2017 Subaru BRZ Review
Pros & Cons
- 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
- Backseat and trunk are small
- Relatively modest acceleration with no engine upgrade available
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.