Affordable Fun for Sports Car Enthusiasts

2017 Subaru BRZ fuses value, sporty styling, and praiseworthy performance

BYNina Russin
The rear-wheel drive BRZ is quite a departure from the all-wheel drive wagons Subaru is best known for. Developed in conjunction with Toyota, the BRZ is the only rear-wheel drive model in Subaru’s lineup, reflecting a passion for driving while maintaining the automaker’s focus on safety and value.
The BRZ and its sibling, the Toyota 86, share identical drivetrains: both significantly updated for 2017 with a more powerful Subaru 4-cylinder engine and retuned suspension. However, the BRZ differs from the Toyota in two important ways: It has a lower base sticker price and offers an optional performance package.
The increases in horsepower and torque, while small, are significant, as is a change in the final drive ratio that gives the BRZ better power off the line. The additional power increases Subaru’s competitive advantage over the Mazda MX-5 Miata, while bringing it closer to Nissan’s 370Z sport coupe.
The BRZ is not a car for everyone, lacking the all-season capability of the WRX and other Subaru models. Its low stance makes the coupe more difficult to get in and out of, and the interior is noisy on the highway. For driving enthusiasts, these drawbacks might not be major concerns.
The BRZ’s low center of gravity contributes to its excellent handling at high speeds. Subaru’s four-cylinder “Boxer” engine, so called because the cylinders face each other like a boxer’s hands, contributes to balance that is most noticeable on winding roads. While it won’t barrel through snow in the thick of winter, the Subaru BRZ is the perfect car for enjoying Arizona’s mountain roads on a warm spring or summer afternoon.
Bottom line: Sports car enthusiasts who lack a Formula One budget will find the Subaru BRZ a winning companion, with appealing styling and satisfying performance.
NINA RUSSIN specializes in reviewing vehicles for buyers with active lifestyles and owns a Jeep Wrangler because, like her, it likes to spend time off the grid.

2017 Subaru BRZ

Vehicle Type: 
Sports Car
Base Price: 
Fuel Economy: 
24 MPG City
33 MPG Highway
Key Safety Features: 
  • Antilock brakes
  • Whiplash-resistant seat frames
  • Traction and stability controls
  • Front and side airbags
The Good: 
  • Great value
  • More power and a retuned suspension improve high-speed performance
  • Second-row seat adds interior storage space lacking in two-seat competitors
The Bad: 
  • Difficult access and egress
  • Tire noise, most noticeable at high speeds
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