Sometimes things require a second chance, especially if the first impression didn’t go so well. That’s certainly the case this week with my tester – the 2014 Scion FR-S.
Last year I drove the twin of the FR-S, the Subaru BRZ, and I did not appreciate this car. It made me feel old and uncomfortable, like no other car before had in fact. Make no mistake, the Scion FR-S is a car aimed at the young driver, but upon further consideration, I saw its merits and grew to appreciate it, even if I’d never buy one for myself.
For the 2014 model year, little has changed from the 2013 version. And really, there’s negligible difference between the FR-S and the BRZ.
This compact sports coupe is small but uses its diminutive stature to its advantage. The low profile is part of the sex appeal of the FR-S. Scion and Subaru set out to make an affordable sports car and they certainly succeeded. With a gorgeous streamlined look the FR-S certainly looks the part of a sports car. From the aggressive-looking front end to the downright sporty back end (complete with spoiler), the FR-S seems ready for some hot rodding.
Under the hood, there’s only a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder “boxer style” engine. Much like the rest of the FR-S this smallish engine outperforms its numbers. With 200 horsepower output, the FR-S performs more like a car with far more power than that. It’s aided by a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. A manual transmission is an option for those wanting a true sports car experience. But what really impresses is the front to back weight ratio combined with its lightweight. Combine that with responsive steering and the FR-S excels on twists and turns and is quite fun to drive.
In a straight away, the FR-S loses its appeal as it’s not fast off the line, but in lower gears on a winding road, the rear-wheel drive FR-S becomes one of the most fun vehicles I’ve driven in a while.
Inside, space is limited, even in the front row. There is a “back seat” in name only. Even my 12-year-old wouldn’t fit back there. The back seat of the FR-S is really nothing more than an extra area of storage. The front seats feature racing-style seating, which I don’t enjoy. The wrap around seating hugs tight and constricts my shoulders. Anyone over 200 pounds or six feet will have a difficult time getting in or out of this car. But, again, the Scion FR-S is aimed at the younger drivers.
Those who are into the tuner cars will thoroughly enjoy the FR-S. And, Scion has one of the most active custom accessory markets around, so you can add your own personal flare and style to the FR-S.
Thanks to its sleek exterior and smallish engine, the FR-S boasts good fuel economy. It has an EPA rating of 25 mpg/city and 34 mpg/hwy. In a week’s worth of mostly urban driving, I only used a half tank of fuel and averaged almost 29 mpg. So, unlike more revved up sports cars, the Scion FR-S will offer a fun, exhilarating driving experience while sipping gas.
The FR-S comes with only one trim option, which is typical of the Scion brand. Instead, Scion offers several add ons as optional equipment. The Scion FR-S has a base price of $25,800. My tester had a few options including a premium audio system, rear spoiler and fog lights. Final MSRP of my tester was $29,742.
Upon further review, the Scion FR-S still made me feel old (at age 41) but it also provided me with a fun week of driving. It’s obvious why this small sports coupe appeals to a younger demographic, but with a sports-car like driving performance and an affordable price tag it even can win over those of us with a few gray hairs.
Photo Credit: Scion