Why is Subaru BRZ So Cheap?

The Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86 are developed as a joint project between Toyota and Subaru. Both cars are produced at Subaru’s Gunma assembly plant in Japan. The first BRZ came into the market in 2012. It is two doors, four-passenger sports car with rear-wheel drive. The name BRZ stands for Boxer engine, Rear-wheel drive, and Zenith. It comes in two trims; 

  1. the Limited
  2. the tS.

The puzzling fact about the Subaru BRZ, compared to most of the cars in its category, is that it is one of the lowest priced. Though, it might not have the engine power of some of its siblings like the Subaru WRX, but it is one of the best-performing and affordable sports cars.

This fact makes us a reason, if customers’ review is to be believed (and they should), what makes the Subaru BRZ cheap?

Reasons Subaru BRZ Is Cheap

Reduced Production Costs

Production costs play an important role in determining the retail price of a vehicle. One of the major reasons why the Subaru BRZ has a low price is the cooperation between Toyota and Subaru. The joint venture between the two ensures that the cost of research and development of the car remains low. For one, the BRZ uses Boxer engines, an engine also used by Porsche and Toyota, which lowers the cost.

Furthermore, Subaru has worked on other ways to cut the cost of production of the BRZ. The reduced expenditure helps to reduce the retail price of the finished products. Subaru provides the chassis. Then they use already produced engines and co-production with Toyota for the powertrain and mechanical components.

Other cars also fall victim to their products being cheap—

  1. Audi TT
  2. Cadillac CTS
  3. BMW Z4
  4. Mazda Miata
  5. Jaguar F-Type
  6. Genesis G80
  7. Kia Stinger
  8. Corvette Stingray
  9. Honda CRZ
  10. Dodge Charger

Safety Rating 

Everyone expects the best protection possible when driving, especially in a sports car. The 2019 Subaru BRZ has a four-star safety rating out of a possible five. While this is not bad in itself, it shows that its safety rating is average.

Since most cars in its category have a better safety rating, the BRZ has to lower its price to compete.

Lack of Advanced Tech

Advanced technology like forwarding collision warning or adaptive cruise control available in rivals like the Ford Mustang is missing in the BRZ. BRZ has just the bare necessities in terms of tech, nothing fancy like in some other cars.

The Subaru BRZ was created to be an affordable alternative to the top performers like the Porsche 911. Affordability means it has to cut back on the quality of the things that make those premium brands expensive. One of the things that had to go in the BRZ is advanced technology.

Size Constraints

Another reason for the relatively low price of the Subaru BRZ is its size. Even in the sports car category, the BRZ is relatively small. Though it should ideally seat four people, the back seat of the BRZ is cramped.

Any adult that seats in the back seat would have an uncomfortable ride. This size constraint affects the price of the BRZ as it can’t compete with bigger competitors like the Ford Mustang in terms of passenger or cargo space.

Though the rear seat is foldable, which gives it more cargo space, it doesn’t make for a comfortable car ride for adults, no matter their size.

Engine Performance and Wheel Performance

2022 Subaru BRZ has a naturally-aspirated 2.4L, 4-cylinder Boxer engine with 228hp and 184lbft of torque. Subaru doesn’t officially list a time for its acceleration from 0-60, but some reviewers say it is low 6 seconds. When compared to others in its category, the engine performance isn’t much.

There are sports cars like the 2022 Porsche 911 that produce between 379-473hp of engine power. Or the Ford Mustang engine that produces 310hp, all have more powerful engines than the Subaru BRZ.

Unlike some other cars in the category, BRZ is a rear-wheel drive. In normal weather conditions, this is not so bad, but in adverse conditions or the winter, a rear-wheel-drive doesn’t handle well as an all-wheel-drive will.

An underpowered engine and a wheel drive that isn’t perfect for all weather conditions contribute to a lower price.

Car Interior

Practicality is one of the guiding words for the BRZ; another guiding word is affordability. The quest for affordability is why Subaru has done all it can to make the BRZ as affordable and practical as possible. Its exterior design is pleasing, but the interior borders on bland.

Take, for example, the absence of sound insulation in the BRZ. Many sports cars go for sound insulation to reduce the noise in the car, but Subaru BRZ doesn’t bother with that. The lack of a buffer helps the overall car weight but doesn’t help with a loud noise. There are no touchscreens or things like that, just straight knobs and buttons. 

The Subaru BRZ’s seats though comfortable are leather-trimmed, instead of full leather. Overall, the BRZ’s interior does the job with anything extra. It has to be said that the material used, though not high-end, is pretty durable.

The lack of pizzazz in the exterior helps lower the price and adds another reason why the BRZ is cheap.

Recall Problems

In 2019, Subaru had to recall thousands of BRZs due to complaints by various car owners about engine failure when they took their cars in for routine repairs. Subaru discovered the engine failure was due to a faulty valve spring.

This faulty valve spring led to engine fracture and engine explosion. The engine failure led to a class-action lawsuit against both Subaru and Toyota. Though there have been no complaints about the newer models of the BRZ, the lawsuit and recall affected the customer trust in the brand. The recall and lack of customer trust have affected the price of the vehicle.

Car Parts and Materials

The Subaru BRZ is one of the lightest sports cars. Most of its parts body parts are cheap, lightweight, but durable. Expensive and heavy parts like sound buffers are not available in the BRZ because they add weight and costs to the car.

The BRZ’s interior is durable but is made from lightweight plastic materials. It goes along with Subaru’s goal of affordability and practicality. These cheap parts reduce the overall cost of the car, and the reduced cost leads to a lower price.

Is Subaru BRZ A Reliable Car?

The Subaru BRZ is a reliable car. The BRZ is on the list of the “10 Most Reliable Cars”. These were the top ten most reliable cars based on a review of consumers. The high place on the list means the Subaru BRZ is one of the topmost reliable cars across different categories.

The rating for the 2020 BRZ is three stars. The three stars mean its reliability is about average.

How Much Does a 2022 Subaru BRZ Cost?

Depending on the trim, and the transmission, the 2022 Subaru costs between $28,955 to $33,255. This price includes a $960 destination charge from Subaru. Here are the costs.

  • Subaru Premium with six-speed manual transmission costs $28,955.
  • Subaru Premium with six-speed automatic transmission costs $30,555.
  • Subaru Limited with six-speed manual transmission costs $31,455.
  • Subaru Limited with six-speed automatic transmission costs $33,255.

Subaru BRZ Target Market

Subaru BRZ is an affordable sports car that targets young, upwardly mobile professionals. Millennials and Gen Zs want to enjoy a pleasurable ride and smooth handling without breaking the bank. 

There is no distinction between sex, though the BRZ has more male owners than females. The ideal Subaru BRZ owner is young to middle-aged, middle-class economic bracket, intelligent, loves adventure and the outdoors.

Subaru has targeted teachers or educators, outdoorsy people, IT professionals, and healthcare professionals as ideal customers for their cars. The BRZ isn’t any different.

Is the Subaru BRZ Expensive to Maintain?

It cost an estimated $4,559 to maintain the 2019 BRZ over five years. Then another $5,181 on insurance premiums over the same five-year period. Since the average maintenance costs in the sports car subcategory are $1,186, it means the Subaru BRZ has lower service costs than on average.


The Subaru BRZ is more than just a sports car. It is an affordable sports car that gives drivers superior handling and a comfortable ride. There might be some concerns about an underpowered engine compared to its rivals, but the Subaru doesn’t seek to compete on that front.

The purpose of the Subaru BRZ is to give young and middle-class people an opportunity to own a sports car. 

Though they have had car recall problems, Subaru’s low price has nothing to do with reliability issues. BRZ has always had at least average reliability ratings and glowing reviews from its users.

BRZ’s low price, reliability, lower than average maintenance costs all make the car one of the best and bestselling sports cars on the market.

Leave a Comment