You might have guessed this was coming. We could have told you the 2013 Scion FR-S was headed for the long-term test fleet back in October of 2009. Sure, we didn't know then that the Toyota FT-86 would come to the U.S. as a Scion, nor that it would take three years to make it here, but the idea of a half-Toyota, half-Subaru, lightweight, rear-drive, boxer-powered sports car following in the footsteps of the AE86 hooked us instantly.
Sure, it was entirely possible that this whole thing could go really, terribly wrong, (You read the part about this being a Subaru and Toyota collaboration, right?) but then we drove the Scion FR-S and knew we had to have more.
We didn't exactly scream, "Shut up and take our money!" to the Scion dealer the second its order books opened, but pretty close. Our 2013 Scion FR-S was one of the first ones delivered to our area and now it's all ours for the next 12 months and 20,000 miles.
What We Got
There are very few options available for the 2013 Scion FR-S. You can get it in an orange-ish color, red, blue, black, gray or white. You can get an automatic. You can also get some mud guards, an ashtray, wheel locks and an $845 bespoke premium audio system with a touchscreen.
We got ours in red with a manual transmission. That's it. That's the way it should be.
The FR-S already includes as standard 17-inch wheels, a Torsen limited slip, a 300-watt radio with eight speakers, Bluetooth and USB input, leather-trimmed wheel and shifter, aluminum pedals and, of course, the 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder that puts out 200 horsepower.
Our Firestorm (red) 2013 Scion FR-S carried a sticker price of $24,930 and that's what we paid. Considering some stories from other high-profile, high-demand, all-new cars, we consider MSRP a fair deal.
Why We Got It
Here's where things get fun. If you've been following the Long-Term Road Tests fanatically, you'll know that we're not only adding the FR-S to the long-term fleet, but we're also getting its sibling, the 2013 Subaru BRZ, at a later date. (We purchased the Scion, whereas Subaru will be loaning us a BRZ.)
In that posting, reader Aspade asked the question on everyone's mind. "The FR-S and BRZ, either one is interesting but why both? I'm curious about the minor differences as well but that doesn't take a year to find out."
True, it doesn't. That's why our 2013 Scion FR-S will be a project car. Two-hundred hp feels good in this car, but we know that TRD is developing a supercharger and, at the very least, HKS and Greddy are working on turbos. Any of those options will make the FR-S feel better. We also know that Tein, Cusco and RS-R are working on suspension kits. There are also tires and wheels coming to market, and intakes and exhaust are on their way, too.
We haven't yet mapped out how far we're going to take this one, but let's just say that the 14.8-second quarter-mile at 93.8 mph, 0.88g skid pad performance and 67.3-mph slalom time we recorded in our first test are the first gates to break down. Hopefully that 85.1dB full-throttle run will get knocked up a decibel or so, too.
Bone stock, the 2013 Scion FR-S is a capable and rewarding car to drive. It's the kind of soul-satisfying experience that doesn't translate well to an Excel spreadsheet and will be lost on the guys without a mountain road or racetrack nearby.
Once this thing finally has the sauce and the grip to keep up with its chassis, however...well, we'll see. Follow along with our 2013 Scion FR-S build on the Long-Term Road Test Blog over the next 12 months as we put 20,000 miles -- and who knows what else -- on our new toy.
Current Odometer: 677
Best Fuel Economy: 27.2
Worst Fuel Economy: 24.6
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 26.2
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.