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2015 Subaru BRZ

$15,658 — $22,338 USED
Coupe
4 Seats
25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Dynamics
  • Steering
  • Manual transmission
  • Light weight
  • Sport seats
  • Affordable

The Bad

  • Small backseat
  • Requires premium gas
  • Horrible multimedia system
  • No center armrest
  • Automatic is slow off the line
2015 Subaru BRZ exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2015 Subaru BRZ
  • Suspension revisions for 2015
  • New limited-edition Series.Blue available
  • Front engine, rear-wheel drive
  • 200-hp four-cylinder engine
  • Product of Toyota/Scion partnership

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

by David Thomas -

The 2015 Subaru BRZ is one of the purest performance cars you can buy, with an intoxicating formula of perfect weight balance, precise steering and responsive throttle, all experienced in a sporty cockpit. Plus, it's a relative bargain.

For 2015, the BRZ has revised shock absorbers for improved handling, according to Subaru, as well as larger tailpipes. There's a new limited-edition Series.Blue version, of which only 1,000 will be sold in the U.S. This is the version we tested. Compare the 2014 and 2015 versions here.

Exterior & Styling
This small package has sporty lines and an aggressive stance, but it's really the shapely front that speaks to us. While cars of every stripe are getting larger, taller, more vertical grilles and front ends, the BRZ is sticking to a traditionally low-slung front bumper.

The rather traditional sports-car looks are disturbed only by a small inset behind the front wheels, where a functional air inlet might be (but isn't). We're unsure why this is needed visually, because there's no practical reason for it to be there.

Series.Blue models come in only two exterior colors, blue or white, and include 17-inch black wheels, red brake calipers, an aerodynamic body kit and a rear spoiler. It looks good in the white we tested for this review; it was frequently ogled on the street.

How It Drives
Most car enthusiasts and sports-car shoppers focus on power first, everything else second. If you look at power numbers, though, ...

by David Thomas -

The 2015 Subaru BRZ is one of the purest performance cars you can buy, with an intoxicating formula of perfect weight balance, precise steering and responsive throttle, all experienced in a sporty cockpit. Plus, it's a relative bargain.

For 2015, the BRZ has revised shock absorbers for improved handling, according to Subaru, as well as larger tailpipes. There's a new limited-edition Series.Blue version, of which only 1,000 will be sold in the U.S. This is the version we tested. Compare the 2014 and 2015 versions here.

Exterior & Styling
This small package has sporty lines and an aggressive stance, but it's really the shapely front that speaks to us. While cars of every stripe are getting larger, taller, more vertical grilles and front ends, the BRZ is sticking to a traditionally low-slung front bumper.

The rather traditional sports-car looks are disturbed only by a small inset behind the front wheels, where a functional air inlet might be (but isn't). We're unsure why this is needed visually, because there's no practical reason for it to be there.

Series.Blue models come in only two exterior colors, blue or white, and include 17-inch black wheels, red brake calipers, an aerodynamic body kit and a rear spoiler. It looks good in the white we tested for this review; it was frequently ogled on the street.

How It Drives
Most car enthusiasts and sports-car shoppers focus on power first, everything else second. If you look at power numbers, though, the BRZ seems downright miserable. A V-6 Ford Mustang seems more appealing, given it has 100 more horsepower.

But here's the thing: You really don't need more power in a car that handles as superbly as the BRZ. I spent considerable time in the BRZ as a long-term test car in 2013, as well as with the 2015 Series.Blue, and there's only one time I thought it ever felt underpowered — and that was on the straightaway of one of the fastest racetracks in the country, Road America in Wisconsin.

In every other instance, including smaller road courses, the BRZ has plenty of power. When equipped with the manual transmission — we don't recommend the automatic — acceleration is immediate and delivered with a throaty induction note to boot.

The power really isn't the thing that makes everyone fall in love with the BRZ, anyway. It's the handling. Oh, the handling.

Want to feel connected to a machine when taking a highway off-ramp — let alone a racetrack? Then you want a BRZ. Its precision and sharp turning really put the car in a class of its own, with the lightweight frame and rear-wheel drive adding up to what at times feels like an amusement-park ride.

Interior
That feeling of "pure" performance is enhanced by the car's stripped-down — yet driver-oriented — cockpit. There aren't many, if any, frills in the BRZ. The sport seats hold you snugly and the gauges are simply laid out, with a large tachometer and digital speedometer meant for the business of driving.

The car's materials aren't stellar, but they align with the quality you'd expect in a car at this price. The Series.Blue treatment added blue leather seat bolsters and accent stitching to our test car. Subaru's other performance halos, the WRX and WRX STI, basically have compact car interiors, and this is a step above those at a lesser price.

While the driver feels snug and secure, though — becoming "one with the car" — passengers will likely long to leave the tight confines. Rear passengers will barely be able to fit at all, depending on their height, and will have to contort feet, legs and necks in most instances.

Ergonomics & Electronics
The driver may be the most important person in the car, but that doesn't mean that person is going to be pampered. The BRZ's bare-bones, driver-focused design has sore points. For example, a driver often wants a center armrest, especially on long drives, and the BRZ does not have one.

Then there's the awful multimedia system interface that has not been improved since the car's introduction. With the lack of audio controls on the steering wheel — it's a pure driver's car, remember — drivers are left to stab at the small touch-screen to do things as simple as skip an audio track. It's impossible to do so without taking your eyes off the road, which a skilled driver would not want to do. Tip: Don't play music on shuffle in the BRZ.

The multimedia system itself is far behind almost anything on the market these days in terms of both user interface and graphics quality. That's too bad, as Subaru has finally upgraded its technology in its other vehicles. The BRZ's platform, which is shared with Toyota, seems to be the only one that won't get the benefit of that improvement.

Cargo & Storage
The small storage area in the center console between the passenger and driver is barely large enough for a smartphone and change. Want to take the wallet out of your back pocket to get more comfortable in the firm seats? Good luck finding a place for it that doesn't leave it to fly around the cabin during those sharp turns you'll be hunting out.

The trunk, however, is quite decent, even though the 6.9 cubic-foot measurement is small. There's plenty of room for luggage and even golf clubs, and the rear seats fold down for added space. We fit a set of four winter tires in our long-term BRZ with the rear seats folded down.

Safety
The BRZ is a Top Safety Pick at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, scoring top grades of good (out of a possible poor, marginal, acceptable or good) in all tests except the small overlap front test, where it scored acceptable. It also has a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

These results should add an extra sense of confidence, because sports cars are seldom crash-tested at all.

You can find the BRZ's standard safety equipment listed here.

The Scion FR-S — a basic twin to the BRZ — is one of the few cars to fail our Car Seat Check because of the extreme bolstering in the backseat and narrow width of the seat bottoms. These results apply to the BRZ as well.

Value in Its Class
Starting at just over $26,000 including destination and with the preferred manual transmission, the BRZ is a relative steal in terms of fun-to-dollar ratio. But buyers must be prepared for traditional sports-car trade-offs when shopping for one. There are similarly priced cars, like the Volkswagen GTI. That car is fun to drive, has a lot more passenger and cargo room, and it's faster.

But it's almost impossible to find anything that can replicate the BRZ's symbiotic relationship with its driver at any price.

Send David an email  


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
18 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(4.0)

Bad luck i think

by Gallant6 on April 25, 2018

I currently own a 2015 BRZ only owner. At 135 000km my motor let go. God knows why and just out of warranty. Car was always serviced on time never abused. So no logical reasoning for this. Read full review

(5.0)

Like a slot car...

by JRT from TX on February 28, 2018

Best handling & most dynamic car I've ever owned! Fantastic clutch and gearbox and trouble-free ownership. My first Subaru, but won't be last. Highly recommended if you like to hang the rear out! Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2015 Subaru BRZ currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2015 Subaru BRZ Premium

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
acceptable
Overall evaluation
acceptable
Retraints and dummy kinematics
acceptable
Structure and safety cage
marginal

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Evaluation
acceptable
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Subaru

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 years/80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Coverage available for purchase

  • Powertrain

    7 years/100,000

  • Dealer Certification Required

    152-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2015 BRZ Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The BRZ received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker