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I need some opinions on the Subaru BRZ / Scion FRS

I’ve had my eye on these and will be interested in say, the next 2 years if I can find a well maintained second hand model in my price range.

  1. Is anyone a current owner and if so, how do you like it?
  2. What is the reliability outlook of the boxter engine? I know airplanes have been using horizontally opposed engines for decades and they are remarkably reliable.
  3. I live in an area (KY) that gets snow and ice in the winter. Would it be poor decision making to have only a rear wheel drive car?
  4. I’d be seriously looking at the Civic Si as well, what other alternates should I consider?


I know airplanes have been using horizontally opposed engines for decades and they are remarkably reliable.

You can not compare an aircraft engine to a car. Of course they are more reliable they are built to stricter tolerances, have redundant ignition systems, and by F.A.A. decree they have to be inspected and/or rebuilt at certain hourly intervals.

You say you cannot compare an aircraft engine to a car, yet you just did? Also, i’m not comparing an aircraft engine to a CAR. I’m comparing an aircraft engine to the car’s engine which in this case, does indeed have at least one characteristic in common. Why did you open up my thread if you have nothing productive to contribute to it? Have a nice day.


As a previous Subaru Legacy owner, I’d never get another one. The check engine light was on more than off (coil packs shorting against the engine). Good luck changing the rear most spark plug.

I’ve been driving RWD BMWs for almost 40 years in Colorado and never got stuck. Tires make more of a difference than number of drive wheels. My RWD 328i would run circles around the ex’s Audi A4 Quattro.

If you like it, buy it.

@Accordian - he’s right, aircooled airplane engines have nothing to do with car engines. Anyway, the cylinder configuration has nothing to do with reliability, either. Listen and learn.

Have you looked for FRS forums?


I’ll jump into the fray here

I agree with @texases and @PvtPublic‌

It might be nice to remove that disagree for @PvtPublic . . . I’m not sure it was really warranted

He made some good points, and you slammed him

Fair enough on all points brought up here.
Disagree flag on Pvt changed to off topic.
I will consider this matter closed and move on.
Thanks @twotone for the info.


Specifically address one of the comments made by @Accordian, the difference between car and airplane motor reliability. He made excellent comments that were to the point. I agree with them so I guess I’m off topic too. Just so you know, the off topic is the second to from the left.


I mistakenly flagged your comment as off-topic

I just changed it to agree

I don’t believe @PvtPublic was off topic at all

In fact, I believe he was right on target

Trying to compare automotive engines and airplane engines is pointless, in my opinion

I’ll ignore the aircraft vs auto engine thing. Flat 4’s, and 6’s have been used by Porsche and VW for decades. Given Porsche’s enviable record in endurance racing, I’d say the engine design is a sound one. That said, Suburu flat 4’s have a mixed record for reliability but they are purchased, in turbocharged form, by folks who thrash them hard and put them away wet. The somewhat unstressed nature of the BRZ/FRS engine should suit it well.

If it snows, put on 4 winter tires and pi$$ off the 4WD SUV crowd by driving around them. RWD w snows in KY will be great. It also allows you to buy serious summer-only performance tires to play with.

The car is a great concept, light, small engine, nimble, good gas mileage, super fun to drive.

Accordion, I’m glad you’re considering this matter closed and moving on. Your responses have been so arrogant and confrontational that I’m disinclined to offer any information.

Many on this forum are mechanics, engineers, and chemists, some of us with experience in aircraft as well as automotive mechanics, and many of us with decades of accumulated knowledge and experience.

When you grow up, come back and we’ll be happy to offer our accumulated knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

First, unless you live on public transportation, these cars like a Miata, are second and third cars. The motr is a Subaru for both and IMHO, will have similar reliability. Check the engine reliability of Subarus in the car issues of CR. They are disposable income cars for pleasure and not for reliable all weather transportation.

Lastly, contrary to @Muatangman bold statement that you can drive around 4wds, especially those equipped with AT or winter tires…not, you can still make a car like this respectable with winter tires, some extra weight in th back( mandatory) and what ever you do, don’t go out in conditions that clog your treads or snow that is more then an inch or so. Kentucky in the same sentence as snow when, except in the mountains, it’s gone by afternoon, means you should be able to pick and choose your driving times. Personally, it would be a second car and I would keep it stock and not drive in bad weather, especially in KY. You may have to keep it garaged a few days a year.

@Mustangman surely you jest my good friend, or, you need a winter experience in snow country with 4wd and snow tires…brash…;=)

The cars were designed by Toyota and are built in a Subaru factory.

Not exactly. Toyota actually owns a large percentage of Subie now, and the design was a joint effort. The engine block & internals were designed primarily by Subie, the heads designed by a Toyota team. The body was primarily by a Toyota team. Manufacturing is being done by Subie.

It’s designed as a year around primary means of transportation… but I got into one and have to say that it’s for a small. limber, young man only… and one without a family yet. It’s a sports car, but it does have some reasonable cargo capacity, however I would not want to have to put a baby in the back.

As far as I can tell, they were designed and built by Subaru. Toyota wants to spread the word they had some design influence, but, it might have been the dashboard or druthers for style. Mechanically Subaru almost all the way with an add on component here or there from the Toyota bin. It comes from a Subaru assembly line. You can argue that lot’s of parts for all cars are from subcontractors. But as a regional exect from Toyota admitted when pressed; “Just turn the key, you can tell who made it”

I’ve been following the design process for many months now in numerous car mags including Top Gear, Automobile, Car, and others. The U’S’ mags gave almost no coverage during the design phase, but the British magazines have been following it in detail. They even got preproduction models to test drive before the release to the public. Toyota was the primary design activity, incorporating Subaru’s expertise in horizontally opposed engines.

"Toyota design team ? Like The SAAB 9-2x and like the SAAB design team,
That was SAAB 's line too. We all can’t get away from the fact it was made on a Subaru assembly line. When this happens, Subaru’s expertise on everything is used.

I sat in an FRS at a Toyota dealer and I liked it, just didn’t have a good excuse to buy one. This car was conceived by Toyota but made by Subaru. Toyota didn’t have the manufacturing capacity and Subaru had some excess capacity.

The engine is more Toyota than Subaru and while you may think that it is using the Imprezza 2.0 engine, it isn’t. It uses a lot of the Subaru design but it is a new engine with direct injection designed by Toyota. Toyota applied their continuous improvement techniques to improve the reliability of this engine.

They are essentially the same car but the Toyota is marketed toward first time, entry level buyers who will modify the car to suit their needs where the subaru will target buyers that want a little more upscale model and use it as a second car or a “fun” car.

The handling is a little different, the Scion is biased to oversteer a little in order to duplicate the Corolla AE86 (drifting car) experience where the Subaru will be more neutral.

The design also uses an interesting new approach, direct injection in concert with port injection. I don’t remember the details, but apparently port injection is better under certain circumstances and direct injection better under others, with both firing under other conditions. This is the first application I’ve heard of that uses this approach.

I’ve read that they also plan a droptop version. That’d be sweet!