Off-Track Review: 2013 Scion FR-S

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by in Auto News

Editor's note: not rated TTAC cars do TTAC reviewers. The reviews can be as varied as the reviewers are, and they express their views independently. Received due to the high interest of the FR-S, we have a whole group of TTAC reviewers in the car, and we're not done yet.

Alex's first look at the pre-production Scion FR-S had a few feathers in the comments always disheveled. Then came Derek discussion of the hype around the car and drive his disappointing, and yet more feathers were bent wrong. Now Jack had a go in the decomposition of the FR-S on the track (its natural environment, if not the car), and it's basically like burning chicken was in a snow blower.

So while the small Toyobaru sits in the middle of the crossfire of angry verbiage, which is like so completely not what usually happens around here, I'll belly up to the bar. We had the launch event, we had comparo the track, I had the FR-S for a week, in order to evaluate it as a daily driver, and one thing immediately:

"Make no mistake, it is a good car." -Derek Kreindler
"First things first:. Way your humble author loves the FR-S" -Jack Baruth

Unlike my colleagues, I would like the error simply means that I like to avoid the car in the middle of a discussion of its weaknesses and shortcomings. This method seems to be wrong in a lot of attention, including allegations that TTAC anti-FR-S is led – we are not.

Instead, I put my general conclusion at the very beginning, in 72-point font, so you can not possibly miss. This is a good car, and I liked it …

finally.

First thoughts:
Five minutes or 50 feet: That's all it takes to fall head-over-heels for the MX-5. I loved her little red Mazda roadster so much I went right on craigslist and start hunting for used, temporarily forget that shopping for drop-tops should not be a priority, if your wife is 38 weeks pregnant. Oops.

Not so with the FR-S. Those of you in a position to test drive or a spin at a friend's buying new hooks and have walked away feeling quite disappointed you are not alone. My first reaction when winding from the 2.0L boxer, to paraphrase Katie Holmes on her wedding night, "Is this all?"

Twice the torque peak – and in between craters – makes the FR-S is a little weird to go stop and go. It has decent punch off the line, but then you're through a wasteland with little to encourage you to forward revving. Things pick up a little towards redline, but the 6-7/10ths mid-range (where the MX-5 is a pleasure) is something missing.

What's more, I could not really pay attention to fall for the engine either. It was loud and somewhat tasteless, like – oh, one example at random from: this. Frankly, the whole first five minutes was a bit of a disappointment. But I persevered.

Inner Space:
Things that make a good job? The seats are fantastic. The interior is very cheap, but it is also sparse and clear: no steering wheel buttons accidentally change radio stations during a peak.

The sizing feels right, not quite as small as a car chuck able bounceback MX-5, but cheap and easy, like an early integration or 240SX. What more, if you do not fit in a MX-5, you will probably fit in this car – it's big enough, and the roof rising high enough to accommodate a helmet.

Forward visibility is quite good, are low curbs, and the rear view is totally ok if your mirrors are properly adjusted and. 'Confidence in the brevity of your car And then there are those, kid-size back seats: think perfect for me, would you, with a little hellion on the way.

Family Values:
Not even close. First, pull up a pregnant woman in and out of the front passenger seat does not win you any points shopping. Second, rear-facing child seats are the size of Volkswagen Beetles these days: cramming one is behind the passenger seat Save your spouse needs in the glove compartment. Child seats will be fine, but that is not necessarily the ideal young second family car in the early stages of raising children.

Tofu Delivery Rating:
As food-getter, the FR-S is good. It has a trunk, not a hatchback for chassis stiffness reasons and only seven cubic meters, you'd better play Tetris. For larger objects, do the seats fold down, apparently the marketing department advertises its effectiveness in loading up a set of race tires and wheels for the track.

Unfortunately, there is a relative issue. Taking back the empties on a Thursday puzzle had left me I never make with my WRX: I could not shut the truck. Some careful reorganization did the trick, but there is certainly a limit to the FR-S's trunk volume: Nowhere near a major practical advantage over the Miata.

Image:
Sorry, I mean "MX-5". I know that currently the correct nomenclature for the small roadster Mazda scripted "Miata" was seen as too girly. Here is an advantage for the FR-S is then: in public, it is a dorifto machine, not some limp-wristed mincing mobile.

Granted, the Miata could minces through the corners very well, and I care less care about their supposed "Girl's car" image anyway. But then there are those who care about that sort of thing, so maybe the imaginary blemish was ever too much for you.

Downside to this is the V6 Mustang is currently the automotive industry catch-all du jour. "Why not a V6 Mustang?" Why not?

Here are two reasons: It is a Mustang, and it's a V6. Ford pony car will not work for everyone, and as good as the I-can't-believe-it-is-not-butter V6, it is still seen as a lite option. Someone will inevitably ask, why not buy the V8 version as well, if you go for the FR-S, will inevitably ask someone why not buy the V6 Mustang.

Fun-to-drive:
Either way, took place on Saturday evening my Canadian Tire, the purchase of a cordless weed eater for my small suburban lawn. The car park is open in the evenings and quite an impromptu car show had emerged: Oldsmobile 442s, some Mopar Iron, a Volvo 122s – a very mixed bag.

Just a couple of guys shooting the breeze about her definitely-non-machine hall. I walked through just admire, listen and nod, and found myself in a bit of humor to go for a ride.

I took the long way home after fiddling with the FR-S, the traction control system (Engage Sport mode, then press and hold the traction control button for another 2-3 seconds). The car was as it always was. I pushed harder. It got better.

Here, finally, caning the FR-S along the curve, things started to click. It's not the second coming of Christ sports car, but it sure works when you thrash out the bejesus out of him.

Find Greatness:
Part of the deal with the old AE-86 is that everyone forgets what a piece of junk that is indeed a lot of fun to flog car. Change it however, and things start getting interesting.

On the last track day, I have a FR-S owners on Dunlop Star Specs was pretty easy to hold with powerful machines. How? He had replaced a brake upgrade from an STI. Looked like fun. Did it look like more fun than MX-5, which was stacked with Hoosiers on a mini-trailer? Uh …

Click here to view the embedded video.

Oh, and there's this. Want to offer the power of the manufacturer is not the bat? No problemo. This turbo kit is a nice smooth power curve and still using stock injectors. No need to overnight parts from Japan either – these guys are in Ohio.

Reliability:
Buying a car the first year is always a bit of a crap-shoot. The Miata is buggered with early-nose crank issues. From leaky taillights to speed fitment problems to faulty panel gap idle, the FR-S, had what can charitably be called teething problems. Here's a list.

Even still, I would recommend this car? Let's see: There is not a better drive than the Miata, but it work and you'll find the rewards that it is bound to aftermarket support for most of the questions (the clutch shooting is terrible, but the community is very true be that a) there is enough space. just pip the practicality meter Add this to the quite reasonable fuel consumption – although premium is required – and sure, it's worth a good hard look.

But so is the 'Stang, and so is the MX-5, and then a' Speed3, and so is an Abarth, and so is the surprisingly good Genesis Coupe. No two ways about it: We are living in a golden age of cheap motoring. The FR-S is a good choice, but it's not easy. None of them are.

Scion Canada unless tested the car and insurance.