Subaru BRZ used car review (2012-2016)
Price & Specs8
Interior & Practicality7
Performance & Economy7.5
Ride & Handling8
Running Costs & Reliability8
7.7DiscoverAuto Rating

When Subaru and Toyota joined forces to make an affordable rear-wheel drive sports car the motoring world celebrated, but after all those years, is it still a good buy in the used market? We found out by taking a look at the 2015 Subaru BRZ SE. The philosophy for the BRZ was simple to Subaru during its development with a low centre of gravity, rear wheel drive and fun to drive ethos. With that as its main reason for existence, does it deliver? 


When launched in 2012, the BRZ had a starting price of $37,150 plus on-road costs and unlike its Toyota 86 cousin, there was a single model available. For the money, you got 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, keyless entry and start, a multi-stage traction control system, cruise control, automatic bi-xenon headlights with front and rear fog lights, a limited-slip differential, electric-folding exterior mirrors and a trip computer. 

It was a well-equipped vehicle, although the vehicle we tested as mentioned before is the 2015 Subaru BRZ SE which started at $40,650. The SE gained a host of STI upgrades over the standard car, including a styling kit (front lip, rear spoiler, rear splitter and side skirts), STI short shifter for the manual gearbox, black STI 17-inch alloy wheels, racing stripes (these have been removed from our test car), satellite navigation with a touch screen interface and a reversing camera. Optional on all BRZ’s were leather and alcantara heated sports seats for $1,500. Expect to pay now anywhere from $18,000 to $30,000 for a pre-update BRZ.


The engine in the Subaru BRZ was a 147kW ‘FA20’ 2.0-litre boxer engine placed low to help the centre of gravity. The engine produced peak power at 7000rpm and the 205Nm of torque at 6600rpm. These don’t seem like impressive numbers, but helping them is the BRZ’s 1,200kg kerb weight. The BRZ really is a dream through corners, cornering flat and tight. Some might have an issue getting used to the clutch feel, but once you’re used to it, is a nice fluid light clutch that is easy to use on a daily basis. 

The only alight downside to the BRZ driving experience is that it can choppy and harsh, though this is also what gives the BRZ its great handling and cornering ability. Expect to achieve around 8-10L/100km driving in city or suburban driving, which is not too far from Subaru’s claimed figure of 7.8L/100km. 


The interior of the BRZ wraps around the driver with its body-hugging front bucket seats and with a steering wheel with no audio controls, it’s all about you and the driving experience. The dash has a nice ergonomic feel to it with a padded dash and the audio and climate controls are easy to find and use. The soft touch door panels and knee rests are a nice touch especially when throwing the BRZ around as your shoulders and knees won’t be basing into hard plastic but nice padded panels. 

The Toyota-based navigation system can be a bit of a pain to use on the move as you can only access navigation controls and contacts while stationary with the handbrake up, but the audio controls are easy to use, and the screen is quite responsive. Thankfully, you can install a newer head unit into the dashboard.

The rear legroom is non-existent if the front seat passenger is over 5 foot tall but at least having rear seats in this segment is good. The Mazda MX-5 – the BRZ’s main rival – does not have rear seats. The boot space is an adequate size although models fitted with the full-size spare tyre compromise the boot height.

Running Costs/ Warranty:

Servicing for the BRZ comes around every 9 months or 15,000km, Subaru offer capped price servicing for 63 months or 105,000km with the first four services being $224.55, the fifth is $336.18, the sixth $1237.58 and the seventh being $943.28. For the first five years expect to pay around $2,500 through Subaru. Initially the BRZ was offered with a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty until July 1st, 2019 where they were offered with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. 


In a world full of SUVs, it is great to see a car that goes against the norm offering drivers an engaging drive and superb handling. If you are in the market for a BRZ I strongly suggest driving one as you won’t be disappointed. The BRZ also has an extensive aftermarket scene so when looking at examples be mindful and ask about what has been done to the car and you decide if it is to your taste. 

About The Author

Jordan's passion for cars started at a very young age - he thinks literally non-stop about them. He has always worked with them in various jobs and has driven some pretty serious metal.

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