2013 Scion FR-S: Supercharger Is Subtle but Effective
October 1, 2013
I've driven our 2013 Scion FR-S a handful of times since Jay Kavanagh installed the supercharger. You've read Mike Monticello's report on the car's heightened entertainment value on Angeles Forest Highway (one of our great roads in Southern California), and you've seen Jay put numbers behind the improvement in real-world acceleration.
And I'm here to tell you that, based on my own commuting experience, the difference is huge on the freeway. But the first time I drove our supercharged FR-S I actually managed to forget it had a blower. Allow me to explain. (The Sprinter passenger van is not part of the story. I just happened to drive both vehicles last weekend. What a difference in footprint, huh?)
I think I first drove our supercharged Toyobaru on a Thursday evening, our worst traffic night of the week. It was after 9 p.m., but traffic was still kind of lousy. My mind was on that, plus whatever had been going on at work that day, and the Dodgers game on the radio. I wasn't even remembering that there was supposed to be something different about our Scion FR-S.
The sound system is weak in the FR-S, and I was vaguely aware that I was continually twisting the volume knob up to make out Charlie Steiner's play-by-play. "Man, this car is loud," I thought, "and tonight it's making some funny noises I don't remember. What's up with that?"
I also noticed the power wasn't coming on quite as smoothly as usual, nor were my shifts coming that smoothly, but like I said, there was traffic. So although I probably reached 65-70 mph at various points during the 25-mile drive, at no point did I use full throttle to get there.
Eventually, I reached my exit. The first major traffic light came up green and the road was clear, so I decided I'd make this right turn with some gusto. And lots of throttle.
And then, I heard this "WWHHHOAAAAHHHH!" and simultaneously felt our Scion's newfound shove. (Travis Langness made a video that gives you an idea of what this is like.)
"Oh, right, it's supercharged now!" I declared to the empty cockpit.
Our FR-S still isn't a fast car, but now it is satisfyingly quick in these situations. It's also great for cutting through freeway traffic, provided you don't forget to use the gas pedal appropriately. I don't forget anymore.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 22,502 miles