Being an enthusiast who values driving experience the most, I was on the lookout for something fun and affordable about a year ago. Previously I have set my eyes on a new Honda Civic 1.5, Peugeot 208 GTI, Golf GTI MK6, and Volkswagen Vento 1.2. I really never had an idea of the 86/BRZ nor was it shortlisted in my purchase.
When the recon dealers started importing in more and more of them back in 2016-ish onwards, then I started to see them on the road more often. With its timeless coupe design (yes, till today), nobody would miss an eye seeing one on the road. I did some googling and my love started to grow towards the 86/BRZ.
In 2018, I started visiting recon dealers and even had the privilege of test driving one of the units. After the test drive, I was amazed by how good the handling was. It went almost like a go-kart, responding immediately to where you want it to turn. At that moment, I knew that was it. It became that one car that I must have to buy, screw the other candidates. A year went by, I pulled the trigger on this unit as it fits in my budget nicely, figured out, not a bad idea getting a used unit as some recon units are already pretty worn out in Japan itself.
The Subaru Over The Toyota, Why?
This is a little hard to answer. As I really like both the ZN6 (Toyota) and the ZC6 (Subaru). I was told that the ZN6 (Toyota) had a softer setup so the tail easily goes sideways, where the ZC6 (Subaru BRZ) is tuned for stability, hence the stiffer setup. On the interior, there are bit of changes where some ZN6 (Toyota) had different theme (Red/Black) combination and ZC6 (Subaru) usually has a black out gauge cluster and silver head unit trim. To me, the interior do not matter most, but the deciding factor however lies on the exterior, where I am more favored towards the signature "C" shaped Subaru boomerang LED in the headlamp and the somewhat cute moustache front fascia. At the end of the day, both cars are manufactured by Subaru, and it is mostly a personal preference. Some myths would include saying ZN6 (Toyota) has a higher resale value because it is a Toyota and some would even think it is more reliable.
Enhancing User Experience
I have covered around 15,000 km in a year, and it still gives me that smiles per liter of RON97. Aside from being a daily driver, I do bring it for Touge runs around the infamous Ulu Yam on weekends. With the urge of making it drive better, along with the pressure from the other 86/BRZ owners, it left me a decision to start modifying this car. (Money fly & fly)
I have changed to a set of BC Racing Type BR coilovers with adjustable dampers. To complete the puzzle, I fitted a set of Konig Hypergram 17x9JJ +35 offset and NFera SUR4G 235-45-17 rubbers to offer that extra grip through Touge bends and twists. With the stock rotor worn out, I looked no further into fitting front set of Brembo 4 pots from the WRX STI along with High Temp 500c pads to stop quicker. Do not get me wrong, this car in stock already handles well, but I only wanted to enhance it further.
Performance wise, to reduce the known torque dip, I have fitted Supercircuit UEL Headers, BMC drop in filter and full 2.5'' custom catback with halfcut twin Fujitsubo Powergetter mufflers. With the common engine light that comes on for most 86/BRZ owners, it is nothing more than a request for a full tuning. Thus, it was tuned by OTT Boxer specialist, and now happily makes around 175 horses on the wheels and 19kg of torque. Not impressive figures against Golf GTIs and Meganes or even the Civic 1.5 Turbo, but it handles corners exceptionally well that not many cars around this price range would do. Fun is not always about going fast. Rather, it is the rumbling boxer at high RPMs around twist and bends.
Going inside the interior, this car is not really feature packed as what modern cars do offer. In fact, it is missing out advanced safety assists such as blindspot monitoring or auto braking which even the Myvi offers. But then again, this car is meant to be fun driven, these does not represent a dealbreaker.
For in car entertainment, I have swapped out the head unit to a cheap Sony that supports CarPlay and Android Auto, nothing more was done.
Toyota and Subaru did a great job RnDing this car, and I would recommend any enthusiasts to buy one just because of how good it drives. Handling is top notch.
Not really sure for you, but to me it looks really good as a sports car. The car is made lower than any normal cars on average and that surely makes you stand out of ordinary from the normal traffic crowd.
Not expensive to maintain
Coming from a Myvi, neither it is cheap nor expensive to maintain. It consumes around 5.5 liter of engine oil along with 2 litres of transmission oil, and 1 liter of LSD differential oil, but at least not as bad as continental woes that I have been advised of.
You can drive this everyday, yes, for a modified one like mine, it drinks considerably more fuel than a stock one, but my friend driving a stock one easily makes 400km per tank with mixed freeway and city driving.
Eventhough it comes with the back seats, I would consider it a 3-seater, passenger rear being an emergency if someone needs an urgent lift. The back seats have no legroom at all, but at the least the boot is reasonably sized for a sports car but will not be deep enough for your huge luggage.
It took me long enough to realise this car is a tad bit wider than most average cars. Being a coupe, it has long doors that requires space to open ajar for the ease of entry and exit. With all these said, finding a good spot to park can be challenging as people may not be courteous, slamming their door open to your 86/BRZ. (Yup, where my dings and dents originated.)
Total Score: 4/5
Quality & Features: 4/5
Ride Comfort: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 3.5/5
Price & Cost: 4/5
To Wrap Things Up
I would recommend buying to those who are looking for one. I have no regrets till now and I even have some future plans for this car. I have also yet to bring it to the track for some beginner timing runs. All of these will hopefully come true after the pandemic vanishes into thin air.