Boomerang Basement Bolides — Third Place: Scion FR-S

Posted on 07. Aug, 2012 by in Auto News

"This car," Derek Kriendler told me when we reached the third gear down Toronto Motorsports Park just before, "is like a GT-R is a man who lives in his mother's basement." He had a point. Some American subcultures practice what I think, as immobile ambition – All those McMansions with no furniture and a double-income couple anxiously hoping someone will think over and impressed by the bridal staircase and moldings. Other subcultures are all about in the streets and show off your clothes, your trip or your wife.

The men of Generation Y are not marry hopeful small starter wives, buying promising starter homes, and with hopeful small parties the way their parents and grandparents their Twenty. Instead, they have returned to the stucco-fronted McMansions their teenage years boomerang, so that they can view their student-debt-to-likely-career perspectives money in their spare time. Their culture is a mobile. It's about the house that do not belong to them. Is there a better way to do it than with a $ 25,000 sports car, because Mommy is crazy money paid or late shift at Barnes & Noble record count, mostly spent secretly spinning a Ra Ra Riot hard disk instead of the recommended Diana Krall Christmas album and control Facebook on one of the iPhone? And after 25 years after receiving awards for participation and surfing along on a wave of grade inflation, Gen Y has enough confidence in to a full-cost sports car with a healthy dose of ironic contempt. A Corvette is "trying too hard" and trying too hard is something you just never works, you see.

That is quite a chore social context of the FR-S: all mad tyte JDM Dopeness can finance for $ 425 per month. It's a perfect fit. The problem comes when you see the FR-S in a different context: that of its readily available competition.

In the end it is the Prices Context that determine the fate of the small Toyobaru. At $ 17,500, would the FR-S was the hottest new car have Year. At $ 33,000, it would be in the kind of deep sinkholes dealership, the cars like the normally aspirated 300ZX and Supra used to capture fall.

We opted for the FR-S with two cars that have found a happy home for the $ 24,955 "Scion Pure Price" to introduce your despicable local Toyota dealer, no doubt, as in the first line of a long-added distributor Device List Comparison: The Hyundai Genesis 2.0T R-Spec ($ 24,500) and the Mazda MX-5 PRHT ($ 27,540). The venue, as already mentioned, was Toronto Motorsports Park We shared cars and equipment with our sister company publication Auto Guide for the test. With a "DriftBox" stepped AutoGuide the time trial rider Dave Pratte what he calls "Attack Mode", recording a lap time of 1:26.2 for the FR-S 2.0t and a 1:25.0 for the Genesis R-Spec . Those times were so incredibly good – up to seven seconds better than what had other publications recorded under similar conditions – we do not try to bother to beat them.

Instead, I called my friend, TrackDAZE senior instructor and Camaro Mustang Challenge Champion Colin Jevens to help me, the Scion, Mazda and Hyundai put in their proper places. We have to pack dozens of rounds at the car, compared notes and discussed various arcane aspects of suspension tuning up all around us was wayyyy past and ready to go home. If you are able to have a headline to read, you can see the results of these discussions: The Scion completed what Motor Trend she would probably call "second runner-up" but what TTAC called DFL. Why?

First things first: your humble author Art loves the FR-S. I tried to buy one, too. I like the way it looks, inside and out. I like the proportions, the size, the interior space. I like the sound the boxer four. I even like the Scion brand and philosophy, enough so that I. An FR-S has a GT, get though, in my view, the price difference between the two is non-existent, and plugs the GT more

I wish for personal reasons, a FR-S as well. Nearly thirty years ago, my father lent his girlfriend "sports car", so I could check it out. It looked exactly like this:

That's right: a black bowtie 1984 post Celica GT-S. Black suede bucket seats. Graphic Equalizer. Fender flares. Five-speed manual transmission. HID headlamps. I was not stupid twelve years old, I've had a few cars drove me thanks to my mother easily charmed friends and I knew that the Celica was slow even by the standards of that time. But it looked sooooo cool. The interior was a dark, private cave that could easily contain not one, but three yoga instructors. It can been all show and no go, but the show was pretty good. I could not even bring myself to tell the old man, it was a sled. To this day, I'm pretty sure he thinks it was a Supra.

The FR-S is Dead The Celica GT-S coupe for the modern age. It's stylish, it has a completely darkened cave of the interior, which requires the cellar-dwelling teenager in all of us, and it is likely that popular with the ladies because of its Scion badges and lack of spine-crushing acceleration. If you buy one, just because it is a FR-S, will you have my blessing.

The problem comes when you are to make two comparisons. The first, ironically enough, is this '84 Celica. The Celica had the famous 22R-E Toyota Motor. Keep get it and throw a chain in it from time to time, and that Celica will last forever. The FR-S, however, has a Subaru engine. I do not want a Subaru engine in my FR-S. To some degree, this is like putting a Northstar in a Lexus: hey, it's boring, but now it will explode and ! die I do not want to be an expert on swapping head gaskets. I do not want to do all of my maintenance under the car. I want the engine from the intimate and went last-gen Celica GT-S. Or the turbo engine from the All-Trac in front. In fact, I'd just prefer. JDM one last generation All-Trac, or the Calty-designed bar-of-soap All-Trac, which preceded it Hell, give me a first generation All-Trac. Knowing how much power the '89 All-Trac had? As much as the FR-S. Where is the progress? I want my Toyota in a Toyota engine. I want the car to last forever, with no hassle. It is part of the promise of buying a Toyota. The FR-S, which by the standards, break the promise. When I am ready to do my own head gaskets, I can buy a STi for similar money, boost the boost and humble The FR-S both on the highway and on the racetrack.

Our second comparison place on the track, as if fate wanted it, and that's where the FR-S should . shine It's a great draw, literally. It's nice to direct. It's about as "neutral" as a street car and get it to do what you ask of him. Unless, of course, as what you ask is not contained quickly. The Genesis just eviscerates it. Dave Pratte super-fast lap times prove insufficient, the difference between the two cars. The Genesis much faster down the straights and in the corners, the actual cornering speed is pretty much the same.

The FR-S with a gene-matching two-liter turbo engine – which is, a FR-S that Toyota could easily build in their sleep from the parts bin, and boot eliminating Subaru out of the equation – would be preferable to a Genesis on the track. That would be to have the car. Get the drive train from the last All-Trac, you crank the boost a bit, forget the crap about the focus, and we have a great car, okay?

As delivered, the FR-S is not a great car, and the boxer's fault. Half the time, it may not even have the "Toyobaru" up to speeds where the infamous all-season tire would feel loose track. There is no sense that it makes the rated 200 hp. There are a number of sound and fury signifies that you're talking about a Hyundai, the less costs get passed. Ten rounds in the Hyundai is absolutely spoil your enjoyment FR-S, because the Hyundai simply Engines away anywhere there's a chance to do this, and it can play the '84 Celica game: it's a deep, dark cave Oriental from a closed coupe and it looks sporty from afar. Why buy the FR-S, if the Genesis is available? Because it's a Toyota and thus reliable? Well, it's a Toyota with a Subaru engine.

At this point, if you're part of the FT-86 owners club / clique / Facebook page, you've no doubt constructed an elaborate psychological reaction, such as the FR-S is lighter and more agile, and a far better driver's car than the Genesis, and like a real driver, a man who knows nothing about cars, would like to see really. A real driver would prefer the filet mignon of midcorner adaptability to the high-fructose corn syrup of overboosted turbo.

Guess what? A real driver pulls the Mazda Miata.

Compared with the Miata, the FR-S feels a thousand meters wide and two tons. The view is bleak. The engine feels no stronger than the little four in Mazda and it's not so easy to respond to small changes in the throttle position. The steering sublime, when scanned individually seems a little short of his Miata is. Suddenly, you realize that is not the FR-S, the "Miata coupe" that some Internet players haters it means when the specs came out. It is not so good. A true Miata Coupe would run rings around the FR-S. A true Miata Coupe would FR-S obsolete overnight. It must be made within the FR-S Mazda power as irrelevant as whole career Rick Springfield.

Even before the Miata hardtop but the FR-S is still second best, and in my opinion (although not the opinion of Colin Jevens who believed it a little more fun than the total R-Spec) can not not with the Genesis. It is too slow to beat the Hyundai and limp to the Miata meet. The term "falling between two stools" applies here, but where the Scion is really, in the end, is in last place. Yes, you can mod the hell out and have a great time, but we will show you in a special "Zeroth Place" complement, at the end of this series, there are better alternatives for that, to. It's back to the basement for the future Toyota – Eighty-Six.

Images courtesy Julie Hyde, you know that their objective was not really wants.