Scion FR-S - Long Term #1
The Toyobaru trio (Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S, and Toyota GT86) have received accolades across all of car journalism. Since their introduction they have been lauded as some of the best driver’s cars money can buy without breaking the bank. Here at Everyday Driver we’ve featured the car five times over the years and like it so much that it joined our Greatest Hits comparison with the EcoBoost Mustang. Now we are taking it one step further by adding one to our long-term fleet.
That’s right, Todd bought himself a 2013 Scion FR-S. This particular FR-S was among the first batches shipped and sold in the US. Two and a half years and 38,000 miles later it joins the Everyday Driver stable. Since Todd first told me about his purchase he has been an extremely happy boy and gets giddy when the car comes up in conversation. So when he invited me to spend an afternoon with it on one of my favorite canyon roads how could I turn him down? Especially considering my wife and I almost bought an FR-S when they were launched.
I pull into the parking lot above Utah’s beautiful Sundance resort and it’s impossible to miss the FR-S in “Hot Lava” orange, exactly the color my wife and I were going to get. Todd throws me the key, and now I’m giddy! As I climb in I remember how surprisingly roomy it feels inside. I have an ample amount of head and legroom. Looking around the cabin I notice this one has the optional BeSpoke Audio infotainment system. But I didn’t come here to test the stereo so I’ll leave it off. I shift into first and we’re off. Many people have complained about the 200 hp saying it isn’t enough; I’d wager a majority of them have either never driven one of these or they are missing the point. It’s no Hellcat but it’s no Prius either. As I accelerate I can’t help but notice how responsive the throttle is. It is so linear and manageable it makes the GTI we recently drove feel laggy, this is the joy a naturally aspirated engine. And it loves to use all of its 7500 rpm range.
Canyon roads like these are where this car really shines. With each corner you feel as if you can push the car a little further. The grip is astonishing. I know it’s helped by the Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires put on by the previous owner to replace the low-grip Eco-tires that come standard. The steering is also superb. It may be electric but it offers feedback like the best hydraulic steering racks and feels as good as electric steering found in the Porsche 991 Carrera. Aiding the steering are the seats. They have the right amount of side bolstering to hold you snug in place and allow you to focus on driving, but aren’t so aggressive they won’t work for long road trips or women in skirts. For some they might be a bit tight, but for my tall and thin frame they are just right.
The way the FRS communicates with the driver not only offers a fun driving experience, but can also teach owners how to manage a car’s weight and carry momentum through corners. This is a rare find in modern cars, and only duplicated in the Miata, a car so known for superb driving that it spawned its own race series.
We are very excited to have this car in our midst and let you know what they are like to live with day in and day out, in rain, shine, sleet, and even snow. Todd also plans on tracking the car and modifying it, all of which will end up on camera in future updates. In the mean time I’m going to get back to this canyon road and try and remember why my wife and I didn’t buy one.