Subaru BRZ

The Essentials

  • Price from £24,995
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 36.2mpg
  • What is it? An entertaining coupe for sports car purists, with slightly better handling than the near-identical Toyota GT86.

Great

  • Great fun to drive, thanks to sharp handling and crisp responses
  • Good equipment as standard
  • Reasonably priced

Gripes

  • The engine needs to be thrashed for its best performance
  • The cabin looks pretty cheap
  • The rear seats are pretty useless
  • Drive

    Great fun, but fairly uncultured

  • Inside

    Clear dashboard and a nice driving position

  • Safety

    Class-leading safety equipment

  • Reliability

    Great aftercare package, but unappealing cabin

  • Space

    Decent boot but rear seats are next to useless

  • Standard and extras

    Even entry-level cars come with good equipment

  • What's it like to drive?

    The BRZ's 2.0-litre petrol engine produces a relatively modest 197bhp, but because the car is also relatively light it can propel the BRZ from 0-60mph in less than seven seconds. You'll need to work the throttle hard to get this kind of performance, though, because the engine is very flat below 4000rpm. A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, or you can opt for a six-speed automatic.
    This is not a sophisticated coupé: the transmission is clunky, road noise is a real problem, and the standard low-resistance tyres squeal too easily when you pull away.
    The BRZ doesn't ride quite as smoothly as the near-identical Toyota GT86, because the Subaru's suspension is slightly firmer. The advantage of this, though, is that the BRZ feels a fraction sharper in the bends thanks to superior body control. The neutral balance, low centre of gravity and sharp steering also help the car change direction quickly and accurately. The low-grip tyres mean the BRZ isn't as fast along country lanes as many coupe rivals, but it's just as much fun.

  • What's it like inside?

    The superbly supportive sports seats, low-slung driving position and chunky steering wheel are just what you'd want in this kind of car, but some taller drivers may find the steering wheel doesn't have enough height adjustment.
    Most of the switchgear is simply arranged, but the design is dated and dreary while the materials are hard and unappealing. The back seats are next to useless, too, because head- and legroom are far too tight for adults, and foot space is even worse. You're better off using these seats as extra luggage space to add to the decent 243-litre boot.
    The BRZ is well equipped: alloys, climate control, keyless entry, cruise control, electric front windows and Bluetooth are all standard on the entry-level SE. SE Lux adds heated seats in leather and suede-effect alcantara.

  • How reliable is it?

    The BRZ comes with an exceptional amount of safety equipment, including seven airbags and active anti-whiplash headrests. Security kit is pretty good, too, with an immobiliser and alarm provided on all cars. Subaru has a good reputation for reliability, while its 'ETC' aftercare package is excellent.

  • Should I buy one?

    The BRZ is priced to compete with coupes such as the Audi TT and Peugeot RCZ, but these rivals are more sophisticated and the BRZ is unlikely to hold its value as well as the Audi. What's more, claimed fuel consumption of 36.2mpg means it will cost more to run than these rivals, too.