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    2013 Scion FR-S


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    February 1, 2013

    October 2009 was a monumental month for Toyota. It was at the Tokyo Motor Show where the company revealed a very interesting concept called the FT-86; a small, lightweight two-door coupe that was jointly worked on by Toyota and Subaru. This sent shockwaves across the automotive landscape. Had Toyota rediscovered its sporty side it once had during the eighties and nineties? Or was it fluke? When the company announced that a production model would be coming along with a Subaru version, it seemed the answer was yes, they have discovered their sporty side once more.

    Speculation, rumors, and a number of concepts from Toyota, Scion, and Subaru would come out over the next couple years before the official introductions in late 2011 and early 2012. There would be the Toyota GT86 which was a callback to the mid-eighties RWD Corolla AE86. Next was the Subaru BRZ which differed from the rest of the Subaru lineup by being a RWD model, not AWD. Finally for North America was the Scion FR-S, providing a unique product for Toyota’s youth brand.

    gallery_10485_563_485652.png

    Its been a long wait for these coupes, but was it worth it? To answer this question, I got a 2013 Scion FR-S for the holidays.

    The Look

    The FR-S’ exterior design is what you expect out of a sporting car; a small, low slung body mounted on top of a short wheelbase. Key design cues to take note are the embellished front and rear fenders, a distinct character line running along the door, rear diffuser with reverse lights, and on the front fenders, a little 86 badge paying homage to the mid-eighties Corolla AE86.

    gallery_10485_563_916520.png

    Inside the FR-S, its a simple and clean layout. Materials are hard plastics of varying quality which will annoy some people. I had no problems with it since the money was wisely spent elsewhere in the vehicle. The controls are logically laid out and easy to reach. Scion fitted a set of sport seats for the driver and front passenger. The seats provide good bolstering and support when you’re driving aggressively. However I couldn’t fit into the seats comfortably due to my shoulders being a bit too wide for the seats. I know I happen to be an odd case on this, but its worth noting if you’re looking into this. The back seat area is only really usable for storing stuff or putting small kids.

    All Part of a Balanced Diet

    Underneath the Scion FR-S’ skin is a recipe for balance. Power comes from 2.0L Subaru Boxer-four that’s fitted with Toyota's D-4S direct injection system. Horsepower is rated at 200 (@ 7,000 RPM) and torque is at 151 lb-ft (@ 5,100 RPM). The reason for going with the boxer engine is due to how low the engine can be set in a vehicle. The lower the engine, the lower center of gravity a vehicle has. For transmissions, you have the choice of either a six-speed manual or my test FR-S’ six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. With the automatic, you choice of three different drive modes (Normal, Sport and Snow) that changes the behavior of the transmission. The FR-S also features a limited-slip differential as standard equipment. Suspension duties are taken care by a set up MacPherson struts up front and a double-wishbone in the rear. A set of 17-inch alloy wheels are wrapped in Michelin Primacy HP summer tires.

    gallery_10485_563_1103870.png

    Driving the FR-S down a nice twisty backroad is a very rewarding experience. The engine does have to be worked to reach its sweet spot, but the reward is a nice growl from the exhaust and the knowledge that the engine doesn't mind being pushed. The six-speed automatic is surprisingly quick and smooth, especially when you put the vehicle into sport mode as the transmission holds onto the gears through the corners and blips the throttle. You can also do the shifting yourself via the paddle shifters whether the transmission is in Drive or in the manual mode. While its fun to play with paddles, I found leaving the vehicle in Drive with the Sport mode on did a better job than me. I also found myself wishing the paddles were on the steering column than the wheel, so I wouldn't be playing the game of ‘where are the paddles now?’

    gallery_10485_563_301756.png

    The suspension does an excellent job of keeping FR-S level and balanced when going from corner to corner. Steering is very quick and precise, and provides a very good amount of a road feel. A bit surprising when you find out the FR-S steering is a electric power system, not hydraulic. Also surprising was a VSC Sport button which dials back the stability control up to a point to allow you to explore the limits of the FR-S.

    It’s A Double Edge Sword

    Now all those things I have listed above really do make the FR-S a great back road car, but it doesn’t make it a great daily driver for a good amount of people. For starters, I wished the engine had a bit more power, especially in the mid-range. Trying to make a pass or merge with traffic meant I had essentially step on it to perform. Also the suspension which is great in the corners is horrid on Metro Detroit roads. The suspension doesn’t have enough give whenever you drive over potholes or road imperfections and you will feel it very clearly.

    gallery_10485_563_303010.png

    One thing I wasn't complaining about the FR-S was fuel economy. The EPA rates the FR-S at 25 City/34 Highway/28 Combined. During the week, I averaged 30.4 MPG. On the freeway I saw 34.2 MPG.

    The Time Has Come

    The Scion FR-S is a very special and impressive coupe. From the very unique looks to the way it drives, Scion has a alternative to the sport compacts and sports cars in the price bracket. The base price of $24,500 for a six-speed manual and $25,300 for a six-speed automatic makes it a steal.

    Its not for everyone though. The rough ride brought on by firm suspension, spartan interior, and engine not having enough power will scare some people away. But for those who can put up with these faults will bask in knowledge of having one of best driving vehicles on sale today.

    gallery_10485_563_513274.png

    Disclaimer: Scion provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline.

    2013 Scion FR S 10
    Album: 2013 Scion FR-S
    16 images
    0 comments

    Year - 2013

    Make – Scion

    Model – FR-S

    Trim – N/A

    Engine – 2.0L Direct and Port-Injected Boxer-Four

    Driveline – Rear-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM – 200 HP (@ 7,000 RPM)

    Torque @ RPM – 151 lb-ft (@ 5,400 RPM)

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/34/28

    Curb Weight – 2,806 lbs

    Location of Manufacture - Ōta, Gunma, Japan

    Base Price - $25,300.00

    As Tested Price - $26,099.00* (Includes $730.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Rear Bumper Applique - $69.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    I am not particularly enthused by the formula of the FR-S / BRZ (aka Toyota 86). Yes, the AE86 had it's day. But the 80s was a long time ago. The formula is partly right -- a 2,800 lbs car that is rear drive. But the insistence on 100 bhp/liter high revving low displacement engine is a mistake. This car really should have a forced induced engine in the 250~300 hp class. But even for a base model shunning the cost of forced induction, a 2.5 liter NA four delivering 200hp will be better than a 2.0 liter doing so. The torque curve will be much more accessible than in a high revving 2.0. Even if the partnership with Subaru is retained, it is not like Subaru does not have a 2.5 liter block.

    For humor sake, I;ll much rather have the 202 hp 2.5 liter GM I4 than the 200 hp 2.0 liter boxer. When are they ever going to get it that specific output is completely irrelevant to the performance or desirability of a vehicle?

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    Nice for a cheap toyota. Very sad that you see the plastic wheel wells in the engine bay. Also, Marketing has got to wake up that Horsepower alone will not win the war. Without Torque you cannot move the mass and that engine is starved for Torque in comparison to HP.

    I agree with dwightlooi that the GM I4 is superior over this engine any day.

    Over all Mud your getting really good at writing these reviews. Nice Job. Being home sick all week with the crud, I might be missing something, but over all it looks really good. :)

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    Look at it this way... 200 hp @ 7,000 rpm / 151 lb-ft @ 5400 rpm is not that bad. It would have been a terrific engine for the original AE86. The problem is that the AE86 was a 2,100 lbs car. This is 2,800 lbs. Realistically speaking the Toyota 2AR-FE 2.5 liter Camry motor (180 bhp / 173 lb-ft @ 4100) would move this car along better than the high reving 2.0 boxer. Timed performance will be about the same, but 173 lb-ft peaking at 4100 rpm will be more pleasurable in city traffic.

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    On factor you must consider now is the global market. Not only are the platforms going to be shared but the engines will be in most makets.

    With that being said many MFG will be using 1 liter, 1.6 Liter and guess what 2.0 LItet engines because of taxation in many countries. Displacment and weight will effect what engine size is and what it will be fitted in. The Turbocharger adds nothing to the tax or how it is based on.

    While we may not have that here yet in many other countries it is in effect and will be effecting what we buy and drive.

    It is not just by chance many companies are all making engines the same size.

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    I am not particularly enthused by the formula of the FR-S / BRZ (aka Toyota 86). Yes, the AE86 had it's day. But the 80s was a long time ago. The formula is partly right -- a 2,800 lbs car that is rear drive. But the insistence on 100 bhp/liter high revving low displacement engine is a mistake. This car really should have a forced induced engine in the 250~300 hp class. But even for a base model shunning the cost of forced induction, a 2.5 liter NA four delivering 200hp will be better than a 2.0 liter doing so. The torque curve will be much more accessible than in a high revving 2.0. Even if the partnership with Subaru is retained, it is not like Subaru does not have a 2.5 liter block.

    For humor sake, I;ll much rather have the 202 hp 2.5 liter GM I4 than the 200 hp 2.0 liter boxer. When are they ever going to get it that specific output is completely irrelevant to the performance or desirability of a vehicle?

    I wonder if fitting a 2.4 in the car would have been a problem... but I during my time with it, I never felt that torque was insufficient for the base model at all.

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    i know lots like this car, but it does very little for me. cheap interior, why bother back seats.....dull styling

    You know the kinds of cars I like... and I was pricing them out after driving one.

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    i certainly am not saying it's not good at what it's main focus is. Even if this is the best small cheap RWD coupe out there, I still see the Toyota badge and all the rest that usually comes with the aura of a Toyota that I am not jiggy with.

    I'd probably pop for a base camaro or a 3 year old 1 series if this was what i was looking at.

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    i certainly am not saying it's not good at what it's main focus is. Even if this is the best small cheap RWD coupe out there, I still see the Toyota badge and all the rest that usually comes with the aura of a Toyota that I am not jiggy with.

    I'd probably pop for a base camaro or a 3 year old 1 series if this was what i was looking at.

    Completely different feel. This is more Miata with a back seat for the 3 year old. The Camaro V6 feels huge by comparison... driving the FR-S/BR-Z after the Camaro is refreshing and carefree. The ZL-1 is waaaay faster than the Toyopet and Fuji Heavy Industry, but it still feels like it is the worlds best handling 747.

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    Not a big fan here either but they will sell a ton of them.

    Not really, at least not yet...

    They are moving about 500~800 a month and a tad under 7000 per year (2012). That is about on par with how many Camaros GM moves in the worst month in 2012. This is a sports coupe so demand tends to fall off after the first two years.

    The bright side is that they set a pretty modest target of 6000 cars so they are not saddling themselves with over capacity. Already Subaru is giving $400~600 in incentives to move their (more expensive) BRZ against the FRS -- not an auspicious thing for a 1st year coupe.

    The thing I don't get is that the market for sports coupes is modest enough as it is. Why they want to split the pie -- and the marketing -- between Fuji and Toyota is baffling. This should have been just a Subaru or just a Toyota.

    I would have preferred that it be a Toyota using a hypothetical "1AR-GE" engine. Basically the same 2.7 liter 1AR-FE Inline-4 in the RAV4, but with hotter cams and drinking premium to deliver about 220hp / 200 lb-ft. For a higher performance version, forget laggy turbos and simply the use a roots compressor on the 1AR engine. A "1AR-GZE" will be good for about 270 hp / 270 lb-ft with zero lag. The latter would be interesting.

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    It's an interesting car, and I wouldn't mind owning one, but in the real word its day to day faults outweigh some of the benefits.

    Very happy with the Cooper S and Miata in the driveway, this car doesn't move me enough to trade one in and take on a payment.

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    Not a big fan here either but they will sell a ton of them.

    Not really, at least not yet...

    They are moving about 500~800 a month and a tad under 7000 per year (2012). That is about on par with how many Camaros GM moves in the worst month in 2012. This is a sports coupe so demand tends to fall off after the first two years.

    The bright side is that they set a pretty modest target of 6000 cars so they are not saddling themselves with over capacity. Already Subaru is giving $400~600 in incentives to move their (more expensive) BRZ against the FRS -- not an auspicious thing for a 1st year coupe.

    The thing I don't get is that the market for sports coupes is modest enough as it is. Why they want to split the pie -- and the marketing -- between Fuji and Toyota is baffling. This should have been just a Subaru or just a Toyota.

    I would have preferred that it be a Toyota using a hypothetical "1AR-GE" engine. Basically the same 2.7 liter 1AR-FE Inline-4 in the RAV4, but with hotter cams and drinking premium to deliver about 220hp / 200 lb-ft. For a higher performance version, forget laggy turbos and simply the use a roots compressor on the 1AR engine. A "1AR-GZE" will be good for about 270 hp / 270 lb-ft with zero lag. The latter would be interesting.

    Again you need to think global! Cars like this and even the Miata live on a global scale and thrive.

    If you just take Miata, Prelude and Mini sale base just on NA they make little sense but on a global scale they have some very impressive numbers and profits.

    Even if GM does a small RWD coupe they will have to base it on a global package as the sales just in NA will be ok but they need larger numbers.

    Second you can not compare the Camaro or Mustang on this yet as they are in a class of their own and many who would buy them would never consider this car. This is why GM is looking into the sub Alpha car. Two different markets and two different customers. .

    As for Turbo engines there again you must look to the customers and what they want. Also lag is not what it once was like in the GN and Turbo T bird.

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    Not a big fan here either but they will sell a ton of them.

    Not really, at least not yet...

    They are moving about 500~800 a month and a tad under 7000 per year (2012). That is about on par with how many Camaros GM moves in the worst month in 2012. This is a sports coupe so demand tends to fall off after the first two years.

    The bright side is that they set a pretty modest target of 6000 cars so they are not saddling themselves with over capacity. Already Subaru is giving $400~600 in incentives to move their (more expensive) BRZ against the FRS -- not an auspicious thing for a 1st year coupe.

    The thing I don't get is that the market for sports coupes is modest enough as it is. Why they want to split the pie -- and the marketing -- between Fuji and Toyota is baffling. This should have been just a Subaru or just a Toyota.

    I would have preferred that it be a Toyota using a hypothetical "1AR-GE" engine. Basically the same 2.7 liter 1AR-FE Inline-4 in the RAV4, but with hotter cams and drinking premium to deliver about 220hp / 200 lb-ft. For a higher performance version, forget laggy turbos and simply the use a roots compressor on the 1AR engine. A "1AR-GZE" will be good for about 270 hp / 270 lb-ft with zero lag. The latter would be interesting.

    I think the only way to make the car work as-is is with a flat-four engine. They're worried about deck height restrictions now with adding a turbo, so I don't think any inline four will work standing up.

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    Not a big fan here either but they will sell a ton of them.

    Not really, at least not yet...

    They are moving about 500~800 a month and a tad under 7000 per year (2012). That is about on par with how many Camaros GM moves in the worst month in 2012. This is a sports coupe so demand tends to fall off after the first two years.

    The bright side is that they set a pretty modest target of 6000 cars so they are not saddling themselves with over capacity. Already Subaru is giving $400~600 in incentives to move their (more expensive) BRZ against the FRS -- not an auspicious thing for a 1st year coupe.

    The thing I don't get is that the market for sports coupes is modest enough as it is. Why they want to split the pie -- and the marketing -- between Fuji and Toyota is baffling. This should have been just a Subaru or just a Toyota.

    I would have preferred that it be a Toyota using a hypothetical "1AR-GE" engine. Basically the same 2.7 liter 1AR-FE Inline-4 in the RAV4, but with hotter cams and drinking premium to deliver about 220hp / 200 lb-ft. For a higher performance version, forget laggy turbos and simply the use a roots compressor on the 1AR engine. A "1AR-GZE" will be good for about 270 hp / 270 lb-ft with zero lag. The latter would be interesting.

    Again you need to think global! Cars like this and even the Miata live on a global scale and thrive.

    If you just take Miata, Prelude and Mini sale base just on NA they make little sense but on a global scale they have some very impressive numbers and profits.

    Even if GM does a small RWD coupe they will have to base it on a global package as the sales just in NA will be ok but they need larger numbers.

    Second you can not compare the Camaro or Mustang on this yet as they are in a class of their own and many who would buy them would never consider this car. This is why GM is looking into the sub Alpha car. Two different markets and two different customers. .

    As for Turbo engines there again you must look to the customers and what they want. Also lag is not what it once was like in the GN and Turbo T bird.

    Well, your assumptions are that the world wants turbos and not superchargers. That has has never been shown to be true. Your assumption that the world generally prefers high specific output, low displacement engines also not shown to be the case. Nobody is buying Cruzes because it has a 1.4T whereas the Civic has a 1.8 and the Focus has a 2.0. When they buy a Cruze, the size of the engine and presence of a turbocharger does not factor into the decision the overwhelming majority of the time and when it does it is not always a positive factor.

    Also, lag is ALWAYS present in turbocharged engines. It is a matter of degree. For North America, which is the car's largest market, they should have an engine that best meets the regulatory and consumption habits of North American buyers. American's don't care about displacement (one way or the other) -- you might, but Americans in general do not. America does not have a displacement tax either so small displacements have very little intrinsic value (neither does China -- the other uber sized market). The FR-S's MPG numbers -- 25/34 mpg will be easily met with a 2.5 ~2.7 liter four (the Malibu which is a much larger car that is 750 lbs heavier is already @ 22/34 mpg.

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    I think the only way to make the car work as-is is with a flat-four engine. They're worried about deck height restrictions now with adding a turbo, so I don't think any inline four will work standing up.

    They'll just have the contour the hood a little differently I guess. Perhaps with a central hump very much like the 5M-GE powered 1st Gen Supras.

    What I am saying is that Toyota can do a 2800 lbs, RWD, sports coupe at $25,000 using a derivative of the RAV4's 2.7 liter I4 engine.

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    The whole point of the FR-S is how it feels on the road: the steering feel, the chassis setup, the gearbox, and yes, revving the hell out of that engine. A RAV4 engine would completely change the character of this pocket-sized sports car.

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    The whole point of the FR-S is how it feels on the road: the steering feel, the chassis setup, the gearbox, and yes, revving the hell out of that engine. A RAV4 engine would completely change the character of this pocket-sized sports car.

    Agreed...some people get sport compacts, some people don't. Some people get the idea of full size luxury, some don't. Some people think all 1950's American cars are ugly pigs....to each his own.

    Personally, I like the FRS/BRZ, but feel it has its limitations.

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    The whole point of the FR-S is how it feels on the road: the steering feel, the chassis setup, the gearbox, and yes, revving the hell out of that engine. A RAV4 engine would completely change the character of this pocket-sized sports car.

    The steering and chassis feel can be basically the same. The engine character... good torque from 3000 rpm and power accessible by revving to just 6000 rpm changes the character for the better!

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    To me, 150 lb ft of torque even in what is meant to be a high revver......is sort of not at all sporty....no matter how it drives.

    Have you driven it yet?

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    Not a big fan here either but they will sell a ton of them.

    Not really, at least not yet...

    They are moving about 500~800 a month and a tad under 7000 per year (2012). That is about on par with how many Camaros GM moves in the worst month in 2012. This is a sports coupe so demand tends to fall off after the first two years.

    The bright side is that they set a pretty modest target of 6000 cars so they are not saddling themselves with over capacity. Already Subaru is giving $400~600 in incentives to move their (more expensive) BRZ against the FRS -- not an auspicious thing for a 1st year coupe.

    The thing I don't get is that the market for sports coupes is modest enough as it is. Why they want to split the pie -- and the marketing -- between Fuji and Toyota is baffling. This should have been just a Subaru or just a Toyota.

    I would have preferred that it be a Toyota using a hypothetical "1AR-GE" engine. Basically the same 2.7 liter 1AR-FE Inline-4 in the RAV4, but with hotter cams and drinking premium to deliver about 220hp / 200 lb-ft. For a higher performance version, forget laggy turbos and simply the use a roots compressor on the 1AR engine. A "1AR-GZE" will be good for about 270 hp / 270 lb-ft with zero lag. The latter would be interesting.

    Again you need to think global! Cars like this and even the Miata live on a global scale and thrive.

    If you just take Miata, Prelude and Mini sale base just on NA they make little sense but on a global scale they have some very impressive numbers and profits.

    Even if GM does a small RWD coupe they will have to base it on a global package as the sales just in NA will be ok but they need larger numbers.

    Second you can not compare the Camaro or Mustang on this yet as they are in a class of their own and many who would buy them would never consider this car. This is why GM is looking into the sub Alpha car. Two different markets and two different customers. .

    As for Turbo engines there again you must look to the customers and what they want. Also lag is not what it once was like in the GN and Turbo T bird.

    Well, your assumptions are that the world wants turbos and not superchargers. That has has never been shown to be true. Your assumption that the world generally prefers high specific output, low displacement engines also not shown to be the case. Nobody is buying Cruzes because it has a 1.4T whereas the Civic has a 1.8 and the Focus has a 2.0. When they buy a Cruze, the size of the engine and presence of a turbocharger does not factor into the decision the overwhelming majority of the time and when it does it is not always a positive factor.

    Also, lag is ALWAYS present in turbocharged engines. It is a matter of degree. For North America, which is the car's largest market, they should have an engine that best meets the regulatory and consumption habits of North American buyers. American's don't care about displacement (one way or the other) -- you might, but Americans in general do not. America does not have a displacement tax either so small displacements have very little intrinsic value (neither does China -- the other uber sized market). The FR-S's MPG numbers -- 25/34 mpg will be easily met with a 2.5 ~2.7 liter four (the Malibu which is a much larger car that is 750 lbs heavier is already @ 22/34 mpg.

    You comments on engines are normally based on a bunch of number that in themselves do not take into consideration all the parameters that an automaker faces or what the real world drivability really is.

    Again you fail to take in the other factors such as government taxation in many markets. Yes America does not have the tax here but in a global market the number of engines globally will decrease and become more the same in all markets tax or not. It is a major stipulation of becoming more profitable. You also fail to take in to account that superchargers are decreasing in most markets. In the worlds largest auto market you will not in the other thread I posted the added cost of tax on engine size and in engines over 2.0 it can max out to over almost $900 per car. This may not sound like much but in a county that make much less per person than the United States it is a lot for many that struggle to buy the smallest car.

    As for turbo lag you tend to conveniently the fact that most of todays small turbo engines true strength is the availability very low end torque that is available at very low RPM. This eliminates the issues of much of the lag and masks much of the issues with it. In my own personal daily driver I have no issue with it as if anything If the boost hit any faster it would be difficult to drive the vehicle in many non dry weather conditions. The car as it is will spin the tires at a moments notice. If anything our Silverado 5.3 has more issue with lag from a slow kick down in the tranny that I feel is due to the cylinder drop system. I have never felt the same thing in the Vette but the lag has been in all Chevy and GMC trucks.

    I will never declare the Turbo as the savior of ever car or model but in your own example the Malibu the only one so far that has gotten good reviews is the Turbo Bu. The other models were ok but never really set the world on fire or stood out from the crowd. The Turbo engine by no means is a sports car but is just a better set up for drivability and feel.

    The key to all this is to make the car to drive and feel like it has power. If you can do that the people are happy. If you can do it with the engine sizes that most markets require you save money vs offering other engines in sizes you can only sell in a couple markets. By going global not only on platforms but engines too this will increase profits and decrease spending.

    I know you like to think you are fully correct and all the automakers not in line with you as misguided but they have to use all parameters unlike what you do here. Time to step up and include all factors into your presentation and just see where this all falls out. I could see one company being wrong but as Drew pointed out in the Cruze thread can they all be misguided? I think not.

    As for the people they no longer count cylinders or engine size but they do count dollars in tax, they count MPG and they expect performance to the point that the car feels good and comfortable to drive. They want an engine that will return great MPG but will not make them wonder if they will get up to speed on the freeway on ramp.

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    To me, 150 lb ft of torque even in what is meant to be a high revver......is sort of not at all sporty....no matter how it drives.

    Have you driven it yet?

    No desire to. I don't much care for impractical (for me) cars.

    I'd even dig a Genesis coupe over this.

    Edited by regfootball
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    • By William Maley
      In the past two years, I have driven three variations of the Volkswagen Golf; the GTI, SportWagen, and R. But I never had the chance to drive the standard Golf. That is until a couple of months ago when a Golf Wolfsburg Edition rolled up. For 2017, the Wolfsburg is one of the two trims on offer (the base S being the other) and comes with lots of equipment for a surprising price. But this is only the cherry on top of an impressive compact hatchback as I would find out.
      Let’s begin with that surprising price. Our Golf Wolfsburg tester came with an as-tested price of $23,515 and that includes a sunroof, push-button start, heated seats, backup camera, pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rain-sensing wipers. Considering the amount of equipment on offer, this might be one of the best values in the compact class. I know that I’m beating a dead horse here, but I wished the Golf was just a little bit more exciting to look at. The clean lines and minimal brightwork make the Golf have a handsome profile. But park it next to something like a Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback, and you kind of wish that Volkswagen did something to make it standout. You could level the same complaint at the Golf’s interior as doesn’t have the same panache or sharpness as some competitors. But I can overlook it as the Golf has one the most functional and well-built interiors in the class. Controls are within easy reach and have a solid feel that is lacking in other compact models. It doesn’t hurt the Golf has a spacious interior for passengers and cargo. I’m 5’8” and found to have plenty of head and legroom sitting in the back. For cargo, the Golf offers up 22.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 52.7 cubic feet with them folded, putting it at the top of the class. Like the larger SportWagen and Alltrack, the regular Golf sports a turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with the optional six-speed automatic. A five-speed manual comes standard. This engine is such a sweetheart as it punches well above its weight. Power comes on a quick and smooth rate, meaning you’ll not be wanting for power when trying to make a pass. The automatic transmission is smart, knowing when it needs to up or downshift and doing so at a quick rate. One item that I gave the Golf SportWagen a lot of praise was the pleasant balance between a smooth ride and sharp handling. The regular Golf is much the same. Taking a corner, the vehicle shows little body roll and the steering provides a linear and quick response. It would be nice if the steering had some more weight, but otherwise, it is a fun car to hustle around. For the daily commute, the Golf offers up a comfortable ride where potholes and other imperfections are ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. If I do have one complaint, it has to deal with the lack of adaptive cruise control. There is already a radar module up front for the pre-collision braking that can monitor vehicles ahead and bring the vehicle to a stop. So why isn’t there the ability to use that module to provide adaptive cruise control? Is it a technical issue or something dealing with the cost? (I'm thinking its the latter). That issue aside, I’m really impressed with the regular Golf. This is one of the vehicles that can deliver on being an all arounder without falling on its face due to one or many things. Plus, the Wolfsburg Edition might be the steal for the 2017 Golf lineup considering what you get. Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Golf, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Golf
      Trim: Wolfsburg Edition
      Engine: 1.8L TSI Turbocharged Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 199 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/35/29
      Curb Weight: 3,023 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Wolfsburg, Germany
      Base Price: $22,695
      As Tested Price: $23,515 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      In the past two years, I have driven three variations of the Volkswagen Golf; the GTI, SportWagen, and R. But I never had the chance to drive the standard Golf. That is until a couple of months ago when a Golf Wolfsburg Edition rolled up. For 2017, the Wolfsburg is one of the two trims on offer (the base S being the other) and comes with lots of equipment for a surprising price. But this is only the cherry on top of an impressive compact hatchback as I would find out.
      Let’s begin with that surprising price. Our Golf Wolfsburg tester came with an as-tested price of $23,515 and that includes a sunroof, push-button start, heated seats, backup camera, pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rain-sensing wipers. Considering the amount of equipment on offer, this might be one of the best values in the compact class. I know that I’m beating a dead horse here, but I wished the Golf was just a little bit more exciting to look at. The clean lines and minimal brightwork make the Golf have a handsome profile. But park it next to something like a Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback, and you kind of wish that Volkswagen did something to make it standout. You could level the same complaint at the Golf’s interior as doesn’t have the same panache or sharpness as some competitors. But I can overlook it as the Golf has one the most functional and well-built interiors in the class. Controls are within easy reach and have a solid feel that is lacking in other compact models. It doesn’t hurt the Golf has a spacious interior for passengers and cargo. I’m 5’8” and found to have plenty of head and legroom sitting in the back. For cargo, the Golf offers up 22.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 52.7 cubic feet with them folded, putting it at the top of the class. Like the larger SportWagen and Alltrack, the regular Golf sports a turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with the optional six-speed automatic. A five-speed manual comes standard. This engine is such a sweetheart as it punches well above its weight. Power comes on a quick and smooth rate, meaning you’ll not be wanting for power when trying to make a pass. The automatic transmission is smart, knowing when it needs to up or downshift and doing so at a quick rate. One item that I gave the Golf SportWagen a lot of praise was the pleasant balance between a smooth ride and sharp handling. The regular Golf is much the same. Taking a corner, the vehicle shows little body roll and the steering provides a linear and quick response. It would be nice if the steering had some more weight, but otherwise, it is a fun car to hustle around. For the daily commute, the Golf offers up a comfortable ride where potholes and other imperfections are ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. If I do have one complaint, it has to deal with the lack of adaptive cruise control. There is already a radar module up front for the pre-collision braking that can monitor vehicles ahead and bring the vehicle to a stop. So why isn’t there the ability to use that module to provide adaptive cruise control? Is it a technical issue or something dealing with the cost? (I'm thinking its the latter). That issue aside, I’m really impressed with the regular Golf. This is one of the vehicles that can deliver on being an all arounder without falling on its face due to one or many things. Plus, the Wolfsburg Edition might be the steal for the 2017 Golf lineup considering what you get. Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Golf, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Golf
      Trim: Wolfsburg Edition
      Engine: 1.8L TSI Turbocharged Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 199 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/35/29
      Curb Weight: 3,023 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Wolfsburg, Germany
      Base Price: $22,695
      As Tested Price: $23,515 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      American automakers haven’t been known for building good compact vehicles. Previous attempts have faltered when compared to those from the likes of Honda, Mazda, and Toyota. But this perception began to change when Ford brought out the Focus in 2000. It seemed progress was being made in making a decent compact vehicle thanks to their European branch helping out. Seeing this, GM decided to follow the same path. They called in their Korean and European offices to help out with the development of a new model known as Cruze. The vehicle proved to be a massive improvement from the Cobalt as it got the basics right such as fuel economy and overall interior space. Yes, the Cruze was lacking in some key areas such as design and driving fun. But it was light years ahead of GM’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle.
      When it came time to work on the next-generation Cruze, Chevrolet knew they had a good starting point and only needed to make improvements to make the model a real contender in the class. Let’s see if that has panned out or not.
      Dare I say the new Cruze is a sharp looking compact? Yes, but to a point. It is clear that Chevrolet’s design team took a lot of inspiration from the Volt PHEV when working on the second-generation Cruze. The overall profile and certain lines of the Volt appear on the Cruze. The front end features Chevrolet’s new tiered-grille and a set of slimmer headlights. Where the Cruze’s design falls flat is in the back. It seems Chevrolet’s designers really couldn’t be bothered to do something special. There two ways you can fix this. You can either go with the Cruze hatchback which to our eyes looks so much better thanks to the longer roofline and tailgate, or opting for the RS appearance package which dresses up the back with a more aggressive bumper. The RS package also adds mesh grille inserts, and sporty looking wheels - 18-inch ones on our Premier tester.
      Moving inside, Chevrolet has put a lot of effort in making the Cruze a nice place to sit in. Many surfaces are covered with high-quality materials and feature some unique touches such as a curving character line on the dashboard. Making yourself comfortable is quite easy thanks to eight-way power adjustments for the driver and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The front passenger has to make do with manual adjustments. In the back, there is enough legroom for most passengers. Headroom is slightly tight if you decide to get a sunroof. One nice item for those sitting in the back is the option of heated seats.
      One area Chevrolet is using as a selling point for the Cruze is technology. All Cruzes get a seven-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet MyLink and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi also comes standard across the board. Our Premier tester came with the optional 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. MyLink has been a source of frustration in many of Chevrolet vehicles we have reviewed, but it seems they are starting to get its act together. Overall performance has seen a slight improvement with transitions into various functions being snappy. The navigation system still has some performance issues as it slows down when zooming in or out. Chevrolet has also fixed some of the bugs with their Apple CarPlay integration. We saw no issues of slowdown or apps crashing whenever we had CarPlay up.
      Under the Cruze’s hood is a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder with 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission choice if you get the Premier. Anything below and you have the choice of the automatic or a six-speed manual. A diesel engine is coming later this year. The performance figures for the turbo 1.4L will not knock the socks off of anyone - 0-60 mph time of just over eight seconds. But you won’t think the Cruze is a slowpoke thanks the engine having a lot of low-end grunt. The vehicle leaps forward when leaving a stop and doesn’t feel that it is going to run out of breath. It doesn’t hurt Chevrolet has dropped almost 300 pounds from the new model. The six-speed automatic is quick to upshift to maximize fuel economy, but the same cannot be said for downshifts. It takes a moment or two for the automatic to go down a gear when you step on the accelerator.
      The turbo 1.4 comes with an auto stop-start system as standard. The system is quick to start the engine back up whenever you take your foot off the brake. One item that will irk some people is that you cannot turn off the stop-start system.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze stand at 29 City/39 Highway/33 Combined for the Premier sedan. Our average for the week landed around 31.2 mpg. The L, LS, and LT sedan get slightly higher fuel economy figures of 28/39/32 for the manual and 30/40/34 for the automatic.
      It seems most compacts are trying to outdo one another in terms of offering the best driving experience. So it is a bit of fresh air that Chevrolet has decided to skip this and make the Cruze ride like a bigger car. The suspension provides a cushy ride with most bumps being ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to almost silent levels. Handling is competent in the class as the Cruze shows little body roll. However, the steering is too light in terms of feel and weight when driven enthusiastically.
      Chevrolet’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle have ranged from the punchline to a bad joke to something that can be considered at competent. But with the 2017 Cruze, Chevrolet put their heads down into making a compact that could stand tall among competitors. They have succeeded as the Cruze gets the fundamentals right and offers some distinctive traits that help it stand out from others such as the big-car ride and impressive amount of tech. Yes, it would be nice if Cruze was a slightly sharper in terms of design and the steering tweaked a bit to make it a bit more fun to drive. 
      Since I have been reviewing new vehicles for almost five years, there have been only a few vehicles that I keep thinking about to this day. Chevrolet has two to its name. The first was the 2014 Impala and the Cruze is number two.
      Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Cruze, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Cruze
      Trim: Premier
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L DOHC VVT DI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 153 @ 5600
      Torque @ RPM: 177 @ 2000-4000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/39/33
      Curb Weight: 2,978 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lordstown, OH
      Base Price: $23,475
      As Tested Price: $29,195 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sun & Sound w/Navigation - $1,995.00
      RS Package - $995.00
      Enhanced Convenience Package - $865.00
      Driver Confidence II Package - $790.00
      Floor Mats - $140.00
      Wheel Lock Kit - $60.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      American automakers haven’t been known for building good compact vehicles. Previous attempts have faltered when compared to those from the likes of Honda, Mazda, and Toyota. But this perception began to change when Ford brought out the Focus in 2000. It seemed progress was being made in making a decent compact vehicle thanks to their European branch helping out. Seeing this, GM decided to follow the same path. They called in their Korean and European offices to help out with the development of a new model known as Cruze. The vehicle proved to be a massive improvement from the Cobalt as it got the basics right such as fuel economy and overall interior space. Yes, the Cruze was lacking in some key areas such as design and driving fun. But it was light years ahead of GM’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle.
      When it came time to work on the next-generation Cruze, Chevrolet knew they had a good starting point and only needed to make improvements to make the model a real contender in the class. Let’s see if that has panned out or not.
      Dare I say the new Cruze is a sharp looking compact? Yes, but to a point. It is clear that Chevrolet’s design team took a lot of inspiration from the Volt PHEV when working on the second-generation Cruze. The overall profile and certain lines of the Volt appear on the Cruze. The front end features Chevrolet’s new tiered-grille and a set of slimmer headlights. Where the Cruze’s design falls flat is in the back. It seems Chevrolet’s designers really couldn’t be bothered to do something special. There two ways you can fix this. You can either go with the Cruze hatchback which to our eyes looks so much better thanks to the longer roofline and tailgate, or opting for the RS appearance package which dresses up the back with a more aggressive bumper. The RS package also adds mesh grille inserts, and sporty looking wheels - 18-inch ones on our Premier tester.
      Moving inside, Chevrolet has put a lot of effort in making the Cruze a nice place to sit in. Many surfaces are covered with high-quality materials and feature some unique touches such as a curving character line on the dashboard. Making yourself comfortable is quite easy thanks to eight-way power adjustments for the driver and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The front passenger has to make do with manual adjustments. In the back, there is enough legroom for most passengers. Headroom is slightly tight if you decide to get a sunroof. One nice item for those sitting in the back is the option of heated seats.
      One area Chevrolet is using as a selling point for the Cruze is technology. All Cruzes get a seven-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet MyLink and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi also comes standard across the board. Our Premier tester came with the optional 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. MyLink has been a source of frustration in many of Chevrolet vehicles we have reviewed, but it seems they are starting to get its act together. Overall performance has seen a slight improvement with transitions into various functions being snappy. The navigation system still has some performance issues as it slows down when zooming in or out. Chevrolet has also fixed some of the bugs with their Apple CarPlay integration. We saw no issues of slowdown or apps crashing whenever we had CarPlay up.
      Under the Cruze’s hood is a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder with 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission choice if you get the Premier. Anything below and you have the choice of the automatic or a six-speed manual. A diesel engine is coming later this year. The performance figures for the turbo 1.4L will not knock the socks off of anyone - 0-60 mph time of just over eight seconds. But you won’t think the Cruze is a slowpoke thanks the engine having a lot of low-end grunt. The vehicle leaps forward when leaving a stop and doesn’t feel that it is going to run out of breath. It doesn’t hurt Chevrolet has dropped almost 300 pounds from the new model. The six-speed automatic is quick to upshift to maximize fuel economy, but the same cannot be said for downshifts. It takes a moment or two for the automatic to go down a gear when you step on the accelerator.
      The turbo 1.4 comes with an auto stop-start system as standard. The system is quick to start the engine back up whenever you take your foot off the brake. One item that will irk some people is that you cannot turn off the stop-start system.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze stand at 29 City/39 Highway/33 Combined for the Premier sedan. Our average for the week landed around 31.2 mpg. The L, LS, and LT sedan get slightly higher fuel economy figures of 28/39/32 for the manual and 30/40/34 for the automatic.
      It seems most compacts are trying to outdo one another in terms of offering the best driving experience. So it is a bit of fresh air that Chevrolet has decided to skip this and make the Cruze ride like a bigger car. The suspension provides a cushy ride with most bumps being ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to almost silent levels. Handling is competent in the class as the Cruze shows little body roll. However, the steering is too light in terms of feel and weight when driven enthusiastically.
      Chevrolet’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle have ranged from the punchline to a bad joke to something that can be considered at competent. But with the 2017 Cruze, Chevrolet put their heads down into making a compact that could stand tall among competitors. They have succeeded as the Cruze gets the fundamentals right and offers some distinctive traits that help it stand out from others such as the big-car ride and impressive amount of tech. Yes, it would be nice if Cruze was a slightly sharper in terms of design and the steering tweaked a bit to make it a bit more fun to drive. 
      Since I have been reviewing new vehicles for almost five years, there have been only a few vehicles that I keep thinking about to this day. Chevrolet has two to its name. The first was the 2014 Impala and the Cruze is number two.
      Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Cruze, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Cruze
      Trim: Premier
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L DOHC VVT DI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 153 @ 5600
      Torque @ RPM: 177 @ 2000-4000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/39/33
      Curb Weight: 2,978 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lordstown, OH
      Base Price: $23,475
      As Tested Price: $29,195 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sun & Sound w/Navigation - $1,995.00
      RS Package - $995.00
      Enhanced Convenience Package - $865.00
      Driver Confidence II Package - $790.00
      Floor Mats - $140.00
      Wheel Lock Kit - $60.00
    • By dfelt
      Cruze Diesel Review by Green Car
      http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1109762_2017-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-first-drive
      Came across this review of the cruze diesel and have to say I was impressed by the writeup, pictures and found the following two quotes to be very telling of just how well Cheverolet nailed the new Diesel Cruze.
      Quote 1
      Driving the Prius for mileage was an annoying affair, requiring me to putter away from stoplights and hang out in the slow lane on the freeway as other cars passed, just so I could come up short on the EPA-estimated freeway figure. It was tiring and tedious.
      Quote 
      While the diesel engine deserves a lot of praise, the reality is that I'd be ignoring the sublime 9-speed automatic. GM has just nailed this transmission.
      Over all this guy says this auto was snappy, responsive and quieter than a cruze gas ICO version.
      GM needs to apply these same traits to all their product lines.
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