Toyota 86 / Subaru Brz

Car Review: Toyota 86 (Scion FR-S)/Subaru BRZ (2012-2020)

Twin coupe’s from two different car companies? That’s right, Toyota and Subaru worked together to develop this popular model. Besides a minor front grill difference, they are basically the same car, so let’s take a closer look.

Toyota 86 Subaru Brz

The Good

1. Cool, slick retro design

2. Rear wheel drive makes steering and driving a breeze

3. Plenty of space in the boot – especially with rear seats folded down

4. Great safety rating for occupant protection

5. Hold their value due to popularity

6. Plenty on the market

Toyota 86 / Subaru Brz

The Bad

1. Idling can be rough and cause occasional stalling due to how the car was driven in its first hundred miles which was recorded by the cars ECU (Electronic Control Unit)

2. Low seats mean it’s harder to get in and out of – something to think about when doing it on a regular basis

3. Rear seats ideally only for shopping or the family dog as legroom is non-existent

4. Visibility can be an issue on the ‘Aero’ model which has a big rear wing on the trunk

5. It isn’t a quiet car

6. Not the lowest value used car on the market to buy

The Essentials

Ensure the model you’re looking to buy hasn’t been abused, as a lot of these have been used for either ‘drifting’ or thrashed on the streets. Tell-tale signs are rear wheels that are nearly bald and worn out while the front tires are near to new. Look at the rims for chips or kinks around the edge as these portray many tire changes in a short amount of time, as well as obvious curb-rash from poor parking. Check the exhaust for wear and tear, and excess or odd noise as this usually means holes which need to be fixed (or replaced with a new exhaust). While you’re at it, inspect the undercarriage and suspension as this car sits low on the road and is more prone to speed bumps, curb and road damage. Take a good look at the service history and ask if the correct oils were used at each service as this helps prolong the life of the car.

The Alternatives

Hyundai Veloster (2011-2021), Mazda Miata MX-5 (Third & Fourth Generation 2011-2021)

The Verdict

7 out of 10

A thorough check!!! It is essential to get a full report on the condition before taking any sale further. These cars are notoriously known for street drifting, even with lower mileage, and it’s easy to get carried away in the moment, but be practical and avoid one if it doesn’t stack up. Having said that, rear seat space is pushing it at a squeeze, but you’re buying a two-door coupe – it’s not meant to be a family car, it’s meant to carry two people in comfort – exactly what this car does well. It handles well, has street appeal, and comes in many colors with after-market racing stripes or without. Now all you have to worry about is which badge to go for – the Toyota or the Subaru?

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