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2020 Subaru BRZ Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Subaru BRZ Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Base vs tS

What 2020 Subaru BRZ Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Subaru is not known as a one-car company. They manufacture SUVs (Outlook), family vehicles (Impreza), and sportier options.

The last is something consumers may not be aware of. They're used to seeing images of a Forester easily traverse a boulder-strewn landscape. They don't see too many examples of a sports sedan racing down the highway.

Yet, Subaru has these types of cars. In addition, they have them in affordable versions that fit many budgets. One example of this type of vehicle is the 2020 Subaru BRZ. Introduced in 2013, the car was designed to prioritize driving over almost everything else. Hence, the reason it's always paired against competitors like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Chevy Camaro.

There are two trims to the 2020 Subaru BRZ. In previous years, it was the baseline Limited and upper-end Premium. The latter was decommissioned with the 2019 model year. In its place is the new tS trim.

At its base, the Limited's MSRP hovers around $29,000. The fully-loaded tS jumps the price to around $31,500. Of course, optional packages can raise the price of each trim even further.

This guide demonstrates the key differences between the Subaru's trim levels in order to help buyers decide on the right BRZ configuration that works best for their needs.


Compare the 2020 Subaru BRZ vs tS Trims. What is the difference?

To start, both trims come with a 2-Litre 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine. This form of power train has been used in all of the company's vehicles since 1966. The main differences between this engine form and those of other manufacturers is its horizontal design with a low center of gravity. This allows for more balanced handling, responsive control, and firmer stability on all surfaces.

A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on both BRZ trims. The tS doesn't offer an alternative to this. However, consumers can upgrade to an automatic transmission on the Limited. The good news for manual fans is the Limited's automatic version comes with paddle shifters to shift between transmission modes.

For both, the engine produces 205 horsepower and 156 pounds per foot of torque. If the consumer goes with the automatic transmission for the Limited trim, the horsepower and torque drop slightly. Regardless of the transmission type, both trims offer TORSEN limited-slip rear differential to prevent a torque imbalance.

The miles per gallon between the two trims is mildly significant. The Limited features an average of 24 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. Meanwhile, because of its sportier profile, the tS gets 20 and 27 mpg, respectively.

The IS comes with two performance standards the Limited offers as options. One is the Brembo brake system. Created in Italy, the high-performance setup provides racing-type precision in sudden stops and turning corners.

The other standard is SACHS performance shock absorbers. These act as a damper to the BRZ when it hits patches of rough road surface. According to the manufacturer, SACHS are sports-oriented and offer long-term service without replacement.

To maintain regular stability, both trims have a Traction Control System (TCS) that prevents loss of traction when throttle input and engine torque are mismatched on road surfaces. The Limited version of the 2020 Subaru BRZ also comes standard with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). It utilizes sensors to monitor wheel speeds and steering angles. among other things. When it detects a problem, the VSC applies brake pressure or reduces torque to correct the stabilize the BRZ’s path.

Meanwhile, the tS trim comes standard with STI-tuned VSC. It performs the same monitoring; however, it's focused more on the vehicle's sport-like performance to maintain an even ride.

There are additional differences between the two trims within the BRZ’s chassis. The Limited offers four-wheel ventilated disc brakes and an independent suspension with a double wishbone setup in the rear. The tS is equipped with crossmember reinforcement of the suspension along with a strut tower to handle most road impacts.

Both trims come with standard driver assist options for the brake systems. Brake assist immediately applies pressure when emergency braking is detected. The override system reduces accelerator operations if it and the brake pedal are pressed at the same time.

Designed for performance, the 2020 Subaru BRZ trims don't go for all-season tires. Instead, they focus on high-performance models designed for summer use. The Limited has 17-inch tires with aluminum-alloy wheels. The diameter of the tS tires are one-inch larger. Furthermore, the wheels are of a matte bronze finish.

Exterior features on the trims are fairly identical. Each has LED headlights and fog lights, trunk spoiler, and heated side mirrors that melt ice and snow. The only difference between the two is the color of these side mirrors. They match the exterior body color for the Limited while the tS mirrors are finished in a crystal black silica hue.

The trims also offer the same color palettes -- six in total. They range from Blue Pearl and Crystal Black Silica to several in the gray and while hues.

Each version of the 2020 Subaru BRZ comes with a number of higher-end interior standards. The front seats are heated and offer multiple adjustments -- six for the driver and four for the passenger. The dashboard is simulated leather with accent stitching and contains sport-designed gauges along with a four-inch multi-function display.

The differences on the interior designs are small but significant. For example, while the Limited has a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter handle, the tS version adds red accents to those coverings. Red boosters are also featured in the leather-trimmed upholstery of the tS.

The rest of the interior is the same for the two trims. Among the amenities are a three-spoke steering wheel with built-in controls for hands-free phone calls and audio settings. A seven-inch STARLINK infotainment screen sits in the dashboard's center. It features integration with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and multiple cloud-based applications. Music, talk, and other audio come through an eight-speaker system.

Also the same for the two trims are the safety and security options. In addition to the previously mentioned brake assist, the Limited and tS offer anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, and a tire pressure monitoring system that alerts drivers when there's an issue.

The trims also contain the Subaru advanced frontal airbag system. This releases the airbags for the passenger only if the seat sensors detect them as a certain weight. Side-curtain airbags protect front and rear passengers at the same time seat-mounted torso airbags protect the driver.

For security, the 2020 Subaru BRZ trims have keyless entry with push-button start for days when it's cold or the weather is bad. The vehicle's engine immobilizer stops those with malicious intentions from starting the vehicle by other means. For instance, hot-wiring the vehicle.

The warranties for the Limited and tS trims do not differ. It's three years or 36,000 miles for the overall warranty and 5 yr./60K mi. for the powertrain. The only warranty option with unlimited mileage is for rust perforation. However, it only covers a maximum of five years.

In addition to the large number of standards that come with the trims, there are also several optional packages. Some of these are for both the Limited and tS while others are unique. For example, a Kicker powered subwoofer and auto-dimming rear-view mirror are options for both. So is a chrome fuel door cover and footwell illumination kit.

Options for the Limited trim include STI springs that are stiffer than standard models to reduce body roll. Also available is a performance package with many of the braking and suspension standards offered in the tS. There are no optional packages for only the higher-end trim.


Which Trim to Choose?

Overall, it’s a tough choice between the Limited and tS trims on the 2020 Subaru BRZ. One, they both offer many of the same features, particularly when it comes to the interior and safety options. Two, the small difference in price makes them both affordable, hence the reason the BRZ leads the list in least expensive vehicles.

In making a decision, there's one thing to eliminate. The Subaru BRZ is not a family vehicle. Nor is it one used for hauling large amounts of material. This is a two-door sedan built for a primary purpose: performance. The consumer can tell by the adjectives that describe the vehicle and its construction. The steering, brakes, and suspension all scream drivability instead of multi-purpose transport.

With that out of the way, consumers need to determine how they are going to use the 2020 Subaru BRZ on a regular basis. For this, they want to look at the steering and fuel efficiency. Both the Limited and tS trims utilize a Subaru Boxer engine to center the vehicle and maintain smooth control on the road. Thus, this is not an issue.

However, fuel efficiency is a concern. The Limited provides higher numbers in the city and highway while the tS is five miles less per gallon in both environments. This may not seem significant until the consumer discovers the BRZ only has a 13-gallon gas tank. Then, 377 miles per tank versus 300 miles becomes a larger matter.

Another consideration is the type of transmission. While both come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, the Limited also offers an automatic version. Though a manual drive tends to be synonymous with sports cars, an automatic is much easier to handle for some consumers. With only a small reduction in horsepower, the Limited has an upper-hand in its transmission offerings.

On the other hand, the tS trim is tops in handling and suspension. Even if it's primary use is getting to work, the STI-tuned stability control and SACHS performance shock absorbers make it a better version to handle changing road conditions. This is not saying the Limited is a slouch in the area. In the end, the tS can keep the driver on the road no matter the surface or weather.

After that, there's not much to contrast between the two trims of the 2020 Subaru BRZ. Their interiors and exteriors are well-designed and equipped with modern features that some more expensive vehicles don't have. For instance, not every sports car offers heated side mirrors as a standard. Nor do they have both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Furthermore, the safety features of both trims are comparable to secure drivers and passengers.

Overall, when looking at everything both trims offer, the Limited is the better option of the two. Not only does it have a lower price point than the tS, but it offers two major things the sportier version does not. That would be an option to switch to an automatic transmission and higher fuel efficiency. Furthermore, while it may not have premier brake and suspension options, what the Limited does have is more than sufficient to minimize sudden stops and reduce the jolts of rough road surfaces.

Of course, the consumer needs to see the two trims for themselves in order to decide. When they visit the dealership, they should take into consideration what was mentioned in this guide and their own opinions during a test drive.
Save Money on a 2020 Subaru BRZ:
Previous Subaru BRZ Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Subaru BRZ Trim Levels