2013 Scion FR-S True Sports Performance Coupe
It's bound to become an instant classic – that's how great of a car it is. The best part? It has a starting price below $25,000 when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. The six-speed automatic is about $1300 more.
This kind of performance at this low of a price just hasn't been seen in a long time. As Scion VP Jack Hollis pointed out during a media introduction in Las Vegas, "The FR-S allows us to reach a whole New Dimension of performance. It’s a sports car that pound-for-pound and dollar-for-dollar is already igniting the passion of a whole group of car fanatics."
Let's look at that pound-for-pound sentiment. The 2013 Scion FR-S is powered by a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder Boxer engine that uses Toyota's cutting-edge D-4S injection system (and is found in the Lexus IS F, a compact luxury performance sedan that is on my bucket list of cars to own some day).
This little engine produces 200 horsepower but a surprisingly mundane 151 lb. ft. of torque. Its 100 horsepower per liter puts in supercar territory in terms of performance. Scion officials said its torque deficiency (my term – not theirs) comes from the fact that this car was not built just for linear performance. But it's quick off the line with a published time of 6.2 seconds, according to Motor Trend. http://www.motortrend.com/
Handling is fantastic. Scion set up an autocross course and encouraged us to try the FR-S with all the traction control systems in place. Then it was placed in a sport setting that reduces vehicle stability control and finally with everything shut completely off. Thanks to a low center of gravity, even with all the traction devices shut down, the FR-S was nimble through the autocross and delivered the best times when the electronic nannies couldn't interfere.
However, that's not to knock stability and traction control. Both are proven lifesavers and a parking lot autocross course is a far cry from a slick interstate highway overpass coated with black ice.
The FR-S’s interior includes a 2+2 seating configuration that is designed with both form and function in mind. The comfortable front seats feature deep bolsters and are mounted low, while the rear seat folds down flat, creating flexible space. I didn't have any car seats with me in Las Vegas but I'm confident they could be installed with a little effort. Adults and taller children may find sitting behind anybody taller than 5'9" uncomfortable.
The large center-mounted tachometer is the focus of the three-gauge cluster and features a programmable shift-indicator, which has an indicator that lights up when redline is reached. The driver can set the warning to go off in 100-rpm increments, starting at 2,000 rpm. A chime can be programmed to sound when redline is approached. Speed is monitored by both digital and analog gauges.