2017 Subaru BRZ
- A light and well-balanced chassis makes for phenomenal handling
- Excellent steering feel and response
- Comfortable and supportive front seats
- Standard features list is good for the price
- Relatively modest acceleration with no engine upgrade available
- Backseat and trunk are small
Edmunds' Expert Review
In the biggest update since it was introduced four years ago, the Subaru BRZ is back for 2017 with a host of changes. The small two-door coupe from Subaru gets more power (when paired with the manual transmission) through a series of engine upgrades. That, in combination with revised manual transmission gearing, should result in slightly quicker acceleration than before. Subaru says it also retuned the suspension to improve both the BRZ's handling and ride quality. What's more, the interior gains additional padding in common-touch areas, a revised infotainment system and an updated gauge cluster. Individually, the changes are small, but together they should further increase the BRZ's attractiveness.
Unchanged is the BRZ's core appeal. This is a small sport coupe that's relatively economical, has fantastic steering and handling, and connects the driver to the road in a way that few other cars can. If you're looking for something that will simply transport you to work in comfort, the BRZ can do that, too, but it shines as a fun weekend car.
So what's the catch? Well, it's a bit small in the back, and even with this year's power bump it's going to have a hard time showing most other sports cars its taillights. If power is critical, what would you want to buy instead? Well, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro and 2017 Ford Mustang can't be beat, especially in their V8 engine guises. For more space and versatility, a performance hatchback such as the Ford Focus ST or the Volkswagen GTI should also be considered. Or if it's a drop-top you're after, the Mazda Miata could be the one to get. And don't forget the BRZ's twin, the Toyota 86 (formerly the Scion FR-S), which puts a slightly different spin on the car's styling and interior design.
Even among this group of competitors, though, we love how the 2017 Subaru BRZ stays true to the ideal of being an affordable driver's car.
Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Subaru BRZ includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control (with selectable levels of calibration), front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Larger Brembo brakes are optional on the Limited trim level and standard with the Series.Yellow BRZ.
In government crash tests, the BRZ received four out of five stars for front-crash protection. Prior BRZ testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety resulted in a highest possible rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. In that agency's small-overlap front-impact test, the BRZ received a second-best Acceptable rating.
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Subaru BRZ is a four-seat compact coupe available in three trim levels: Premium, Limited and Series.Yellow.
The Premium comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, summer tires, a limited-slip rear differential, automatic LED headlights and running lights, keyless entry, cruise control, hill-start assist, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping 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.
Stepping up to the Limited gets you LED foglights, a rear spoiler, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated suede and leather upholstery, upgraded interior trim, a digital display in the gauge cluster for performance data, and an All-Weather package that includes heated mirrors and heated front seats. A new optional Performance package (manual transmission only) adds black 17-inch alloy wheels, larger Brembo brakes and upgraded suspension dampers.
The Series.Yellow trim includes the Limited's features (plus the Performance package) and gains a frameless rearview mirror, black exterior badges, yellow interior accent stitching, and a black-and-yellow interior scheme with the BRZ logo embroidered on the front seats.
The 2017 BRZ has rear-wheel drive and features a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. Power output depends on which transmission you choose. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic with shift paddles and rev-matched downshifts is optional for the BRZ Limited. With the manual, you'll get 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. Automatic-equipped BRZs are limited to 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.
According to Subaru, the manual transmission has revised gearing that will theoretically improve acceleration. We have yet to test the 2017 BRZ, but we don't expect it to be dramatically quicker than before. Expect a 0-60 mph time in the low to mid-6-second range with the manual or closer to 8 seconds with the automatic. Most rival sport coupes are quicker.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) with the manual and 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway) with the automatic.
For 2017, Subaru's revisions include new suspension tuning (supported by additional chassis reinforcements), a bump in horsepower and a shorter final drive ratio (both for manual-equipped cars only). We haven't driven the newest version of the BRZ yet, but we're pretty confident that our impression from earlier models will hold up, if not get even better.
The BRZ is and has always been a very entertaining car. Although it isn't blisteringly fast, it corners extremely well with quick, communicative steering. Tire grip is modest, but that's part of the appeal: When you reach the limit of adhesion, you're still driving at normal speeds, and the car's balance and communication are so good that you feel confident in your control of the car. We'd go for the manual gearbox, which is a pleasure to shift (and ups the BRZ's horsepower rating from 200 to 205), but even the available automatic transmission is programmed for enthusiastic driving, upshifting very rapidly and matching revs enthusiastically on downshifts.
Proving that it's more than just a sports car, the BRZ is comfortable and composed when you get it out on the open highway or over broken city streets. Relatively speaking, the ride is supple, or at least not so firm that it's unlivable in a city. Previous BRZs we've tested had a significant amount of road noise, and though we aren't ready to say that it's gone away entirely, there have been some changes in cabin insulation that could potentially have made things better.
Though it isn't full of upscale or fancy trimmings, the BRZ has a likable interior. The cabin is simple and pleasantly styled with a blend of Toyota and Subaru switchgear and materials. Atypical for a performance car, several tech items come standard, such as navigation, a rearview camera, HD radio and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. For 2017, the Limited and Series.Yellow also come with a new gauge cluster display that can show performance and additional engine information.
One of the best features from the BRZ's interior are its front seats. They're firm, well shaped and supportive enough for enthusiastic driving yet still comfortable enough for long road 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.
The backseat, however, is not nearly as good. Forcing any adult to sit in the backseat means that the front seat has to be moved up significantly, and even then, legroom is extremely limited. Headroom is tight too, with most adults touching their heads on the rear window glass. What's more, the center tunnel impedes hiproom so there isn't much room to spread out. Trunk space is also rather small at 6.9 cubic feet, but folding down the rear seatback expands cargo capacity considerably. For comparison, the Mazda Miata has just 4.6 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Chevy Camaro has 9.1 cubes.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
2017 Subaru BRZ for Sale
A spin in the 2017 Subaru BRZ reminds us that driving can be more than getting from Point A to Point B. For 2017, the BRZ gets its most significant upgrade since inception, with a more powerful engine, revised suspension tuning, and updates to its interior and instrumentation. Small changes add up to something very big: The BRZ is now more appealing than ever.
What hasn't changed is the reason we find the BRZ so attractive in the first place. This is a classic sports car with crisp steering and sharp handling that forges a special connection between driver and road. It makes a reasonably comfortable and economical daily driver, but it's as a grin-generating weekend car that the BRZ really stands out.
At the heart of the BRZ is a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed boxer four-cylinder engine. BRZs with manual transmissions now generate 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque, though output for the automatics remains unchanged, at 200 hp and 151 lb-ft. The EPA estimates the BRZ's fuel economy at 25 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) for manual cars and 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway) for the automatics.
Rear-wheel drive is a rarity for the all-wheel-drive specialists at Subaru. And it is this method of power delivery that makes the BRZ fun. The car is exceptionally well balanced, which allows you to explore its handling limits at sane speeds. Subaru has retuned the suspension this year, making it easier to probe those limits and slide the back end of the car around a bit, if that's your thing. The ride is not soft, yet BRZ shoppers will find it fine for daily driving. The noisy cabin is less forgivable. Enthusiasts may gravitate toward the manual transmission but don't dismiss the automatic. It is a great companion for sporty driving, eagerly popping off smooth rev-matched downshifts to keep the engine on the boil.
We have always liked the BRZ's simple interior. For 2017, Subaru added more soft-touch materials in places where limbs are likely to touch. It also revised the instrument cluster and the infotainment system. We've always appreciated its supportive driver seat, but the backseats remain undesirable. Even with the front seats adjusted for shorter drivers, legroom is in short supply. And the center driveline tunnel impedes hiproom. The trunk is also tiny. Maybe it is best to forget the BRZ has a backseat and fold it down to expand the cargo area instead.
Subaru offers three versions of the BRZ: Premium, Limited and the limited-production Series.Yellow trim. The Premium is surprisingly well equipped for a sports car. Limiteds add more features, including suede and leather upholstery. The Series.Yellow is primarily an appearance package. It is a top-of-the-line BRZ with unique black and yellow accents. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Subaru BRZ for you.
2017 Subaru BRZ Overview
The 2017 Subaru BRZ is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include Limited 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M), Series.Yellow 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M), Limited 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6A), and Premium 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M).
What do people think of the 2017 Subaru BRZ?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Subaru BRZ and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 BRZ 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 BRZ.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Subaru BRZ and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 BRZ featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Subaru BRZ?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.