There isn't much new equipment on the 2014 Subaru BRZ because the car was all-new last year. Perhaps the best news is the addition of new kneepads on the side of the center console for better comfort during aggressive driving. We are less excited by the Aha radio integration with the stereo because we find the touchscreen design to be annoying. The keyless-start transmitter has also been redesigned for 2014...
With the 2013 BRZ, Subaru gave car enthusiasts the world over a reason to be excited. Although German and American car companies build bigger, heavier, more powerful cars that post amazing performance numbers, the engineers at Subaru and Toyota (the Scion FR-S was developed alongside the BRZ) are offering a light, nimble sports car with just enough power to be fun. That means a 0-to-60-mph time of about seven seconds but a much bigger grin when you enter a curve. Don't look for a ton of gimmicky equipment here. Subaru pretty much limits the luxury goodies to dual-zone climate control, heated seats, keyless ignition, and Alcantara upholstery. Subaru understands this approach isn't going to appeal to everyone and has set modest sales targets for the car. A pure driver's car that's expected to sell in low numbers? Sounds like Subaru has a future collectible classic on its hands. Perhaps that will help you convince your significant other that it's an investment instead of a toy.
Subaru jointly developed the BRZ with Toyota, which is why the 2014 Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are virtually identical. That's also why the BRZ isn't all-wheel drive, which makes it an anomaly in the Subaru portfolio. But we're happy that the brand decided to take a risk on the rear-wheel-drive coupe. This is possibly the most exciting new car for nonwealthy enthusiasts since the Honda S2000 debuted.
As much as we love the Subaru BRZ, this car isn't for everyone. The 200-hp four-cylinder isn't explosive and it never sounds very good. In order to appreciate the BRZ, you have to appreciate balance and handling much more than power or grip. The key to the BRZ's success is how neutral the chassis is. Sure, there's a bit of understeer present when the car is driven hard, but a change in the car's alignment can easily compensate for that. Some reports criticize the BRZ's stock Michelin Primacy tires for not being sticky enough, but we have a much bigger issue with the stock brakes that quickly fade (or lose their bite) on a racetrack. If you can afford only one upgrade before your first track day, opt for the brakes over stickier tires. Trust us; you'll be glad you did.
The 2014 Subaru BRZ is a great sports car. It's a little less great as a daily driver. The small 6.9-cubic-foot trunk won't fit much more than a suitcase or two, although the rear seatback folds down. Anyone hoping to bring more than one passenger along for the ride will be disappointed unless the second and third passengers are small children without bulky child seats -- the rear bench is very cramped. The other frustrating thing we found during daily driving of a Subaru BRZ is the touchscreen radio's small buttons. It's very difficult to change the radio station while the car is moving. Making matters worse, there isn't an option for steering-wheel-mounted radio controls.
The 2014 Subaru BRZ isn't everything to everyone and it shouldn't be. This is a perfect sports car for tackling your favorite mountain roads. It perfectly succeeds at its mission.
- Honda Civic Si
- Hyundai Genesis coupe
- Mazda MX-5 Miata
- Scion FR-S