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The BRZ Driving Experience
The Subaru BRZ was the result of a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru. Since its first model, the car quickly became famous for its high-revving engine and lively handling. It fares well compared with most sports cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Audi TT, Volkswagen Scirocco, and even the Nissan 370Z.
While it is fun to drive, it is not suitable for those looking for a daily grocery-getter. The car can be noisy on the highway, and the ride is a little rough for those looking for comfort. But nearly all its downsides are overshadowed by the great looks and performance.
Simply put, the BRZ is designed for those who enjoy driving and not those who take it as a chore. Everything on the BRZ seems exceptionally coordinated. The low seats coupled with responsive steering, and a taut but adaptive suspension, all work together to give you an exceptional feel of the road.
The BRZ is an excellent option for track excursions over the weekend. The car has DSC Sport mode, which adjusts the stability control. But if the option does not suit your driving style, you are allowed to turn it off. The modernized differential helps the car stick to the road while making sharp turns on curvy roads and challenging track portions.
The 2016 Subaru BRZ
Like many of its preceding and following models, the 2016 BRZ does not disappoint when it comes to looks. The inexpensive, rear-wheel-drive sports sedan does not disappoint when it comes to giving you some delicious thrills.
Under the hood, the 2016 BRZ is powered by a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine that can produce 200 horsepower. The unique "boxer" engine houses four cylinders so that two cylinders are horizontally opposite to the other two. The car houses a direct injection technology like the WRX but misses out on a turbocharger.
To deliver the engine power to the wheels, you have the option of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission offers an exceptional driving experience, but the automatic comes with many features. In sports mode, the automatic transmission can delay shifts, sharpen them. It also comes with paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel. If you manually select a gear using the paddle shifter, the transmission will hold it, even at high rpm.
The car seems to be designed while keeping only one thing: driving experience. The double-wishbone suspension coupled with low-mounted struts and a front brace keep the vehicle balanced. Even when pushed, the car transfers weight uniformly to the back wheels.
If you are into drifting and would edge the tail out, you can do that with a heavy foot on the gas. But it will be a very deliberate action as the car will not enter drifts quickly due to the well-balanced weight distribution.
Some car enthusiasts believe that the engine is underpowered. But the balance that the BRZ maintains with a very low center of gravity, and finely tuned suspension, is easily ranked as one of the best handling cars out there.
Since its launch in 2013, the BRZ seemed like an alien among the Subaru lineup, which comprised mainly station wagons and crossovers. While Subaru followed a minimalist aesthetic, a two-door coupe quickly stood out among other vehicles.
The sports car silhouette is combined with a long hood, arched roof, bold fender lines, and ostentatious five-spoke wheels to complete the look. The hood seems noticeably low from the front end, pointing to the low-mounted engine and the low center of gravity. The grille is also mounted low on the bumper and stretches across nicely towards the fenders.
The headlight and taillight designs of the BRZ seem to be the only thing borrowed from other Subaru models. They sit well with other design cues like the dual exhausts, rear valance, and uniquely carved rear fenders. However, we do not find the fender vents, located just ahead of the doors, appealing. Nevertheless, they do add to the style cues.
Inside the cabin, you will find the aesthetics designed to keep the driver focused on driving business. All seem to follow the industrial inspiration from the bucket seats to the simple dash and even the classic knobs of climate control.
The interior trims are not very exciting. The dash seems like a monotonous slab of silver plastic on the passenger side. We also find that the trims shades do not match up very well. The center console looks as if it was designed after the car was ready for delivery.
But, what we liked about the 2016 model year was the BRZ HyperBlue edition. It features leather upholstery coupled nicely with blue accents and blue stitching on the dashboard. This edition of the car rides on 17 inch BBS alloy rims.
Every driver has an on and off time. While the 2016 BRZ does not allow you to detach from the driving experience, there comes a time when your inner racer dozes off, and you want to turn on the cruise control and pretty much, well, just cruise along.
The BRZ, due to its racing suspension, can feel a bit rough for cruises. It will bounce with every patch on the highway as the vehicle stays glued to the road. But given the BRZ's impressive responsiveness and handling abilities, we were willing to make a compromise.
The Subaru has added adequately supported bucket seats to compensate for the slightly stiff suspension. With these seats, even mountain cruises with winding roads are fun. The BRZ is a well-suited weekend getaway vehicle for two people.
The driving position on the 2016 BRZ is reasonably good compared to other rivals. The seats provide good cushioning and support, which adds to the driving experience. Some limited models came with Alcantara seats, which were even better than the stock seats.
One of the best things about the BRZ is the amount of headroom it offers. If you are a tall driver and want to don a helmet, there is enough headroom in the BRZ to allow that comfortably.
Moving to the backseat, it seems that it is just there for namesake. Subaru could not find anything to fit in the tiny space, so they decided to put in a little seat. For an adult to fit in the back, they would require the skills of a contortionist. But if you have a small child or two, they can take the backseat for some short trips.
We found that the orange-red displays on the cluster were bright and easy to read, even with polarized sun shades on. The car comes with a touchscreen infotainment system, which can take some time to get used to. Some buttons on the touchscreen are tiny and can be challenging to reach, especially while driving.
From the side, the 2016 BRZ looks like a hatchback thanks to its rear sloping glass, but it is not. You will find a boot at the back of the car with a separate trunk lid. The space in the trunk is adequate for some small luggage. Subaru claims that if you fold the back seats down, you can easily carry up to four racing wheels along with tools and other small equipment.
Like all Subaru models, safety ratings for occupant protection are excellent for the 2016 BRZ. The vehicle has earned "Very Good" crash test ratings as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the 2016 BRZ a five-star overall safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given "Good" ratings in all areas and an "Acceptable" rating for Small Overlap front: driver side.
The safety features mounted on the BRZ include:
- Anti Lock Braking System (ABS)
- Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), which allows the brakes to add more stopping power to the wheels that need them
- Brake override system, which cuts the power to the engine in case the brake and gas pedals are depressed together
- Multi-mode stability control system
This might sound like a stretch, but we genuinely believe that the BRZ's handling and maneuverability also play a vital role in accident prevention.
Of the many factors that inspire us in favor of the BRZ, one of the most crucial ones is the value it provides for your hard-earned money. The BRZ is a marvel of engineering that combines performance with affordability.
As discussed above, the BRZ comes with a standard touchscreen infotainment system. For the preceding years, this touchscreen system used to be the butt of the jokes for many car experts. But for the 2016 model, the infotainment system was dramatically upgraded.
The new 6.2-inch touchscreen system installed in the 2016 BRZ features:
- Bluetooth streaming
- iTunes compatibility
- Satellite radio
- Compatibility with smartphone apps like Pandora, Stitcher, and Aha
- Rearview camera
In addition to the manual and automatic variants, two trims are available for the 2016 BRZ. Every variant comes with the following standard features
- Power windows
- Power mirrors
- Power door locks
- Rear Defroster
- Trip computer
- Leather-trimmed shift knob and parking brake lever
On the higher, limited edition, you will find:
- Upgraded seats
- Heated seats
- Heated side mirrors
- Dual-zone climate control
- Rear spoiler
- Fog lamps
- Keyless ignition switch
The Subaru BRZ earns reasonable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings. With 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on highways, the BRZ is expected to offer 24 mpg combined. This makes it one of the most economical sports cars out there.
For the automatic variant, the mileage increases to 25 mpg in the city, 34 on the highway, and 28 combined.
But it is essential to mention here that due to its direct injection system, and boxer engine, the BRZ requires premium fuel. Whether racing on a track or cruising around on your neighborhood streets, you will need to fill up the BRZ with the more expensive variant of fuel.
Many factors play a role in helping the car achieve good fuel economy ratings. Among the most notable are:
- The BRZ has a very light curb weight, weighing in at only 2,800 pounds
- The Direct Fuel Injection System is more efficient than other traditional fuel systems
- The transmission has a higher top-gear overdrive
What Sets 2016 Apart?
In addition to the many mentioned above, numerous factors make 2016 the best year for the Subaru BRZ. The year saw no recalls, and there were only a few technical service bulletins.
Many car experts rate the 2016 model as the "sweet spot" for BRZ. This is because the vehicle's value has depreciated enough, and the car still maintains its reliability. You can easily find a good bargain for under $25,000.
There has only been one registered complaint regarding the paint bubbling issue. Other minor complaints have also been filed with the NHTSA regarding battery drain and a moody power window.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding