Cars.com's 2013 Subaru BRZ long-term tester marked the first time we purchased the winner of our most prestigious annual award. Cars.com editors named the BRZ and Scion FR-S twins the Best of 2013 as leaders in value, innovation and quality for the 2013 model year. What better way to put our recommendation to the test than buy one and drive the wheels off of it year-round?
The 14,352 miles and 11 months of ownership of the BRZ Limited with a manual transmission was a blast, but not uneventful. Our BRZ needed snow tires to survive winter, patience to survive the touch-screen multimedia system and damaged ears to survive the faulty fuel pump's loud chirping. After all those tribulations, we polled the voting editors to see if the BRZ is still a deserving winner.
In short, the answer remains an enthusiastic yes, though a few had reservations about the car after our extended experience.
Would you award the BRZ Cars.com's top honor again?
Joe Bruzek, road test editor: Absolutely. For the money, nothing is as dedicated to the sports car experience as the BRZ. Plus great gas mileage and more versatility than its roadster competition? Sign me up again.
Jennifer Geiger, news editor: No. On paper the performance for the money looks impressive, but behind the wheel, I wasn't as enthused. A cramped cabin, punishing ride and obnoxious controls sucked out a lot of the fun.
Mike Hanley, Research editor: The BRZ's blend of performance and driver involvement for the money is as rewarding today as when we gave it our Best of 2013 award almost a year ago. It's been an especially deserving winner.
Kelsey Mays, consumer affairs editor: No. Reliability problems and a wretched multimedia system hamper the BRZ — both significant trade-offs against its driving fun.
David Thomas, managing editor: Despite its quirks and above-average need to be serviced, the BRZ delivered on the promise of an affordable sports car for everyday drivers. There's no question I would vote for it again.
Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor: I'd absolutely vote for it again. A convertible version could be my next car.