Test Drive: Scion FR-S

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I figured we’d test drive a Scion FR-S since Annie’s in the market for a new car. In general, this car runs about 25k and there are a ton of reviews out there. This car favors handling over power, and the main highlight is the styling IMHO.

I think it’s one of the better looking cars that have come out recently, and boy, it looks great in red. It’s a a 2.0L 4 cylinder boxer engine, and is focused on bringing the feeling of a high performance handling car into a small affordable and beautifully styled package. Unfortunately, the car lacks power. Put bluntly—it doesn’t have the bite to match the bark.

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Power
Well, damn. This is where the FR-S is missing the mark. This car handles great (more on this later), but hardly has enough power to wow you. The shifting and transmission are great, but the engine is seriously underpowered. With only 200hp, you’ve really got to rev it up to get anything. Despite how well this car handles, the problem is that you’re going to be left behind in the corners as well as the straight aways. The FR-S goes 0-60 in 7.7 seconds. Ouch.

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Handling
This is where the FR-S excels. The handling is tight and feels almost related to a S2000. Turning, braking and the overall balance of the car is superb. It handles the way you’d expect. It’s predictable, communicative, and sharp.

FR S Interior

Comfort
The seats were actually really comfortable. They’re what you’d expect for a car with this kind of styling. The driving position is sporty, nice thick bolsters, and slung low. I will note that the ride is a little harsher than I’d personally like. You really can feel every nook and cranny on the road. This may be undesirable for some folks.

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Style
Okay, the FR-S looks awesome in person. It’s sexy and looks great from every angle. It’s well thought out. The only problem is that I think there’s a little false advertising—the body says “I go fast”, but the reality is that it’s going to probably get spanked by most sedans. This is contradiction I struggle with the most.

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Conclusion
The FR-S is an excellent car and has received a lot of praise from all the car reviewers. It looks great, handles fairly well, but the power is really disappointing. My honest opinion is that you can probably do better for the price. I’d rather spend $20k for a S2000. If you need more power, I’d try to pick up a 2005 Boxster S instead for about $27k.

Not to jump on the bandwagon, but this car really needs a turbo. To me, a car with this styling should hit 0-60 in under 6 seconds. Just to give you some context, a Mini Cooper S does 0-60 in 6.8s.

If you don’t care about speed, this is a great car. Just be prepared to get spanked by pretty much everything.