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Overview (Final Score: B+)

The little Subaru BRZ is one of the Toyobaru Twins with its sibling the Toyota 86. It’s a small coupe boasting a solid entry-level rear-drive sports car package aimed at driving enthusiasts who don’t need the fastest or most expensive bragging rights. The BRZ is notable for its great look, fun drive and readiness for upgrade that make it a car for enthusiasts.

This year the BRZ received the most extensive update since its introduction in 2013. The updates include a bump in power, some transmission tweaks, styling upgrades and some new standard equipment. A new Performance package is also added, which is a must-have for serious drivers wanting to get track ready quickly.

Also much appreciated are the interior upgrades to the 2017 BRZ versus previous years, namely to infotainment and comfort points throughout the cabin.

The 2017 Subaru BRZ remains a favorite as a fun little car whose sole focus is driving pleasure and love of the road. There are three trim levels for the 2017 BRZ: Premium, Limited and “Series.Yellow.”

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What We Love About the 2017 Subaru BRZ:

  • Excellent value proposition for the driving enthusiast it’s meant for
  • Great look with a no-nonsense sports car appeal to it
  • One of the best driving dynamics on the road we’ve ever seen

 

What We Don’t Love About the 2017 Subaru BRZ:

  • Not too powerful out of the box
  • OK for everyday use, but not terribly versatile
  • Back seat is nearly useless

 

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Performance (9/10)

The 2017 Subaru BRZ remains rear-wheel drive and is the only vehicle in the Subaru lineup that is not all-wheel drive. The rear-wheel drive design marks it as the sport-centric car in Suby’s lineup. With the 2017 model, the 2.0-liter engine (a boxer, the same 4-cylinder found in many Subaru cars) has been upgraded a bit.

With the 6-speed manual transmission (the standard BRZ setup), the engine outputs 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. With the automatic transmission, those numbers drop to 200 horses and 151 lb-ft. To go with this slightly increased power output for 2017, the manual transmission has been slightly retuned to handle the extra torque and deliver it more succinctly throughout the gears. We didn’t notice a huge drop in 0 to 60 mph times between the 2016 and 2017 model years in manual-equipped BRZ/86 models, but our average 0 to 60 mph time was slightly lower at about 6.2 seconds versus roughly 6.5 seconds previously.
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Also changed this year are some of the chassis dynamics for the 2017 BRZ. These include a bit of improvement to the steering tuning, which was already stellar, and a somewhat stiffer corner experience, though we’re giving credit for that to the larger brakes on the Performance package rather than to the chassis. The larger brakes mean that the BRZ gives the driver slightly more control over vehicle physics in the corner.

They also appeal to the other aspect of the car’s point of being: upgradeability. The larger brakes mean that the braking doesn’t require modification for some of the engine upgrades made to improve performance. Enthusiasts love adding things to the BRZ to increase engine output and braking has often been a required secondary upgrade to go with those changes. That’s no longer the case.

As it is, stock, the 2017 Subaru BRZ may not be the quickest off the line or the fastest on the road, but it’s definitely one of the most fun to drive.

Pricing and Value (10/10)

For the price paid, the value received in the 2017 Subaru BRZ is excellent. If the car is purchased as what it is – a pure driver’s vehicle meant for fun on the road – then the price paid will be well met.

Most buyers are likely to be in the $26,000 to $27,500 range for their purchase, adding a few amenities or going to the Limited trim level for the best bang for the buck.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (71/80, 89%)

There are no direct competitors to the 2017 Subaru BRZ outside of its twin, the Toyota 86. The Toyota has slightly different interior elements and different badges, but is otherwise identical.

Loosely, buyers are likely to be comparing the BRZ to other vehicles like the Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen GTI and perhaps to the Mazda Miata and Fiat 124. The Ford and Volkswagen are both turbocharged models with price points similar to the BRZ, but with drive dynamics and appeal that is far different. Neither has the sleek sports car styling of the Subaru and both are likely to be more expensive once equal interior elements are added. The Mazda and Fiat are both two-seat convertibles that have less power and speed potential than does the BRZ.

Without direct competition, but with an admittedly limited niche of buyers, the 2017 BRZ continues forward as a showcase of what a modern driver’s car really is. It’s focused on delivering a fun drive with a strong connection to the road in a package that lets the world know this is what you want. It’s versatile enough to be a daily car, but not so much so that it must compromise on its core mission of delivering everyday fun and excitement.

Read the FULL REVIEW Now to get expert tips on the 2017 Subaru BRZ’s safety, reliability, fuel economy, interior, exterior, technology and more.

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