The 2017 Subaru BRZ Has New Styling, But the Same Frustrating Power Deficiency
There's a lot to like in the newly redesigned BRZ—but it's still underpowered.
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- Our Test Drives
2017 Subaru BRZ
WHAT THE HELL IS IT? A new take on Subaru’s low-power, low-cost sports car.
WHO IS IT FOR? Performance drivers on a budget, and the Subaru tuner loyalists.
WHERE DID WE TEST IT? Upstate New York, in the snow. Slippy!
THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE IS: Looks great on the outside, feels great on the inside. Seats are good to very good, and the interior styling has real charm. Dig those retro LED readouts for cabin temperature and time.
THING THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO NOTICE, BUT YOU DO ANYWAY: Wait, this thing is still stuck at 200 horsepower? The handling deserves more power.
CAR IS GOOD AT: It looks good. And it handles real nice too, in a low-power way. You can have a lot of fun with it, zipping in and out of traffic, carving canyons, etc., all at legal speeds.
CAR IS BAD AT: Holding grip on pavement in less-than-optimal conditions and as mentioned over and over, power and acceleration.
RATE 1 (VERY POOR) TO 5 (EXCELLENT)
- PERFORMANCE: 3
- COMFORT: 3
- LUXURY: 3
- HAULING PEOPLE: 3
- HAULING STUFF: 2
- CURB APPEAL: 4
- “WOW” FACTOR: 4
- OVERALL: 3.7
WOULD YOU BUY IT? Well, for the same money, you’d be up against the fantastic Mazda MX-5 Miata, the (much) quicker Chevy Camaro V6, and the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. That’s stiff competition, and I’m betting when it comes time to pull the trigger, unless you’re a diehard Subaru fan, you’re not buying this car.
DEEP THOUGHTS: Fun cars are fun cars, and no, it’s never all about the numbers. But in this case, there’s so much potential in the BRZ that it’s a shame the power isn’t there. It needs a turbo, and it could easily have one. That’s what makes it all so frustrating.
I really appreciated the styling, inside and out. It was fun to drive. It definitely likes to slip around, especially on wet and snowy pavement, which can be fun or terrifying depending on the situation. (When I spun out at a shopping mall trying to get out of the way of a speeding Audi who had just blown through a stop sign, it was surprising, dangerous, and terrifying all at once.) The interior materials are really nice—lots of leather.
It’s a really terrific looking car, but damn it needs that power.
- PRICE: $25,495
- POWERTRAIN: 2.0 liter horizontally-opposed Subaru Boxer
- FUEL ECONOMY: 33/24
- PERFORMANCE: 205 hp; 134 mph top speed; 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds.