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Subaru BRZ vs Kia Pro_cee'd GT


Swoopy coupes take different routes, front or rear-drive, turbo or without. Craig Duff tackles the hills and corners.

value

Subaru BRZ

$37,150

Any day you can buy a sports car for less than $40K is a good day, and the Subaru's price is drive-away. Standard fare includes cruise control, full-size spare and dual-zone aircon. A six-speed auto adds $2580. The BRZ has a three year/unlimited km warranty with capped price servicing at intervals of nine months/15,000km.

Kia Pro_cee'd GT

$29,990

The price of Kia's warm hatch equates to just under $34,000 on the road. The reassurance of a seven year warranty is let down by the service interval: six months/7500km, even if at a capped price. Standard are space-saver spare, Recaro sports seats, reversing camera, cruise-control and dual-zone aircon. There is no automatic transmission.

design

Subaru BRZ

A low stance gives the BRZ true sports coupe looks at the cost of inelegant entry and exit. Getting into the rear seats — and few will want to after the first ride — involves contorting around the door pillar. The exposed spare wheel in the boot denies cargo space and the multimedia set-up is dated.

Kia Pro_cee'd GT

The GT's proportions are sporty, if not as lithe as the BRZ's. The upside is that there is more boot and rear seat space. The front Recaro buckets are snug and set high, which helps getting in and out (downside, you sit on the buckets rather than in them).

technology

Subaru BRZ

Power is provided by a naturally aspirated direct-injection 2.0-litre (147kW/205Nm) feeding the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. All of the action takes place at the top end of the tacho, so regular gearshifts are a must. The BRZ takes 7.6 seconds to hit 100km/h and the claimed fuel economy is 7.8L/100km using 98 RON.

Kia Pro_cee'd GT

The 1.6-litre turbo (150kW/265Nm) turns the front wheels via a six-speed manual. The GT hits 100km/h in 7.7 seconds while claiming to use 7.4L/100km of regular unleaded. Peak torque arrives from 1750rpm, making it quick off the line, though with some wheel-tugging. The extra torque is offset by extra weight, about 120kg more than the BRZ.

safety

Subaru BRZ

Seven airbags and a five-star rating put the BRZ on a sure footing. Less impressive are the absence of parking sensors and the need to part with more cash for a reversing camera. Front seat belt reminders are standard and the Subaru earned 34.4/37 when rated by ANCAP in 2012.

Kia Pro_cee'd GT

The Kia doesn't have a driver's knee airbag but its rear seat belt reminders and marginally better scores in the physical crash testing contribute to a higher overall ANCAP score than the Subaru at 36.19/37. Pedestrian protection is "acceptable" and whiplash protection is rated as good.

driving

Subaru BRZ

The BRZ is a modern example of a driver's car, so there's no reliance on adaptive dampers and multiple drivetrain modes to determine how it performs. The Subaru is a rare bird in that it enjoys having its neck wrung, with the rigid suspension and direct steering adding to the sports car sensation. Only uphill or on long straights will power be an issue.

Kia Pro_cee'd GT

The Kia is almost as sure-footed as the BRZ and quicker in roll-on acceleration. Ultimately the turbo engine's low-down oomph and the more compliant suspension give it an edge as a daily driver. Like the Subaru, the chassis can handle more grunt (please). The steering lacks the BRZ's feedback without losing precision but the car is still a genuine — and rewarding — corner carver.

Verdict

Subaru BRZ

Kia Pro_cee'd GT

The Kia's extra breadth of appeal, from interior space to suspension, makes it the pick as an all-rounder. As a weekend weapon, I'd still take the BRZ.