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2020 Subaru BRZ Review

The 2020 Subaru BRZ ranks in the bottom half of the sports car class. While this coupe is a blast to drive, it can’t keep up with the interior refinement or modern technology of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Sharp handling
  • Tight rear seats
  • Ride is too stiff for daily driving

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Subaru BRZ's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Sports Cars category. Currently the Subaru BRZ has a score of 7.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 45 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 5.4
Safety: 8.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Subaru BRZ a Good Car?

The 2020 BRZ is a decent sports car. Its spry handling, sharp steering, and capable engine make it a great choice for drivers seeking excitement. However, those looking for a daily commuter car may not be as fond of this Subaru’s firm ride and dated infotainment system. Also, there's no convertible body style in the BRZ lineup.

Should I Buy the Subaru BRZ?

While there’s a lot to like about this Subaru, plenty of its classmates are worth considering too, particularly if you’re looking for a car with advanced driver aids such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning. In that case, you may want to consider the Ford Mustang or Dodge Challenger, though these vehicles are larger than the BRZ.

The Toyota 86 is mechanically identical to the BRZ, but it has its own styling and infotainment system. If you want to stick with the Subaru brand, consider the WRX, a sporty sedan that has standard all-wheel drive, stronger engines, and a larger trunk than the BRZ.

Compare the BRZ, 86, and WRX »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru BRZ?

The 2020 Subaru BRZ belongs to a generation that debuted for the 2013 model year. Subaru discontinued the Premium trim for 2020, making the Limited trim the new base model. The tS trim also returns after taking a hiatus for 2019. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are newly standard, making a new Subaru BRZ an attractive bet. However, you can find those same tech features as options in some 2018 and 2019 models, which likely cost less than a new BRZ.

If you can do without the upgraded tech, you might also want to check out the 2017 BRZ. For that year, Subaru refreshed the BRZ, giving it revamped interior and exterior styling. Subaru also made some mechanical tweaks, including suspension improvements and a five-horsepower bump.

Be sure to read our 2017 BRZ, 2018 BRZ, and 2019 BRZ reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 BRZ »

We Did the Research for You: 37 Reviews Analyzed

By researching Subaru BRZ reviews, our hope is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 37 reviews.

This BRZ review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2013.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Subaru BRZ Cost?

The 2020 BRZ has a base MSRP of $28,845, which is a bit high for an entry-level sports car. The tS trim starts at $31,495. That's more affordable than the top trims of most rivals. However, competitors with more-expensive upper trims typically back up those higher prices with stronger engine options.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru BRZ Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Subaru BRZ or Toyota 86?

Because Toyota and Subaru build these two sports cars side by side, they have a lot in common. Both rear-wheel-drive coupes have the same engine and similar passenger room and trunk space. For 2020, they also have comparable standard features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Toyota 86 has a different infotainment system than the one in the BRZ, though it's not without its own problems. Other than brand name, the main thing separating these two vehicles is styling.

Which Is Better: Subaru BRZ or Mazda MX-5 Miata?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a great sports car that consistently ranks near the top of its class. It's a convertible that comes with a manual soft top or a power-retractable hardtop. Both it and the BRZ exhibit spirited handling and swift acceleration, but the MX-5 Miata has a more straightforward infotainment system and a longer list of available safety features. It also boasts a more upscale cabin than its Subaru rival. Overall, the Miata is a better vehicle than the BRZ.

Compare the BRZ, 86, and MX-5 Miata »

BRZ Interior

How Many People Does the BRZ Seat?

The two-door BRZ has four seats. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are standard.

Although the front seats are well-bolstered and supportive, they can also feel a bit tight. The rear seats are even more cramped, and it's nearly impossible to fit a passenger back there without moving the front seat all the way forward.

BRZ and Child Car Seats

This vehicle has two full sets of LATCH connectors for the second row.

BRZ Interior Quality

This Subaru’s cabin opts for functionality over luxury. Materials are durable but not high-end. The red stitching in higher trims adds a slight air of style though.

BRZ Cargo Space

This coupe has a 6.9 cubic-foot trunk, which is about average for a sports car. The rear seat folds down to provide a little extra room.

BRZ Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The BRZ comes standard with the Starlink infotainment system, which features a 7-inch touch screen, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, Bluetooth, two USB ports, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker stereo. No other tech upgrades are available.

Some critics note that the BRZ's infotainment system is a bit outdated compared to those in rival vehicles. The virtual buttons are small and hard to press, but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay help to make the system somewhat easier to use.

Read more about interior »

BRZ Performance

BRZ Engine: Lively Flat-Four

This Subaru comes equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Getting the automatic reduces horsepower and torque by five, for a total of 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.

While the flat-four engine lacks the power to throw you back in your seat like you'd get in a muscle car, it’s more than capable of injecting a little fun into driving the BRZ.

BRZ Gas Mileage: From Decent to Subpar

The BRZ gets its best fuel economy ratings with the automatic transmission: 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. That’s slightly above average for the class. Opting for the manual returns a subpar 21/29 mpg city/highway, and the tS trim trails the rest of the lineup with a rating of 20/27 mpg.

BRZ Ride and Handling: Nimble and Engaging

This Subaru is a driver’s car. It’s a blast to take down winding roads, thanks in part to its responsive steering and strong brakes. However, this coupe is less comfortable for daily driving, as the suspension is a touch firm, whether you get the standard sport-tuned system or STI-tuned suspension in the tS trim. All models come with rear-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

BRZ Reliability

Is the Subaru BRZ Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 BRZ a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Subaru BRZ Warranty

Subaru covers the BRZ with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

BRZ Safety

BRZ Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave this vehicle four out of five stars in the frontal crash test and five stars in the rollover test.

BRZ Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the BRZ. As is sometimes the case with sports cars, no other advanced driver aids are available.

Read more about safety »

Subaru BRZ Dimensions and Weight

The 2020 Subaru BRZ is about 13.9 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,798 to 2,833 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Subaru BRZ Built?

Subaru builds this vehicle in Japan.

Which Subaru BRZ Model Is Right for Me?

Subaru offers the 2020 BRZ in two trim levels: Limited and tS. Both have the same engine and rear-wheel-drive system. The base trim comes fairly well-equipped with Alacantra and leather upholstery, as well as a few tech features. It’s also available with the performance upgrades offered in the tS.

Subaru BRZ Limited

The Subaru BRZ Limited has an MSRP of $28,845. It comes with a sport-tuned suspension, a limited-slip differential, the Starlink infotainment system, a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a navigation system, two USB ports, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker stereo, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, and a rearview camera.

An automatic transmission is available for $1,100. You can also get a Performance package for $1,195. It adds larger alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, and performance shock absorbers.

Subaru BRZ tS

The Subaru BRZ tS starts at $31,495 and adds the contents of the Performance package, as well as an STI sport-tuned suspension and a few styling tweaks. It's only available with a manual transmission.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2020 Subaru BRZ specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Subaru BRZ feels most at home carving corners on twisty back roads. While it’s a good choice for driving enthusiasts, its appeal as an everyday car is more limited. The BRZ has a firm ride, a cramped interior, and an infotainment system that's a little behind the times. And if you want more driver assistance features, look elsewhere. Before settling for this Subaru, it's best to consider some other sports cars, such as the Toyota 86 or Fiat 124 Spider.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • The Subaru BRZ has always appealed to a small but dedicated group of driving enthusiasts. But after nearly seven years without any appreciable performance gains and somewhat lackluster infotainment, the BRZ is quickly losing its shine. Still, if you can look past its faults, almost nothing can match the pure and delicate driving experience of this lightweight and eager sports car." -- Edmunds
  • Not as powerful as the WRX , but not as heavy or lumbering as the Ford Mustang or the Chevrolet Camaro, the BRZ offers a different type of performance driving experience -- one that requires a bit more finesse when working the gearbox, accelerator pedal and steering wheel. The BRZ isn't for everyone, however. Although it has a small back seat, the BRZ's cabin is really only fit for two passengers. Technophiles probably won't be impressed with the lack of a high-powered audio system. But if you're looking for a fun sports coupe with great road manners, a wonderful 6-speed manual transmission and sleek good looks, the 2020 Subaru BRZ deserves at least a couple of test drives." -- Autotrader
  • "Do I want it? Yup. There are supercars offering more pure performance (a lot more in fact), but the BRZ continues to bring driving joy to a much wider audience for comparatively little money. We hope it never goes away." -- Autoweek (2017)
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