May 9, 2013
While the kid was on spring break, we took a trip to the California Science Center, located next to the fantastically decrepit Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Spirit of Troy was with us that day as the weather was perfect, Rush and Public Enemy were later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony just up the road, and I even exchanged brief Lakers and Dodgers misery with local sports radio icon Vic The Brick Jacobs while walking around Little Tokyo. Feelin' Blue, indeed.
Sorry, that's likely a string of non-sequiturs for most readers. More to the point, we went to the Science Center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour installation. Fantastic display. If you're in L.A., go see it. It's one thing to see it on TV, or even watch a lift-off or landing in person. Quite another to stand under it, stare at thousands of those thermal tiles and consider the miles THAT thing has seen.
May 7, 2013
Sometime in the next decade, Ferrari will build something about this size, in similar shape, profile and color. Maybe it will be mid-engine, like the short-run Alfa Competizione 8C. It will cost $150,000-$200,000, will pick up where the BMW Z8 left off and will make the California a distant memory.
May 6, 2013
Unless you're road tripping in one of our long-term cars, it's rare to get more than two or three days in the same car. But I managed to stay in the Scion FR-S for a week recently, which generates a good cross-section of comment from friends and strangers. Like friend Mandi, a mother in her late 30's. "That's a fancy car. What is it? A Scion? Is that really a Toyota? Wow."
Or my buddy James, a father in his mid-40s: "This is a Toyota? (It's a Scion.) This is really sweet." (Later) "Oh man, this car's hard for a fat guy to get out of."
May 2, 2013
The FR-S averaged 25.3 mpg over this stretch (taking 47.9 gallons of 91 octane fuel), which is higher than our lifetime average of 24.3 mpg. Twenty-five just happens to be the EPA's combined fuel economy rating on the manual-shift FR-S.
April 30, 2013
This update concerns a really small thing about the 2013 Scion FR-S, but it makes a difference to me.
April 29, 2013
It was an inglorious job, but I needed the Scion FR-S to help me retire an old microwave to a nearby household hazardous waste recycler. Monday being Earth Day and all, it seemed like an appropriate mission in a sports car in which we're averaging 24.3 mpg in combined driving. That's just 0.7 mpg shy of what the government's green people say we should be getting. And further proof that the FR-S isn't useful only for inducing permagrin in decreasing radius turns.
April 25, 2013
You already knew that the 2013 Scion FR-S doesn't offer much rear-seat legroom. Just 29.9 inches, in fact. But as this photo illustrates (possibly poorly), the FR-S is still up for a small family challenge. She didn't have a ton of room to stretch her legs, but our 7-year-old did fine back there during a day of driving around town, taking in the sights. No complaints about space or headroom with the booster seat.
April 19, 2013
This morning after the 2013 Scion FR-S and I emerged from the car wash, I realized there's another benefit to these aftermarket Volk Racing wheels besides improved performance and styling.
April 17, 2013
Maybe it was because I had spent most of the week driving mid-size sedans. But when I sat down in our 2013 Scion FR-S and fired it up for the drive home, I realized, yeah, this is how it's supposed to be.
What was I talking about?
April 10, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S hit 15,000 miles just as I arrived at work on Monday. It's aging well considering its aggressive price point, as there are no annoying rattles yet and the simulated suede upholstery still looks new. The stock audio system still sounds no better than my clock radio, but that isn't why you buy this car.
So why would you buy this car? Well, I imagine because you'd like to take it to track days like Jay Kavanagh. There's also a strong case to be made for getting an FR-S just to enjoy in your everyday life on public roads. I didn't make it to the mountain roads over the weekend, but I still had fun commuting in our Scion.
April 2, 2013
Our Scion FR-S had light duty for the month of March, adding just over 700 miles to its odometer. No records, good or bad, were set for its fuel economy history as the Scion stayed the course, that being providing a lot of driving fun in a car that in our environment is still averaging 24.3 mpg.
March 13, 2013
That's Mitch Pederson of MP Tuning getting busy with the BRZEdit ECU reflashing software on our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S. This is significant, as BRZEdit clears a huge hurdle in successfully implementing forced induction.
March 7, 2013
Two easy steps made our 2013 Scion FR-S faster than ever. Here's what you need to do:
Step One: Drive to Oregon. When I drove our long-term FR-S up to Corvallis, OR, I had the distinct pleasure of filling up with 93 octane. Well, someone else actually did the filling (crazy state law), but I enjoyed the fruits of that labor. In California the best fuel we can get is 91 octane. And 91 octane buh-lows.
March 6, 2013
This is not entirely unexpected. The brake pads in our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S are done. There's still meat left on them, but like any meat that's been overcooked, they feel like plywood now.
March 5, 2013
My longtime friend and fellow car enthusiast Albert pulls up next to me in his Honda S2000 and examines our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S.
"Red is my least favorite color but I would still trade my car for that any day of the week," he says. "Damn, that thing is clean."
Our friend Ian arrives in his Hyundai Genesis 2.0T R-Spec coupe and we take off for a Sunday morning drive. I was on a spirited jaunt with friends, but I couldn't help to think, "Which one of these would I want to own?"
March 1, 2013
The shift knob for the six-speed manual transmission in our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S is one of my least favorite parts of the interior. I just don't like the feel of leather and plastic while shifting.
Luckily, the cap broke off in my hand today. It was easy to pop back in to place, but it still feels loose and flimsy. Maybe it'll be a good excuse to start shopping for weighted, metal replacements. What would you replace it with?
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 14,010 miles
February 28, 2013
I love the wheels on our 2013 Scion FR-S. The Volk Racing TE37SLs and the Yokohama Advan ADO8 tires that they're wrapped in are two of my favorite aftermarket products. The ADO8s are a little loud and will wear down quicker than the stock tires on daily commutes, but they're sticky and I'm on board with that. There is something, however, that I can't stand about these wheels.
February 19, 2013
There's no denying that our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S has a great stance with its Volk Racing wheels and stickier Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tires we put on it. I love that it still has meaty sidewalls, too. And if you read our latest Track Tested and watched the track video, you know it has a ton more grip.
This is absolutely the wheel/tire package I'd want if I was going to use FR-S for track days, as Jay Kavanagh has, because this is exactly what you're supposed to do with this car after all.
February 15, 2013
Sometimes you have to make a few compromises to save a few bucks. But there are cases in which you don't, and the Scion FR-S represents one such example. The coupe nabbed a place on our recent top 10 list of the year's least expensive coupes.
While the FR-S isn't heavy on luxury or space, it offers abundant style and is loads of fun to drive. And with a starting price of just $24,500, you don't have to break the bank to get your jollies. Sounds like a good proposition to us.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
February 14, 2013
I can't remember the last time I locked the trunk of any car, and in the case of our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, I'd be way more concerned about someone making off with the entire car rather than any one of my worldly possessions in the trunk.
If you want to lock the trunk of an FR-S (or a BRZ), you'll have to fumble around a bit to find the out-of-sight keyhole in the lid. I guess the location is kind of a hassle if you actually do need to use it regularly, but I like its hidden location because it makes for a cleaner design in back. This near total rejection of extraneous clutter is one of the things that make the Scion-Subaru twins so appealing to me.
February 13, 2013
This weekend I had to take my dog Mya back to the vet in our 2013 Scion FR-S. I put her doggy blanket down in the backseat like I usually do to protect the seat but her hair still managed to get on the cloth. When I took the car to the car wash for its weekly wash and afterward pointed out to the attendant handing me the key of the "clean" car that they didn't clean the backseat, he said that they couldn't and that it had to be shampooed.
February 12, 2013
Last night when I pulled up to the valet in our 2013 Scion FR-S at the fancy Fairmont Santa Monica hotel, the valet guy excitedly told me how I had "his car." The exact red and everything, well, minus the exhaust. He continued to go on and on about how he likes to race it up at Buttonwillow. Sometimes he even drifts it. Needless to say, I was impressed. Not very often in L.A. that you meet a guy with a fun car who actually knows how to drive it.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
February 11, 2013
After scoring a couple of driving stints in our long-term SLS AMG, I was grateful to get behind the wheel of our 2013 Scion FR-S. Driving a quarter-million-dollar sports car around L.A. is too stressful for me. I'm too afraid to switch lanes, I dare not park it on the street (valet all the time), plus the SLS spotlight is too bright for me.
But our FR-S is more my speed: fun and affordable. Now, I realize there's no way these cars would ever be shopped together but it made me realize that I'm just not an SLS kind of girl. THAT kind of girl wouldn't worry about her beautiful car getting dinged because if it ever did she could afford to get it fixed or replaced.
February 8, 2013
You see that purse? Sometimes it sets off the airbag sensor in our 2013 Scion FR-S. That's not usually a big deal to me since sometimes I load it up with heavy stuff. But when this particular not-so-heavy one, combined with my smartphone, set off the sensor telling me to buckle them in, I threw the purse in the footwell and left the smartphone on the seat. Oddly enough, the car continued to tell me to buckle my phone in, and urgently, so I put it in the center storage cubby to shut it up.
February 7, 2013
It was a gamble. I had checked the forecast regularly in the days leading up to our Laguna Seca track weekend, and the outlook was consistently dismal. So much so that there was no sense bothering with high-performance brake pads. Normally, this is the second thing you change for a track outing in an otherwise stock car, the first being tires. So, I left the stock brake pads on our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S.
And as you've seen, the track was sopping wet. I felt vindicated in my decision to be apathetic.
Then the sun came out. And a dry line began to form on the track surface. And for a time, pretty much the whole track dried out. The twitchy, traction-devoid, edgy FR-S I knew in the rain made way for a far different animal. These Yokohama Advan AD08 tires rule in the dry. Communicative, beautifully progressive breakaway, heaps of grip. Exit speeds climbed. Braking points were adjusted.
It took roughly two hot laps in the dry for the brakes to go limp. The braking power underfoot just went into the ether as the overheated stock pads' coefficient of friction dropped like a rock. If you had told me that you'd secretly swapped my brake pads with sintered Folger's coffee grounds, I'd have believed you.
February 4, 2013
For the month of January, we only filled our 2013 Scion FR-S twice but in December because editor JayKav took the car up on a road trip to Laguna Seca and then to Oregon it logged a lot of highway miles. In case you were curious, it got 11.2 and 12.2 mpg during the track days.
On the Oregon roadtrip, the best mpg he got was 30 mpg and the trip to and from Oregon averaged 28.2 mpg.
For January, the FR-S was driven for 560.9 miles and drank 23.2 gallons of 91 octane fuel, averaging 24.2 mpg, a bit shy of the EPA's combined 25 mpg.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
Worst Fill MPG: 16.9
Best Fill MPG: 30.0
Average Lifetime MPG: 24.2
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 25
Best Range: 335.1 miles
Current Odometer: 13,108 miles
February 1, 2013
Drivers' meetings are important and necessary. And they should take no more than fifteen minutes. Longer than this means the organizer just likes the sound of his own voice.
I bring this up because the 45-minute drivers' meeting at our Laguna Seca track day left exactly four minutes to get ready to be on track. This brings up another point: If you're going to have eternity-long drivers' meetings, you should schedule the beginner group to be on track first. Newbies don't have nearly the prep time requirements of non-beginner groups.
January 28, 2013
Up until this point in its existence, our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S had only seen dry days. Life in SoCal has its benefits. This trip (part one here) would be the first time we'd find out how its more aggressive tires on wider wheels would fare in wet conditions.
But we'd gotten such a late start heading out of Los Angeles (plus the stops for photos, food and a visit to Sampson Communications to troubleshoot some equipment) that night had fallen by the time we'd peeled off Route 33 onto Highway 58. Fie, daylight savings. Now it's wet, cold and dark. It was quite likely that the soft compound of these Yokohama AD08s wouldn't have much bite on this, one of southern California's best driving roads.
This road, it turned out, was deceptive. Grip was admirable given the slip-prone conditions, and the FR-S continued to impress as a pointy, feedback-rich tool for driving. I love this car. Equally surprising was the pace Bitter Dan was able to maintain in his Exige, shod as it was on rather worn R-compounds. I would later find out just how I'd been tricked by Highway 58.