2013 Scion FR-S Long Term Road Test - Performance

2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

2013 Scion FR-S: What I Won't Miss

December 11, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

As a follow-up to my list of things I'll miss when we sell our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, here are some items I will not miss.

See full article and comment.

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Intercooled Innovate Motorsports Supercharger Kit

November 7, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

"Want to drive it?"

Hook, swallowed. I was already halfway buckled into Innovate Motorsports' shop car before the company's Sean Crawford could finish getting the sentence out. Their FR-S shop car is equipped with the same twin-screw supercharger kit that's on our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, but with a twist: The shop car's kit is intercooled.

In fact, the very car you see above was recently used to complete the CARB certification testing for both intercooled and non-intercooled kits at Automotive Research Center (the same place we ran our Raptor vs. leaf blower test). It passed with flying colors. Sean tells me that once CARB sends them the finalized paperwork in the coming months (thanks, bureaucracy!), they'll have an exemption order (EO) number for the kits. Pretty cool. Heh.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: BF Goodrich G-Force Rival Impressions

October 23, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

There's no doubt that the new G-Force Rivals we slapped onto our 2013 Scion FR-S are a huge improvement to the car's handling performance, and I do love cornering forces. But I'm finding myself torn between my penchant for railing through curves and whipping the tail around.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Stability Control No Longer a Must

October 8, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

At the end of August I drove our 2013 Scion FR-S home on dead Yokohamas and was quickly convinced that its stability control was a genuine ally.

Now, with the new BFGs, that's no longer the case.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Supercharger Is Subtle but Effective

October 1, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

I've driven our 2013 Scion FR-S a handful of times since Jay Kavanagh installed the supercharger. You've read Mike Monticello's report on the car's heightened entertainment value on Angeles Forest Highway (one of our great roads in Southern California), and you've seen Jay put numbers behind the improvement in real-world acceleration.

And I'm here to tell you that, based on my own commuting experience, the difference is huge on the freeway. But the first time I drove our supercharged FR-S I actually managed to forget it had a blower. Allow me to explain. (The Sprinter passenger van is not part of the story. I just happened to drive both vehicles last weekend. What a difference in footprint, huh?)

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Multi-Purpose Sports Car

September 24, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

I needed to be at a group bicycle ride on the UCI campus at 6:15 this morning. Luckily I had our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S.

Lucky for two reasons:

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Supercharger Whine (Video)

September 16, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

When we supercharged our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, it did more than just change the driving dynamics. The car sounds different, too. There's a fun supercharger whine at wide-open-throttle, and the Greddy exhaust finally sounds like it should. Click through for a video.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: BFGoodrich G-Force Rival Tires Installed

September 12, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

The old Yokohamas on our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S were heat-cycled to oblivion. They're being replaced by BFGoodrich g-Force Rivals, a relative newcomer in the category of high-performance summer tires. I've had previous experience with Rivals on another car and reckon they're a good fit for our Project FR-S, which is focused on being an effective dual-purpose street/track car.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Driveability With Supercharger

August 29, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

I had to get to Streets of Willow in Rosamond, California from Orange County last week for our Corvette C7 versus the world test. I had the 2013 Scion FR-S, with supercharger, at my disposal to get there.

So, of course, I took Angeles Crest to Angeles Forest to get to Highway 14 North. Any other route would've been boring.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Stability Control Now a Must

August 27, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

As our acceleration testing indicated, the Advan Neova rubber on our 2013 Scion FR-S is sufficiently heat cycled to have lost much of its grip. Let me clarify: Those tires are fried. The tread isn't gone, but a little fingernail investigation reveals that they're rock hard, which doesn't make for good grip. In addition to slowing straight-line acceleration, lateral grip is compromised.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Saturday Morning

August 26, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

I don't usually get out of bed before 10:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings, at least not on purpose. I like recovering from the week, letting the sun leak in through the blinds and generally getting a soft start to the weekend. But last Saturday I was up early and devouring all the caffeine in sight. I had our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S and plans for a drive through the local canyons.

Typically, I'll take my personal car out with a group of Acura Integra owners (you'll recall that I'm an Integra owner, too). We'll meet up at a gas station, talk, grab a snack, check our oil levels and head out for 100 miles of back-road shenanigans. Of course, the FR-S was also built for exactly this activity.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: 86fest

August 14, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Half the fun of owning a car like our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S is taking it to car shows. This past weekend was the second annual 86fest in Fontana, California. Our FR-S was displayed with several other supercharged cars, all boosted by Innovate Motorsports and it was a great opportunity to meet some fellow gearheads and talk shop.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Real-World Acceleration

August 8, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Recently, we tested the acceleration of our Innovate Motorsports supercharger-equipped long-term 2013 Scion FR-S. A handful of commenters seemed perplexed by the fact the 0-60 time didn't see an even-larger improvement compared to the baseline non-supercharged run.

As explained in the original Track Tested piece, traction was an issue. And when it comes to 0-60 times, traction is king.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Appropriate Power

August 8, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Anyone following our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S will know that I was a fan of its overall performance from day one. Yes, I realize the engine was unimpressive from a numbers standpoint, but it was balanced with the rest of the car.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Innovate Motorsports Supercharger Kit Acceleration

August 7, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

After we dyno-tested the Innovate Motorsports supercharger kit now installed on Project FR-S, we made another visit to the test track to run acceleration numbers.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: FR-S on GMR. With Supercharger

July 31, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Our 2013 Scion FR-S has a supercharger.

I already liked this corner-carving machine before. It's superbly-balanced with spot-on steering and plenty of grip thanks to our long-termer's wider, stickier tires.

Now that it has honest power, everywhere on the tach, I like it even more.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Needs Brake Cooling

July 25, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

After I returned home from my weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, I swapped its tracky brake pads back for the stock ones. If you use track pads on the street, they'll eat your rotors alive. This is because aggressive pads never warm up to operating temperature on the street, and when cold they are very abrasive.

In the process of swapping in the stock pads, I noticed signs of what I experienced while on track, that the brakes got rather hot. Above is the melted driver side front caliper dust boot. See others below. Keep in mind that this happened with stock power and street tires, though it is true that Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a track that's hard on brakes. More power and/or stickier tires like R-compounds (never mind dedicated track tires) would exacerbate the brake heat situation considerably.

There's not a lick of air that makes it way to the FR-S's brakes. There are no vents in the wheelwell liner, and the little spat that deflects air away from the front tires also deflect air from the brakes.

It's also got pillar-vane style rotors which have generally poor airflow pumping characteristics (manufacturers use them because they are not directional so the same part can be used on both sides, and they have good NVH characteristics).

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Innovate Motorsports Supercharger Kit Dyno-Tested

July 24, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Everyone wants "apples to apples" or at least they should. It's the only way to go.

The day before the Innovate Motorsports supercharger kit was installed on Project FR-S, our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, I visited Church Automotive Testing in Wilmington, California. The boss man there, Shawn Church, performed several pulls and established a baseline on our car, stock save for its Apexi catback exhaust.

Immediately after the supercharger kit was installed the next day, I again rolled straight to Church Automotive Testing. Several pulls were performed and the car's stabilized, supercharged output obtained.

Same car, same dyno, same dyno operator, same methodology, same weather, even the same 91 octane fuel in the tank. Identical apples all around.

Here's what we found.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Innovate Motorsports Supercharger Kit Installed

July 18, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Back in May 2012, when I first drove a pre-production example of the 2013 Scion FR-S, Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada described to me in some detail the protracted genesis of its flat-four FA20 power plant. That they wanted 100 hp/liter. That Subaru's FB-series wasn't going to cut it in its then-current form. That Toyota handed the next generation of their D-4S direct injection technology to Subaru, their competitor, in order to make it happen. That it had a big ol' torque hole right smack in the middle of the rev range.

Actually, Tada-san never mentioned that last bit. I discovered it for myself the first time I touched the FR-S's throttle to the carpet. Such a terrific chassis and little punch to really exploit it.

We've been angling to remedy that for some time in Project FR-S, our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S. The other day the stars aligned, and Innovate Motorsports got busy installing their twin screw supercharger kit onto it. This is a bolt-on, belt-driven positive displacement supercharger kit that promises a bump in peak power, sure, but more importantly a slug of Tabasco in the midrange. You know, where the FR-S actually needs it.

The company originally told us installation would take four hours. It took less than three hours. Bolting this much power onto a highly-tuned normally aspirated engine has never been this easy.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Track Weekend

July 17, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

The right way to set up a car is with a tire pyrometer, an open track and lots and lots of time. We would do precisely none of those things for this trip. This can only mean total failure! Right?

Nah. Turns out the Scion FR-S's handling is better than ever, both on the road and track. The alignment in its current state (front: -1.9 degrees camber, zero toe; rear: -1.7 degrees camber, 1/16" total toe in), even if not dialed to said max optimum-ness, has yielded more communication, grip (as measured by my buttometer) and progression than it had last time it was here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: En Route To Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

July 16, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

With new suspension bits installed (here and here), a fresh alignment and a Friday morning yawning before us, I pointed our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S northwards. Bitter Dan (you might recall his orange Lotus Exige) and I would once again take fun roads on our way to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for another track weekend. Unlike last time, today the skies were clear and the day young.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Hancha Adjustable Rear Lower Control Arms

July 5, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

With the front end camber needs of Project FR-S, our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, handled, we turned to the rear suspension. It's a multi-link layout back there, so its camber loss with roll is less precipitous than in the front. As such, the rear won't need as much additional negative camber as does the front. But like the front suspension, there's no factory provision to dial in camber in the rear.

To right this wrong, Hancha developed a proprietary adjustable rear lower control arm (LCA) that's made right here in the US.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Hanchey Vehicle Technologies Camber Plates

July 4, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Zero degrees of camber. That's the factory spec on our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S. And being that its front end is underpinned by MacPherson struts, we see fruit, and it is hanging low. This is because in roll, struts inherently tend to gain positive camber more quickly than do, say, double wishbones. To offset this effect and to "stand the tire up" more in hard cornering, you want to increase the suspension's static negative camber.

No problem, I'll just crawl underneath and dial in some more negative camber by adjusting the FR-S's factory eccentric bol- [record screeeetches]- not so fast, there, zippy. Toyota/Subaru, for reasons that will baffle mankind for eternity, decided not to include provisions for adjusting camber on their rear-drive sports car that will likely become one of the most common sights at track days and autocrosses for years to come.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Forced Induction

June 28, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

You think you're frustrated about the lack of forced induction on our Project FR-S? Believe me, you're not alone. I won't get into the excruciating nitty gritty specifics as to why it's taking so long, but I'd like to address some of the "but there are so many kits available!" refrains.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Adding Camber

June 26, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S recently hit Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca again to exercise a few new bits that were installed recently (previous track trip:Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3 and Pt 4). Which bits, you ask? If you recall, the FR-S has no factory provision to adjust camber, which is sort of a mystery considering this car's mission.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Fifty-Fifty

June 24, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

What would make the 2013 Scion FR-S better? Fifty more horsepower and 50 more pound-feet of torque, that's what. And if forced to choose, I'd take the torque. Just like Daft Punk's new record shows us that disco never went away (it just hid out in other subgenres for 30 years), torque never goes out of style.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Stellar Handling

June 21, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

I continue to be impressed with the handling of our 2013 Scion FR-S.

There's the sharp and perfectly intuitive steering fed to you via a wheel that feels so right in your hands. And the precision with which the suspension works as you attack corners.

In short, the FR-S is simply a blast to point through turns.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Aftermarket Exhaust Looks Loud but Isn't

June 18, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Noisy Tires

June 17, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: A Proper Tachometer

April 17, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Maybe it was because I had spent most of the week driving mid-size sedans. But when I sat down in our 2013 Scion FR-S and fired it up for the drive home, I realized, yeah, this is how it's supposed to be.

What was I talking about?

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: 15,000 Miles

April 10, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: BRZEdit Reflash Tuning By MP Tuning

March 13, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

That's Mitch Pederson of MP Tuning getting busy with the BRZEdit ECU reflashing software on our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S. This is significant, as BRZEdit clears a huge hurdle in successfully implementing forced induction.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Faster Than Ever

March 7, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Two easy steps made our 2013 Scion FR-S faster than ever. Here's what you need to do:

Step One: Drive to Oregon. When I drove our long-term FR-S up to Corvallis, OR, I had the distinct pleasure of filling up with 93 octane. Well, someone else actually did the filling (crazy state law), but I enjoyed the fruits of that labor. In California the best fuel we can get is 91 octane. And 91 octane buh-lows.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Needs New Brake Pads

March 6, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

This is not entirely unexpected. The brake pads in our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S are done. There's still meat left on them, but like any meat that's been overcooked, they feel like plywood now.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: A Grown-Up Play Date

March 5, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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?"

See full article and comment.

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Track Day Road Trip, Part IV

February 7, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Track Day Road Trip, Part III

February 1, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Track Day Road Trip, Part II

January 28, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: This Shifts Better

January 18, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

There's a difference between the shift feels in our BRZ and FR-S. It's subtle, but it exists. The FR-S six-speed simply engages its six forward gears more smoothly than the BRZ, with less clunk and resistance from the gearbox. In theory, we shouldn't be experiencing this since both cars share the same transmission.

This article from our long-time pal SubyTrojan doesn't shed much light on why we (or maybe just I) feel a difference. Maybe it's as simple as a difference in trans fluid. But it's an interesting analysis, nerdish on the powertrain details and on the development of the new transmission that sprung from the ashes of the old Lexus IS200 gearbox.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 12,500 miles

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Track Day Road Trip, Part I

January 15, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

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

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Hits All the Right Notes

July 31, 2012

FRS prof.jpg

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

See full article and comment.

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

July 24, 2012


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.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: It Still Works After All This Time

July 12, 2012


It's been almost eight months since I got my first seat time in this car. Okay, it was a BRZ prototype that I drove late last year, but close enough. Back then, my time was limited, just a handful of laps around Subaru's proving grounds. Yet even then, it felt like the sports car we had been hoping for.

I was hesitant to call it great until I got behind the wheel again. I also wanted to see if there was much of a difference between the BRZ and FR-S, not to mention what my fellow editors thought about the two cars.

Now that I've seen the various comments on our FR-S, I'm confident my initial instincts were right. And after driving our FR-S last night, I'm glad to see that all the things that felt right about that BRZ prototype are still here. The precise steering, the predictable chassis and the mechanical shifter are all intact. It's hard to pick out the tuning changes of the FR-S versus the BRZ, so I'll wait until I can drive them back to back to compare.

Minor differences aside, this car is a winner. If you're worried about getting your doors blown off by a V6 Camry then this isn't the car for you.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: I'm a Believer

July 11, 2012

Scion FR-S R34.jpg

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

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Singular

July 09, 2012

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

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Generations

July 06, 2012


In so many ways, our FR-S reminds me of the earlier Toyota Celicas. Sure, it's lighter, faster and better in every metric, but I think its soul remains intact.

My brother is a Celica guy, much the same way I am/was/will-be-again a Mustang guy. In 1984, he picked-up a new Celica GT-S that looked exactly like this one (louvres and all). I admit that as a teenager, I thought it was pretty rad. He loved that car, polished it endlessly and treated it well. It was stolen and recovered, survived two accidents and when he finally sent it out to pasture, he had logged 240,000 miles on the original engine. He then bought a 2002 Celica GT-S and now has 145,000 miles on it.

Had we been born 30 years later, I think the Scion FR-S would be his car of choice today. It's very capable as a sports car, yet relatively easy to live with. It's fast enough to have fun, but not so much to be a danger or menace. It's a lust-worthy object that isn't out of reach and it's what Toyota has been in need of for a long time. It is, in my estimation, the reincarnation of the Celica.

Scion positions it in the lineage of the Toyota Corolla GTS (AE86), but my associations with Celicas past have me resisting that notion. In any case, I think my brother should consider an FR-S if he ever decides to unload his current Celica. Unless, of course, a new Celica or Supra is on the way.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 2,007 miles

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Closest Rival?

July 05, 2012


Subaru BR-Z notwithstanding, I contend that the closest competitor to the Scion FR-S is the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Price-wise, they're right in the same ballpark, but in other areas, each car has its advantages and drawbacks. Which to choose?

The Genesis Coupe is easier to live with, I think. It has a bigger trunk, a better interior and is quieter in many respects. If you go on numbers alone, it's practically a dead heat. Acceleration, braking and handling are virtually a tie (when compared to a 2.0T R-Spec Genesis we recently tested, not the base 2.0T).

The FR-S is my choice, though. It's more fun to drive and that is the top selling point for a car I'd purchase. I don't find the Genesis as confidence-inspiring as the Scion and I think the FR-S benefits from more attractive exterior styling when compared to the facelifted Hyundai.

But let's not forget about my beloved Mustang. For around the same price, you can get a 305 hp V6. With a redesign on the horizon, the next Mustang could be a game-changer, but this could be wishful thinking on my part.

What would you pick?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 1,970 miles

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S vs. 2011 Scion tC Track Tested

June 26, 2012


Edmunds.com tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "IL Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Part of the appeal of the 2013 Scion FR-S -- and its twin, the Subaru BRZ -- is that it is such a departure from what we're used to from Scion (and Subaru). After all, before the FR-S, the most exciting, dynamic, stylish car and the closest thing Scion had to a driver's car was the Scion tC, which we last tested as a 2011 model.

The 2011 Scion tC had 180 horsepower routed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S makes 200 hp and pushes it to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Scion Talks Torsen Limited Slip Differential

June 23, 2012

FR-S Torsen.jpg

We all know that our new Long Term 2013 Scion FR-S has a Torsen Limited Slip differential. And we all know that that's a good thing. But do FR-S drivers?

For a number of enthusiasts the FR-S is going to be their first rear-wheel drive car and as such, they're going to encounter some new, and really fun, dynamic differences. Scion's taken up the job of teaching them what's what.

See full article and comment.

2013 Scion FR-S: Patience is a Virtue

June 18, 2012


That's a virtue I sorely lack. I detest waiting for things, be they FedEx Ground, video game release dates, federally mandated waiting periods or break-in periods for cars/motorcycles. Thursday afternoon, the sign-out sheet made its way to my cubicle and I was offered our new Scion FR-S. There was a problem though. It still had 100 miles remaining in its break-in period.

The thing is, I really don't drive all that much on the weekends. I'll generally log more miles in the early-morning hours on my sportbike then collapse on the bed when I get home. But the curiosity surrounding the FR-S got the better of me.

I left my bike alone in the parking lot in order to push past the 1,000-mile break-in. I took my usual canyon route, keeping the revs right around the 4,000 mark. I thought it'd be torturously boring, but to my surprise, this little coupe is a ton of fun to toss into the curves.

The tires are incredibly loud as you approach the limit of adhesion, howling like a dog when a police car goes code 3 in my neighborhood. If you rush the steering by just a little bit, the steering wheel lightens up and you're greeted by a very manageable amount of understeer. Get the timing and speed right, and the FR-S starts to feel lighter -- tip-toeing on the contact patches – and glides right down to the apex. Feed the throttle in right before the apex and the tail just barely starts to swing to the outside.

See full article and comment.

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests