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

167141811 1425510450889 jpeg automatic-content-migration

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.

1966235172 1425510466110 jpeg automatic-content-migration
1666654301 1425510450721 jpeg automatic-content-migration

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 in the front of the coupe 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.

687085914 1425510447106 jpeg automatic-content-migration

“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 Subaru’s 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 as the Subaru; 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.

1145189130 1425510450649 jpeg 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.

Photo of Joe Bruzek
Managing Editor Joe Bruzek’s 22 years of automotive experience doesn’t count the lifelong obsession that started as a kid admiring his dad’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette — and continues to this day. Joe’s been an automotive journalist with for 16 years, writing shopper-focused car reviews, news and research content. As Managing Editor, one of his favorite areas of focus is helping shoppers understand electric cars and how to determine whether going electric is right for them. In his free time, Joe maintains a love-hate relationship with his 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that he wishes would fix itself. LinkedIn: Email Joe Bruzek

Latest expert reviews