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2022 Subaru BRZ, white, front 3/4Christian Wardlaw

Review QuickTakes:

A simple and pure sports car, the 2022 Subaru BRZ is unlike anything else in the automaker's lineup. It has rear-wheel drive, a 228-hp, four-cylinder engine, and your choice between a manual gearbox and an automatic transmission. Moreover, thanks to its 2+2 seating layout, you can (theoretically) even bring a couple of extra people along for the ride.

What's New for the 2022 Subaru BRZ?

Subaru makes substantial changes to the 2022 BRZ. Though it's not entirely redesigned from the ground up, the BRZ boasts significant changes, including all-new bodywork, a redesigned interior, a new and more powerful engine, and a substantial increase in torsional rigidity.

How Much is a Subaru BRZ?

This year, 2022 Subaru BRZ prices range from the high $20,000s to the low $30,000s, including the destination charge to ship the car to your local dealership from the Gunma, Japan factory that builds it.

2022 Subaru BRZ, white, rear 3/4

2022 Subaru BRZ Trim Levels and Configurations

Subaru offers the BRZ only as a two-door coupe with a couple of small rear seats that give it a 2+2 configuration. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. Two trim levels are available, each equipped with Subaru's EyeSight collection of driving assistance systems when you order the automatic transmission.

Highlights from each trim are as follows:

Subaru BRZ Premium – The Premium trim has everything you need to have fun behind the wheel. Standard equipment includes dark-gray, 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, hill start assist, an engine sound enhancement system called Active Sound Control, and a Track Mode for the stability control system.

The base model also includes dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth seats, and a height-adjustable driver's seat. The digital instrumentation features a lateral g-force meter, while the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, satellite radio, and six stereo speakers.

Subaru BRZ Limited – Move up to the Limited trim for larger 18-inch wheels with a matte-gray finish, summer performance tires, simulated suede upholstery, and heated front seats. In addition, a Starlink connected services package is available through the infotainment system, which boasts two more stereo speakers for a total of eight.

Additional safety features with the Limited trim include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and steering-responsive headlights that help a driver see around dark corners and curves.

2022 Subaru BRZ, white, front 3/4Christian Wardlaw

2022 Subaru BRZ Review and Test Drive

Had Plymouth never applied the Breeze name to a forgettable, midsize family sedan, Subaru could have used the moniker for its elemental BRZ sports car. Driving this machine is refreshing and revitalizing, like a gentle wind that cools your skin on a sweltering summer day. Simply put, it makes you feel happy and energized after every stint behind its steering wheel.

And while it's not free of charge like a breeze is, a BRZ certainly isn't expensive by sports car standards. A 2022 Subaru BRZ Premium at its base price costs about the same as a top-trim Honda Civic. So to anyone seeking an affordable, reliable, and fun-to-drive car, the Subaru BRZ is like a dream come true.

Evidently, though, it's a dream few people are having. When was the last time you saw a Subaru BRZ out in the wild? It certainly doesn't help that the BRZ is nearly identical to the Toyota GR86, a vehicle that makes more sense to people because it fits more naturally within that automaker's lineup. Traditional Subaru fans — even the ones who adore the WRX — may not understand why the rear-drive BRZ exists in the first place.

I have the answer: The 2022 Subaru BRZ exists for having fun. And, in that respect, it fits perfectly with other Subaru models (except for the Legacy sedan, which is not fun).

Never one to turn down an opportunity to drive something that puts a big smile on my face, for this 2022 Subaru BRZ review, I borrowed one with Limited trim and the optional automatic transmission. It came without further options, so the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) totaled $33,290, including the $995 destination charge. Subaru provided the test vehicle for evaluation in Southern California.

2022 Subaru BRZ, white, side profileChristian Wardlaw

2022 Subaru BRZ Review: The Design

If the new, second-generation 2022 Subaru BRZ looks like the first-generation car, your eyes do not deceive you. Though redesigned, the new BRZ's styling and proportions are nearly identical to the previous model's. Modernized with a sly-looking face, swollen haunches, and a clean, tidy rear end, the BRZ is now more appealing than it used to be. Functional fender vents that bleed into dramatic rocker panels also add plenty of character and a sporty look when viewing the car from the side.

Inside, the BRZ retains its elemental, reductionist design cues, but adopts clean lines and rectilinear shapes, whereas the previous model had an organically shaped dashboard. Digital instrumentation replaces analog gauges, making it easy to reference speed and engine rpm at a glance, and a new infotainment system debuts with an 8-inch touchscreen. In addition, materials look and feel more substantial, and the simulated suede upholstery on the Limited trim's seats adds an upscale ambiance to the sparse and purposeful cabin.

2022 Subaru BRZ back seatChristian Wardlaw

As expected, it's difficult to enter and exit this low-slung sports car, especially considering the substantial bolsters and grippy suede. Still, once they're settled in, two people will find the BRZ reasonably comfortable. A hallmark of this car is its 2+2 configuration, but unless shorter people sit in front and slide the seats forward, rear legroom is non-existent for children, let alone adults.

Stingy headroom is also a problem for rear-seat passengers, so you might want to simply fold the single-piece rear backrest down and enjoy more trunk room than the BRZ's standard 6.3 cubic feet of cargo space. If you do that, while also dipping into the tire-repair well, you can fit up to four tires, a helmet and tools behind the front seats so that you’d have all you need for a track/drift day. Unfortunately, there isn't a way to expand functional interior storage areas for things like smartphones.

2022 Subaru BRZ interior, dashboardChristian Wardlaw

2022 Subaru BRZ Review: The Technology

In addition to the new 7-inch digital instrumentation panel, the redesigned 2022 BRZ has a standard Starlink infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen display. It includes satellite radio, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, and with the Limited trim you get access to Starlink connected services.

Overall, the infotainment system is pretty basic, and because the BRZ is unavailable with an embedded navigation system, I could not perform my customary voice recognition system testing. However, I found it easy to accidentally activate touchscreen controls without realizing I’d done so. On several occasions, I glanced down to see something on the display that I did not actively request. Also, it's unclear how to access the list of saved radio station presets from the radio display screen.

In standard specification with a manual gearbox, the BRZ is light on safety tech. And when you upgrade to Limited trim, the car adds nothing more than blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and steering-responsive headlights that help you see around corners and curves after dark.

Subaru's EyeSight suite of safety systems is available on the BRZ. To get it, you must choose the optional automatic transmission, and then Subaru will include EyeSight at no extra charge. With Premium trim, the package contains adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights. The Limited model also has lane-keeping assist and a reverse automatic braking system.

2022 Subaru BRZ driver-assist control settingsChristian Wardlaw

The test car had all of the EyeSight features. Commendably, the adaptive cruise control reacts smoothly when other drivers cut into the gap ahead of the car. However, on one occasion, following a lane change to get around slower traffic, the BRZ seemed to ignore a looming Ford Transit cargo van ahead as it accelerated to get back up to the preset speed. I had to intervene. Also, the beeping from the lane-departure warning system gets old fast.

Typically, I do not experience the automatic emergency braking system in a vehicle. However, during BRZ testing, I discovered that this feature is effective. While driving in heavy traffic, cars ahead came to a sudden stop. Because the driver behind me was demonstrating a lack of attention to this fact, I tried to tuck the BRZ in close to the vehicle ahead to give them ample space to react to the fact that traffic had come to a stop.

But the Subaru BRZ had other ideas. Presuming I wasn't paying attention, the automatic braking system activated, and I stopped short. As a result, the person behind me almost hit the BRZ. This situation demonstrates, once again, the pros and the cons of automated driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies.

I will say that the BRZ's Lead Vehicle Start Alert is a handy feature. It tells the driver when traffic ahead is moving again, a tacit acknowledgment that nowadays, everyone checks their phone at traffic lights or while sitting motionless in traffic. Every modern automobile should have this equipment.

2022 Subaru BRZ engine bay, hood upChristian Wardlaw

2022 Subaru BRZ Review: The Drive

Perhaps the most substantial change to the redesigned 2022 BRZ is the addition of a new, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine in the automaker's classic horizontally opposed layout. Also known as a flat-four or boxer engine, the power plant generates 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty for this lightweight 2+2 coupe.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a six-speed automatic transmission available. The automatic includes steering wheel paddle shifters and a new Sport mode that activates a downshift rev-matching function and yaw sensors that tell the transmission to hold a lower gear when the driver is taking corners with gusto. Both transmissions feed power to the BRZ's rear wheels through a standard limited-slip differential, while an Active Sound Control system enhances the flat four's unique engine note, immediately endearing the BRZ to its driver.

Compared with the previous-generation BRZ, the new one boasts a 50% increase in torsional stiffness and an even lower center of gravity. In addition, Subaru says it has improved steering response and turn-in and that the new BRZ offers a better blend of ride quality and handling capability. With Limited trim, the BRZ wears larger 18-inch wheels wrapped in summer performance tires.

If you're familiar with the previous Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins, you'll notice a palpable difference between the new ones and the old ones. In addition to an added layer of overall refinement, the 2022 BRZ's more powerful engine delivers enough of a thrill that you won't be left wishing for a turbocharger unless you live at a higher elevation.

With the sharp-shifting, six-speed automatic, the BRZ has Sport, Snow, and Track driving modes. However, as I discovered, if you run the car in Sport mode in the city, it is hard to drive smoothly because the powertrain tends to surge the car forward with every press on the accelerator pedal. Switching off the Sport mode eliminates this tendency.

Additionally, though Subaru tunes the BRZ for greater ride compliance than you'll find in the Toyota GR86, the lines of communication are wide open on city streets. As a result, you will feel and hear every crack, ripple, bump, and hole in the pavement.

2022 Subaru BRZ front seatsChristian Wardlaw

On the highway, it's difficult to discern between the wind and the road noise. And when you rev the engine, the otherwise pleasing note from the four-cylinder boxer simply adds to the racket. So if you want a quiet car, the Subaru BRZ is not for you.

I examined the BRZ on my long driving route, which winds from the Los Angeles suburbs to Santa Barbara on back roads and then returns on freeways. On the lumpy and bumpy Balcom Canyon Road, the BRZ felt too soft, bouncing a bit over the rumpled pavement and demonstrating unexpected lateral body motions.

Later, running down the Dennison Grade into Ojai, California, the smooth, banked, constant-radius corners showcased the BRZ's impressive grip, low center of gravity, quick steering, and small size, allowing me to preserve momentum by using all of the available lane while leaving some margin for error.

Later, still, after turning right off of California 154 onto 192 and driving along the foothills into Carpinteria, the BRZ demonstrated nothing short of brilliance on the narrow country road. This Subaru’s small footprint, sticky tires, robust torque, Sport mode, and satisfying paddle shifters harmonized into a magical driving experience.

Nevertheless, the BRZ's steering was my least favorite thing about the car's driving dynamics. I think the steering wheel rim could be thicker, but in many situations, I found the steering itself to be a little vague both on-center and just off-center. It simply wasn't as crisp and surgically precise as I expected.

Miraculously, the BRZ Limited returned 28.2 mpg on this evaluation route. That's higher than the official EPA fuel economy rating of 25 mpg in combined driving, and closes in on the highway rating of 30 mpg.

I love small, affordable, modestly powered cars that drive like go-karts. Therefore, I am a fan of the 2022 Subaru BRZ. In my opinion, the BRZ is neither as refined nor outright thrilling to drive as a Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, but the Subaru is also more affordable than the Mazda. The savings could be worth any trade-offs, especially if you don't care about the Miata's retractable fastback roof.

2022 Subaru BRZ, white, rear 3/4Christian Wardlaw

Is the 2022 Subaru BRZ a Good Car?

When it comes to affordable performance in an appealing wrapper, the redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ excels. However, although it competes against just a handful of rivals, the alternatives are formidable.

2022 Subaru BRZ cargo space, trunk, bootChristian Wardlaw

Subaru BRZ Competitors for 2022

As was true of the first-generation Subaru BRZ, the new second-generation model is the result of a collaboration with Toyota. (The Toyota version of the car is called the GR86.) This pair of 2+2 sports cars faces few rivals. The Hyundai Veloster N is one of them, and the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is the other.

2022 Subaru BRZ infotainment system, screenChristian Wardlaw

Subaru BRZ Features

Highlights

Lightweight and rear-wheel drive, the 2022 Subaru BRZ is an affordable sports car with accessible performance and helpful technology.

2022 Subaru BRZ Safety Features

  • EyeSight – Included on BRZs with an automatic transmission, EyeSight equips the car with a collection of driving assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and more
  • Blind Spot Detection – Standard on BRZ Limited, warns the driver of other vehicles in the car's blind spots
  • Steering Responsive Headlights – Standard on BRZ Limited, swivels the headlight beam in the direction the driver is steering to improve visibility
  • Reverse Automatic Braking – Standard on BRZ Limited with an automatic transmission, can automatically brake the car while reversing if sensors detect an obstacle
  • Starlink Safety and Security – Standard on BRZ Limited, this is a subscription-based connected services plan including automatic collision notification

2022 Subaru BRZ Technology

  • Incline Start Assist – Standard feature holds the BRZ on a hill while the driver releases the clutch pedal to get the car underway
  • Lead Vehicle Start Alert – Standard feature alerts a distracted driver when traffic ahead is moving again
  • Track Mode – Standard feature adjusts stability control sensitivity to allow for drifting on racetracks
  • Active Sound Control – Standard feature enhances the engine note through the car's stereo speakers
  • Starlink Multimedia Plus – Standard infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration, and satellite radio

2022 Subaru BRZ Specs

  • 2.4-liter, boxer-type, four-cylinder engine
  • 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque
  • Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • EPA Fuel Economy Ratings: 22 mpg in combined driving (manual); 25 mpg (automatic)

2022 Subaru BRZ Interior

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control – Standard feature
  • Digital instrumentation display – Standard 7-inch display
  • Sport-bolstered front seats – Standard feature
  • Heated front seats – Available feature*
  • Paddle shifters – Available feature* (included with automatic transmission)

*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.

BRZ Features

Seating
  • Seats
    • Bucket Seats
    • Rear Bucket Seats
Seating