2022 Subaru BRZ Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.
Who says Subaru drivers don't like to have fun? Hopefully no one, because it wouldn't be true.
After a one-year hiatus, Subaru is back with the new-and-improved 2022 Subaru BRZ. This chic little sports car doesn't immediately bring to mind all of the rigid practicality you find in Subaru's other vehicles. Oh no, it caters to a slightly different crowd - those who feel the need for speed.
This new generation of the BRZ brings with it a much more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gets the manual BRZ from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a swift 6.1 seconds. (Note that the automatic transmission slows things down slightly, getting the BRZ up to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds - still nothing to scoff at, of course. But it does make getting through heavy traffic flow a whole lot easier.)
The 2022 BRZ also delivers on the technological front. It receives a slew of updates and upgrades to its more-than-ever-before driver-focused tech gadgetry. Also, the cabin itself looks more contemporary to the fresh-faced second generation BRZ.
The downsides are going to be pretty obvious. The rear seats are cramped - extremely so, in fact. They're honestly best left for stashing your purse or briefcase. You will also hear quite a bit of road and wind noise seeping into the cabin at highway speeds, due to the BRZ's short, angular profile. You might also find that the sound system and infotainment display are both a bit unimpressive.
The 2022 Subaru BRZ admittedly isn't for everyone - no sports car is. But it definitely has its perks. Subaru clearly took criticism for the first generation to heart and worked hard to deliver an eye-catching, high-performing sports sedan for the model year. But which BRZ trim level is the sportiest, the most fun to drive? You will have to decide for yourself after you read this comparison of the BRZ Premium and Limited trim levels.
Compare the Premium vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?
The first trim level in this small line-up is known as the Premium. Above it is the Limited, which tops off the line. Both are powered by a standard 2.4-liter DOHC engine that is outfitted with a Dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS). It generates 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and has a limited-slip rear differential from TORSEN. You can keep the standard 6-speed manual transmission or swap it out in favor of a 6-speed automatic transmission. While the automatic slows it down, it is still a good option for those who can't or won't drive a stick.
EPA estimates for the BRZ's fuel economy sit at 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway for the manual variant. On the automatic, it increases slightly to 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Premium unleaded gasoline (93 octane) is required to fuel the BRZ.
As far as stability and traction go, the BRZ has a nice, secure feeling to it. Vehicle Stability Control with Track Mode will apply brake power for you if it detects the vehicle is straying off its intended path. The Traction Control System provides all-wheel traction control that applies force to the slipping wheel(s) when it detects a loss of traction.
The electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is quick ratio, and the sport-tuned 4-wheel independent suspension comes off as balanced and well tuned for a sporty performance. With how light - but not too light - this vehicle is, you can perform some fun tail-outs and carry a slight drift. This vehicle is outfitted with a V-shaped strut tower bar, brake override, and brake assist.
On the outside, these two trim levels look fairly similar. Their dimensions are almost exactly the same (with some differences in curb weights, of course). Both trims have a ground clearance of 5.1 inches, making for a low, sporty profile. The wheels are definitely different though; the Premium rides atop 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels finished in a high luster gray tone while the Limited upgrades to 18-inch aluminum alloys finished in matte dark gray. It also switches from the Premium's standard high performance tires to Michelin Pilot 4 summer high-performance tires.
On the front of the vehicle, you will find LED headlights, but those on the Limited are steering responsive. Each trim level comes with a trunk lid spoiler, side mirrors done in the selected body color, heating on those side mirrors, and windshield wipers that have two speeds and come with a mist function and a variable-intermittent.
The interior of the BRZ differs a bit between the two trim levels. Both have a cargo area volume of 6.3 cubic feet of space that is hindered by the vehicle's shortened height, but folding the seats down should fit four full-size tires in the back. As far as seating goes, the Premium come with a 6-way manually adjustable driver's seat and 4-way manually adjustable front passenger's seat. The Limited sticks to that configuration but adds a heating function. Both have a fold-down rear seatback and red accents on the leather-wrapped gear shift knob and steering wheel. While the Premium comes with cloth upholstered seats, the Limited switches it up to a much sportier Ultrasuede and leather-trimmed upholstery with red leather bolsters.
As far as the BRZ's instrumentation goes, you get a standard 7-inch LCD display configurable digital gauge cluster that lets you use the Normal, Sport, and Track modes. There is also an integrated color LCD multi-functional display screen that comes with a G-force meter, stop watch, engine oil temperature, and engine power curve modes. A dual mode trip feature comes with the BRZ's digital odometer.
So, what do you get as far as creature comforts? The Premium and Limited both feature auto-up/down on the power windows, power operated side mirrors, and a three-spoke steering wheel that stands out with its red stitching and built-in audio controls, cruise control, display, and Bluetooth. The tilting and telescoping steering wheel is manually operated, and you get the option of having automatic transmission paddle shifters on the variant equipped with the automatic transmission. Each door panel has one beverage holder built into it, and the sun visors are equipped with covered vanity mirrors. You get treated to welcome lights and a glove box that has its own 12-volt power outlet.
A dual-zone automatic digital climate control system is standard issue. This system comes with controls for fan speed, dual-zone lockout, temperature, airflow direction, and CFC-free air conditioning. Another standard feature is the Subaru Starlink 8-inch Multimedia Plus system. This system includes smartphone app integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other features included with it are applications for the STARLINK cloud-based system, connectivity with both SiriusXM and SiriusXM Travel Link, and NFC technology. On top of that, this system equips a high-resolution LCD touchscreen display for navigating to all your settings and functions. There are also voice-activated controls, an AM/FM radio with a built-in CD player, and HD Radio. The BRZ also has two USB input ports, a 3.5-mm auxiliary jack, a SMS text messaging function, and Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone functionality. And, of course, it is worth mentioning there is a sound system with a total of eight speakers equipped.
Safety might not be at the forefront of your thoughts when you are buying a sport sedan, but it does come into play on the BRZ. In order to get Subaru's EyeSight suite of driver assist technology, you have to buy the automatic transmission model of either the Premium or Limited trims. If you do opt for it, this suite bundles together lane centering on the advanced adaptive cruise control system, a pre-collision braking function, sway warning on the lane departure system, and lane keep assist. High beam assist is also reserved for the automatic variant of the BRZ.
The Limited does add a blind spot monitoring system, which comes with a rear cross-traffic alert and a lane change assist function. Reverse automatic braking can come on the Limited trim level if you order it with the automatic transmission. A tire pressure monitoring system, LED daytime running lights, brake assist, and a 4-wheel anti-lock brake system are all equipped on the BRZ.
Passive safety features include dual-stage deployment on the airbags, the Subaru advanced frontal airbag system, side curtain airbags, an airbag for the driver's knee area, the 3-point front seatbelts are height adjustable, and the LATCH system for the rear seat (which is probably a bit too cramped for a bulky rear-facing child car safety seat, but at least the system is there if you need it).
Keeping your BRZ secure are a few key features. First, you get an engine immobilizer. Also, there is an anti-theft security system. Finally, you get a push button start with the keyless access feature. This includes a touch-activated door unlock function and push-button engine start.
What kinds of things get left over as options? You can choose from an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with an integrated HomeLink universal transceiver, cargo tray, applique for the rear bumper, a black wheel lug nut and lock set, a footwell illumination kit, a rear bumper diffuser, a medium size pet travel bowl and harness, and a STI shift knob (which is reserved for the 6-speed manual transmission).
Which Trim to Choose?
Paying a few grand more for the Limited trim level might not sound like a great deal if you don't know what is actually equipped on the Limited. Both trims are honestly a good choice, and a lot of buyers will probably want to stick with the 6-speed manual transmission for a more traditional sport feel.
What I recommend doing is spending that few additional thousand bucks on the Limited trim level. Why? Well, you get those upgraded 18-inch high performance Michelin tires that offer way more grip than the standard tires that come on the Premium trim level. There are also a slew of extra niceties that make the Limited feel more contemporary and expensive. The blind-spot monitoring system is bound to be a big selling point for the Limited trim level, and it is a feature that I recommend for anyone living or working in the city. It can get you out of some tight jams in parking lots, that's for sure.
The Limited also offers those heated front seats, which feel fantastic on a cool winter morning - or after a trip to the gym when you need the heat to relax your sore muscles. The adaptive headlights are also quite helpful while driving through winding roadways, and the faux suede upholstery makes for a nice, luxurious feel.
But should you get the manual transmission or go the automatic route? That depends. If you want the thrill level the manual gives you with its snappier acceleration, then the manual is for you. However, if safety features are more of a priority for you, opt for the 8-speed automatic transmission. This gives you the Subaru EyeSight suite of driver aids, which is a helpful bundle to have equipped.