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2018 Subaru BRZ Review

The 2018 Subaru BRZ offers playful driving dynamics, but its confined back seats and limited features list keep it in the lower half of our competitive sports car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Well-tuned suspension for corner-carving driving
  • Energetic engine
  • Fun, responsive handling
  • Attractive cabin
  • Short features list
  • Unintuitive menus on standard touch screen
  • Confined back seats

New for 2018

  • BRZ tS trim added
  • Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7-inch infotainment display became available




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 9.0
Interior: 7.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Subaru BRZ Overview

Is the 2018 Subaru BRZ a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Subaru BRZ is a good used sports car. Those looking for thrilling driving dynamics and curve-carving fun will love this car.

The 2018 BRZ has several strengths:

  • Well-tuned suspension for aggressive driving
  • Good, but not overwhelming, engine power
  • Supportive front seats
  • Attractive cabin
  • Low projected ownership costs

However, it does have a few drawbacks:

  • Short features list
  • Cramped back seats
  • Standard touch screen is small
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Subaru BRZ review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 43 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Subaru BRZ?

Based on listings for the 2018 Subaru BRZ on our site, the average price is $27,900, which is close to average for the class. Prices range from $24,000 to $31,500 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Subaru BRZ Cost to Own?

The 2018 BRZ’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be around $27,800, or $5,560 per year. That’s one of the lowest projected estimates in the sports car class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New BRZ?

Prices for the 2019 Subaru BRZ starts at $25,795. For 2019, Subaru introduced a new trim – the special edition BRZ Series.Gray – and made over-the-air upgrades to the infotainment system. The 2018 BRZ is a solid value. It was the first to debut several features, including an available infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The BRZ tS trim, which featured some performance and appearance enhancements, was only available for the 2018 model year.

Read about the new Subaru BRZ »

The BRZ first appeared for the 2013 model year and has yet to be redesigned, though there have been several updates. We recommend the 2016 BRZ, which was the first with a standard Starlink infotainment system and rearview camera. For 2017, Subaru refreshed the BRZ’s interior and exterior, upped its engine horsepower, and improved the suspension. A 4.2-inch driver information display and hill-start assist became standard features. Some models are outfitted with the available Performance package, which has upgraded brakes, rotors, and shocks.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 BRZ »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Subaru BRZ?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 BRZ a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about BRZ reliability »

2018 Subaru BRZ Recalls

At the time of writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Subaru BRZ:

  • The rearview camera image may not display

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Subaru BRZ safety recalls »

Which Used Subaru BRZ Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Subaru BRZ comes in three trims: Premium, Limited, and tS. Rear-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission, and a 205-horsepower four-cylinder engine are standard. A six-speed automatic is available, and models with this transmission put out 200 horsepower. You’ll get the best mix of features with the Limited trim. If you want the best driving experience, go for the BRZ tS trim, a special edition with a limited production run of 500 cars.

  • Subaru BRZ Premium: The base BRZ Premium comes with cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter handle, and a rearview camera. Its Starlink infotainment system includes an eight-speaker sound system, a 6.2-inch touch screen, smartphone integration, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, and satellite radio. 
  • Subaru BRZ Limited: The BRZ Limited has leather and Alcantara upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 4.2-inch LCD driver information display, keyless access, a push-button ignition, and an upgraded Starlink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
  • Subaru BRZ tS: The special edition BRZ tS comes with performance upgrades like 18-inch wheels, an STI-tuned suspension system, the same high-performance Brembo brake system that's included in the Limited's optional Performance package, and an STI rear carbon fiber spoiler. Seats have contrast red stitching, and the 7-inch infotainment system is standard.

See 2018 Subaru BRZ trims and specs »

What Does Subaru's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Subaru offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Subaru extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. Subaru provides no additional coverage for CPO vehicles, so buyers receive the remainder of the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty. However, buyers can purchase additional coverage. Every CPO Subaru must pass a 152-point inspection. Additional benefits like owner loyalty discounts, a one-year Starlink Safety Plus trial subscription, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Subaru warranty page carefully.

Subaru’s CPO program isn’t particularly robust, according to our analysis. Among affordable automakers, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and many others have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the BRZ?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 BRZ the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the driver-side small overlap front evaluation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the BRZ five stars out of five in the rollover test and four stars in the frontal crash evaluation. It did not receive an overall safety rating.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • none

See BRZ safety scores »

2018 Subaru BRZ Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Subaru BRZ or 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata?

Like the BRZ, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata has agile handling and a gratifying manual transmission, delivering some of the best performance in the sports car class. The Mazda comes with more safety and technology features, and its available infotainment system is easier to use. The Mazda is available as a soft-top convertible or as the Miata RF, which is a model with a power-retractable roof. The BRZ coupe is not available as a convertible. The Miata is a standout in the class, making it a much better choice than the BRZ.

Which Is Better: 2018 Subaru BRZ or 2018 Toyota 86?

Toyota and Subaru joined forces to design the 2018 Toyota 86 and the BRZ, so these models have a lot in common, including the same powertrains. The major differences pertain to styling and features. Notably, the 86 doesn't have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. These two are closely ranked, but we give a slight edge to the 86, which has a higher predicted reliability rating.

Compare the BRZ, MX-5 Miata, and 86 »

2018 BRZ Performance

How Does the 2018 Subaru BRZ Drive?

The BRZ’s four-cylinder engine produces satisfying power and swift acceleration, and the standard manual transmission’s feels refined, making shifting gears a joy. The rear-wheel-drive BRZ is designed for drivers who enjoy throwing the car into turns. Its suspension is taut, leading to a rougher ride than you might want for daily commuting or running around town.

  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 205 horsepower (200 horsepower with the automatic transmission)
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Subaru BRZ Get Good Gas Mileage?

The BRZ gets average fuel economy estimates for a sports car with a four-cylinder engine. You’ll get the best gas mileage by opting for the automatic transmission.

  • With manual: 21/29 mpg city/highway
  • With automatic: 24/33 mpg

Read more about BRZ performance »

2018 BRZ Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 BRZ Seat?

The 2018 BRZ seats four people in two rows. The front seats are relatively comfortable and provide great side bolstering to keep you firmly in place through turns. Most cars in the sports car class have cramped back seats, and the BRZ is no exception. Inside there are quality, soft-touch materials.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat
  • four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat

Available seating features:

  • leather and Alcantara upholstery
  • heated front seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Subaru BRZ?

The 2018 BRZ has two complete sets of LATCH child car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat.

2018 Subaru BRZ Features

The BRZ's infotainment system has a small display, which makes for cramped graphics and hard-to-read text. The upgraded system that’s in the Limited and tS trims has a slightly larger display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

  • Standard infotainment features: the Starlink interface, a 6.2-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker sound system, smartphone integration, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, and satellite radio
  • Available infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a 4.2-inch LCD driver information display
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless access, and a push-button ignition

See 2018 Subaru BRZ specs »

Read more about BRZ interior »

2018 Subaru BRZ Dimensions

Subaru BRZ Cargo Space

The BRZ has 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which is about average for the class. It’s enough space to hold a few pieces of luggage.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Subaru BRZ Length and Weight
  • Length: 13 feet, 9 inches
  • Curb weight: 2,789 to 2,842 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Subaru BRZ Built?

Subaru built the 2018 BRZ in Japan.

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