What do you think of when someone says Subaru?  Chances are the first thing that came to mind was “all-wheel drive,” right?  That’s what they are known for, the quintessential family-safe car that can handle any weather conditions.

Let’s try another little word-association. What do you think of when someone says “affordable sports car?”  Did you think of Porsche?  Possibly the Mazda RX-7? Maybe the Nissan 270Z?

What if we told you that the Subaru BRZ is a rear-wheel drive sports car?  And what if we told you that it is every bit as good as the three competitors we mentioned?  What if we told you the Subaru BRZ can stand toe-to-toe with the Ford Mustang or the Ford Focus ST? Well it can, it is, and you really should give this Subaru a try if you are looking for a sporty car that is under thirty grand.

The Subaru BRZ is a four-seat compact coupe that comes in three trims, the Premium, the Limited and the Series Blue. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, summer tires, automatic bixenon headlights, LED running lights, keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel and a fold-down rear seatback, to name just a few. Many options are, of course, available.

As mentioned earlier, the BRZ is a rear-wheel driven sports car with a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine good for 200 horsepower.  It is matched with a six-speed manual transmission and an optional six-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles and rev-matched downshifts.  In testing, the BRZ went from 0-60 in 6.8 seconds with the manual transmission and 7.9 seconds with the automatic transmission.  These times are a bit slow when compared to competitors with a V6 engine.  EPA fuel economy estimates are 25 mpg combined.

Safety features include antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, font side airbags and side curtain airbags.  In braking tests the BRZ stopped from 60-0 in 114 feet, a good braking distance.  Also, in government crash testing, the BRZ received the highest rating.

We know what you’re thinking.  The BRZ has a four-cylinder engine and it’s acceleration is reasonably slow, so why buy it? Because the true test of a sports car is in its handling. How does it take the curves? How does it respond and how is that driver-car-road connection?  In this regard, the Subaru BRZ is exceptional, reminding us of the handling abilities of the Mazda products.

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