Sign in to follow this  
William Maley

2013 Scion FR-S

55 posts in this topic

William Maley    392

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.

Click here to view the article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwightlooi    259

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dfelt    1,771

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. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwightlooi    259

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hyperv6    774

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ocnblu    733

I used my red pen on THAT one, reginald. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drew Dowdell    4,988

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drew Dowdell    4,988

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.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
regfootball    234

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drew Dowdell    4,988

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwightlooi    259

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hyperv6    774

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drew Dowdell    4,988

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwightlooi    259

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwightlooi    259

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pow    106

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.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwightlooi    259

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hyperv6    774

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.

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  



  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Sometimes, you find yourself scratching your head as you struggle to think if any more can be said about a vehicle. The two vehicles seen here, the 2017 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee have been reviewed by me numerous times - Durango has two, while the Grand Cherokee stands at three. Not much has changed on either vehicle since I last reviewed them. This puts me in a bit of quandary: What do I talk about? The answer was to delve into the trims themselves and figure out if they are worth the cash.
      The Grand Cherokee seen here is the top-line Summit. Jeep updated this trim last year with new front end treatment consisting of a new grille and LED fog lights. The exterior changes for the Summit do sharpen up the Grand Cherokee, a design which should be noted that has been around since 2011. One design touch we really like are the set optional 20-inch aluminum wheels as they dress up the Grand Cherokee quite nicely. The larger wheels don’t affect ride quality as the Grand Cherokee’s suspension turns bumps into light ripples. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels.
      The interior now has the option of the “Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package” that brings a leather covering for the dash and center console, and premium leather upholstery for the seats and door panels. My test vehicle came with this package and I am not sure its worth the $4,995. The key reason comes down to the leather used for the seats. I can’t tell the difference between the leather upholstery used for this package and the one used on lesser trims. Aside from this, the Summit retains many of the plus points found on other Grand Cherokees such as a roomy interior, simple infotainment system, and excellent build quality. 
      The Summit begins at $50,495 for two-wheel drive and $53,495 for four-wheel drive. Our test vehicle came to an as-tested price of $60,675 with the leather package, skid plates, and 20-inch wheels. The upside to the Summit is you get most everything as standard such as navigation, premium audio system, sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and a power liftgate. Personally, I would skip all of the options as fitted to our test vehicle and get a base Summit.
      Now on to the Durango. This one is the GT which can be best described as the R/T minus the V8. This means you get similar exterior tweaks such as a body color grille surround, black mesh inserts, LED daytime running lights, and 20-inch wheels finished in black. Our model came with the Brass Monkey appearance package which adds brushed bronze wheels and blacked-out badges. This makes for a mean looking crossover that doesn’t break the bank - the Brass Monkey package will only set you back $595. The GT is also quite confident in the bends with minimal body roll and nicely weighted steering. 
      Downsides? The Durango is starting to show its age inside. Various materials and the plain design put the Durango towards the back of the pack of the current crossover crop. Also, the value equation for the Durango can go downward with the number of options you add. The test Durango seen here comes with an as-tested of $49,660 with most the option boxes ticked. Not an absurd amount for a three-row crossover, but the Durango is missing out on features that many models feature such as adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and compatibility for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
      You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the powertrain. That’s because both models feature the same 3.6L Pentastar V6 producing 295 horsepower and paired with an eight-speed automatic. I have written a lot about this powertrain on both models before and my opinion hasn’t changed. The engine offers strong low-end power and minimal NVH levels. The automatic transmission, for the most part, does a decent job of being in the right gear at the right time. Though we found the transmission to be somewhat slow to respond whenever heavy throttle was suddenly applied. Fuel economy for both models landed around 20 mpg.
      Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are still competitive in their respective classes, despite getting up there in age. Just be careful with your option selection as it can make both models very poor values.
      Disclaimer: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Durango
      Trim: GT
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT with ESS
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 295 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,987 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan
      Base Price: $40,095
      As Tested Price: $49,660 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Group - $2,395
      Rear Entertainment System- $1,995
      Safety/Security and Convenience Group - $1,195
      Second-Row Captain Chairs - $995
      Trailer Tow Group IV - $995
      Brass Monkey Appearance Group - $595
      Second-Row Console - $300
      Year: 2017
      Make: Jeep
      Model: Grand Cherokee
      Trim: Summit
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT with ESS
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 295 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,952 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan
      Base Price: $53,995
      As Tested Price: $60,675 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package - $4,995
      Summit California Edition - $995
      Skid Plate Group - $295

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Sometimes, you find yourself scratching your head as you struggle to think if any more can be said about a vehicle. The two vehicles seen here, the 2017 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee have been reviewed by me numerous times - Durango has two, while the Grand Cherokee stands at three. Not much has changed on either vehicle since I last reviewed them. This puts me in a bit of quandary: What do I talk about? The answer was to delve into the trims themselves and figure out if they are worth the cash.
      The Grand Cherokee seen here is the top-line Summit. Jeep updated this trim last year with new front end treatment consisting of a new grille and LED fog lights. The exterior changes for the Summit do sharpen up the Grand Cherokee, a design which should be noted that has been around since 2011. One design touch we really like are the set optional 20-inch aluminum wheels as they dress up the Grand Cherokee quite nicely. The larger wheels don’t affect ride quality as the Grand Cherokee’s suspension turns bumps into light ripples. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels.
      The interior now has the option of the “Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package” that brings a leather covering for the dash and center console, and premium leather upholstery for the seats and door panels. My test vehicle came with this package and I am not sure its worth the $4,995. The key reason comes down to the leather used for the seats. I can’t tell the difference between the leather upholstery used for this package and the one used on lesser trims. Aside from this, the Summit retains many of the plus points found on other Grand Cherokees such as a roomy interior, simple infotainment system, and excellent build quality. 
      The Summit begins at $50,495 for two-wheel drive and $53,495 for four-wheel drive. Our test vehicle came to an as-tested price of $60,675 with the leather package, skid plates, and 20-inch wheels. The upside to the Summit is you get most everything as standard such as navigation, premium audio system, sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and a power liftgate. Personally, I would skip all of the options as fitted to our test vehicle and get a base Summit.
      Now on to the Durango. This one is the GT which can be best described as the R/T minus the V8. This means you get similar exterior tweaks such as a body color grille surround, black mesh inserts, LED daytime running lights, and 20-inch wheels finished in black. Our model came with the Brass Monkey appearance package which adds brushed bronze wheels and blacked-out badges. This makes for a mean looking crossover that doesn’t break the bank - the Brass Monkey package will only set you back $595. The GT is also quite confident in the bends with minimal body roll and nicely weighted steering. 
      Downsides? The Durango is starting to show its age inside. Various materials and the plain design put the Durango towards the back of the pack of the current crossover crop. Also, the value equation for the Durango can go downward with the number of options you add. The test Durango seen here comes with an as-tested of $49,660 with most the option boxes ticked. Not an absurd amount for a three-row crossover, but the Durango is missing out on features that many models feature such as adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and compatibility for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
      You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the powertrain. That’s because both models feature the same 3.6L Pentastar V6 producing 295 horsepower and paired with an eight-speed automatic. I have written a lot about this powertrain on both models before and my opinion hasn’t changed. The engine offers strong low-end power and minimal NVH levels. The automatic transmission, for the most part, does a decent job of being in the right gear at the right time. Though we found the transmission to be somewhat slow to respond whenever heavy throttle was suddenly applied. Fuel economy for both models landed around 20 mpg.
      Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are still competitive in their respective classes, despite getting up there in age. Just be careful with your option selection as it can make both models very poor values.
      Disclaimer: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Durango
      Trim: GT
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT with ESS
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 295 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,987 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan
      Base Price: $40,095
      As Tested Price: $49,660 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Group - $2,395
      Rear Entertainment System- $1,995
      Safety/Security and Convenience Group - $1,195
      Second-Row Captain Chairs - $995
      Trailer Tow Group IV - $995
      Brass Monkey Appearance Group - $595
      Second-Row Console - $300
      Year: 2017
      Make: Jeep
      Model: Grand Cherokee
      Trim: Summit
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT with ESS
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 295 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,952 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan
      Base Price: $53,995
      As Tested Price: $60,675 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package - $4,995
      Summit California Edition - $995
      Skid Plate Group - $295
    • By William Maley
      The Volkswagen Jetta is an outlier in the compact class. Whereas other automakers have been stepping up with sharper designs, more tech, and improved driving dynamics, Volkswagen went in a completely different direction by offering the biggest amount of interior space for not that much money. But to accomplish this, Volkswagen made a number of sacrifices in terms of design, materials, and mechanical bits. This put the Jetta way behind the pack of the fresh competition. 
      But Volkswagen has been working to try and right some of the wrongs of the Jetta. A couple of years ago, Volkswagen updated the model with a new front end, new dashboard, and a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder to take place of the decrepit 2.0L. It salvages the Jetta’s reputation somewhat.
      The current Jetta is slightly better in terms of looks. A new front end with a larger grille and headlights with LED daytime running lights help make the model look more interesting to look at. Sadly, the rest of vehicle is as nondescript as before with nothing that jumps out at you. If you were to ask a small kid to draw a car, it would most likely look like the Jetta. If you ever wanted a master class of in how not to do an interior, the Jetta is a perfect candidate. Whereas most compact sedans show marked improvements in design and materials, the Jetta is like stepping back a decade or so. Our mid-level SE came with a large amount of cheap and hard plastics that you don’t see most compacts now - aside from the base models. The mostly black interior makes for a dreary experience. On the upside, Volkswagen has improved the dash by taking some ideas from the Golf. A new instrument cluster and revised center stack layout helps make the Jetta not feel as cheap as the previous model. It also makes for an easier time to find various controls and reading things at a quick glance. All Jettas get Volkswagen’s Car-Net infotainment system. The base S makes do with a 5-inch touchscreen, while the SE and higher trims use a 6.3-inch screen. Car-Net is one of the best infotainment systems on sale today thanks to a sharp interface, simple layout of the various functions, and the ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Space is the Jetta’s key selling point. The back seat alone dwarfs most compacts and even gives some midsize sedans a run for their money. Sitting back here, I could stretch out with no issue. The trunk is also huge, offering up 15.7 cubic feet. I do wish the front seats were a bit more comfortable. Most of the week found me constantly adjusting the seat to try and find a position that wouldn’t cause me to ache after a drive. The SE comes with a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder offering 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Our test vehicle came with the standard five-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic is available.  On paper, the 1.4T should be a strong engine as it offers the same torque figure as the larger 1.8T at a lower rpm (1,400 rpm vs. 1,500 rpm). In the real world, this doesn’t happen. You’ll need to get the engine above 2,000 rpm to wake it up. At first, I thought we were dealing with a bad case of turbo lag. But further investigation revealed the five-speed manual is at fault. Volkswagen used taller gearing to make up for a missing sixth gear and improve fuel economy. I can’t help but wonder if the six-speed automatic alleviates this issue. Once you figure this out, the 1.4T is a surprising performer. Speed comes on at a rapid rate once your above 2,000 rpm. The engine is also very smooth and makes a pleasant noise when accelerating. The manual is somewhat difficult to work as the gear linkage feels somewhat stiff when moving through the gears. The clutch is light and it’s easy to find the take-off point. EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.4T manual stand at 28 City/40 Highway/33 Combined. I saw an average of 35 mpg that was a mix of 70 percent city driving and 30 percent highway driving. The automatic sees a slight drop in fuel economy to 28/38/32. One item we’re glad to see the lesser Jetta models get is a multilink rear suspension - replacing the rear beam axle of previous models. This makes a huge difference in ride and handling. On rough roads, the Jetta provides a compliant and comfortable ride. Handling is almost similar to the Golf Wolfsburg I drove earlier in the year - little body roll and excellent steering response. The SE seen here came with an as-tested price of $21,795 with destination. That includes 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, push-button start, cruise control, and a power sunroof. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is much better than the model that was launched only five years ago. But that isn’t saying a lot considering how much the compact class has moved up in this time frame. Price may be the Jetta’s ultimate strength as it offers a lot of features for the money with the 1.4T engine and interior space running slightly behind. Everywhere else, the Jetta is outmatched. Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Jetta, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Jetta
      Trim: SE
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L 16V TSI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 5,000 
      Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 1,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/40/33
      Curb Weight: 2,939 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
      Base Price: $20,895
      As Tested Price: $21,715 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      The Volkswagen Jetta is an outlier in the compact class. Whereas other automakers have been stepping up with sharper designs, more tech, and improved driving dynamics, Volkswagen went in a completely different direction by offering the biggest amount of interior space for not that much money. But to accomplish this, Volkswagen made a number of sacrifices in terms of design, materials, and mechanical bits. This put the Jetta way behind the pack of the fresh competition. 
      But Volkswagen has been working to try and right some of the wrongs of the Jetta. A couple of years ago, Volkswagen updated the model with a new front end, new dashboard, and a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder to take place of the decrepit 2.0L. It salvages the Jetta’s reputation somewhat.
      The current Jetta is slightly better in terms of looks. A new front end with a larger grille and headlights with LED daytime running lights help make the model look more interesting to look at. Sadly, the rest of vehicle is as nondescript as before with nothing that jumps out at you. If you were to ask a small kid to draw a car, it would most likely look like the Jetta. If you ever wanted a master class of in how not to do an interior, the Jetta is a perfect candidate. Whereas most compact sedans show marked improvements in design and materials, the Jetta is like stepping back a decade or so. Our mid-level SE came with a large amount of cheap and hard plastics that you don’t see most compacts now - aside from the base models. The mostly black interior makes for a dreary experience. On the upside, Volkswagen has improved the dash by taking some ideas from the Golf. A new instrument cluster and revised center stack layout helps make the Jetta not feel as cheap as the previous model. It also makes for an easier time to find various controls and reading things at a quick glance. All Jettas get Volkswagen’s Car-Net infotainment system. The base S makes do with a 5-inch touchscreen, while the SE and higher trims use a 6.3-inch screen. Car-Net is one of the best infotainment systems on sale today thanks to a sharp interface, simple layout of the various functions, and the ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Space is the Jetta’s key selling point. The back seat alone dwarfs most compacts and even gives some midsize sedans a run for their money. Sitting back here, I could stretch out with no issue. The trunk is also huge, offering up 15.7 cubic feet. I do wish the front seats were a bit more comfortable. Most of the week found me constantly adjusting the seat to try and find a position that wouldn’t cause me to ache after a drive. The SE comes with a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder offering 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Our test vehicle came with the standard five-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic is available.  On paper, the 1.4T should be a strong engine as it offers the same torque figure as the larger 1.8T at a lower rpm (1,400 rpm vs. 1,500 rpm). In the real world, this doesn’t happen. You’ll need to get the engine above 2,000 rpm to wake it up. At first, I thought we were dealing with a bad case of turbo lag. But further investigation revealed the five-speed manual is at fault. Volkswagen used taller gearing to make up for a missing sixth gear and improve fuel economy. I can’t help but wonder if the six-speed automatic alleviates this issue. Once you figure this out, the 1.4T is a surprising performer. Speed comes on at a rapid rate once your above 2,000 rpm. The engine is also very smooth and makes a pleasant noise when accelerating. The manual is somewhat difficult to work as the gear linkage feels somewhat stiff when moving through the gears. The clutch is light and it’s easy to find the take-off point. EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.4T manual stand at 28 City/40 Highway/33 Combined. I saw an average of 35 mpg that was a mix of 70 percent city driving and 30 percent highway driving. The automatic sees a slight drop in fuel economy to 28/38/32. One item we’re glad to see the lesser Jetta models get is a multilink rear suspension - replacing the rear beam axle of previous models. This makes a huge difference in ride and handling. On rough roads, the Jetta provides a compliant and comfortable ride. Handling is almost similar to the Golf Wolfsburg I drove earlier in the year - little body roll and excellent steering response. The SE seen here came with an as-tested price of $21,795 with destination. That includes 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, push-button start, cruise control, and a power sunroof. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is much better than the model that was launched only five years ago. But that isn’t saying a lot considering how much the compact class has moved up in this time frame. Price may be the Jetta’s ultimate strength as it offers a lot of features for the money with the 1.4T engine and interior space running slightly behind. Everywhere else, the Jetta is outmatched. Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Jetta, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Jetta
      Trim: SE
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L 16V TSI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 5,000 
      Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 1,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/40/33
      Curb Weight: 2,939 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
      Base Price: $20,895
      As Tested Price: $21,715 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The Dodge Charger is a mean and potent machine when equipped with one of three HEMI V8s available. But is the same true when the Charger is equipped with the 3.6L V6? The answer we found after spending a week with an SXT AWD model is it depends.
      Dodge updated the Charger back in 2015 with new front and rear end treatments. I’m not too fond of the new front with a wider crosshair grille, reshaped headlights with LEDs, and new hood just looks somewhat awkward. On the upside, the revised trundled with the long taillights works very well.  Our test vehicle came equipped with the Blacktop Appearance Group which adds a gloss black fascia, a spoiler finished in satin black, and 19-inch wheels finished in black. Yes, our vehicle is missing the wheels and we don’t know why. But even without the wheels, the Blacktop package makes the Charger look even more menacing. Time has not been so kind to the Charger’s interior as it is looking even more dated since the last time we drove one. The black interior isn’t pleasant to spend a lot of time and makes the vehicle feel somewhat claustrophobic. Not helping are the materials which are either hard plastic or have a rubbery feeling.  There is some good news concerning the Charger’s interior. For 2017, FCA has installed the latest version of UConnect which brings a number of improvements. I’ve praised this system in the 2017 Pacifica and will do the same here. Performance is noticeably improved thanks to various tweaks made to the system. FCA also gave the interface a fresh coat of paint that helps bring the UConnect into the current century. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are present and work flawlessly. Under the hood is the familiar 3.6L V6 that powers a number of FCA vehicles. For the Charger, the V6 produces 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through an eight-speed automatic to either the rear-wheels or in our tester, all four wheels. Sufficient is the best word to describe the performance of the V6 as it gets the Charger up to speed at a decent rate. We will admit that the extra weight of the all-wheel drive does zap some of V6’s power, making it feel slightly slower. Fuel economy doesn’t take as much of a hit as you might think when going with AWD. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 18 City/27 Highway/21 Combined. The rear-drive Charger V6 returns 19/30/23. During my week, I saw an average 20.7 in mostly city driving. Compared to its V8 brethren, the Charger V6 has a much softer suspension tune. This does mean the Charger does not like being pushed around corners. You can order the Rallye package that brings a sport-tuned suspension which makes for a very entertaining vehicle. The benefit to the softer suspension is the Charger glides over bumps with no issue. Some road and wind noise makes its way into the cabin, but it is quite acceptable for most buyers. The Charger is quite the brash vehicle to look at no matter which variant you choose. When it comes to engines, the V6 can be a surprisingly good drive if you order the Rally package. Otherwise, the Charger V6 is a mean looker of a full-size sedan that can provide a comfortable ride. Though, if you really have your heart set on one, we would point you in the direction of the Chrysler 300 which offers most of the plus points of the Charger with a much nicer interior.  
      Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Charger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Charger
      Trim: SXT AWD
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 292 @ 6,350
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/27/21
      Curb Weight: 4,233 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $31,995
      As Tested Price: $36,165 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation and Travel Group - $1,095.00
      Driver Confidence Group - $795.00
      Redline Tri-Coat Exterior Paint - $595.00
      Blacktop Appearance Group - $495.00
      Premium Cloth Seats - $95.00

      View full article
  • My Clubs

  • Who's Online (See full list)