More enjoyable than before. The 2022 Subaru BRZ arrives as a fully redesigned model. While the sports car has benefitted from some big changes, it continues to be an affordable sports car that puts fun at the top of its priority list.

The biggest change for 2022 is a new engine. The BRZ now comes with a 2.4-liter flat-four that’s rated at 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The last-gen BRZ came with a 2.0-liter flat-four that made 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. Subaru offers the BRZ with both a six-speed manual transmission and a six-speed automatic. With the manual transmission, the BRZ can get to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which makes the sports car quick in a straight line.

While the BRZ feels quicker in a straight line than before, the sports car continues to be a thrilling option around corners. Subaru may have tweaked the BRZ’s suspension, but the sports car’s stiff structure, firm ride, and longer wheelbase make it a playful car. The standard 17-inch Michelin Primacy HP tires result in more slides, while the available 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires reveal a sports car with tons of grip around corners. Either way, the BRZ now appeals to enthusiasts that want to have fun and set quick lap times around a track.

Angry styling. With a short hood, a fastback roof, and short overhangs, the BRZ has the stereotypical sports car lines. For 2022, the car’s design has been amped up with sharp headlights, a more aggressive front fascia, a neater rear end, triangular taillights, and an integrated spoiler.

Changes on the inside of the BRZ aren’t nearly as pronounced as the exterior, but the sports car continues to feature a driver-focused cabin. Things do look more modern on the inside thanks to improved technology. Passengers will find a pair of heavily bolstered front seats that keep people in place during hard cornering and a low seating position. The rear seats continue to be a tight squeeze and are best left for storage. Thankfully, they fold down and make the cargo area more versatile.

Strong value. Subaru offers the 2022 BRZ in two trims. Even the base Premium trim comes well-equipped for the reasonable price tag of $28,955 (with destination). The Limited trim is an extra $2,500 but adds the ability to tack on more optional features that a lot of buyers will find to be helpful.

For the money, the Limited trim is the best bet for the majority of shoppers. Over the base trim, it comes with 18-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist, high-performance summer tires, heated seats, and leather-trimmed upholstery. Both trims come with an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while a seven-inch digital instrument cluster sits in front of the driver.

Our main issue with the BRZ’s list of features is that the automaker’s EyeSight suite of advanced safety features is only available with the automatic transmission. That means things like forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and lane departure warning are only offered on models with the automatic. We still recommend going with the manual transmission, but understand the appeal of the automatic, as it brings all of the advanced safety features.

Practicality takes a back seat. The BRZ is a sports car. That much should be evident from simply looking at it from the outside. Traditional two-door sports cars rarely tend to be practical vehicles for the family. Even against other sports cars, the BRZ is impractical.

There’s no way an adult can sit in the back for any period of time without having a panic attack. The rear seats are even a squeeze for children. Owners should seriously consider taking the rear seats out or permanently keeping them folded down.

The cargo area holds just 6.9 cubic feet of cargo, which is a tiny amount, even for a sports car. Additionally, the BRZ’s small cargo opening makes runs to Costco impossible. The good news is that folding the rear seat down results in enough space for an extra set of wheels and a few tools for a day at the track.

Final thoughts. With automakers moving toward SUVs and electric vehicles, seeing the 2022 Subaru BRZ return as a fully redesigned model is surprising. Additionally, the changes that Subaru made to the vehicle make it even more enjoyable to drive. More modern features and a sportier design result in a sports car that’s better than ever.

Now that Subaru has solved the power issue with the BRZ — despite its decision to continue to keep the car naturally aspirated — the new problem is with the vehicle’s safety features. Saving advanced tech features for models with an automatic transmission leaves enthusiasts with a tough decision. We think the move will result in fewer manual transmissions sold.

The number of affordable sports cars continues to dwindle. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the BRZ’s most obvious competitor. It’s only available as a convertible, has less power, has seating for two people, and comes with fewer tech features. Nissan’s coming out with a new 2023 Z that has retro styling, loads of tech features, a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine, and updated suspension. We’re expecting big things from the Z, but the sports car won’t go on sale until spring 2022.

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Pictured: 2022 Subaru BRZ