So, for our last Big Guy, Small Car installment, we had a first: the first non-car to be featured. Today, we bring you another first, and that’s the first sporty, rear-wheel drive coupe ever to grace this column. As you can see, it’s the Subaru BRZ, which, along with its Scion FR-S cousin (or Toyota GT-86, for all you JDM fanatics out there), was probably one of the interweb’s most-Googled cars in the years leading up to its release.
Mazda MX-5 (or Miata, far all you American market fanatics and traditionalists out there) for our affordable sporting needs in this part of the world, car enthusiasts are a demanding bunch, and it was time for an alternative. So we got the Toyobaru twins; one manufacturer trading on the name of the classic AE86/Trueno/Corolla to help tickle our collective buying bone, the other trading on its penchant for making affordable, sporting, yet practical cars (of the AWD variety) to help garner interest for its entry.That’s because while we’ve always had the
Considering how the industry is being asked to sway so heavily to reduce carbon emissions, and to try and ensure safer cars with the help all manner of electronic driver aids, it was pretty exciting that we’d have not one, but two new, fun-to-drive, back-to-basics cars to choose from.
The thing was, while there technically were two models, so much of the FR-S/BRZ combo was actually Subaru; the latter was responsible for engineering a lot of the car, most notably the 2.0-litre boxer engine – both cars have “Subaru” and “Toyota” scripts sitting front-and-centre in the engine bay – so really, you kind of have to think that this is the purest of the two models, right? Either way, let’s see how it works for you or the Big Guy in your life.
The Knee Test
At 4,235 millimetres long, 1,775 mm wide and rising just 1,425 mm above the pavement, the BRZ fits comfortably – indeed, snugly – into the Big Guy, Small Car category. You will have to contort yourself just a little to get in – it’s not quite as much of a circus act as is, say, stepping into a Lotus Exige – but you may want to stretch a little. And, of course, be sure to duck.
That’s the first step.
After you’ve finished guarding your head against the sting of sheet metal, you have to make sure your knee doesn’t strike the centre console, handbrake or gearlever; no amount of stretching will reduce the sting of that. Luckily, the BRZ comes standard with a pair of deep buckets (which get finished in leather and Alcantara suede if you spec the Sport-Tech package, found on our tester), making it actually easier to slide in there, where you’re met with 1,065 mm of legroom. The whole process is helped by long doors that may be a bit of a hindrance in tight parking stalls, but make for a nice, big opening through which to slither your frame.
Once in, the seating position is a snug, conforming one that has the wheel and gearlever right where you’d want them. At 944 mm, headroom is a bit of a dicier proposition, however; even without a sunroof – an item our car didn’t have, and one you can’t get – the headliner sits perilously close to your scalp. I wouldn’t recommend wearing a hat once inside, I’ll tell you that.