2013 Scion FR-S Long Term Road Test

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2013 Scion FR-S: What I'll Miss

December 10, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Our 2013 Scion FR-S's days are numbered in the long-term lot. It has served us well and I will miss it. I contend that it's the most fun you can have in the $25k range, and fun would be a priority for me if I were car shopping for myself. Click on through to see what about the FR-S I'll remember fondly.

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2013 Scion FR-S: Painful Shifter

August 21, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

I have no idea how Magrath managed to break the top off our Scion FR-S's shifter with only one finger, but now there's a big gap between the top cap and the rest of the shifter. No amount of pounding will make the top cap sit flush with the rest of the knob, either. It might not seem like much, but that little gap between the leather and the plastic hurts.

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2013 Scion FRS: Track: Yes. Road Trip: No.

July 1, 2013

2013 Scion FRS

A year later, I'm still enamored by our long-term Scion FRS. As a track car and, to a lesser degree, a commuter, I'd definitely consider this as a purchase. But that's because I don't take a lot of road trips.

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2013 Scion FR-S: Family Style

April 25, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

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2013 Scion FR-S: These Wheels Are Great, But I'd Keep the Stock Set at the Ready

February 19, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

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2013 Scion FR-S: Animal Style

December 17, 2012

Viper Meetup

Last week, we held another one of our meet-ups at a local In 'n Out burger to give our readers a chance to check out the all-new Dodge Viper. I was thinking of bringing our long-term Grand National, but with the threat of rain, I decided to drive our Scion FR-S instead.

The Buick is one of the most popular cars in our lot right now, followed closely by the Scion. I showed up before the Viper did, and that gave some of the early-bird attendees a little time to spend with the FR-S.

Most of those who sat inside commented on how good the seats felt, and I totally agree. These seats deftly balance aggressive bolstering with long-distance comfort. Yes, our long-term Ford Focus ST has even more lateral support, but the shoulder wings tend to push my shoulders a bit too far forward. Unless you were spending most of your time on track, I can't see any reason to change either of them.

Just like the Cars and Coffee event where I did show up in the Grand National, the Dodge Viper was the start of the show. All told, I thought it was an enjoyable gathering that allowed me to connect with a few of our loyal readers, some of which showed up with their own impressive machines.

If you couldn't make it out this time, fear not, we intend on having more of these in the future. Stay tuned for more details.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 11,900 miles

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2013 Scion FR-S: Kids Say the Darndest Things

August 02, 2012

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"Daddy, is this a Ferrari?" was followed closely by "I like this seat! It's really comfortable." I doubt either of these things will ever be said again of the Scion FR-S.
That is all.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 4,251 miles

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2013 Scion FR-S: Hits All the Right Notes

July 31, 2012

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Finally got in our FR-S and damn if the car isn't every bit as good as everyone's been saying. I can sum up this car's personality in one word: harmony The FR-S is that rare automobile where everything works in perfect harmony. Steering, throttle, brakes, clutch and shifter are all blessed with a precise, linear and perfectly weighted action that all feels natural seconds after you've driven off for the first time. Smoothly arcing through turns and blasting out of them is child's play in this finely balanced and very communicative machine.

And the FR-S isn't lacking motor either. The boxer engine has ample lower rpm power and surprised me with its eagerness to run up to 7,000 rpm. So much so, that I did it again. And again. And again. That rush is accompanied by a hearty growl that grows more strident as the engine spins toward redline. Big ups to the engineers for this aural feat, accomplished by piping the flat-four's soundtrack into the cabin via a tuned honkus.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 3,952 miles

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2013 Scion FR-S: Enfolded

July 26, 2012

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I expected the Scion FR-S to be fast and fun. I didn't expect its seats to be a selling point. But they are.

The seats are in keeping with the car's sport purpose, of course, but they do the job with more style and attention to comfort than I had bargained for. The back provides a good fit, with a mild S-curve for basic but discernible lumbar support. The bolsters are firm and high, but don't pose barriers to entry or exit. The seat cloth has a bit of a nap meant to stick you to seat in turns. Even on a relatively sedate commute, though, that fabric grip adds to the sense of being cosseted in the cabin.

I came for sport. I got comfort. That's a nice bonus.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @3,733 miles

(Purse not included)

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2013 Scion FR-S: Kulinary Mille 2012, Part Two

July 24, 2012

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In the last Kulinary Mille post, I left off at the end of a fun canyon drive. After that, things got decidedly boring. This is the part where bugs start collecting on the grille.

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2013 Scion FR-S: I'm a Believer

July 11, 2012

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I am not a sport compact kind of guy. I am definitely not a tuner guy. As such, I'm not exactly going to be fitting in at the FR-S/BRZ Owners of America annual barbecue.

Having said that, I fell in love with our Scion FR-S before I even left the parking garage yesterday en route to the canyons of Malibu. In short, you need to believe the hype: the FR-S is epically fun, easy to drive and surprisingly comfortable. This is just an entirely different animal from the norm and I've honestly never driven a car quite like this. The Miata comes closest, but it's still a different species. Ditto the S2000 and its high-strung engine.

It's the rear-wheel drive. It's the narrow gates and firm mechanical engagement of the gearbox. It's the tiny dimensions and the front fender flares that make the car even easier to place in a corner. It's the talkative steering, the seat-in-the-pants communication and easily detectable limits. It's the engine and its sharp throttle response, rewarding noises and useable powerband. It's the perfectly contoured seat, the spot-on driving position and the fact that I actually fit comfortably in the thing (that's a minor miracle for a small Toyota OR Subaru). It's the fact it's incredibly easy to drive -- be it aggressively or just puttering around town. Hell, it's even the strong sound system.

The Scion FR-S is quite simply a grand slam and one of my favorite cars, period. The fact that it's the result of a union between two brands that typically do absolutely zilch for me from a car guy perspective makes it even more impressive. I'm a believer.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,797 miles

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2013 Scion FR-S: Cooling Things Down Quickly

July 10, 2012

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Blog commenter christople asked how well our 2013 Scion FR-S's A/C handles the heat. And after enduring several hot days recently, including an excursion to Angeles Crest during the hottest part of the day, I have to say that I'm impressed by how quickly the Scion's air-conditioner cooled down the cabin. Even after the car was left sitting out in the hot sun for several hours the A/C turned on full blast did away with the hellish heat within seconds, OK, maybe minutes.

The air got nice and frigid. So much so that I found myself quickly turning down the fan to a more subtle "1."

In terms of how the car handled being driven hard with the A/C on full blast, editor JayKav said the engine's A/C load control could be better as you notice the A/C compressor turning on and off when you drive it. The idle dips noticeably every time the A/C compressor turns on.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2013 Scion FR-S: Singular

July 09, 2012

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Okay, this car is the real deal. Up until this past weekend, I'd only driven an FR-S for a few hours in Vegas, on track and in town for our Full Test. It'd made a strong impression, but there's no replacement for driving on familiar roads on your own time. This past weekend I had our longterm 2013 Scion FR-S in my care and -- unlike few real-world, attainable cars in recent memory -- I didn't want to stop driving it.

After a somewhat leisurely drive up Angeles Crest on Saturday with some friends (who brought the above BRZ, 997 and S2000), I made a more vigorous repeat trip on Sunday. It just works. The driving position, the terrific seats, the perfect pedal placement, the flat cornering, quick steering... it all comes together cohesively. Quite simply, there is nothing like this car anywhere near its price.

I am smitten by a $25,000 Scion.

Here's the thing -- its brilliant chassis is also just begging -- screaming -- for its latent potential to be unlocked. Clearly it can exploit more tire (I like Dan Edmunds' comment that the FR-S wears the most all-season-y summer tires in the world) and more power (really, more midrange punch). As this is (or will soon be) a project car, the trick will be doing so while keeping its balance intact; without making it one-dimensional. Should be fun. Already is.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2013 Scion FR-S: Dog Report

July 05, 2012

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She looks happy, doesn't she?

But actually...

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2013 Scion FR-S: Photographic Evidence of Usable Backseat

June 29, 2012

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OK editor Dan Edmunds just blogged about our 2013 Scion FR-S's tiny backseat but I present Exhibit A that a tall-ish guy can fit back there. The above photo is of my friends ice cream shop Matt and Nick trying on the FR-S for size. Matt (in the backseat) and Nick are both 5'11".

As you can see, Matt's knees come up against the back of the front seat and Nick's are pressed against the dash. They're not necessarily forced into a fetal position but it is still awfully cozy. Matt said that the backseat wasn't unbearable and he could manage taking a short trip back there. But he has a long torso so had to scrunch down a bit or lean his head back to keep it from touching the top.

The seat itself reminded him of an airline seat in that it didn't feel like a "real seat" but like it was stuffed with cheap foam.

Meanwhile, up front, despite glovebox contact with his knees, Nick said he was comfortable.

The two said they wouldn't want to take a road trip to Vegas in it, but that fitting four around town was doable. If anything, the target market, guys like these (young single men), will probably keep those rear seats folded down most of the time. Still, it's nice to have the option of two extra seats in a pinch.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2013 Scion FR-S: Rear Seats Of Little Use

June 28, 2012

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Don't plan on sitting behind me when I'm driving the 2013 Scion FR-S. The front seatback touches the rear seat cushion, you see. I could slide my seat up a notch or three for you, but there's no point. That's not enough to do anyone any good.

To me it looks like the driver would have to stand well under 6-feet tall before an attempt to carry someone in the seat behind would stand the slightest chance of success.

On paper there are 29.9 inches of legroom back there, a very low number that nevertheless seems laughably high and utterly inaccessible unless the seat is positioned a full six inches farther ahead than I have it. Your knees have to go someplace, right?

For me the FR-S is a 2-seater, plain and simple. The same is probably true for many of you, too.

Do I care? Nope. To me this is the hard top Miata -- with good front legroom -- that Mazda never had the cajones to build. I want one.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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2013 Scion FR-S: Good Shifter, But Not Great

June 19, 2012

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In my last Scion FR-S post, I went on and on about how fun it is to drive in the canyons. But don't think that it's perfect. There was one minor annoyance that I found.

Because I was limited to a 4,000 rpm ceiling on my first pass, I was required to climb into fifth gear from time to time. The problem I found was the downshift from fifth to fourth. Something would catch halfway between the gears and keep me from snapping it into the lower gear quickly.

And that's a shame, because the shifter is great everywhere else. The throw is short and the action is crisp. It was just that fifth to fourth downshift. It doesn't feel like a gear mechanism problem that's not allowing me to downshift, rather, it feels like some linkage if binding up.

It's probably not a big deal, since now that it's done with the break-in and dipping into fifth gear on tight twisty roads will likely be rare.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 1,090 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Scion FR-S in VA is:

$178 per month*
* Explanation
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