2013 Scion FR-S: A Grown-Up Play Date
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?"
The canyon roads in the Santa Monica Mountains are a perfect location for a weekend excursion. I took our Subaru BRZ here a few days ago and loved it. Just a short drive from Los Angeles (if you're awake early enough), these back roads are a great way to test braking, acceleration, handling and comfort. Our lightly modified FR-S was an ideal weekend warrior candidate.
All three cars are rear-wheel drive, and the power is pretty similar. The S2000 has the highest horsepower of the three but it only comes in convertible (the hardtop you see is aftermarket), it has just two seats and the trunk is tiny. For 2013, of course, the power came up significantly on the Genesis Coupe thanks to the arrival of direct injection (pictured is the 2011 2.0T model) and the updated styling is great, but I think the Hyundai's too big for these roads.
At the front of the pack, I'm driving the FR-S at a comfortably brisk pace, keeping my throttle and braking inputs smooth. Despite the car's modest torque, I never feel like I'm holding up the group on the s-curves or ruining the view on the straights.
"Man, that thing even looks good from behind," Albert says as we exit onto Pacific Coast Highway.
A hundred miles of hard driving in just a few hours and I was no worse for the wear. Planted, confident and comfortable, the FR-S is capable on back roads, but it's not so hardcore that you can't stand to drive it on normal roads at a normal pace.
That all-around drivability, combined with the Scion's respectable mid-range power, seats that fit me like a glove, and attractive styling really appeals to me. Out of this group, I'd take the Scion FR-S over the S2000 and Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec, and it's an easy choice.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 14,000 miles