June 18, 2013
For awhile, I was of a mind that the aftermarket muffler on our 2013 Scion FR-S made no difference in noise over the stock setup. Mostly what you hear in this car is engine.
Then I drove our 2013 Subaru BRZ and the FR-S on back-to-back nights and realized, yes, the big-honkus outlets do make a difference, small as it may be.
June 17, 2013
The Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tires on our 2013 Scion FR-S are getting noisier. They're exhibiting a more constant hum, particularly at elevated speeds on the highway. And the "thunk" over Botts' dots and expansion joints is up a notch or two, as well.
May 30, 2013
Undoubtedly, this is not the safest way to transport canisters full of propane, but at least when this photo was shot, they were empty. With Memorial Day approaching, I was determined to beat the rush to get these crucial outdoor grilling necessities refilled ahead of the crowd or before supplies ran out.
May 29, 2013
We've all heard the urban myth of the Chevrolet Nova selling poorly in Spanish-speaking countries because "No va" would roughly translate to "No go." I wonder how much market research was done before bringing the Bimbo brand to the States.
May 9, 2013
While the kid was on spring break, we took a trip to the California Science Center, located next to the fantastically decrepit Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Spirit of Troy was with us that day as the weather was perfect, Rush and Public Enemy were later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony just up the road, and I even exchanged brief Lakers and Dodgers misery with local sports radio icon Vic The Brick Jacobs while walking around Little Tokyo. Feelin' Blue, indeed.
Sorry, that's likely a string of non-sequiturs for most readers. More to the point, we went to the Science Center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour installation. Fantastic display. If you're in L.A., go see it. It's one thing to see it on TV, or even watch a lift-off or landing in person. Quite another to stand under it, stare at thousands of those thermal tiles and consider the miles THAT thing has seen.
May 7, 2013
Sometime in the next decade, Ferrari will build something about this size, in similar shape, profile and color. Maybe it will be mid-engine, like the short-run Alfa Competizione 8C. It will cost $150,000-$200,000, will pick up where the BMW Z8 left off and will make the California a distant memory.
May 6, 2013
Unless you're road tripping in one of our long-term cars, it's rare to get more than two or three days in the same car. But I managed to stay in the Scion FR-S for a week recently, which generates a good cross-section of comment from friends and strangers. Like friend Mandi, a mother in her late 30's. "That's a fancy car. What is it? A Scion? Is that really a Toyota? Wow."
Or my buddy James, a father in his mid-40s: "This is a Toyota? (It's a Scion.) This is really sweet." (Later) "Oh man, this car's hard for a fat guy to get out of."
April 19, 2013
This morning after the 2013 Scion FR-S and I emerged from the car wash, I realized there's another benefit to these aftermarket Volk Racing wheels besides improved performance and styling.
April 10, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S hit 15,000 miles just as I arrived at work on Monday. It's aging well considering its aggressive price point, as there are no annoying rattles yet and the simulated suede upholstery still looks new. The stock audio system still sounds no better than my clock radio, but that isn't why you buy this car.
So why would you buy this car? Well, I imagine because you'd like to take it to track days like Jay Kavanagh. There's also a strong case to be made for getting an FR-S just to enjoy in your everyday life on public roads. I didn't make it to the mountain roads over the weekend, but I still had fun commuting in our Scion.
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?"
March 1, 2013
The shift knob for the six-speed manual transmission in our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S is one of my least favorite parts of the interior. I just don't like the feel of leather and plastic while shifting.
Luckily, the cap broke off in my hand today. It was easy to pop back in to place, but it still feels loose and flimsy. Maybe it'll be a good excuse to start shopping for weighted, metal replacements. What would you replace it with?
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 14,010 miles
February 28, 2013
I love the wheels on our 2013 Scion FR-S. The Volk Racing TE37SLs and the Yokohama Advan ADO8 tires that they're wrapped in are two of my favorite aftermarket products. The ADO8s are a little loud and will wear down quicker than the stock tires on daily commutes, but they're sticky and I'm on board with that. There is something, however, that I can't stand about these wheels.
February 15, 2013
Sometimes you have to make a few compromises to save a few bucks. But there are cases in which you don't, and the Scion FR-S represents one such example. The coupe nabbed a place on our recent top 10 list of the year's least expensive coupes.
While the FR-S isn't heavy on luxury or space, it offers abundant style and is loads of fun to drive. And with a starting price of just $24,500, you don't have to break the bank to get your jollies. Sounds like a good proposition to us.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
February 14, 2013
I can't remember the last time I locked the trunk of any car, and in the case of our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, I'd be way more concerned about someone making off with the entire car rather than any one of my worldly possessions in the trunk.
If you want to lock the trunk of an FR-S (or a BRZ), you'll have to fumble around a bit to find the out-of-sight keyhole in the lid. I guess the location is kind of a hassle if you actually do need to use it regularly, but I like its hidden location because it makes for a cleaner design in back. This near total rejection of extraneous clutter is one of the things that make the Scion-Subaru twins so appealing to me.
February 13, 2013
This weekend I had to take my dog Mya back to the vet in our 2013 Scion FR-S. I put her doggy blanket down in the backseat like I usually do to protect the seat but her hair still managed to get on the cloth. When I took the car to the car wash for its weekly wash and afterward pointed out to the attendant handing me the key of the "clean" car that they didn't clean the backseat, he said that they couldn't and that it had to be shampooed.
February 12, 2013
Last night when I pulled up to the valet in our 2013 Scion FR-S at the fancy Fairmont Santa Monica hotel, the valet guy excitedly told me how I had "his car." The exact red and everything, well, minus the exhaust. He continued to go on and on about how he likes to race it up at Buttonwillow. Sometimes he even drifts it. Needless to say, I was impressed. Not very often in L.A. that you meet a guy with a fun car who actually knows how to drive it.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
February 11, 2013
After scoring a couple of driving stints in our long-term SLS AMG, I was grateful to get behind the wheel of our 2013 Scion FR-S. Driving a quarter-million-dollar sports car around L.A. is too stressful for me. I'm too afraid to switch lanes, I dare not park it on the street (valet all the time), plus the SLS spotlight is too bright for me.
But our FR-S is more my speed: fun and affordable. Now, I realize there's no way these cars would ever be shopped together but it made me realize that I'm just not an SLS kind of girl. THAT kind of girl wouldn't worry about her beautiful car getting dinged because if it ever did she could afford to get it fixed or replaced.
February 7, 2013
It was a gamble. I had checked the forecast regularly in the days leading up to our Laguna Seca track weekend, and the outlook was consistently dismal. So much so that there was no sense bothering with high-performance brake pads. Normally, this is the second thing you change for a track outing in an otherwise stock car, the first being tires. So, I left the stock brake pads on our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S.
And as you've seen, the track was sopping wet. I felt vindicated in my decision to be apathetic.
Then the sun came out. And a dry line began to form on the track surface. And for a time, pretty much the whole track dried out. The twitchy, traction-devoid, edgy FR-S I knew in the rain made way for a far different animal. These Yokohama Advan AD08 tires rule in the dry. Communicative, beautifully progressive breakaway, heaps of grip. Exit speeds climbed. Braking points were adjusted.
It took roughly two hot laps in the dry for the brakes to go limp. The braking power underfoot just went into the ether as the overheated stock pads' coefficient of friction dropped like a rock. If you had told me that you'd secretly swapped my brake pads with sintered Folger's coffee grounds, I'd have believed you.
February 1, 2013
Drivers' meetings are important and necessary. And they should take no more than fifteen minutes. Longer than this means the organizer just likes the sound of his own voice.
I bring this up because the 45-minute drivers' meeting at our Laguna Seca track day left exactly four minutes to get ready to be on track. This brings up another point: If you're going to have eternity-long drivers' meetings, you should schedule the beginner group to be on track first. Newbies don't have nearly the prep time requirements of non-beginner groups.
January 28, 2013
Up until this point in its existence, our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S had only seen dry days. Life in SoCal has its benefits. This trip (part one here) would be the first time we'd find out how its more aggressive tires on wider wheels would fare in wet conditions.
But we'd gotten such a late start heading out of Los Angeles (plus the stops for photos, food and a visit to Sampson Communications to troubleshoot some equipment) that night had fallen by the time we'd peeled off Route 33 onto Highway 58. Fie, daylight savings. Now it's wet, cold and dark. It was quite likely that the soft compound of these Yokohama AD08s wouldn't have much bite on this, one of southern California's best driving roads.
This road, it turned out, was deceptive. Grip was admirable given the slip-prone conditions, and the FR-S continued to impress as a pointy, feedback-rich tool for driving. I love this car. Equally surprising was the pace Bitter Dan was able to maintain in his Exige, shod as it was on rather worn R-compounds. I would later find out just how I'd been tricked by Highway 58.
January 24, 2013
But does one coupe have to leave?
Scion has these two coupes. One, the tC, is essentially a two door Corolla with a flash interior. It's front-wheel drive and seems more likely to be turned into a mobile disco than a canyon carver. The FR-S however, is a coupe that seems to be at the forefront of saving not only Toyota's image but the idea of an affordable rear-drive car altogether.
Can Scion afford to have these two diametrically opposed coupes sitting side by side in a showroom? Does the existence of one take away from the purpose of the other?
If you were Scion, what would you do?
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 12,512 miles
January 15, 2013
Several weeks ago, I took our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S to Laguna Seca raceway for a weekend of berms, apices and brake markers. It's an annual thing, this Laguna track weekend, and last time I chronicled the trip in several installments all bearing the title "The Beauty of Dual-Purpose Cars," in the Miata section of the Long-Term Updates. My esteemed colleague Kurt Niebuhr saddled up in Project Miata this time.
There's a lot of green (to adopt the parlance of billiards) between Edmunds HQ and Laguna Seca. Decided to make the most of it and take the bitchinest roads possible that roughly connect between the two points. So that's what we did. The collective "we" being the two of us and my friends (and Eyesore Racing co-conspirators) Bitter Dan in his Lotus Exige and Sarah in her ridonkulously clean Nissan 240SX.
One wrinkle on the voyage northwards: rain. Lots and lots (and lots!) of rain. No big deal. It had no bearing on our selected route but slowed us down a bit. The first portion of our path took us north on 101 until we peeled off on 33 in Ojai. This is one hell of a road, and the FR-S is just such a perfect car for it. It's so communicative that you can drive hard (with conditions in mind) in complete confidence.
Deep into the drive on 33 I found an oddity. I'd hear a chime-chime-chime from time to time, which makes a rhyme, I have a dime...anyway, the chime wasn't related to any particular driving style, nor were any new lights illuminated in the cluster, nor did the car drive any differently. Nonetheless, I slowed down and put the senses one click higher. Miles and miles later I realized what was causing the intermittent chime. It was the passenger seatbelt chime. Turns out that the light jacket and a half-eaten bag of dried fruit sitting on the passenger seat was enough weight to drip the seatbelt alert. Why this took some 100 miles to finally occur I have no idea.
More to come.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
January 4, 2013
As I spot more and more Scion FR-Ss and Subaru BRZs out in the wild, I like to play a little game with myself: seeing if I can correctly guess whether it's a BRZ or a FR-S just by its color. Now, I know what you're thinking, BOTH models come with similar red, navy, black, dark gray, white and silver. The only different exterior colors are the FR-S's Hot Lava (orange) and the Subaru's WR Blue Pearl. But it seems that if that coupe I spot on the street isn't painted Subaru blue then it's most likely a Scion. (With the exception of our Dark Gray Metallic, of course.) Turns out that back in March of last year Subaru announced that, according to the first two months of sales, the WR Blue Pearl was the best-selling color at 33.9 percent, followed by the Satin White Pearl at 24.4 percent.
By the way, does anyone know why the Scion's Whiteout color is an extra $220? The BR-Z has a similar Satin White Pearl for no extra charge.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 12,486 miles
December 20, 2012
Here's some fun swag that I collected during the public days at the Los Angeles Auto Show: a Paper Shaper rendition of the Scion FR-S, designed by Shin Tanaka. In red, just like our long-term car.
The paper toys come flat on heavy paper stock which you punch out and fold into a three-dimensional model. Tanaka also designed paper versions of the Scion iQ, tC, xB and xD. Collect them all!
2013 Scion FR-S: Animal Style
December 17, 2012
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
August 09, 2012
A long time ago, like before television, some foreigner, I think his name was Chazman, no Chetworth, something like that, said that the best way to go faster on the racetrack was to add lightness.
At the time, people told him to shut and stop saying things that didn't make sense. But he went on to win a bunch of championships so people eventually figured out that there was some truth to his observation.
The engineers of the FR-S clearly took that idea to heart. As you can see, there are no fancy trunk lid liners in the FR-S or any attempt to cover up anything at all. It's very much like a racecar in this respect and I like it. Mr. Chitwad would be proud.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com
July 31, 2012
Oh, that kind of engine.
I think it's cool that the FR-S pays homage not only to its roots, but to what's under the hood as well. And all in a single, quarter-panel-mounted badge that looks pretty cool.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com