2013 Scion FR-S Coupe Base (2.0L 4-cyl. 6-speed Manual)
Driven On 4/17/2012
Given the fun-to-drive and performance-oriented nature of this segment, the FR-S deserves our highest mark. It's simply really good at being fun despite lower marks in less important categories.
ComfortComfort is good in the FR-S. There's little high-frequency movement unless the road surface is wildly uneven. And even then, thanks to independent rear suspension, the ride is better than a Mustang.
These are the best seats in any car at this price. Soft enough to for long journeys, firm enough to not feel soggy.
With undeinably firm suspension tuning, there's a certain purposefulness to the FR-S's ride quality. But it's not so stiff as to be a hassle.
The FR-S's interior is sufficiently quiet. There's a subtle and intentional intake note during wide throttle openings, but it's a good sound.
InteriorThe FR-S's interior is spartan but adequately detailed for a focused sports car. Material qaulity is sufficient and switchgear operates with adequate precision. Nothing feels overly expensive or cheap.
Good gauge placement with the tachometer in the middle. All major controls fall readily at hand.
The FR-S is low and getting in and out is more difficult than in taller vehicles. It's a small price to pay for this coupe's abilities.
If you're a really, really big driver then there will be challenges. Still, you'll have to be taller than 6 feet 4. Otherwise, no worries.
Even with the low hood line, visbility isn't as good as it could be out of the FR-S.
Folding rear seats help, but there's ample room in the trunk for more than just a weekend's worth of bags. The trunk opening is tiny, though.
PerformanceThe FR-S isn't going to wow you getting on the freeway, but drive it in its element and you're going to have loads of fun -- more so than any other car at this price.
This car isn't a drag racer so keep your expectations aligned with its modest power.
The brake system is sufficient providing repeatable, fade-free stoping power after miles of aggressive driving.
Among the car's best traits, its steering is quick and communicative.
Spectacular balance, communciation and control. Handling is the FR-S's specialty. It's hugely fun despite modest grip limits.
There's a good torque hit down low which provides adequate acceleration early in the rev range.
ValueThere's nothing quite like the FR-S at this price, which makes it a solid value. No other car offers its combinatiion of rear-drive handling and entertaining power. Fun-per-dollar trumps the logical factors.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Material and assembly quality are average.
Standard Bluetooth is nice, but there are few extravegences in the base model.
This car could cost less, but we suspect pent-up demand has brought it to market at a price that's somewhat profit padded.
At 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway the FR-S's EPA numbers are good, but not great.
These days the Scion/Toyota warranty package (3yrs/36,000 miles basic, 5yrs/60,000 miles powertrain, 5 yrs corrosion) is middle of the road.
Nothing about this car is exotic or delicate from a maintenance standpoint, and Scion provides two years of oil changes. You may chew through some tires, though, but you knew that.
Fun To DriveThe FR-S defines fun to drive without going broke. That last part should always be part of the equation.
This is a car that needs to be driven hard in the right environment to be fully appreciated. Drive it there and you'll understand.
There are no quirks here -- just honest, textbook rear-drive fun. And if that gives it personality then it has plenty.