Test Drive Notes Library
- This is a fun car to drive. Seriously fun to drive. It’s a throwback in a way, to older sports cars that felt like the machines they were—minus the oil leaking, unreliability, and occasional engine fire. In the BRZ, you hear the engine, and feel the road. It’s a little coarser, overall, than the Miata, its closest competitor, but no less fun.
- The BRZ has the absolute perfect amount of power. It’s a 2.0 liter, 200 horsepower boxer-style engine (horizontally opposed cylinders). There’s just enough power to let you work through the gears between stop lights, even in the city, making almost any commute (with moving traffic) fun again. Any more power and it would be less fun. The morons who are calling for a turbo-charged engine should go buy a BMW Z4 and leave this car alone.
- It has a short-throw stick shift that’s a blast to use. You hear the sounds of the boxer engine, you feel the car lurch forward and backward when upshifting and downshifting. Interestingly, we drove an earlier version of this car (or was it the twin Toyota FR-S?) with an automatic transmission, and it was totally underwhelming. With the stick, however, this car is a really fun toy.
- Handling is tight. It’s what you’d expect from a low slung sports car. You can cut through curves and highway on-ramps and generally annoy people in their Camrys.
- Ventilation controls are the height of simplicity. Large, chunky knobs to adjust temperature and ventilation directions. Bravo.
- The front seats, while not large, are well bolstered. Our Premium trim model had heated leather seats, that were supportive, once you got in them. The wide-of-butt or wide-of-shoulder may find them confining.
- It’s a sharp looking car. It’s not garish, but looks appropriately sporty.
- It’s a bargain. Our pretty-much loaded test model tipped the cash register at $28,500.
Test Drive Notes Library
- It’s low, and tough to get in and out of. If you’ve ever uttered the word sciatica, you might want to walk past the BRZ in the showroom. The roofline comes down low over the sides, so getting in is a duck and cover operation.
- The visibility is actually pretty good to the front and the rear, with a big, flat hood and decent sized rear window. But looking out the back to the left or right, you see pretty much nothing. It’s got huge C-pillars that create big blind spots. And while there’s a standard rear-view camera for backing up, sadly, there are no blind spot monitors available. We really missed them in this car. It could sorely use them. As cool as you look in this car going down the highway, there’s nothing less cool than pulling back into the right lane after passing, and being cursed and honked at by an irate milk truck driver.
- While we missed the blind spot monitors the most in day-to-day driving, you also can’t get the BRZ with other now-common safety features, like automatic pre-collision warning and braking — stuff that’s available as Subaru EyeSight in other Subaru models.
- The flip side of the fun of hearing the engine and feeling the road is… hearing the engine and feeling the road. While it’s fun for commuting, we would imagine that during a long journey in the BRZ, you might get engine and road noise fatigue and a sore tuchus from the firm ride. Although the ride did not bother us at all on shorter trips.
- While the ventilation controls are perfection, the infotainment touch screen is slow and a bit old fashioned. That’s where Subaru should put additional horsepower, not in the engine bay.
- It calls for premium fuel.
- The rear seat is useless for anyone with legs. It’s there to carry stuff. And it’s nice to have it. The Miata, by comparison, has no place for stuff, which is a real limitation for an everyday car. The Subaru’s back seats also fold down, giving you a pretty large, flat shelf back there for “stuff.” The only downside is that the rear opening is not a hatch back, so anything you put in there has to either go through the small trunk opening, or through the passenger doors. So forget about transporting that bar-sized refrigerator.
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