Toyota Scion FR-S sports coupe gets mixed notices

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Scion FR-S

Toyota's Scion FR-S sport coupe gets mixed reactions from critics. Image: needoptic/Flickr/CC BY-ND

The much-hyped Scion FR-S is getting mixed reviews from the automotive press. But everyone seems to agree that a buyer will get his or her money’s worth.

Scion FR-S out of the starting gate

Toyota has produced the Scion brand for the North American market since 2002. It is designed to appeal to younger motorists with sporty-but-practical styling and affordable prices. But is it a magic Scion on the road?

According to NBCNews contributor Dan Carney, the FR-S — the designation stands for “front-engine, rear-drive, sport” — is basically a revival of the Toyota Celica. That means it is, according to Carney, “slick-looking, affordable, fuel-efficient and fun.” That is keeping right in line with Scion’s target market.

In fact, he said it was the most fun new car he has driven in recent memory. But not all auto calculators of taste agree.

Inside the FR-S

Although billed as a “two plus two” seater, Carney remarks that only two very tiny people can fit comfortably in the back. He did, however, comment favorably on the simplicity and straight-forwardness of its interior design.

But Derek Kreindler, writing for The Truth About Cars, called the interior “really cheap.” He does, however, acknowledge that the interior is one way Toyota was able to keep the price affordable.

On the road

According to Carney, the horizontally opposed Subaru flat-four 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine has a familiar note, reminiscent of the Celica.

Justin Kaehler, writing for Ask Men, however, compared its rev to that of a weed-whacker.

It packs plenty of power for a small engine, says Carney, and that’s a good thing. The torque, he added, however, is merely adequate.

Kreindler, who test drove the 2013 FR-S in an urban environment, said the engine performed well enough. But it was not to the level of hype the Toyota-Subaru collaboration has elicited from other critics, he added.

Kaehler characterized his driving experience as simply average. No great gripes, but nothing to write home about, either. He deemed that it “feels more Corolla than Supra.”

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On the track

When it comes to drifting, and other hopefully off-road fun, however, Kaehler says, the FR-S shows its stuff.

He wrote:

“Doughnuts, languid slides, J-turns — the FR-S handles it all with aplomb. We even dare say the car enjoys getting sideways… In essence, the FR-S is a street-legal track car.”

That may not be the most important consideration for buyers looking for an affordable family vehicle or a commuter workhorse, however.

Price tag

The 2013 Scion Toyota FR-S sells for just under $25,000. Not too shabby for a reliable and sporty car that can also preform respectably on the street or on the track.

Carney says buyers will want to change the tires out immediately, however. That will certainly add a bit to the outlay for the vehicle. He said the Scion FR-S leaves the showroom on “the hardest, least-grippy economy car tires, seemingly straight off the Prius.” The factory tires are especially useless in the rain, he added.


The Truth About Cars
Ask Men

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