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Next Subaru WRX to keep stick, but no hatchback planned

by Ronan Glon

The next-generation WRX could go hybrid, too.

Subaru has shot down rumors claiming the next-generation WRX won't offer a manual transmission. The stick is on its way out of the brand's line-up, but it will live on in its sportier models for at least one more generation.

"We'll still have manual transmissions in our performance line like for the WRX," Tom Doll, the CEO of Subaru's North American division, told Australian website Drive. He added the option will no longer be offered on the Forester, however.

Enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief. Expected to arrive in 2020, the next-generation WRX and WRX STI models will carry on with a manual transmission (or an optional continuously variable transmission) and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Separate reports claim both models will receive an evolution of the 2.4-liter flat-four introduced in the seven-seater Ascent crossover. The mill could make 330 horsepower in its most powerful configuration.

Design-wise, Subaru's next hot rods will borrow styling cues from the VIZIV Performance concept (pictured) introduced at last year's edition of the Tokyo auto show. Both will ride on the modular platform also found under the latest Impreza and Forester models. They'll launch as four-door sedans; the hatchback variant won't return in the foreseeable future.

"We don't have plans to bring back a WRX hatch to the market," affirmed Mamoru Ishii, Subaru's head of design, in an interview with Digital Trends.