2013 Subaru BRZ Premium Coupe (2.0L 4-cyl. 6-speed Manual)
Driven On 3/6/2012
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
Subaru's BRZ gets an A rating on value alone. But let's be honest, it would be a lot more fun with another 70 lb-ft of torque and some real grip. That it's a terrific sports car isn't worth arguing. That it could be better is certain.
PerformanceThe BRZ isn't going to wow you getting on the freeway, but drive it in its element and you're going to have loads of fun -- more so than any other car at this price.
This car isn't a drag racer so keep your expectations aligned with its modest power.
The brake system is sufficient providing repeatable, fade-free stoping power after miles of aggressive driving.
Quick and communicative, the steering is one of the BRZ's most likable aspects.
Spectacular balance, communication and control. Handling is the BRZ's specialty. It's hugely fun despite modest grip limits.
There's a good torque hit down low which provides adequate acceleration early in the rev range.
ComfortComfort is good in the BRZ. There's little high-frequency movement unless the road surface is wildly uneven. And even then, thanks to independent rear suspension, the ride is better than a Mustang.
These are the best seats in any car at this price. Soft enough to for long journeys, firm enough to not feel soggy.
With undeniably firm suspension tuning, there's a certain purposefulness to the BRZ's ride quality. But it's not so stiff as to be a hassle.
The BRZ's interior is sufficiently quiet. There's a subtle and intentional intake note during wide-throttle openings, but it's a good sound.
InteriorThe BRZ's interior is Spartan but adequately detailed for a focused sports car -- and you do get more than what comes in its brother the Scion FR-S. Material quality is sufficient and switchgear operates with adequate precision.
Good gauge placement with the tachometer in the middle. All major controls fall readily at hand.
The BRZ is low and getting in and out is more difficult than in taller vehicles. It's a small price to pay for this coupe's abilities.
If you're a really, really big driver then there will be challenges. Still, you'll have to be taller than 6 feet 4. Otherwise, no worries.
Even with the low hood line, visibility isn't as good as it could be out of the BRZ, especially over the shoulder.
Folding rear seats help, but there's ample room in the trunk for more than just a weekend's worth of bags.
ValueThe only other car that can match the BRZ on value is the FR-S. No other car offers its combination of rear-drive handling and entertaining power.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Material and assembly quality are average, but generally better than the FR-S.
Standard navigation is one way the BRZ makes itself distinct from its Scion FR-S twin. Limited style adds keyless ignition, foglamps, dual-zone climate control and faux suede and leather seating.
This car could cost less, but we suspect pent-up demand has brought it to market at a price that's somewhat profit padded.
At 22 city/ 30 highway the BRZ's EPA numbers are good, but not great.
The BRZ's warranty is average -- 3 years/36,000 miles basic, 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain.
Subaru supplies 3 years/36,000 miles of roadside assistance with new BRZs as well.
Fun To DriveThe BRZ defines fun to drive without going broke. That last part should always be part of the equation.
This is a car that needs to be driven hard in the right environment to be fully appreciated. Drive it there and you'll understand.
There are no quirks here -- just honest, textbook rear-drive fun. And if that gives it personality then it has plenty.