Used 2013 Scion FR-S Consumer Reviews
Purchased my Asphalt Grey FR-S 6-speed manual in June of 2012. Traded up from a 2002 WRx (original owner), and while I miss the all-wheel drive and turbo rush, my FR-S just makes me smile every time I'm behind the wheel. Mine is primarily used as a weekend fun car, and I argue that there is nothing out on the road today that is even close in price that makes you feel as connected to the pure, visceral driving experience as this $24K gem. The steering is easily controlled, the shifter is perfect and the engine grumble is nice (I'm a sucker for boxster engines). I would not use this as a daily driver, but as a second car, it is just perfect.
I had for a very long time an old porsche 928 s4. It was a amazing car, and I thrashed the crap out of it. It died a terrible death... The new Scion replaced it. The Sion is not nearly as fast, nor as flashy. But it is WAAAAY more fun. At every red light the little 4 gives it a mighty big BRAAAPPPP and off we go. The shift points are just pure joy. This is not a car that will set a new land speed record, or corner at speeds that make your brains turn to mush. BUT----It is a very fun car that is amazingly responsive. It puts a smile on your face driving in city traffic as its sure is a little street fighter. Its great on the highway and its MPG is amazing. The car has a real soul.
Don't listen to everybody who berates this car. Those are the people who don't understand its purpose. After 10,000 miles through 6 states and Canada, I can tell you this car is great in every single circumstance. City, highway, straight road, twisty road, road course, etc. I can get 34mpg on the highway, and average 31mpg even with some autocrosses and track days sprinkled in. You can fit a 6' person in the back as long as the front passenger is willing to give up some leg room. I honestly test drove every single new car with a manual transmission under $25k and this was by far my favorite.
Lucky for us, Toyota put this under the Scion brand so dealers cannot mark it up. I live in the Los Angeles area and cars still disappear from some dealers lots in a matter of a day or two. I did accept the fact that the dealer installed Lojack. Got mine in Asphalt Black (dark grey metallic, really) with the rear wing and TRD exhaust installed from the factory. I had test driven a car with the stock exhaust. While the TRD exhaust has a beautiful note, it makes it difficult to have a conversation with a passenger. Still, I would take the exhaust over stock. Seats are supportive and instrument gauges are perfect (very much like Porsche). Car reminds me of a Lotus - light, small, minimalist.
Ok... I'll start saying that I love this car; it's great to drive, engaging, responsive and lots of fun. Yes, there's an annoying torque dip in the power band, but you can live with it. My cautionary tale is regarding its reliability and the willingness from Toyota/Scion to go the extra step (no, not mile) to help their customers. I say that because I have worked with customer service directly or indirectly for the last 16 years and I expected more from a brand with reputation for reliability. I have bought the car used and I am its second owner. It has only around 27k miles and I have well maintained the car with regular oil changes (synthetic), only shell V-power 93 octane gas, flushed the transmission and differential oil, checked brakes etc -- all items from the manual within their mileage. This Saturday evening while going to have dinner with my wife, we noticed a squeaky noise when I pushed the clutch pedal. It is nothing really alarming, but it clearly indicates something is wrong and some part is wearing down. It was too late to call the closest dealer and, since Monday was national holiday, I brought the car to a Kwik Kar close to my house. I have researched some forums and the mechanic confirmed: it was the throwout bearing. It was disappointing, considering that I drive mostly highways and I've never tracked or autocrossed the car -- and it doesn't even have 30k miles. I called the dealer on Tuesday, the only day available, and asked them to check when my warranty expires. Surprise: it expired on 05/29. I was calling on 05/31. The guy was very helpful and felt sorry for me and I asked if they could make an exception, they answered it doesn't depend on them -- they have to get the exception approved by Toyota's Customer Service directly to their management team. Time to call the customer service. The representative Peter was helpful and opened a case number for me, in theory to ask for a decision regarding if they would approve a service under the warranty due to the circumstances and said that someone would contact me back within 2 days max. No one contacted me, so today I called again. I talked to Vince this time, he explained that this case number was only to document what happened. It would need an authorized (from a Toyota dealer) inspection to verify if the issue was actually throw out bearing, and if I decided to build a case for warranty it would still have to be within the warranty, therefore I had no way out since it was expired. He said I was misinformed by the previous rep on my expectations. I said I understood that the warranty per se had just expired, but if I could speak to his manager or someone who had the power to approve an exception since it was an unusual issue for a car fairly new and with low mileages. Per Vince, the warranty cannot be extended or any time-grant extension cannot be conceived; there are absolute no exceptions at all. He stressed that no one, regardless of hierarchy in the company, could approve the service under warranty since it is expired, and he was a representative in power to make these statements because there was no decision to make. I like this car. Yes, before I said I loved this car, I know. But considering the confidence that Toyota inspired me with such an early failure and poor customer service, I will take the hit this time, but I am not likely to ever buy another product from them again. Who knows what will happen to the car when it is 70k miles; I might not keep it to find out. Oh, if you search forums you will see several similar cases of early failure of this component. Do your research before you commit to a car. ................... 06/16/2016 - Quick update for what is worth; I called again the Dealer and they honored the warranty, even though Toyota did not. The car is fixed and I give 5 stars for the dealer which went the extra mile and provided a great customer service. Toyota as a brand, however, left a sour taste in my mouth. If you find a good dealership, stick to it. ................... 06/21/17 - I have trade the FRS in for a Mustang which has been way more comfortable (and fast) as a daily driver since I live in north Texas and here the roads are basically (boring) highways, plus the high revving character from the FRS is a nightmare in traffic. I have the Mustang for over 6 months now and I have to say, there is not even one day I don't miss driving the Scion, but I am glad it is not my daily driver anymore. It (FRS) is one of the most fun cars you can buy in its price range, only second to the MX-5. If you don't mind the lack of refinement in the interior and if your roads are curvy enough, you will be very happy with the car. Engaging, telepathically responsive, amazing chassis, decent gearbox (please flush the transmission oil and replace it with Motul Gear 300, trust me) and great feedback from the steering wheel. Great second car or daily driver on fun roads.