When Toyota introduced the Scion brand in 2002, their goal was to develop a brand that would attract young buyers into the Toyota family. And when Akio Toyoda Toyota’s CEO took over a few years ago, he infused the brand with a new spirit. Toyoda loves fast cars and is a certified test driver for Germany’s famed Nurburgring. Before the creation of the FR-S, Toyoda was quoted as saying, “where is the passion in our lineup?, I want to build a sports car.” Toyoda delivered by developing a partnership with Subaru in a joint venture that resulted in building the 2013 Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ compact rear-wheel-drive sports cars.
Toyota needed the Subaru boxer engine because of its low center of gravity which is ideal for a front-engine rear-drive sports car. The 2013 Scion FR-S uses the Subaru 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower and 151 lb. ft. of torque. Toyota contributed by sourcing its cutting-edge D-4S direct and port injection that comes from the Lexus IS F.
This driver had a chance to take the all-new two-door sports car out on the track earlier this summer on a challenging race circuit. High Plains Raceway is located east of Denver and is a 2.5 mile circuit featuring 15 turns and significant elevation changes. The FR-S was taken on 3 fast laps to check out performance and handling on the challenging curves. This tester came with a six-speed manual transmission that allows the driver better control through the corners.
The Scion FR-S performed as advertised through the tight corners. The FR-S design gives the car a dynamically favorable front-to-rear weight ratio of 53:47 and a low center of gravity comparable to some exotic supercars. Toyota uses a MacPherson strut front suspension while the rear gets a complex multilink setup, with disc brakes on all four corners. The car weighs just 2,800 pounds and utilizes an aluminum hood to save weight.
Get the six-speed manual
On the track, the FR-S was driven hard and under full acceleration, it delivered good punch on the long straightaway. The coupe was able to reach close to 100 mph and felt stable at high speeds. The long stretch of straight road gives way to a series of tight corners where the two-door sports car remained composed and took the turns with very little body roll. The four-wheel-disc brakes didn’t fade and response was immediate and confident.
The six-speed manual gear box performed perfectly with short throws producing quick and accurate shifts going in and coming out of the corners. The electrically assisted steering felt tight and exact and the car went in the direction it was pointed. During the three hard laps, the suspension never bottomed or had a moment when too much speed was an issue. The only complaint about the 2013 Scion FR-S would be its lack of a turbocharger.
An affordable sports car
The 2013 FR-S starts at $24,955 with a six-speed manual transmission, and $26.055 when mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that features paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management technology. The FR-S has EPA-estimated ratings of 34 mpg/highway with the automatic, and 22/30 city/highway mpg with the manual transmission.
The first Scion to offer BeSpoke
This FR-S tester came with the Firestorm Red exterior and a black interior that is an attractive combination. Inside, the Scion FR-S sports 2+2 seating with a fold down rear seats for maximum cargo carrying capability. A leather-trimmed steering wheel is standard and has both tilt and telescopic adjustment. The driver can find a comfortable driving position, but the cockpit feels a bit tight. The FR-S is considered a four-seater, but the rear seat is small and really only big enough for small kids. Consider the sports coupe a two seater with extra cargo space in the back.
The FR-S comes standard with features like an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB 300-watt Pioneer audio system, HD Radio and Bluetooth connectivity. The FR-S is the first Scion to offer a connected multimedia audio system called BeSpoke, powered by Pioneer’s Zypr. When connected to an iPhone, BeSpoke will offer a higher level of connectivity features and personalized content like Facebook, Twitter, and Internet radio.
The Scion FR-S is available in seven colors including Raven, Asphalt, Hot Lava, Argento, Ultramarine, Firestorm and Whiteout. The Scion FR-S is an affordable sports coupe and certainly fun to drive on the road during the week, and especially well-suited for weekends on the track.