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Performance Coupe

Scion’s new FR-S is sure to attract younger drivers seeking fun.
By Tom Crosby

Scion moves from trendy to downright fun with the introduction of the 2013 FR-S Scion, a high-performance sports coupe for younger car buyers. FR-S means “front-engine, rear-wheel drive, sport,” and during a recent test drive, the vehicle performed and looked sharp.

Scion

The sporty FR-S boasts a sporty interior and exterior, handles well, and is priced to attract younger drivers. Scion USA photo

Toyota manufactures Scions and partnered with Subaru on the 2.0-liter boxer engine that is mounted mid-ship for an even weight balance. The car generated nice pep when we used the manual paddles that were mounted on the steering wheel to wrest every muscle from the automatic transmission. In sport-driving mode, the FR-S showed responsiveness and nimble handling in tight curves and corners.

Dynamic Rev Management ramps up engine speed to match rpm’s to gearshifts on downshifts. In sport-driving mode, gears are held longer at higher revs before up shifting. It’s a fun car to drive.

Acceleration won’t win contests off the line, but is more than adequate for turns, highway merges, or passing. Mileage might win some contests with a healthy 28-mpg average (automatic transmission). Premium gas is required.

Low to the ground (4.9 inch clearance), outfitted with MacPherson struts up front, and double wishbone suspension in back, the ride provides steady road feedback like a sports car should, but never rattles the chassis or steering wheel.

Inside, this two-seater–with its nicely bolstered front seats–yields ample space. However, calling it a two-seater may be a misnomer because there are rear seats, and the seat back can be folded flat for more cargo room. But the rear seating space is painfully tight, even for children.

The tachometer in the center of the dashboard invites matching a throaty engine growl to 6,000-plus rpm while in sport-driving mode. Rev limits can be programmed. Dashboard controls are small, especially for the Pioneer radio. A circular button adjusts radio frequencies and USB choices. Racecar-style aluminum pedals add style.

Outside, the look is undeniably sporty with high wheel haunches, large front grill bracketed by cats-eye headlamps, raked windshield, and sloping rear. Dual chrome exhausts add to profile panache.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the FR-S its highest rating of “good” in frontal offset, side, and roof strength tests.

It’s also worth noting that the price on the FR-S is less than similar sport coupes currently on the market.

Like: Handling, power, sporty interior, looks, price
Dislike: Rear seats/trunk
Bottom line: FR-S will appeal to young buyers who want sporty performance

Tom Crosby is vice president of communications for AAA Carolinas. He is based in Charlotte, N.C.

Jan/Feb 2013 Issue

Tahoe Fact File

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