It’s a Best Buy because:
BRZ offers the same genuine sports-car personality as the Best Buy Scion FR-S, but with a higher level of standard equipment—particularly in top-line trim.
As with the FR-S, some enthusiast buyers might wish for a bit more power.
The BRZ and Scion FR-S use a horizontally-opposed “boxer” engine that gives them a lower center of gravity for better handling.
What Is It?
BRZ shares its basic design with the Scion FR-S (see previous pages), but it has slightly different suspension tuning and offers a higher level of standard equipment. Buyers have a choice of two trim levels: base Premium and top-line Limited. No factory options are offered, but the Limited model comes standard with upscale features such as leather upholstery, a navigation system, and heated front seats. The BRZ is the only Subaru vehicle that doesn’t come equipped with all-wheel drive.
BRZ debuted for 2013 and sees only one change of note for its second season: The standard navigation system gets Aha-brand smartphone integration.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway with manual transmission, 25/34 with automatic. In Consumer Guide® testing, an automatic-transmission Limited averaged 30.5 mpg in mostly highway driving. BRZ requires premium-grade gas.
Value in Class
Like its near twin, the Scion FR-S, the Subaru BRZ attempts to blend the pure enthusiast appeal of a finely honed rear-wheel-drive sports car with the accessibility and everyday practicality of a compact economy car. It succeeds on most counts. The typical sporty-coupe demerits—most notably a somewhat stiff ride and a tiny back-seat area—are here, but they’re tempered by the BRZ’s respectable fuel-economy numbers and sprightly all-around performance. A BRZ costs more than an FR-S, but the price difference is offset by a higher level of standard equipment—and the top-line BRZ Limited model offers desirable comfort and convenience features that can’t be had on an FR-S.