High-performance BRZ sports coupe is very different from other Subaru models

The mid-size Ascent has been a strong seller so far for Subaru, and it's their largest SUV model. There's a new Onyx trim level to keep things fresh for 2022, and it has pretty much all the traits that make it a Subaru. All-wheel drive, and a purposeful ruggedness to its appearance.

And an almost polar-opposite showroom-mate arrives redesigned for 2022, the redesigned BRZ sport coupe. This one does NOT seem like a Subaru at all when you first see it. In fact I literally heard someone say, "That's a Subaru?" Yes, it is. Subaru's low-slung sporty car, back for a second generation, with a base price of under $30,000.

Subaru tradition lives under the hood in the form of a 2.4 liter horizontally-opposed or "boxer" four. Horsepower is up from the previous BRZ, at 228, and that power is made in a pure form. No turbo, no hybrid stuff. Just a mighty little power plant that lets this tidy coupe make some moves. And, you can move your own shift lever and clutch pedal too if you like with a 6-speed manual gearbox, though an automatic is also available.

Where the BRZ really shines is in cornering. A low center of gravity and a no-nonsense rear-wheel drive layout make this a purist's dream. But it's got practicality, to a degree. There's a back seat, albeit a small one, which can be folded down to make for a fairly impressive cargo space. You could carefully stow a bicycle back there, or a pair of golf clubs.

You do find the BRZ's downside on bumpy freeways, however. The stiff sports car nature doesn't do it many favors when the pavement gets a little jittery, and it can be a little noisy inside too.

The BRZ could be thought of as a car for someone who might want a sports car, like let's say a Mazda Miata. But they need something a little more practical with a back seat, and a reasonably large trunk.

This will not be a high-volume car for Subaru, and to share costs it was once again developed in conjunction with Toyota. Their version, also new for 2022, is called the GR 86. And here, too, it'll be handily outsold by pretty much everything else Toyota builds.

But for those who want a different kind of Subaru - heck, a different kind of car these days in the grand scheme of things - the little BRZ should make a big splash. In driving enthusiasts' hearts, at least. Just not necessarily on the sales charts.

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