Reviews

2015 Subaru BRZ Walk Around



The Subaru BRZ is handsome but might not turn heads, at least not in plain silver like our test model. Scion has a couple colors for the FR-S that Subaru doesn’t have, and colors on this car make a big difference.

As the BRZ was developed in partnership with Toyota, we’re told the exterior design was inspired by the Toyota 2000GT of the late 1960s. And while the BRZ lacks the long hood and relatively short passenger compartment of the old car, one can see that it echoes the 2000 GT’s long, sleek shape and its pagoda-style roof.

It’s super low, with a roof height of only 50.6 inches, or .8 inches lower than that Porsche Cayman. It has a big hexagon mouth, with the corners trimmed. HID headlamps are sharp triangles pointing toward the grille, like pizza slices smoothed out so they don’t look like pizza slices. There are plastic pretend air intakes at the corners of the front fascia, surrounding the foglamps on the BRZ Limited, but standing alone and making a statement (this car is cheap) on the (oxymoronic) standard Premium.

The roof has a wide groove, and that adds distinction; it spreads out, so by the time it reaches the top of the rear window, most of the roof is groove. The sideview mirrors are sharpened, which is also neat, but it would be neater if they weren’t black on the bottom half. There are some awful gray or black plastic things just forward of the sideview mirrors.

There’s a Subaru six-star ornament on the nose, so you know what it is.

At the tail, the lamps are round red LED lights that look good when they’re lit up, with white wings that don’t look so good, hiding amber turn signals. Twin tailpipes come out of the black diffuser that has vertical ridges that appear to have been copied from the Batmobile. Between the pipes there’s a red triangle reflector that somebody forgot to remove from the European version (where it’s a foglight), and a white backup light.

Interior

The cockpit of the Subaru BRZ is plain and simple. It has most of what you need, including navigation as standard equipment. But it lacks features found standard on most cars at the same price these days, like steering wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, which can be distracting. We also found the voice activation to be inaccurate and frustrating.

We like the rugged fabric seats; they have an appropriate look and feel, and the Limited model uses Alcantara-like upholstery with leather trim. The bolstering is good and tight. The three-spoke steering wheel is leather-wrapped with red stitching, and looks cool. So do the alloy pedals, including the dead pedal that’s very functional and great to have in a car like this.

Gauge-wise, there’s a big tachometer in the center, with a small shift light on the left side of the dash; not the best place but better than nothing. The speedometer to the left isn’t always easy to read, but there’s also a digital display with your numbers in the middle of the tachometer.

The standard screen is small, 6.5 inches, and looks more like an aftermarket addition than the beautiful touchscreen displays we see from some other car companies. In addition, the menus are not always intuitive, and it can take several steps to find a function.

Climate controls are three simple knobs. Two cupholders behind the leather-wrapped shift lever hold standard-sized bottles and cans. There’s good visibility out the rear window, although the center brake light is mounted on little legs that cause it to obstruct a bit in the rearview mirror. Much worse is the big blind spot from the sloping C pillar, when the driver looks over his or her shoulder.

As for the rear seats, they’re tiny and are best for carrying cargo or children. On the plus side, the BRZ offers respectable trunk space for its small size, measuring 6.9 cubic feet, which is generous compared with the Mazda Miata MX-5’s 5.3 cubic feet.

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