May 14, 2013
You knew this wouldn't take long. The Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are attracting attention in automotive executive suites, enough that GM North America president Mark Reuss wants Chevy to develop an inexpensive, lightweight rear-wheel-drive car.
Reuss told Automotive News that the Code 130R, a RWD concept coupe shown at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, drew strong feedback from young attendees. The success of The Twins has likely reignited discussions about tapping into what is still a small sandbox.
Scion has sold about 6,300 FR-S models this year. Subaru has sold about 2,600 BRZs. For perspective, the FR-S is, to date, Scion's best seller. And it only undersells the Lexus IS by a few hundred units.
Why the gap then, when the BRZ's base price is only about $1,000 more than the Scion?
May 13, 2013
The last time I called a long-term car a "great all-rounder" it was our Mazda 3. And I'm finding our 2013 Subaru BRZ to be another such jack of all trades, at least for a single, city dweller such as myself. Here's why I like it so much:
May 10, 2013
Early this month automakers released their sales figures for April as well as the year so far. Since this is a quarter of the way into 2013, it's usually interesting to me to see how certain cars are selling so far. The 2013 Subaru BRZ is one of the cars I looked at.
In April, Subaru sold 812 BRZs, for a total of 2,600 this year. This means the BRZ continues to be the rarer companion to the Scion FR-S, which racked up 1,629 sales in April and 6,269 total so far in 2013. If you're seeing more FR-S models on the road, this is likely why.
I've also got a few other sales figures for other sport coupes this year.
May 8, 2013
A few weeks back, I drove our long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ to Formula Drift in Long Beach, and it felt like it belonged here.
Now the darlings of the tuner world, BRZs and FR-Ss are flooding every car show and the modification possibilities are endless. Wheels, tires, suspension, turbochargers, superchargers, seats, wings, spoilers and more, are all becoming available from hundreds of different aftermarket manufacturers.
The Toyobarus are attracting a whole new generation of drivers to my favorite pastime: modifying cars. And the aftermarket's enthusiasm for the BRZ (and its Scion twin) confirms that people will get excited about cars when companies produce exciting cars. Every time I drive our BRZ, I think about what I'd tinker with first if I owned one.
May 8, 2013
The first time I drove our 2013 Subaru BRZ, I was underwhelmed by the way the engine sounded. Since the BRZ has a 2.0-liter flat-4 under the hood, I was expecting that it would have a syncopated exhaust burble like the Subaru Impreza WRX. Instead, my first impression was that the BRZ's engine just sounded like a normal four-cylinder, albeit a high-revving one.
But now that I've spent plenty of time with our car, I've come around to appreciating the way the car sounds.
May 2, 2013
We added about another 1,000 miles to our 2013 Subaru BRZ during April. The miles were largely from commuting around Los Angeles and resulted in an average of 26 mpg. That's slightly above the EPA's 25 mpg estimate for combined driving.
May 1, 2013
Small trunk. Tiny backseat. A manual transmission. Manual-adjust seats. Yep, our 2013 Subaru BRZ would seem quite the impractical vehicle for most Americans. Yet just in the last few days I've used our BRZ for mundane tasks such as grocery shopping, taking my daughter to school and picking up relatives at the airport.
April 30, 2013
The 2013 Subaru BRZ is meant to be an elemental sport coupe, one that goes back to the basics of driving. Much of that comes from the way the car steers and handles, but the interior design contributes as well.
April 25, 2013
A few days ago I was going through our list of long-term cars that were available to drive. There wasn't much left on the list. But eyes stopped on the Subaru BRZ. I adore this car, so it was a really easy choice for me to grab the key to the "Breeze." To all of the other editors on staff who passed it over: Thank you.
April 23, 2013
The pedals in our long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ are great. They're not particularly good looking, but the placement is downright perfect.
April 22, 2013
While driving our 2013 Subaru BRZ this week, I felt a little claustrophobic. The windows are short and, with the shallow, stylized roofline, I doubt Subaru will ever equip a sunroof. Lucky for me, the market will probably see a Toyobaru convertible soon.
April 17, 2013
The headlights, fog lights and grill design are all slightly different between our 2013 Subaru BRZ and our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S.
The LED strips above the BRZ's fog lights act as daytime running lights and are part of its more refined look. They're a nice touch, but I've never seen them on.
April 10, 2013
I really hate getting speeding tickets. And with the BRZ's aggressive looks, I knew I'd be a target for every cop between Los Angeles and San Diego. But I wanted to get this little sports car out of traffic and onto something fun to drive. Sure, with a tiny back seat and a decent trunk, you can use this as a daily driver. But it yearns for a winding country road where I could wind it out. So that's where I went.
I really enjoyed the BRZ's performance and handling with one exception.
April 9, 2013
I'd never driven the 2013 Subaru BRZ before so I decided to take the long way home. You can't tell much about a car when you sit in traffic except for the seats, which I really liked. I went into the Port of Long Beach and up and over the spectacular Gerald Desmond Bridge. But the best part was yet to come.
April 3, 2013
Everybody bagged on Chris Bangle and what came to be called flame-surfacing when his first designs hit the road. A decade later, flame surfacing, 3D creases and compound curves show up in everyone's designs, from Hyundai to Ford. And here they are in the BRZ's dash, in the metal mesh grilles for the mids and tweeters.
April 2, 2013
In the month of March, our long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ spun an additional 1,344 miles onto its odometer and consumed 51 gallons of 91 octane fuel. That equates to 26.3 miles per gallon for the month, which is bang on its lifetime average, too.
April 1, 2013
In truth the 2013 Subaru BRZ's climate control knobs aren't completely detent-less. But they're darn close.
And apparently I'm a texture and detent kinda guy. So it bugs me when I try to turn the Subie's central fan speed knob up just one click, and it instead goes up two or three because there's almost no resistance.
March 29, 2013
This photo doesn't really depict sports car driving. Instead, it's a parking lot at a Mexican restaurant in the boondocks of Orange County (yes, such a place exists) that you tried for the first time and realized, sure, the ambience is fantastic, but the service is agonizingly slow, food mediocre and prices definitely too steep for what you get.
But I digress.
This is the point with the Subaru BRZ. You look for excuses to take it for a spin, drive it a little further than you need to, because it's such an entertaining piece. Even if that means ending up at an over-priced, underwhelming restaurant.
March 28, 2013
This morning I walked out to our 2013 Subaru BRZ and found the dome light left on. At the time I had no way of knowing how long it was lit. So I hustled upstairs, grabbed the key and climbed inside.
March 26, 2013
You'll forgive me the dark and grainy photo, but it wasn't until this dark morning that I realized our 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited had an automatic approach-light feature.
March 21, 2013
When I connected my iPod to our 2013 Subaru BRZ's audio system for the drive home yesterday, it sounded awful, flat, and shallow. I've already ranted once (here) on how difficult it is to press those teeny, virtual buttons. So, imagine my surprise, three menus deep, to find this.
March 12, 2013
A lot of cars have been run through the Edmunds long-term test program over the years. It's hard to say exactly how many of those I've driven, but it's easily more than 100. Within that group, there are certain cars that I truly enjoyed and would love to own and put in my own garage.
The 2013 Subaru BRZ is one of them.
March 11, 2013
One of the neat little features I like about our 2013 Subaru BRZ (and Scion FR-S) is the programmable rpm-based shift indicator light. It's a little red light in the gauge cluster that flashes (there's a corresponding beep, too) that notifies you that the engine has achieved a certain rpm. The main use of the light is to make it easier to know when the engine is approaching redline as you're accelerating hard so that you know when to upshift. You can use your peripheral vision to spot the light (or just listen for the beep) instead of having to focus your eyes on the tachometer itself.
March 8, 2013
Recently editor Travis Langness wrote an update on our 2013 Subaru BRZ noting how he took the car to some local back roads to truly enjoy it after suffering in typical Los Angeles traffic. I totally get that, thinking back to when I took the BRZ on some of my favorite driving roads last year.
Still, I would add a counterpoint: In cities not as congested as L.A. (and with not as poor of roads), the BRZ can still be a lot of fun.
March 7, 2013
Recently, I wrote an update about how few people seem to know what our 2013 Subaru BRZ is, even if they do like the way it looks. Well, I should update that observation slightly with the following: Subaru Impreza WRX drivers definitely know what our BRZ is.
March 4, 2013
We added about another 1,000 miles to our 2013 Subaru BRZ during February. The miles were largely from commuting around Los Angeles and resulted in an average of 25.6 mpg. That matches the EPA's 25 mpg estimate for combined driving.
March 1, 2013
First it was the teenage boy in the church parking lot with the mop-like hair. "Dude, I like your car," he said. Then it was my wife's friend (a hair stylist with, I must admit, much better hair than the teenager) who came over to our house. "It's so cute!" she exclaimed, after seeing the 2013 Subaru BRZ in my driveway. Later that afternoon: My shirtless neighbor, washing his Tahoe, noted that the BRZ "looked pretty sharp."
It was three positive comments in one day for the BRZ. Not too shabby. Yet curiously, nobody actually knew what the BRZ was.
February 28, 2013
I love the window line on our 2013 Subaru BRZ. Aesthetically, the BRZ is one of my favorite designs on the market for new cars today. But seeing what's behind you when backing out of a parking spot can prove difficult.
February 27, 2013
Taking the Subaru BRZ home on crowded streets, sitting in L.A. traffic and waiting for the lights to change is not my idea of fun. So instead, I decided to take a romp in our local back roads after work and see what the BRZ was like in the mountains.
February 26, 2013
This unedited photo of the Subaru BRZ's touchscreen display in action is an exact representation of how it looked as I drove down Pacific Coast Highway with the sun behind me. Even sitting at a red light and putting my hand over the display to block the sun, viewing my options were nearly impossible.
Next time I head east in the afternoon, I'll be sure to select an album I can listen to in its entirety because knowing what I'm selecting is definitely not an option.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 11,290 miles
February 15, 2013
The photo doesn't quite convey how unnecessarily frustrating it is to do, but try reading then selecting a preset from that list of radio stations with the tip of your finger at the end of your outstretched arm while driving on a bumpy L.A. freeway at 65 mph in traffic and you'll understand.
Perhaps the motion-damped stylus that comes with the Fujitsu FA601US head unit has gone missing. Perhaps nobody listens to the radio any longer because I can much more easily select SAT, DISC, or USB than a radio preset.
February 14, 2013
Maybe this guy and his family of skulls are fans of 1970 cartoons, but that license plate would be perfect for our 2013 Subaru BRZ. Would you agree?
Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 10,962 miles
February 13, 2013
You can tow any car behind a motorhome if you use a trailer. But that's not the preferred method for motorhome aficionados. The ideal scenario is pictured above: a so-called "dinghy" vehicle rolling behind on its own four wheels, ready to be unhooked and driven around on side trips while the motorhome sits parked with its awnings unfurled and its sliders popped out in full relaxation mode.
This towing technique goes by many names: dinghy towing, flat towing and four-down towing to name a few. As you can imagine there are mechanical implications for the car involved.
The strictly pavement-only 2013 Subaru BRZ isn't the first sort of car that comes to mind for this activity but, then again, not everyone who tours the U.S. in a motorhome is looking to explore off road when they stop. You could be planning to tour the racetracks or interesting winding mountain roads of this country in your retirement. Why relegate yourself to something overly pedestrian?
Is the 2013 Subaru BRZ up for it? Can you flat tow it behind a motorhome?
February 12, 2013
The 2013 Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S may be the same car, but they're not the same car. If I were buying something to autocross, to turn into a T4 SCCA racer, it'd be the Scion all the way due to its lower price and slightly briefer equipment list.
But the Subaru BRZ would my choice for a daily driver. Appearance-wise, I like the wider-at-the-top front grille styling. Most of all I prefer the interior.
February 8, 2013
A few months we saw how easy it is to get at the 2013 Subaru BRZ's oil filter for a DIY oil change. Turns out the nearby air filter is every bit as in-your-face and easy to swap out.
Simply unfasten the two exposed clips at the top and pry the clamshell airbox open with your fingers. It's a tight squeeze, and you have to apply constant pressure to keep it open, but it comes right out.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 10,656 miles
February 4, 2013
You would think that a car like the 2013 Subaru BRZ or its Scion FR-S cousin would be the sort that underperforms when it comes to real-world MPG. Why? Because they beg to be driven, that's why.
Thankfully, that's not the case. The 2013 Subaru BRZ is EPA-rated to deliver 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in the typical mix of each that we all really drive. In just under 6 months and just over 10,500 miles our BRZ has averaged 26.3 mpg. Compare that to its 25 mpg combined rating in order to be suitably impressed.
The first three months included many road trips, and during that period we bested the 30 mpg highway rating on no less than 8 fill-ups. Over the last three months it stayed closer to home and didn't get out on the open road much, but it still averaged 25.6 mpg and beat its EPA combined rating without the benefit of a single 30+ mpg tank.
You want to talk about range? We don't often run a tank dry, but our Subaru has gone as far as 356.9 miles between fill-ups. We put 11.4 gallons into its 13.2-gallon tank that day, so 400 miles isn't impossible in the right sort of conditions.
Of course all of this was done on 91-octane premium, the required fuel for this car.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 10,512 miles
January 30, 2013
I haven't taken our long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ on a long trip yet, but sometimes, after a couple of hours in it, I think there should be a center armrest, something James mentioned right after we got the car. Neither Subaru nor Scion sells one as an accessory in the U.S., though at least one aftermarket vendor makes one.
Problem is that retrofitting this armrest (or any official accessory that Subaru eventually brings to market) will eat up a lot of the storage in the center console. Mind you, the cupholder unit in the console is a flimsy thing, but I like that you can remove and reposition it further back so that my elbow never bumps my metal water bottle.
Also during a recent drive on some back roads, I had my water bottle, my phone, my garage door open, my keys and two cans of macadamias stowed in the console's various slots. It all remained secure through tighter turns. So maybe I don't want an armrest after all.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,514 miles
January 28, 2013
Finally, I carved out some time to drive our long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ on a good road. It was a late-hour decision, as you can see in the photo, so only my husband went with me. Our drive took us down some of our favorite roads in the San Gabriel Mountains. It was a mini celebration of six months of marital bliss. Then, we went out for sushi.
The BRZ is the most entertaining car I've driven on these roads since our long-term Mazdaspeed 3 left. I know, I've previously said our Ford Focus ST is great fun, and it really is, but there's something about the BRZ that makes me enjoy it just a little bit more. I think it's probably a combination of the Subaru's seating position, which is just spot-on for a 5-foot-10-inch, 150-pound adult, and this small coupe's lightweight, unencumbered feel.
January 23, 2013
I don't know how I managed it, but my 24-inch, must-be-checked-to-your-final-destination rollaboard bag was even fatter when I returned from the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Our long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ was my assigned vehicle for the night, and I inadvertently found the limit of its trunk space, at least when it comes to trunk height.
The bag just cleared the opening of the BRZ's trunk. And with some twisting, it just fit into the trunk with half an inch at most to spare in the height department.
I measured the height of both the opening and the trunk itself, and logically, they're both 15.75 inches. The photos I've included here with my tape measure distort that a bit (I had to come in from a weird camera angle to take advantage of the fading daylight), but take my word for it: It really is 15.75 inches high. So in its expanded form, the bag was probably 15.25 inches thick, give or take a quarter of inch.
One further note: Although I positioned the bag sideways, it would have gone in wheels first if I'd been so inclined because the trunk is just a hair over 31.5 inches deep. For me, the BRZ has enough trunk space to serve as a personal car (provided I drove it by myself 90 percent of the time), because this 24-incher is the largest suitcase I own and I don't currently have other hobbies that require bulky equipment.