Can the Scion FR-S compete in the American sports car segment?
The 2013 Scion FR-S is powered by a 2.0L Subaru motor that yields 200 horsepower and 151lb-ft of torque; numbers that make it the one of the least powerful sports cars in the American auto industry. The FR-S will enter the hotly contested rear wheel drive sports car segment, taking on the likes off the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Nissan 370Z and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Out of that grouping, the least powerful vehicle is the 4-cylinder Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T which packs 274 horsepower and 275lb-ft of torque so the FR-S is clearly at a massive disadvantage upon entering the segment. However, the engineers at Subaru and Toyota put a tremendous amount of effort into the chassis and body design of the new joint venture sports car and the result is a car that might not offer the most acceleration in the class but it is among the lightest and most well-balanced car in the segment. It was this lightweight design that helped bring some of the most well known Japanese sports cars in history into the limelight, packing low(ish) power outputs from high revving engines and an ultra light chassis design that allows the driver to stop and turn on a dime. That is an equation that has proven to be successful in the Japanese market but will the handling capacities of the FR-S be enough for the new Scion rear drive sports coupe to compete in the US?
To answer that question, I headed to Jacksonville Florida with the folks from South Eastern Toyota (SET) to spend a few hours driving the 2013 Scion FR-S - both in manual and automatic trim - around the backwoods area in which SET makes their home.