Sporty/performance car; Built in
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $14,900 – $22,700*


2013 Subaru BRZ


2013 Subaru BRZ


2013 Subaru BRZ


2013 Subaru BRZ

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Handling
  • Price
Cons:
  • Entry/exit
  • Interior space
  • Rear-seat room

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 typically 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.

Overview

BRZ is one of two cars resulting from a partnership between Subaru and Toyota (the other is the FR-S from Toyota’s Scion brand). The two Japanese automakers combined engineering and design expertise to create a dedicated sporty car with a low curb weight (less than 3,000 pounds), low center of gravity, and weight distribution where less than 60 percent of the car’s mass rests above the front axle. The BRZ and Scion FR-S looked nearly identical, but their respective suspension tunings were slightly different. The Subaru also came in two trim levels (versus one for the Scion), had more standard equipment, and a slightly higher price.

This car was new from the ground up, and was Subaru’s only vehicle that didn’t come standard with all-wheel drive. It was not even optional, as the car’s internals were so packed in that an AWD system wouldn’t fit. BRZ did have the brand’s trademark horizontally opposed “Boxer” 4-cylinder engine. The engine itself was new and used a combination of traditional port and modern high-pressure direct fuel injection, which was designed to balance power and fuel efficiency.

BRZ offered no factory options. Buyers had a choice of two trim levels: base Premium and top-line Limited.

Standard on the Premium was a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, folding rear seat back, power windows/locks/mirrors, keyless entry, satellite radio, HD Radio receiver, Bluetooth wireless cellphone link, and, surprisingly, a navigation system.

Limited added dual-zone automatic climate control, leather/synthetic suede upholstery, heated front seats, keyless access/engine start, a rear spoiler, and fog lights.

The new engine mentioned above was a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower. Both the Premium and Limited offered a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. BRZ was rear-wheel drive.

EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2013 BRZ was 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 25/34 with the automatic.

Premium-grade gasoline was required.

Yearly Updates

2013 BRZ
Subaru’s BRZ entered its second model year with a few new features including adding Aha-based smartphone connectivity to the standard navigation system. There were also new knee pads on the door panels and center console for improved comfort.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

The lone engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower. Both the Premium and Limited offer a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. BRZ is rear-wheel drive.

dohc H4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 151
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
22/30
25/34

Road Test

Off-the-line acceleration is decent, but not quite as snappy as some rivals. However, power comes on stronger in the middle of the powerband, and stays robust all the way up to redline. BRZ has good power for highway passing maneuvers. The automatic transmission and its paddle shifters are quick to respond to inputs and will hold low gears if requested for optimum performance in spirited driving.

In Consumer Guide testing, an automatic-transmission Limited averaged 30.5 mpg in mostly highway driving. BRZ requires premium-grade gas.

BRZ rides quite well for a small, tautly suspended sports car. Most bumps and dips are felt, but they rarely shock the chassis. Subaru says BRZ’s suspension tuning is different than the Scion FR-S, but we didn’t notice a marked difference between the two in around-town driving.

Handling is a strong point. The BRZ’s low center of gravity is apparent in its lithe, agile moves. It’s especially nimble in fast corners, and rapid changes of direction are handled predictably with little drama. The steering requires moderate effort and delivers good road feedback. The adjustable traction control and antiskid system can be set for varying degrees of intervention. Brakes have a reassuringly firm pedal feel and bring the car to a halt quickly.

BRZ is decently quiet for a sporty/performance car. Some wind rush from the outside rearview mirrors and road noise from the tires is present at freeway speeds, but neither is disruptive. The engine is decently muted in low-rpm cruising, and produces a prominent but sporty growl above 4,000 rpm.

The tachometer is mounted front and center in the gauge cluster, with a digital mph readout to supplement the analog speedometer. The climate controls are handy rotary knobs that are easy to use. However, most testers complained about the stereo/navigation system’s undersized buttons and slow-to-respond touchscreen controls. Some testers also wished for steering-wheel-mounted control buttons.

BRZ’s interior is sports-car spartan but nicely trimmed, with a reasonably classy feel for the price. The Limited’s seats are upholstered in leather and appropriately grippy synthetic suede with red contrast stitching. Note that BRZ Limited models are equipped with upscale features such as heated seats, heated mirrors, and keyless access and starting that aren’t available on the Scion FR-S.

The front cabin is decently roomy for a sports car, though headroom can be tight for tall occupants. Controls are within easy reach. The seats are relatively comfortable and supportive; they have side bolsters that hold occupants in place around corners, but larger occupants may feel restricted. The driver’s seat includes enough adjustments that most people will be able to find a comfortable position. Visibility is good to the front, sides, and rear, but the rear corners can be blocked by the roof pillars. The low-slung body can make entry and exit a challenge.

The rear seats are only suitable for children, but could be used by small adults in a pinch for short trips. With the front seat adjusted for a six footer, there is a miniscule amount of rear legroom. Headroom is very cramped for anyone over 5′ 9″.

The trunk is wide and long, but quite shallow. The rear seat back folds down to free up more space. Interior small-items storage is OK, given the BRZ’s close-coupled dimensions. There is an open center console bin with a positionable/removable cupholder tray, a small storage slot in front of the shifter, a bottle holder in both door panels, and a glovebox.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited, automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 8
80%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 56

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.2 166.7 69.9 50.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
6.9 13.2 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.1 35.0 41.9 29.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2014 Subaru BRZ 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Water leak
Description: During assembly the rear body panel may have been distorted, allowing moisture to seep past seals into the rear light assemblies and the trunk area. (2013)

Recall History

2013 Subaru BRZ
Description: Certain 2013 model year BRZ vehicles made between November 25, 2011 and May 25, 2012 were furnished with owner’s manuals that inaccurately described the operation of the front passenger occupant classification system. Other portions of the manual that described the air bag system required clarification as well.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.