Is the Subaru BRZ's Small Backseat a Big Inconvenience?

We knew full well the 2013 Subaru BRZ wasn't meant to carry more than a driver and a passenger when it became's Best of 2013 winner. The BRZ and Scion FR-S got our vote for reasons you can read here. Still, we went through with a plan to buy one and live with the BRZ's small backseat.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

The four-seat BRZ has received plenty of use in its six months of ownership so far; the backseat has not. It remains something editors have to live with considering the BRZ is a daily driver — even split a dozen ways — not a weekend warrior.

Much to the dismay of my family and friends, I'm one editor who has used the backseat for carrying people, and on more than one occasion.

The instance I'm still apologizing for involved a last-minute change before a three-hour road trip where I drove myself and two passengers from Chicago to central Wisconsin. It "worked" because the second passenger was "vertically challenged," but no one in the car was what you would call happy. The front passenger was scrunched up to accommodate the rear rider, and I felt horrible for not having a more pragmatic car.

The rear passenger's comfort fared better than my 6-foot-tall brother, who on a separate trip stretched his long legs over the drive-shaft hump to ride in the back for 45 minutes. Because it was my brother, I was less apologetic and more amused.

The BRZ's small backseat proved to be a nonissue for other editors who mostly use the car for commuting.

"It hasn't been a problem, but that's because I haven't had to deal with it; it's just been me in the BRZ, commuting to work and running errands," says Editor Mike Hanley. The fun commuter wouldn't work as Hanley's full-time car: "With two small children in bulky child seats, one of whom arches his back sometimes to avoid getting in said seat, I'd quickly grow tired of loading them in the small rear seat."'s team of certified child-safety seat technicians had trouble fitting child seats in the Scion FR-S, which has similarly shaped rear bucket seats; their report is here. The small backseat is seemingly suited specifically for kids and not adults, though it won't work for younger children when child-safety seats won't fit in the narrow rear bucket seats.

"Not being able to install child-safety seats in the back makes it hard for me to squeeze weekend time in it," says Managing Editor David Thomas, who has squeezed his kids into everything from a Nissan GT-R to a tiny Chevrolet Spark.

The backseat's saving grace is its folding capability for increasing cargo room. News Editor Jennifer Geiger found more use from the BRZ's rear with the seat folded down than in its upright position: "I was able to fold the seat down and carry a pretty large box, which was surprising, but getting passengers in there is a big issue. The backseat is useless, and I'm always carrying the occasional passenger or my daughter and her car seat."

Groceries, four tires and an assortment of weekend supplies have all found their way into the BRZ's cargo area more easily than passengers into the backseat. The truly flat-folding backseat transforms the small sports car into a much more practical and usable car compared with a two-seat roadster like the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

2013 Subaru BRZ Review 
2013 Scion FR-S: Car Seat Fail 
Subaru BRZ News 

Editor's note: Joe Bruzek's family and friends wisely refused to be photographed for this story, so we used professional backseat models/editors instead.



"The truly flat-folding backseat transforms the small sports car into a much more practical and usable car compared with a two-seat roadster like the Mazda MX-5 Miata."

How dare you even try to compare this vehicle with the legendary Miata! :-)


A recent Youtube comparison finally pitted the (twin of the) BRZ against the Mazda RX-8 R3 and Honda S2000. My conclusion is that the slight edge in handling and great advantage in fuel efficiency will not get me out of my R3 into a BRZ/FR-S. The back seats are one big reason. The unique rotary engine is another... and I got my '11 R3 new for about the price of a FR-S.


When SubaYota finally decides to pull the trigger on a convertible (and the back seat is finally eliminated) FR-S/BRZ, ONLY then can it possibly be compared to the Miata. Until then, stop comparing it with ANY two-seater.


In my experience, nobody does an unexpectedly cramped back seat like Subaru. Even in larger models like the Legacys (Legacies?) or Outbacks. I don't know if they still do this or not but to add insult to injury they then jam a subwoofer under the front passenger seat to further limit the rear passenger's footroom.

Having said all that, I love my Subies.


The Toyota 86 is a great coupe. it does alot of things the rx-8 and miata dont do. If the look of it dosent interest you I dont understand why your going out of your way to look and then defend your own car. it reminds me of the 94 celica. it had rear seats, but just so it could say it had them. Its affordable, drop dead gorgeous. handles on rails. wait till the turbo + convertible models come out. rx-8 is a decade old, miata..? still waiting for a modern one

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App