be taken to a specialist rather than a normal mechanic.
They also tend to make a loud droning sound when you accelerate.
Most drivers don’t seem to mind it, but for some people, it can be a significant source of annoyance.
While the CVT is certainly not for people who prefer manual transmissions, if you’re looking for an automatic transmission, a CVT will do exactly the same job but better.
However, if you still prefer a hydraulic transmission system, the pre-2015 WRX has you covered.
Finding a WRX with Automatic
It can be difficult to find the CVT option on Subaru’s website.
Starting with the 2022 WRX, they now call their CVT the “Subaru Performance Transmission.” To get the 2022 WRX with CVT, you need to get the WRX Premium or Limited models, which have the option for the Subaru Performance Transmission.
When purchasing a WRX used, Generation 3 WRX with CVT will be marked as such.
Any model produced between 2015 and 2021 should have the option if you look for it.
While some Gen 2 WRXs didn’t have an automatic transmission, most did have the option at least.
Look for models marked Subaru Impreza WRX Automatic for the year that you like.
They should have a four-speed automatic transmission that may feel a little outdated but should be totally functional.
The same goes for any model between 2002 and 2008.
They should all have a four-speed automatic transmission model.
Although they’re starting to get old, they should be perfectly serviceable if you’re willing to take care of them.
Is the WRX a Reliable Sedan?
The WRX has an easily tunable engine designed to be similar to a rally car.
That means that used WRX may come with inherited problems from a former owner who tuned it in a dangerous way.
But even if the engine has been properly tuned its entire life, it is prone to some issues.
All engines associated with the WRX have a tendency to fail.
You may never experience an engine failure yourself, and some models are more reliable than others, but all of them do have that chance.
Problems with the Turbo are also fairly common, especially with newer engines.
These problems are also more common in engines that have been poorly tuned or that have seen a lot of use.
Turbos are very susceptible to wear and tear and will usually break down within the first 120,000 miles of use.
Finally, the WRX is prone to oil leaks.
It’s common for even more recent WRX to have at least one oil leak in its lifetime, which can be a pain to fix.
Fortunately, these are the same problems that most cars will have once they have encountered sufficient wear and tear.
As long as you’re keeping up with your maintenance and check-up schedule, you should be able to mitigate these issues.
The WRX may not be the most reliable Subaru vehicle, but compared to other vehicles with more specialized engines it actually holds up fairly well.
If you’re willing to accept the risks of running a more complicated engine with a turbo that will inevitably break down over time, you should find that the WRX is relatively safe in most other regards.