The Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86 are extremely similar cars. They were a joint effort between Subaru and Toyota back when Toyota’s Scion brand was around. It was probably the best car to come out of Toyota’s experiment with the youth-focused brand. The rear-wheel-drive sporty coupe is one of the few affordable cars out. There are other sporty coupes out there, but they tend to fall into the muscle car category and the car that became the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ certainly isn’t a muscle car.

2018 Subaru BRZ driving around a turn

Subaru’s car is perhaps a little weirder than Toyota’s simply because of the company’s other offerings. Subaru used to be known for weird little cars, but now it’s become a juggernaut in the crossover craze. By extension, it's one of the bigger players in the American automotive landscape. This leads us to wonder why it even bothers with the little BRZ.

Built for Sports Car Enthusiasts

2018 Subaru BRZ engine painted red

The Subaru BRZ is a car built for enthusiasts. Its rear-wheel drive, small, flickable, and fun. It has some of the most direct steering out there and a tendency to kick its tail out around a tight curve. It’s the kind of car that many sports car enthusiasts truly want as an autocross machine, track car, or just a fun car to get around in.

With all that said, it won’t satisfy every enthusiast. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine only puts out 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. While that’s not a terrible number, if you’re used to driving a high-powered machine or want some serious power in your sports car, then the BRZ isn’t for you. This means that the BRZ only appeals to a portion of an already fairly small enthusiast audience.

It’s Not a Practical or Luxurious Vehicle

2018 Subaru BRZ cabin

One of the biggest strikes against the BRZ is that it’s basically totally impractical. Yes, it’s a 2+2 coupe, but the back two seats are hardly useful. There’s little leg or headroom, and the seats are no good for regular passengers. That means that anyone who wants a fun, sporty car but has to carry more than two passengers regularly will probably opt for a different model, likely some kind of sports sedan.

The interior materials aren’t the nicest either. While it does slightly better than the Toyota 86, it's built for affordable fun motoring. That means the materials in the car are just okay. The cabin isn’t uncomfortable for the driver and front passenger, but the cabin materials won’t impress anyone.

It’s Not a High Seller

2018 Subaru BRZ headlight

Subaru’s best year for the BRZ, according to Good Car Bad Car was 2013. That year, the car raked in 8,587 sales for the company. That number has slowly declined since then. In 2017 the company sold 4,131 BRZs, which was roughly the same as 2016. Considering many popular models sell hundreds of thousands of models in a given year, it’s safe to say the BRZ isn’t doing much to propel Subaru’s profits to new heights.

Subaru went into this project knowing that the BRZ wasn’t going to be some monster sales machine. While we’re sure the company would like it to take up more of the sporty coupe market, it would have been unrealistic to think that this car would swallow up a huge portion of overall car buyers. That said, is roughly 4,100 sales per year enough to make the BRZ worth producing?

It Works Perfectly for a Small Niche

2018 Subaru BRZ driving around a bend

Although the BRZ isn’t practical or luxurious, doesn’t satisfy the needs of every enthusiast, and isn’t a high-seller, we still love the car. For the budget conscious enthusiast who doesn’t want to buy a Mazda Miata, base Ford Mustang, or base Chevrolet Camaro, the BRZ is an excellent choice.

In short, it’s a killer sports car for a small section of the sports car market. So, to answer the question asked in the headline, yes it’s wonderful. However, the car would be a stupid choice for a buyer who needed a more practical vehicle. Luckily, Subaru has offerings for those buyers as well, and if you really want something sporty and practical, you can buy the all-wheel-drive WRX.

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