Subaru BRZ in Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

The Subaru brand which is linked with Toyota is known for its affordable and serviceable vehicles. The Subaru BRZ also fits this criterion as it is affordable for a sports car and worth the amount in service.

However, you might wonder if your Subaru BRZ might be as serviceable in the snow as it is in warmer climes; hence the question; Is the Subaru BRZ good in snow?

BRZ driving in snow

Is the BRZ Good in the Snow?

Yes, the sports car works quite well in the snow. In fact, the 2014 model was the first place in performance amongst other Subaru cars during December in cold Canada, beating Forester and XV Crosstrek of the same year.

Take note, these cars it outperformed were the best selling around the world then. It was exceptional both on ice, dry pavement and in snow.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

In order to understand how the VDC components of the car assist winter driving, we need to know how the control system works.

The Vehicle Dynamics Control of the Subaru BRZ is what keeps the car in position regardless of the driver’s action.

The VDC assists in maintaining the skids, direction, and engine power of the car. The VDC is made of sensors around the car which read the car’s position and uses this information to initiate brakes to slow down the wheels, thus reducing spinning and improving direction control.

When the car skids, the steering, and yaw sensors also initiate the brakes to reduce spinning wheels and channel power to wheels with higher traction, thus giving the driver control of the car.

The VDC regulates the engine’s output to reduce spinning by lowering sparks to cylinders to lower power and achieve better handling.

The following components make up the VDC system and are important for driving in the low temperature of the winter season.

Rear-wheel Drive System (RWD)

The RWD system was a huge surprise when the Subaru BRZ was first released. We all expected an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system which was the usual Subaru drive system.

All cars prior to the sports car featured an AWD system, so the RWD was not expected at all but it comes with a bonus and it helps the car achieve better handling in deep snow.

For a sports car that excels so well in the snow, one would expect a Four Wheel Drive (4WD) system which is made for off-road trips and unfavorable conditions.

The 4WD system is better suited for situations where one or more tries will result in compromise of traction as well as in mud, on rocky terrain, on rough roads, and in deep snow. Bottom line, it is best for sharp inclines, declines and can even handle abuse better.

However, the high-performance sports car comes with an RWD system that gives it better handling in the snow while balancing the weight of the car in a more even proportion from front to the rear.

When the BRZ was tested in heavy snow, it achieved excellent control at a speed of 50mph.

Electronic Stability Control

This comprises an advanced system that utilizes steering, yaw, and breaking sensors to control the car.

It’s very possible for the car to lose control as a result of unprecedented understeer or steer. When this occurs, the individual brakes are initiated by the system, the engine power is reduced and torque distribution is moved to recover stability.

Traction Control System

This system makes use of sensors to estimate the gear selection, wheel speed, throttle position, brake position, engine output, vehicle yaw, and steering wheel angle; it then gives feedback to the computer.

This processed information allows for braking of each wheel separately to reverse direction, lowering the throttle and increasing braking effectiveness. The system also lowers the power of the engine to reduce wheel slip.

This system comes in handy, especially when driving on ice. If the system realizes that the wheels are just spinning but the vehicle is going nowhere, it decreases the throttle for better handling.

The brake-traction control (B-TRC) is a little different from the traction control (TRC) but gives a similar result; that is, ensuring better control of the car.

If one wheel is observed to be moving faster than the other (indication of excess spin on one wheel), the brakes are automatically initiated, then torque is transferred to the other wheel before driving forward.

Brake Assist

This feature is essential and crucial during emergencies. If the car is slipping and you press the brake pedal immediately, the stopping distance is automatically reduced without even having to lower the pedal all the way down.

The system reads the speed at which your foot moved from the accelerator to the brake pedal and shortens the stopping distance.

Antilock Brake System

When one of the wheels of the car is about to lock up, the system detects this and temporarily lowers the braking pressure on that particular wheel to prevent locking up. This system comes in handy at reducing stopping distances and granting the driver control of the car when the brake is initiated.

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution

Usually, cars are built to brake on the front wheels more than the rear wheels; hence when this occurs there’s unused braking capacity on the latter.

This system splits force to all wheels for improving braking effectiveness. It does this by adjusting the hydraulic pressure of the brake between the rear and front axle; thus increasing stopping power.

How Much Snow Can It Handle?

The RWD system of the car allows it to do well in light snow without losing control while driving.

However, when tested in deep snow, it was able to at 50mph. The very low center of gravity of the car (17.8 inches) which is among the lowest for sports cars might be a contributor to the BRZ’s admirable control in the snow.

How Does It Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

The car drives quite well in low temperatures, plus the heated seats make drifting in the cold more comfortable.

The newer models of the sportscar are not the only ones capable of maintaining high performance in low temperature as older models such as the 2014 model, are exquisite in the cold winter season.

As aforementioned, the 2014 model was selected as the best performing car in December outranking other best-selling Subaru models of the same year.

Can the BRZ Drive on Ice?

Yes. A BRZ drives well on ice. Snow tires for high performance will ensure a confident grip on both wet and dry surfaces.

Does Subaru BRZ Need Snow Tires?

Snow tires replacement for your Subaru during the winter is a good investment. However, it is not mandatory. You might decide to stick to your all-season tires for the winter if you’re confident they’ll serve you in cold December.

Otherwise, you can go for snow tires that are suited for high performance. You might consider adding weights to the rear axles of the car but since the car comes with excellent traction control, this might not be required.


Does the Subaru BRZ Have Snow Mode?

In short, the Subaru BRZ will come with Snow Mode as standard if ordered with an automatic transmission. The manual version does not have a Snow mode. However, you can replicate the snow mode if you drive a manual by skipping the first gear.

The Snow Mode on an automatic Subaru BRZ is skipping the first gear to prevent any wheelspin.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on a BRZ?

Like with most cars, there are additional parts that you can install to make the BRZ handle better in snow. These include:

  • Snow tires
  • Tire chains
  • Tire socks
  • Studded tires

It is important to know the highway code specific to your state in regards to the snow gear. Some states do not allow chains, socks, or studded tires.

Does the BRZ Have 4WD?

While most Subaru cars come with 4WD, the BRZ comes only as rear-wheel drive regardless of year or transmission.

Can You Mount A Snow Plow On A BRZ?

Being so low, the car itself can be considered a snow plow. However, to my knowledge, there is no snow plow product available to buy and install on your BRZ.


If you decide to use your BRZ during the winter, it might be an excellent idea as the high-performance sports car is designed to handle snow and low temperature relatively well.

If the BRZ is your daily driver during winter, it is definitely recommended to invest in some quality winter tires and even tire socks and chains.