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Subaru WRX 6-Speed Manual Vs. SPT Automatic - The Choice Is Clear

The EPA releases the 2023 Subaru WRX 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer fuel mileage for the 6-speed manual and the SPT automatic transmission. Should you buy the 2023 Subaru WRX with the manual or the automatic? The trim level that gets the best fuel efficiency differs from what you'd think. Check out why here.


Are 2023 Subaru WRX buyers interested in fuel efficiency or driving performance? The answer is that you spend a lot of money on a new performance car and don't want to pay more when you fill up than you have to.

Which WRX transmission, the 6-speed manual or the SPT automatic, gets the best fuel efficiency? In all other Subaru models, the CVT automatic gets the best fuel mileage but not the WRX. Check out the EPA fuel mileage estimates for the 2023 Subaru WRX.

2023 Subaru WRX 6-Speed Vs. SPT

An FA24 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine powers the WRX, and you have two transmission choices, the 6-speed manual and the Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT automatic). The Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT) is available on all trim levels (standard on GT).

Should you buy the 6-speed manual or the SPT automatic?

Most sports car buyers will opt for the 6-speed manual gearbox because it’s the best choice for those who like to connect with the car. It’s more fun driving a manual than an automatic. The SPT offers the option of shifting yourself or letting the transmission do the work. The SPT trim levels offer steering wheel paddle shifters for quick up and down shifts.

2023 Subaru WRX 6-Speed Vs. SPT

Subaru says the 2022 WRX Subaru GT’s Performance Transmission offers up to 30 percent faster upshifts (2nd to 3rd) and 50 percent faster downshifts (3rd to 2nd). “The SPT automatic transmission incorporates adaptive shift control that can quickly respond to perform rev-matching downshifts under braking, maintain the ideal ratio through corners, and respond faster on corner exit,” says Subaru.

What is the difference in fuel mileage?

Surprisingly the 6-speed manual gearbox gets one mpg better fuel mileage performance than the SPT.

The EPA says the 2023 Subaru WRX with the 6-speed manual sports car now gets 19/26 city/highway and 22 combined mpg. The 2023 Subaru WRX with the Subaru Performance Transmission gets 19/25 city/highway and 21 combined mpg.

What type of fuel should you use in the 2023 WRX?

The EPA tested the 2022 WRX using premium (91 octane) gasoline. The WRX Owner’s Manual states: “The engine is designed to operate using unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher.” However, fuel with an octane rating of 87 or higher can be used with no detriment to engine durability. Use the highest octane gasoline in your area in the 2023 WRX for the best engine performance.

What is the price of the 2023 WRX?

The 2023 WRX comes in four trim levels: Base, Premium, Limited, and GT. All 2023 WRX trim levels get a $1,525 price increase, including dealer fees.

The 2023 WRX 6-speed manual trim level starts at $31,625. The WRX with Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT) is $33,475, the WRX Premium 6-speed manual is $34,125, the WRX Premium SPT is $36,175, the WRX Limited 6-speed manual is $38,515, WRX Limited SPT is $40,765, and WRX GT is $44,415. Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,020).

Our take

The WRX with the 6-speed manual is 130 lbs lighter than SPT-equipped models. Because of the weight difference, the 6-speed manual trim levels will be quicker and faster and still get better fuel mileage than SPT automatic models.

Most 2023 Subaru WRX buyers will choose the 6-speed manual gearbox because it offers the best driving experience in a sports car. A benefit is it also brings the best fuel mileage performance.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA