Which Would You Rather? - 2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ Long Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ: Which Would You Rather?

October 1, 2012


There were two gray cars in my driveway on Sunday afternoon. Our Dark Gray long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ was on the left, and my husband's United Gray 2011 Volkswagen GTI was over there on the right.

On the surface, these cars have little in common. Rear-drive, front drive. Two doors, four doors. Coupe, hatchback. Tiny backseat, big backseat.

But for a big chunk of would-be BRZ/FR-S customers, I think the GTI could be one of the more compelling arguments against Toyobaru ownership.

Making an argument for the BRZ over that four-door GTI is easy, though. To start, it's rear-drive and you can shut off the stability control, so it's a good candidate for a track day right out of the box. The GTI? Not so much.

Even if you're just going to drive on back roads, the BRZ is the obvious choice. It has a better driving position with better sightlines, and quicker steering with loads more feel. And you can just tell getting into the car that it likes to change direction -- its responses to your inputs are satisfyingly immediate.

In contrast, the softer-tuned GTI is not that much fun on a back road, and I can't think of the last time my husband took it on one. But it's a quicker car, and the difference in commuter traffic is much wider than a comparison of 0-60 and quarter-mile times indicates. The VW has a lot more low-end grunt, and its 2.0 TSI engine serves it up ice-cream smooth, whereas you're going to work for it a bit with Subaru's naturally aspirated FA-series 2.0-liter.

Ride quality is also downright compliant in the VW, and even in this base model, materials quality is a couple levels up from the Subaru and, frankly, most other cars in this price range. The seats are cushy and roomy, and the cabin is pretty quiet. And thanks to the aforementioned backseat, we can take family and friends to dinner whenever we want.

Essentially, it's a choice between fun and convenience. The BRZ buyer still has the luxury of pushing certain realities off to the side, whereas maybe the GTI buyer does not. Oh, also $900. A base 2012 GTI 4-door stickers at $25,365. A base BRZ Premium (ours is a Limited) costs $26,265 in theory.

Which are your taking?

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 5,318 miles

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