Nowadays, you can get a great sports car for a relatively low price. In fact, that was the idea Toyota and Subaru had in mind during their joint development of the Subaru BRZ. It’s not as well-known as Subaru’s crossover SUVs, which is a shame considering the BRZ’s performance.
In fact, U.S. News recommends the Subaru BRZ for its speed and affordability under $30,000. What makes the BRZ so appealing at its price point?
The Subaru BRZ’s speediness
Compared to other cars in the segment, the Subaru BRZ doesn’t have the most powerful engine. It’s a four-cylinder that can produce 205 hp when paired with a six-speed manual transmission. The six-speed automatic option drops the engine’s output to 200 hp. But raw power isn’t what makes the BRZ so special.
Critics, including U.S. News, praise the Subaru BRZ for its exceptional handling. Its sporty suspension allows it to make hairpin turns with plenty of confidence, and the brakes kick in quickly. Performance springs and a short-throw shifter can also be added, both of which still keep this car under the $30,000 mark.
Unlike many other Subarus, the BRZ is available only with front-wheel drive. In terms of acceleration, Car and Driver clocked a 0-to-60 mph split of 6.2 seconds.
What’s included in a base Subaru BRZ?
The Subaru BRZ’s cabin is surprisingly luxe for a vehicle at its price point. The seats and steering wheel are wrapped in leather, and the front seats boast heating functions. The front seats also include bolstering to provide more support during long trips.
However, even on the higher trims, drab hard plastic surrounds the seats. Adjustability options also aren’t available, which is problematic considering the cramped cockpit. The standard 7.0-inch touchscreen includes Bluetooth and smartphone integration. There’s also an eight-speaker sound system.
However, too many knobs and buttons clutter the Subaru BRZ’s center stack. And the text on the infotainment screen is too small for some drivers to read, and no upgrades are available on the tS trim. Besides a rearview camera, there also aren’t any available safety features for the Subaru BRZ.
A 2022 BRZ is coming soon
If you can wait until autumn, the redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ is also an attractive option. Harnessing 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, it has a more powerful engine than the outgoing model. The transmission options are still the same, as is its FWD-only configuration.
The redesigned BRZ also has some exciting performance enhancements, including a new traction system, sportier suspension, and a limited-slip rear differential. Subaru has been shuffled the trims around, renaming the tS the “Limited” and giving the “Premium” moniker to the base trim. The Limited model will have slightly larger wheels than the Premium.
Other changes include a completely remodeled interior and more legroom for the second row. Restrictive passenger space is one of the current BRZ’s biggest flaws. In fact, MotorTrend even likens it to a cargo shelf instead of a proper seating area.
Some much-needed advanced safety features are also available on the 2022 model, but only on the Subaru BRZ with an automatic transmission. They include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and forward-collision warning.
Though the Subaru BRZ is undeniably fun to drive, its other shortcomings might prompt some shoppers to question its value. If that’s the case, you might want to wait until the redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ is released (Subaru is skipping a 2021 model). It’ll probably cost a little over $30,000, but the improvements make it an even better sports car overall.