Created with a youthful purpose, the Scion brand decided to have a little fun when it launched the FR-S sports coupe in 2013. A recent test drive of the 2015 FR-S confirmed that it’s still lots of fun to drive and well suited for drivers with a bit more spring in their step.
FR-S stands for front-engine rear-wheel drive (RWD) sport, making it the first Scion configured in such a way. Considered the mark of a true sports car, RWD pushes rather than pulls a vehicle. Exceptional balance and a low center of gravity factor in as well.
If you’ve seen a model that looks similar but not exactly like the FR-S, you’re not mistaken. A joint development between Subaru and Toyota, the FR-S has a sister model, the Subaru BRZ. A 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine that really roars powers both and produces 200 horses. It earns an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 25/34 miles per gallon (mpg) when paired with the optional six-speed automatic transmission and 22/30 mpg with the six-speed manual transmission. I drove the automatic and averaged 26.8 mpg.
The engine’s compact size and flat shape allow it to be mounted mid-ship and extremely low, giving the car a favorable front-to-rear weight ratio and low center of gravity, i.e. it hugs the road, curves included. It’s also low to the ground, which made getting in and out a bit of a struggle, even for a shorty like me.
Adding to its performance, the automatic transmission featured Dynamic Rev Management technology that quickly raised the engine speed to help match engine revs to gear ratios on downshifts. Improving handling, MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone system in the rear complement the car’s low weight.
On the inside, bolstered front seats and a leather-trimmed tilt and telescopic steering wheel continued the sporty theme, while the rear seat folded down flat, creating flexible space. However, the manually adjustable front seats were a bit clunky.
Other standard creature comforts included an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD/USB 300-watt maximum output Pioneer audio system, air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, and Bluetooth connectivity.
For an extra $1,199, the test model included a connected multimedia audio system called BeSpoke that allows owners to connect to iPhones and add personal content to the onboard infotainment system like Aha Internet radio with 1000 free stations.
Standard safety features included six airbags—dual-stage advanced driver- and front-passenger airbags, front-seat-mounted airbags, and side-curtain airbags. Like all Scions, the test model came with the Star Safety System that included Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control, Brake Assist, the Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
Launched with Generation X in mind, Scion stepped up its profile with the FR-S, a sports coupe for a new generation.
The no haggle or “pure price” cost for the 2015 FR-S starts at $25,670 with a manual transmission and $26,770 for the automatic. The as-tested MSRP came to $30,428.
Sí: The FR-S is super fun to drive and has a great engine rumble.
No: Ingress and egress are more suitable for younger folks and radio presets on the 6.1-inch touchscreen were twitchy.