Sign in to follow this  
A Horse With No Name

Scion FRS Review....

11 posts in this topic

After the SCCA Autocross a week ago I went to the local Toyota dealer and drove a new FRS, a Lava orange automatic.

At the buckeye Miata Club autocross today, I got some (passenger) seat time in a new black manual FRS at speed.

My impressions.

I like the silhouette of the car. It reminds me of the old air cooled 911's, the Cayman, the Ferrari GTO, my old first gen Mustang fatback, the 67-69 barracuda which is gorgeous, the Porsche Cayman, the original 250 Z, the jag E type...very classy.

the front and rear, a little less so. Car is sweet, but suffers from a little bit too much of the "Angry Pokemon" style of a lot of modern Japanese iron. I like the design touches such as the triangular additional rear brake light under the rear bumper, though. Reminded me of the low mount brake light on some formula style race cars. I love the double bouble roof and the large sculpted opening for the radiator.

Overall, not as good as the classic designs I measured, but for a 25K modern car, darned nice.

On the driving side...first of all, don't buy this thing as a 4 seater... it's never going to be anything other than a two passenger car. The rear seats are big enough to carry my car and a sandwich, but probably not at the same time.

Front seats, OTOH, are superb. Very comfortable, and nicely bolstered at the sides for performance driving. This is other than the performance aspect of the chassis tuning, the one thing about the car they got dead nuts right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the topic of the interior, the car for some reason has two speedometers, one analog and one digital. The analog speedo is kind of useless, and the sppedo needle is always pointing directly down in normal driivng...it kind of gives one the impression of a dog trying to find a tree to urinate on....

It's not bad, just kind of an odd detail.. Rest of the interior is nice. It's a cut above the cars like Mitsubishi's Lancer ralliart...but no where near as nice as a Mustang with the premium package, a MINI Cooper, A Beetle Turbo with the nicer trim bits, a GTI, an audi A3, et al.

I would think that a lot of people who post here who really enjoy nice automotive interiors would be slightly disappointed with the car. If a comfortable, easy to use Interior is your thing, skip the local Toyota and Subaru dealer and go directly to VW and buy a GTI. It really is a much nicer car for about 95% of the buying public.

For the other 5%, they will put up with minor issues with interior quality to town a world class sports car. But be sure you want an actual real sports car before you buy this thing. Motor Trend ran a comparo recently of the Mustnag V6 Sport package, FRS, BRZ, Miata, Mustang, and Hyundai Genesis. They concluded that the FRS/BRZ was the best on track sporty car of the bunch. Pro driver Randy pobst ranked the GTI dead last, while Motor Trand Ranked the Genesis dead last.

They noted that below about 8/10ths driving, the GTI was possibly the best of the bunch. I say this because as a street car, the BRZ/FRS twins may be a little bit difficult for a lot of people to live with., You sit very low, which creates visibility issues for some people. You will have to reach up awkwardly if you go through a drive through at white castle for your ayem java. If your a female getting into and out of this thing in a miniskirt, things could get pornographic. And unloading groceries will require bending over a little awkwardly.

The Suspension tuning is not done with rough mid western roads in mind. My test car (the automatic) rode actually worse that a Lotus Elise...or a Factory 5 Cobra replica...or a full road race prepped Fox body Mustang....or a Formula Ford...or a Sprint car...or...you get the general idea. This is a car that could send your date home early wanting Dramamine. I say this because while my wife loves driving our MINI, and likes our Miata just fine, I'm not sure she could tolerate the rougher ride of this car. It's not all that comfortable, and I could see more than a few of these getting traded back in just because it is a PITA to live with in this regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Open the car up on an autocross course or a race track though, and the car is brilliant, the frumpy little kid who can play Mozart flawlessly once you finally get him in front of a well tuned Piano. People on message boards and in bench racing sessions have said that this thing, drivin hard, is a better driving car than the Miata, the Elise, the RX-8, the Solstice, the Sky, the EVO, the WRX STI, the RX-7, and about any other small performance oriented car.

They would be correct. Other than a Porsche Cayman, this may be the best handling car on an autocross course. I thought that it flat out crushed my Miata in terms of handling, and ate the S2000 for a second course. I really do like it's on track dynamics better than an Elise. and it's certainly cheaper and more practical than an Elise. The thing is simply at the top of its class.

...and I know some of you all are saying...this thing is a Toyota....and you would be right. I really wish that Corvair had stuck around, and that this was the modern Chevrolet Corvair. Possibly Pontiac could have stayed around and built an edgy, second generation of the Solstice that corrected some of the wrongs of the first (and only) generation car. We'll never know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I do know is that even with the traction control and electronic nannies turned off, this car has a supernatural ability to act as your dance partner, executing every move beyond your wildest expectations. Want a little more over steer...coming right up. Want the car to straighten itself out in an awkward transitional section of the course...not a problem.

For yesterdays autocross, we left our all season tires on the Miata because we had massive rain forecast. This made us one of the slowest Miatas at the event, but also gave me a good bench mark I think for comparing it to the FRS- which rode on Michelin all season tires. We managed to loose control once on track, coming down to the final slalom section. We spun at about 50 miles an hour, which is pretty darned fast for a parking lot. The FR-S driver managed to spin at the same spot, as did an S2000 driver who is a friend of mine.

The FRS seemed to be more adept at recovering itself even with the electronic nanny's off. and the nanny's are not intrusive even when you use this thing for performance driving.

I've got to go to work, but I'll post more later.

Any comments or questions anyone has would be welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ocnblu    776

Triangular light low on rear bumper is a foglamp for European applications, there is no bulb or switch for it on US cars. It's a dummy, per the Subaru saleskid, I asked him the same thing, I thought it was a functional foglamp. Personally think it would be cool if it were functional. Did you see it lit, maybe he was wrong.

He said the only thing he wished for was 40 horsepower, and that the turbo should correct that. I shrugged and said I disagreed (although I have not driven it), that this is a handling car, not a dragstrip car. He acquiesced.

These are really cool, thoroughly engineered for their purpose... unlike the Kappa cars, which were knock-outs, stylewise, but, honestly, possibly, underdeveloped, engineering-wise. It's amazing the Kappas saw the light of day and we should be thankful for them, but.

Edited by ocnblu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Z-06    493

Good review. The car is well balanced for what it is. Toyota has balls to get this out even though it will not sell in large droves.

Somehow I laud Toyota for recreating the small, RWD, fun-to-drive sports car market again. Too bad the car starts at almost 25% more than what Toyota promised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At 25K it is still a bargain.

And I guess when Toyota wants a sports car, they do what we do...they buy one from someone else.

Lots of parts on the car from the Subie parts bin...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GMTruckGuy74    228

My 18 y-o step-son is in love with the Scion FR-S, and it has replaced his much sought-after Jeep Wrangler as the vehicle he wants to buy in the near future (plans to go into the Marines now that he has graduated from HS). I told him to help me out and not to park a Toyota product in my driveway by choosing the Subaru BRZ instead :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dfelt    1,874

Guess I am just an Shrek as I find this car ugly and way to small.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No...different strokes for different folks.

That was part of the review....this car is not for most people. You've got to want a really small, really sports oriented car to want this thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this