Used 2015 Scion FR-S Coupe Review
The 2015 Scion FR-S has sleek styling, rear-wheel drive and sharp handling, all of which make it one of the most appealing and attainable performance cars sold today.
When Scion introduced the FR-S two years ago, this coupe immediately became a hit with driving enthusiasts. Here was a back-to-basics sports car with rear-wheel drive, a light curb weight, excellent balance and an affordable price. Two years later, it still offers just as much excitement and value.
The way the 2015 Scion FR-S (along with its twin, the Subaru BRZ) drives is, no doubt, its biggest party trick. This year, Scion has updated the suspension to give you a more stable and responsive feel while cornering, but we didn't think there was any need for improvement to begin with. The FR-S is still extremely entertaining to drive. It nimbly zips around turns, yet it's not intimidating to drive hard like a lot of high-horsepower, rear-drive coupes can be. The FR-S gets pretty respectable gas mileage, too -- 28 mpg combined with the automatic transmission.
You do have to accept some drawbacks with the 2015 FR-S, though. While its 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine is capable, it lacks the low-end oomph provided by competitors with larger engines. The FR-S can also feel a bit insubstantial in the way it responds to road impacts, and seems noisy during long highway drives. It's not the most practical thing, either. The trunk is relatively small and the rear seats are pretty much useless, even for small children. Basically, it's better to think of the FR-S as a functional two-seater.
Since the 2015 Scion FR-S has two-doors, a 2+2 seating layout and sporty driving dynamics for a relatively low price, it only has a few direct rivals. If you desire stronger acceleration, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Nissan 370Z are viable options, though they aren't quite as nimble as the FR-S and can be considerably more expensive. Or, if practicality weighs more heavily into your decision, you can still have a lot of fun in front-wheel-drive hatchbacks like the Ford Focus ST, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI. Whatever you compare it to, though, the 2015 Scion FR-S stands out as a stylish and elemental small sports car that gives you a great driving experience. It's definitely worth a look.
trim levels & features
The 2015 Scion FR-S is a four-seat coupe that comes in two trim levels.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod integration. The new Release Series 1.0 adds to that with exclusive yellow exterior paint, xenon headlights, an aerodynamic body kit, a performance exhaust, a lowered ride height, keyless ignition and entry and a special steering wheel and shift knob.
Scion doesn't offer any factory options for the FR-S. Instead, there's an array of dealer-installed accessories such as foglights, performance parts and a premium BeSpoke sound system with navigation, voice command, smartphone app integration and Internet radio.
performance & mpg
Powering the rear-wheel-drive 2015 Scion FR-S is a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine generating 200 hp and 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and rev-matched downshifts is an available option.
In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped FR-S sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds -- quick, although not as fast as more powerful but heavier sport coupes. We haven't tested an FR-S with the automatic, but a nearly identical Subaru BRZ equipped with the automatic transmission yielded a slower, 7.9-second 0-60 time.
Standard safety features on the 2015 Scion FR-S include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Scion FR-S came to a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet. That's a respectable distance, though still longer than average for a car with summer tires.
In government crash tests, the FR-S received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side impact safety. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the FR-S received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. It received the second-highest score of "Acceptable" in the IIHS small-overlap frontal-offset test and its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
With its small and moderately powered engine, the 2015 Scion FR-S is not a car built for sizzling straight-line performance. Its 2.0-liter engine revs willingly and lets out a nice little snarl at high rpm, but we're still talking about outright acceleration that's no better than that of a modern V6 family sedan. In Scion's defense, though, moderation is part of the car's design, anyway. It's light and nimble, so you look for excuses to take it for a spin and drive it a little farther or harder than you need to because it's so entertaining. The FR-S defines what sports car driving is all about.
From a practical standpoint, the FR-S fares adequately for long-distance highway travel. It's not loud, exactly, but it certainly isn't serene at higher cruising speeds, either. Most drivers will be pleased with the compliant ride quality, but because of the car's lightweight nature, it can feel somewhat insubstantial compared to bigger and heavier sport coupes.
The cabin of an FR-S isn't exactly luxurious. Scion has made few concessions to style and it's an environment that emphasizes driving, punctuated only by a blend of Toyota and Subaru switchgear and materials. The FR-S's cockpit looks a little bare compared with other compact sports cars in its price range (like the feature-laden Ford Focus ST), yet it also feels like a genuine back-to-basics driver's car. There is a standard touchscreen-based audio system, but we recommend opting for the upgraded BeSpoke system as it includes navigation and smartphone app integration.
The FR-S's front seats offer firm support for hard driving, but remain comfortable over long-distance travel as well. Drivers of just about any size can find a suitable driving position, and the low-profile hood allows an expansive view of the road ahead.
In the backseat, legroom is next to nil, heads bob perilously close to the rear glass and the center tunnel impedes hiproom. Trunk space is also small at 6.9 cubic feet, although folding down that mostly useless backseat expands cargo-carrying abilities considerably.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.