2016 Subaru BRZ Review
2016 Subaru BRZ Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- A light and well-balanced chassis makes for phenomenal handling
- excellent steering feel and response
- automatic transmission's high fuel economy
- comfortable and supportive front seats
- standard features list is great for the price.
- Backseat and trunk are small
- relatively modest acceleration, especially with the automatic transmission.
For 2016, the Subaru BRZ gets an updated touchscreen infotainment system and a standard rearview camera. This year also sees the debut of a limited-edition HyperBlue version with some distinctive exterior and interior styling flourishes.
There can be a lot more to driving than just getting from point A to point B. Take a spin in the 2016 Subaru BRZ and you'll love how this sporty coupe gets your blood flowing. Ready to learn more about how this affordable sports car earns such high praise?
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Subaru BRZ Premium 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$191/mo for BRZ Premium
Avg. Compact Car
The small sport coupe is a small niche in the U.S. car market, but for shoppers who want nimble handling, peppy performance and good looks in a small package -- and can't abide the thought of four doors -- the 2016 Subaru BRZ is one of the best choices available. It's a back-to-basics, lightweight sports car with rear-wheel drive, excellent balance and an affordable price.
Roads like this are the 2016 Subaru BRZ's natural habitat.
Tasked with propelling about 2,800 pounds, the 200 horses unleashed by the BRZ's flat-4 "boxer" engine provide decent gallop. But this car is much more about straightening out curvy roads than clocking records for straight-line acceleration. The BRZ's low center of gravity, ideal front/rear weight balance and wonderfully communicative steering make it an all-star athlete by any standard. As we discovered in our BRZ long-term road test a few years ago, it's hard to beat this Subaru for the money if you're looking for maximum driving enjoyment.
There's not much in the market that competes directly with the BRZ. The Scion FR-S offers a different nameplate and slightly different feature availability but is mechanically the same (Subaru and Toyota developed the cars together). Ford's Focus ST and Volkswagen's Golf GTI offer quicker acceleration and more practicality, but neither can match the BRZ for handling precision. Alternately, the redesigned Mazda Miata roadster boasts lovely handling and steering but loses out on practicality. If you move up in regards to price, the new Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang will certainly be appealing. Or, if you're a Subaru fan, you might also check out the BRZ's stablemate, the four-door, all-wheel-drive 2016 Subaru WRX. Really, you won't go wrong with any of these choices. But for an affordable and truly fun-to-drive sport coupe, the 2016 Subaru BRZ is the way to go.
We like the 2016 Subaru BRZ Limited, as it adds a lot of nice features for a modest price increase over the base Premium.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 BRZ is rear-wheel drive and features a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic with shift paddles and rev-matched downshifts is optional.
The BRZ with a manual transmission is more than a second quicker to 60 mph than one with the optional automatic.
In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped BRZ went from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. An automatic BRZ did it in 7.9 seconds. These times are certainly on the slow side for a dedicated sports car, though at least the manual BRZ is within a half-second of the new MX-5 Miata.
Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Subaru BRZ includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control (with selectable levels of calibration), front side airbags and side curtain airbags.
In Edmunds brake testing, the BRZ came to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet, a respectable result that's nonetheless a few feet longer than the 2016 MX-5 Miata's best stop.
In government crash tests, the BRZ earned a safety rating of five stars overall (out of a possible five), including four stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side impact safety. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the BRZ received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The BRZ's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts. In that agency's small-overlap frontal offset test, the BRZ received a second-best "Acceptable" rating.
If you're the sort of driver who must be able to hammer down freeway on-ramps with tires ablaze, the 2016 Subaru BRZ is not for you. Its power is sufficient but not thrilling, and there's not much torque to launch you off the line. Instead, the BRZ is for those who get a kick out of going around corners with phenomenal communication and control. For that purpose, few cars can match it, even at twice the price.
The 2016 BRZ delivers a pure sports-car experience on a winding road.
The BRZ's limits are approachable and easily controlled, which makes it a wonderfully engaging sports car. The steering practically telegraphs the front tires' grip status right to the driver's hands. What's more, the brake pedal is firm and consistent in feel, and the chassis remains composed even when the road surface doesn't. We'd go for the manual gearbox, which is a pleasure to shift, but even the available automatic transmission is programmed for enthusiastic driving, upshifting very rapidly and matching revs enthusiastically on downshifts.
Used for more mundane duties like the daily commute or a long road trip, this little Subaru is still rewarding. It's surprisingly easy to drive, and the ride is sufficiently supple over broken pavement. The one demerit is that there's a fair amount of road noise, which can detract from an otherwise reasonably refined experience.
The BRZ has a simple, pleasantly styled cabin that features a blend of Toyota and Subaru switchgear and materials. It's a bit bland compared with some other sporty cars in its price range, but then this is supposed to be a back-to-basics driver's car. There's no shortage of features, as even the base model is loaded with high-tech items like navigation, a rearview camera, HD radio and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. The standard touchscreen interface is updated for 2016 with an incrementally larger screen and new software.
The BRZ's firm, well-shaped front seats are supportive enough for hard driving on curvy roads, yet remain comfortable on long-distance trips. People of just about any size should find the driving position quite agreeable, and thanks to the low-profile hood, there's an expansive view of the road ahead.
Yes, there's a backseat, but no adult would want to sit back there. Legroom is next to nil, your head will be either very close to or pressed against the rear window and the center tunnel impedes hiproom. Trunk space is also rather small at 6.9 cubic feet, but folding down the rear seatback expands cargo capacity considerably.
2016 Subaru BRZ models
The 2016 Subaru BRZ is a four-seat compact coupe available in two primary trim levels: Premium and Limited. There's also a limited-production HyperBlue edition for 2016.
The Premium comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, summer tires, a limited-slip rear differential, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-down rear seatback and a rearview camera. Electronic features include Subaru's Starlink infotainment system with a 6.2-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a navigation system, voice controls, smartphone app integration (including Aha Radio, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Stitcher, plus news, weather and calendar features), and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.
Every 2016 BRZ comes equipped with a crisp-looking 6.2-inch touchscreen.
Stepping up to the Limited adds foglamps, a rear spoiler, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated suede and leather upholstery, upgraded interior trim and an All-Weather package that includes heated mirrors and heated front seats.
The limited-production (only 500 will be made) HyperBlue edition includes the Limited features and adds special light blue paint, aero body styling tweaks, black wheels and exterior badges, a frameless rearview mirror, blue interior accent stitching and a black-and-blue interior scheme with the BRZ logo embroidered on the front seats.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
The Perfect Sports Car - For the Price
2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
Keeping in mind that you can get the BRZ for less than $30,000 it is, in my opinion, the best sports car of the modern era. The driving position, steering feel, and ability for an amateur driver to push the BRZ to the limit is the reason that it makes every driver smile. The point of the BRZ (or the FR-S, or GT 86 since they are all essentially the same car) is to make a grown-up feel … like a child again. The car makes me giggle, and flatters my abilities to the point where I never feel unsafe. I was in a unique situation where I was able to purchase one of the 500 Hyper Blue BRZ's and as long as I never wreck it, I expect it to be a future classic. So whenever I get the chance, I take it for a blast through the hills, or if I can leave a little early, I take the long way to work and arrive with a smile plastered across my face. In a world where most of us drive grayscale people carrying boxes, the BRZ feels extra special. It's a reminder of how much fun driving can be, and without putting in too much money, it has the comforts, look and finish of a far more expensive car. The interior has Hyper Blue stitching to match the paint, and with black accents, the BRZ feels just right. The controls are where you expect them to be, and the large, centrally mounted tachometer runs happily up above 7000rpm before a light flashes at you to shift up before you ping it off the limiter. As driving experiences go, it is hard to get more smiles per gallon for my money. UPDATE: after 10,0000 miles the BRZ has become an extension of me and I am happy to say I still love it. UPDATE 2: after 16,000 miles it’s still perfect for me.
4.88 out of 5 stars
2013 BRZ Limited 6 Speed Manual
2013 Subaru BRZ Limited 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
As mentioned by others a lot has been written about this car and most of it is true. The car is very well balanced and is great on the backroads. Power is adequate given the weight of the car too much more and it would affect the driving dynamics of the vehicle. Shifting is very precise and short just the way you want it but in the cold weather until the car warms up shifts from 1st to … 2nd can be a bit clunky. layout of interior is fantastic seats are supportive but being sport seats can be a little snug for larger people. Back seat to me are just there to save insurance costs not very practical at all. Very well appointed for the money, stock tires are way too brutal over road transitions.
4.5 out of 5 stars
A pure driver's car for under 30K
2013 Subaru BRZ Limited 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
Others both professional and amateur have reviewed this car all over the internet. Let me confirm that the positive hyperbole is actually warranted. Incredible sports car for the money. If you are a car enthusiast, you must drive this car. Steering is quick and nimble, suspension is firm and confident, acceleration could be better, but who cares when you are giggling and grinning as you … carve up any curve with confidence. The boxer rumble is nice, I wouldn't mind some more noise from the stock exhaust. Weak points are what you would expect: small trunk, small backseat, low entry into car tough for taller folks (I'm 6'2" and can get in okay).
4 out of 5 stars
A fun daily driver - but with a cost
2016 Subaru BRZ Limited 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
The big thing to know about this car is that Subaru/Toyota wanted a cheap performance car that would make drivers smile. They succeeded, but the cheapness can come back to bite long-term owners. I have daily-driven the car for a year and 14,000 miles, so I have had the proper seat time to write a review. The two companies decided to put the whole budget into the drivetrain. My car in … this respect has been solid. I replaced the transmission, differential, and engine oils myself, and the engineers really put a lot of thought into how to do that easily. On the flip side, most nuts and bolts on this car are made out of very weak metal, leading to all the wheel studs being stripped in just a few changes. The interior rattles like crazy, the speakers buzz at higher volumes, which are needed because of loud road noise. I had two sets of tail lights leak, and my headlight ballasts went out and needed replacement. The list goes on. The car will continue to drive and handle beautifully, but the non-essentials will entropy around you. The maintenance bill won't be in the thousands, but I have constantly had $100 here and there to replace the cheap parts. I am 6'2" and 190 pounds and am triangle-shaped. Think broad shoulders and small waist. This car's seats are the most comfortable I have ever sat in. I want these for my office, house, and every car afterward. That being said, if I was an inch taller or 20 pounds heavier, I would hate them. All of my 'larger' friends hate riding in the car. My wife is tall and thin, and she hates hunching over to get in/out of the passenger side. Holding on to the steering wheel makes the driver's side easy. People like to say this car is slow. For muscle-car owners who love straight line speed, this car is not for you. I don't want any more power out of it, because I get to floor it during daily driving, and I don't get speeding tickets. It's exhilarating without being too dangerous. Countless journalists have raved about the balance and steering - all I know is that the car feels super secure going 30+ mph over suggested speed limits on turns. If I was looking at a BRZ and similar cars today, I personally would just save my money and buy a Mazda Miata RF. That being said, I still roll the windows down on a warm day and just go for a drive to relax. This car does this at a great price, and I would recommend it to a friend - if they are willing to deal with the mentioned issues.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2016 Subaru BRZ, so we've included reviews for other years of the BRZ since its last redesign.
2016 BRZ Highlights
|Combined MPG||25 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$191/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver3 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat4 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover7.1%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestAcceptable
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood