Utah Road Trip, Part 1 - 2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ: Utah Road Trip, Part 1

July 17, 2013

2013 Subaru BRZ

Last week I drove from Los Angeles to Moab, Utah, in our long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ. The outbound trip was about 750 miles and took 11 hours. All but 50 of those miles were on the Interstate, though, so I had to make sure the return route wasn't nearly as direct: I detoured onto Utah Highway 24, then Highway 12, then U.S. 89, then Highway 9, and well, you get the idea. In all, it was about 800 miles, and with frequent stops for photography and summer construction (how do I always forget about this?), I was on the road for about 16 hours.

Of course, I have quite a bit to say after being alone in the BRZ for that long.

2013 Subaru BRZ

I'll fill you in on all my random thoughts this week and provide mpg totals, of course. For now, let's talk about comfort. No matter what any of the other editors tell you, the Subaru BRZ is a comfortable sports car, at least with its stock Michelin tires. The ride is firm over serious seams and ruts in the pavement, but it's not harsh, and the suspension is able to filter out the smaller impacts so that you're not thinking about every imperfection in the road on long trips.

The cockpit didn't exactly stay quiet, as there was a pretty even mix of wind, road (tire) and engine noise on my trip. None of it was excessive for an affordably priced rear-drive car, but all of it was noticeable. And the Subaru's weak audio system made it hard to un-notice it.

Ordinarily, I don't think much about how the BRZ's 2.0-liter engine sounds unless I'm accelerating with the commitment in traffic. On my trip, a combination of high speed limits (mostly 75 mph and 80 in a few spots) and high elevation (fluctuating between 4,000 and 10,000 feet in Utah) made its ho-hum soundtrack more prominent as I was carrying more revs. Man, I wish this engine had more personality. At least it was efficient.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 18,750 miles


  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Good comment about wishing for more personality in the engine sound. That, and an engine that is rewarding for reaching various RPM thresholds throughout the range is so critical in a sports car. More important to me than outright power.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I believe that part of the reason for carrying more revs was the necessity of staying in lower gears due to power loss at high elevation. I'm thinking that once I'm over 5k feet elevation, with the A/C going, I'd like more outright power.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I had a chance to drive this car again about two weeks ago (or rather, the FR-S), and I can confirm that at least on the stock tires, the ride is busier than the previous stiffest OEM car I had, a 2006 Civic Si. Damping was such that the "edge" was taken off bumps, but you clearly feel the butt through your road. It's somewhat close to the S2000 in this regard. It's not bad, but if you're using this as a DD I would consider different tires rather than the stock rocks. The noise was definitely a larger issue. I don't really have a problem with the wind noise, but tire roar and engine noise was an issue. Again, different tires would help. It wouldn't be so bad if the engine actually sounded good, but it doesn't- it just sort of moos and groans its way up to redline and it doesn't really seem to have much power at lower OR near redline. While I'm at it, the stick had short shifts and was accurate... but was extremely notchy too- there were times when I'm wondering whether I'm crunching the synchros to dust. Classic Subaru in that sense.

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