2019 Subaru BRZ Introduction

Launched as a 2013 model, the lightweight, down-to-basics Subaru BRZ sport coupe offers superlative handling and a boisterous personality, at an affordable price. Built in a 2+2 configuration, it’s effectively a two-seater, since the back seat is very small. Subaru is well-known for its all-wheel-drive vehicles, but the BRZ comes only with rear-wheel drive.

For the 2019 model year, the BRZ abandons its towering rear wing, but retains its stature as a rival to sports cars that cost far more. The available navigation system has been upgraded. Only two trim levels are offered, Premium and Limited, but a Series.Gray limited-edition has been added. Only 250 were to be built.

Once again, an eager, free-revving 2.0-liter flat (horizontally-opposed) 4-cylinder engine propels the BRZ. With Subaru’s slick-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox, the small engine cranks out a comparatively modest 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower dips to 200 if the 6-speed automatic transmission, offered only in Limited trim, is installed.

All that energy is sent to the rear wheels, in traditional sports-car mode. Power peaks high in the rev range, adding to the joy of driving this minimalist machine, which also appears as a Toyota under the 86 badge.

According to the EPA, a BRZ can deliver fuel economy in the mid-20 miles-per-gallon neighborhoods, if driven with restraint.

While the BRZ might be nimble enough to steer away from trouble spots, crash-test results have been mixed. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the sport coupe mostly “Good” ratings for crashworthiness. The exception is the organization’s small-overlap test, where it earned an “Acceptable” rating. The passenger side was not rated at all.

At the federal level, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the 2019 BRZ only for frontal impact and rollover resistance (a calculated figure), giving it four and five stars, respectively. No figures have been issued for overall crash protection or side impacts.

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