Base Camp: 2022 Subaru BRZ

The 2022 Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GR 86 are mechanical twins.  The BRZ is powered by a 228-hp boxer 4-cylinder and comes with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, with an automatic gearbox available as an option.

By Matthew Guy Wheels.ca

Apr 18, 2022 3 min. read

Article was updated a year ago

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Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - that earns a passing grade.

The ranks of affordable rear-wheel drive sports coupes is shrinking faster than the list of comedians who’d like to go on stage in front of Will Smith. Where there was once an abundance of competitors, there are now but a few. Fortunately, this means the ones which remain are better than ever.

2022 Subaru BRZ

Subaru has shacked up with Toyota to re-up its little BRZ, a two-door grin maker which now sports a fresh face and some new interior goodies compared to the original effort. Powered by a 2.4-litre boxer-style engine, it makes 228 hp and the kind of immature blat that can only be assigned to a flat-four piston configuration. Peak output occurs just 500 r.p.m. shy of the 7,500 r.p.m. redline, meaning drivers will be stirring the six-speed manual pot more often than in sedate economy cars. Fortunately, maximum torque shows up for duty at about half that engine speed. Rear-wheel drive and a standard Torsen limited-slip diff provide entertaining driving dynamics.

Spotting a base $29,495 BRZ versus the up-level trim can be tough to the uninitiated. Subaru permits full access to the palette of paint colours on both models, including the tasty Ignition Red and World Rally Blue. Door handles and heated side mirrors are all colour-keyed, an integrated lip spoiler juts from the trunk lid, polished exhaust finishers poke from the rear, and an underbody rear diffuser of questionable value is on both cars. About the only obvious visual cue are 18-inch Michelins on the Sport-Tech.

Inside, differences are similarly muted. The more expensive trim does get a better sound system, packing eight speakers and an amp, but everyone enjoys smartphone integrations plus satellite radio. Ditto for USB ports, red accent stitching, manually adjustable chairs, and a natty leather-wrapped steering wheel. Note that automatic-equipped BRZs benefit from Subaru’s EyeSight suite of active driver aids, gubbins which don’t yet play well with a manual transmission.

What We'd Choose

There are but two trims of the BRZ: entry level and Sport-Tech. In addition to introducing an infuriating punctuation mark to the mix, the latter also brings the likes of steering responsive headlamps, 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tires, and snazzier heated seats plus a few safety nannies. For the sake of $3,000 we suggest sourcing better tires on your own and simply use your neck muscles in place of blind spot detection or rear cross traffic alert. Subaru Starlink, a toolbox of connected services on the Sport-Tech which can remotely unlock doors and tattle on teenage drivers going outside certain boundaries is of little appeal to this author.

2022 Subaru BRZ

That’s why sticking with the base model (appended with a manual transmission, of course) would be our choice. A sub-$30,000 price tag – and a bi-weekly lease payment in the $200 range – is just the icing on this very entertaining cake.




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