Supercharger Is Subtle but Effective - 2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S: Supercharger Is Subtle but Effective

October 1, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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?)

2013 Scion FR-S

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


  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    A big huge one. And it needs to be plasti-dipped in black.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    I'm with Takahashi. Cleaner lines all day.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    @fordson1 gahaha

  • bayoubaer bayoubaer Posts:

    The trunk lid look has been gret on this car. But the stock look perfectly fine to me as well.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Physics clearly show that for every inch of spoiler height, a car gains 10hp. Also, it will generate a good amount of useable downforce at street speeds, but is completely useless at higher track speeds. I don't even know why race cars run them. Oh wait, for horsepower, my bad.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    No spoiler. Many other modern cars are designed to not look right without a spoiler, but the FRS was designed to look great without one. Cosmetic spoilers are pointless.

  • bc1960 bc1960 Posts:

    In four decades I have never seen a car that had a spoiler that would not have looked better without it (although with certain very high performance cars they are necessary in some circumstances). An executive of one of the major manufacturers once said that people who like spoilers like big ones, and people who don't like them don't like even small ones. So if you are going to...ahem...spoil the car's looks, you may as well go full trailer-park on its [non-permissible content removed]. I'm thinking Evo-sized at a minimum.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:


  • cobryson cobryson Posts:

    I'm going to subject myself to the internet's opinion here, since apparently I'm in the minority. I own a 2011 Mustang MCA Edition, and I swapped the factory trunk spoiler for a larger pedestal spoiler that I feel like balances the overall shape of the car better visually. Obviously it does nothing for performance, I just like the look. Does it look ricey, or otherwise cheapen the car? Sorry, I don't have any better pictures at the moment...and yes, the dealer badge is now gone...,GIqgyMu

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    nawww, I would leave it be--it could block rearward visibility, and is mostly cosmetic at the speeds I would travel at. Not having one also saves a little weight. I don't mind the way the "flush" ones look, though.

  • gaiakai gaiakai Posts:

    Five Axis. I very much like the shape of the OEM BRZ spoiler as well though, I feel like it makes the back end look more "square jawed" if that makes sense.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    im a big fan of the password JDM carbon one i say get that one! as far as spoilers i like the ducktail type that dont have a lot of hight but extend a bit behind the vehicle

  • bibditty bibditty Posts:

    Absolutely, you need a spoiler. I like the Toyota 86 spoiler. Don't know if its the same as an FR-S spoiler. Definitely not a tall fast and furious spoiler. I like all that you have done with this car and enjoy reading all about them. Now go and get you a spoiler.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I know I weighed in before, but really, in the spirit of the mods you have already done on the car that did absolutely nothing for its performance, go ahead and get a spoiler.

  • metalmania metalmania Posts:

    I'm in the no spoiler camp unless you actually could use one for the track. Maybe it's maturity with middle age but I've grown to see spoilers on all but serious high performance cars as silly. I have the factory spoiler on my '04 Mazda 6 and I wish I didn't now (I did like it when I got the car, but it was a novelty). I guess I'd be OK with maybe a small "lip" spoiler, but they're usually very subtle. If the Corvette ZR1 only needs a small lip, why would an FRS or BRZ need a triple element F1 wing sitting 2 feet off the decklid?

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    No. In fact, what you want to do is something about the rear taillights, the Altezza'd look is just cheap. If you are going to do a spoiler, there are a few out there that are somewhat subtle. There are LED pipeline taillight replacements that look significantly better. Jalopnik posted a wallpaper of a BRZ that looked pretty good with both:

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    no... no... no...

  • ironsean ironsean Posts:

    Your "Does it need a spoiler" article is broken, and shows the "Supercharger is subtle but effective" article again instead.

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