If you want a daily driver that’s good for handling, it’s really hard to find better than this without getting fancy and expensive. The steering is tight and responsive, the car turns in an intuitive manner, and the wheels/tires really transmit a lot of road feel. It’s an absolute blast to drive on nice, country roads. It’s a bit of a double edged sword, because it’s so responsive and because the suspension is nice and stiff, driving it for more than a few hours can get a bit tiring. This can easily be remedied by taking the recommended 15 minute breaks for every 2 hours of driving.
Brakes. The brakes on this car are amazing. ‘Nuff said.
The engine is not a high torque engine. It’s not gonna compare to V8s or Turbo 4s and if you want to get any action out of it, you can’t be shy of the higher RPM range. There also really is a torque dip around 4k. For some reason, if you get around 4k you’ll get a lot of engine noise but not a lot of power to the wheels. Some people get around this by installing unequal length headers, a modified catback exhaust, and reflashing the ecu. That sounds like a lot of money, work, and risk. So, uh, I just don’t worry about it myself. Though if you have some free time, check out FR-S/BRZ videos with modified headers and exhaust. They got some great sounds there.
This is not a good winter/adverse weather car. It’s light and low to the ground with wide tires. If you get a car that still has the stock Michelin Primacy Hps, I recommend you get rid of them. I use Kumho Ecsta 4x for my three season tires and Bridgestone Blizzaks for my winter tires. No one is going to have the Blizzaks in stock for your wheel size. You’ll have to order them in advance. Keeping this in mind, even with winter tires, winter driving isn’t always the most fun. There have been a few times where I’ve had to have people drive me to work and home because I wasn’t willing to risk the trek in my car. That said, because winter driving in that thing isn’t fun, you’ll be safe as hell about driving in the snow because you’ll quickly realize how extra cautious you have to be. It should be noted that winter tires are tires for safe driving. They’ll suck all of the fun out of driving your car and make you wish for spring real quick. When you put your three seasons back on, your car will seem like a whole new beast again. It’s actually pretty awesome.
Also, with winter, the power windows stop working if they get ice on them and get stuck when you first open the car. To fix this, you’ll have to let your windows thaw out completely then roll them all the way down by holding down the window button, keep it down for about five seconds, then roll them all the way back up. If your window button is blinking, that’s when you know they’re stuck.
PLEASE NOTE: DOUBLE CHECK THE MANUAL ON ALL OF THIS BECAUSE I’M RUNNING ON MEMORY AND HEARSAY HERE. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR MANUAL. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MECHANIC. I’M NOT A CAR EXPERT. I AM AN IDIOT.
Sorry. Had to put that disclaimer in for any non-KB readers.
The car runs on premium gas, but you’ll get an average of about 28-32 mpg depending on how you drive if you don’t stomp the throttle after every red light. Toyota/Subaru recommends 93 octane fuel. People say you can run 91 if that’s all you can get your hands on, but they really want you to run 93. I’ve heard people say that the car will retard its timing and even go into limp mode if you run less than 91 or put bad gas in it, but I wouldn’t risk it myself. If the gas near you has ethanol added (almost everywhere does these days), make sure it’s 10% or less to keep it from damaging the engine and understand that on summer days your fuel pump will play host to a chirping noise that has been lovingly named “crickets” by the 86 community. Mine’s been chirping away since about 3,000 miles with no problem. Pretty sure it’s a none issue.
Speaking of noise, there’s not a lot of sound proofing in the car. Enjoy your highway noise. The car has decent speakers though, so if you want to drown it out with music, you’ll be able to do so just fine.
I bought my car brand new, but maintenance-wise, this is probably the cheapest car I’ve ever own. Oil changes aren’t expensive, tire rotations, spark plug changes, blah blah blah. All in all, it’s not bad. Definitely cheaper than a BMW or something.
If you want to know about any major maintenance issues with the car, this is a good place to look.
Wear and tear
The clearcoat on my paint is thin and shitty. I have paint swirls and rock chips up the ass. I have tail light condensation (fixed by drilling a few holes to let the water escape). My interior has a few scuffs. I’ve learn to accept the fact that it’s a daily driver and won’t stay perfect forever, so I’m okay with this. When you’re sitting in the driver seat, going down the highway, you won’t be looking at your paint anyway. You’ll be grinning your ass off and being happy you own this thing.
The backseat is the perfect place to put your coat. I think it can theoretically hold a babyseat. I’m pretty certain if you can get one to fit, you’ll be reluctant to take it out until you have to. I’m sure it’s probably a chore. The back seat isn’t really meant for adults unless you’re desperate and/or they’re short and happen to be missing their legs. The car is low to the ground, so getting in and out takes a little extra effort, but if you do it daily you’ll soon become a pro and not notice.
The trunk is like that phone booth from Doctor Who. It looks small on the outside. You can CRAM that mother fucker no problem. I have yet to find myself in a scenario where I’ve said “Oops. Well, looks like this can’t come with us. There’s no more room in the trunk.” As an aside, you’ll enjoy cornering your car. Don’t put loose/breakable stuff in your trunk. Don’t put paper bags of groceries in your trunk. Things will tip, roll around, or otherwise get displaced. If that happens, don’t feel too bad about it. It’s not your fault. It’s the car’s. The car wants to be driven.
Unlike the trunk, the glovebox is small as shit. It’s good for your ownerbooks, your insurance and registration, and maybe a pair of sunglasses. The car technically doesn’t come with cupholders. Mine didn’t. It comes with removable cupholders that you put in the center console. The front of the center console has a power jack. Put the cupholders to the back of the console or you’ll cover this power jack up.
Make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted. It does have a pretty decent blind spot on the driver side. It’s not Camaro bad, but it’s not four door Civic good either.
You will be visible to everybody from the police to boy racers to bros in pickup trucks. Since you currently drive a stealth, you kind of know what that’s like. BE CAREFUL AROUND 18 WHEELERS AND CONSTRUCTION TRUCKS! I can’t confirm this, but I half suspect around them I’m extra invisible. Seeing as how you ride a motorcycle too, you’re familiar with this feeling.
Uh. That’s all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, just shoot them to me. I have to go run some errands, but I’ll get back to you tonight.