Scion FR-S: Beauty, joy and incredible value
Toyota has finally come up with the passion they have been lacking for a while, and it’s found in the new Scion FR-S, the new sports car that hit the market this spring. It is the sister car to Subaru’s BRZ, and Subaru and Toyota apparently collaborated quite a bit on its creation – though who gets the greater credit depends on who you talk to.
At any rate, the Scion FR-S is a lightweight, agile sports car that will allow younger drivers into the market without breaking their bank. The vehicle only weighs about 2800 pounds, making it a lighter vehicle than most. Fishtailing, however, tends not to be an issue through corners – the car seems to respond to oversteering very lightly, without putting absolute fear in the driver that they are about to lose control of the vehicle.
Toyota has remained true to the vehicle’s original concept, as well. First designs in 2007 called for a sports car that was front-engined and rear-wheel drive, and original drafts seemed to pay homage to the Toyota Corolla of the 1980s. By 2008, a sports car program was born, and work began on planning the sports car that would become the Scion FR-S.
The chassis is neutral, though it is graced with softer springs that allow you to pass over the occasional uneven patch of road with little bother. It has a flat engine that purrs along nicely between 6000 and 7400 rpm, allowing the Scion FR-S a lower center of gravity than most vehicles of its type. This is a car to go playing along windy back roads, not to break out of the starting gate with a roar. It’s designed to hug curves as you go speeding along on a summer’s day.
The gearbox handles nicely and with the option of either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, drivers don’t have to opt out of owning a zippy sports car simply because they don’t know how to drive a manual. Certainly, the manual seems to suit the character of the low-riding FR-S, but the automatic with the paddle shifters is responsive and quick-shifting, allowing drivers a similar feel to the manual.
If there was a place where the Scion FR-S doesn’t necessarily compare to its meatier brothers and sisters in the sports car family, it’s in the tire department. Packaged with the exact same tires found in the optional Plus Performance package offered with the Prius, the tires lack the heavier grip of other sports cars. However, these can be easily switched out and certainly, the skinnier tire gives the Scion FR-S a slippery, almost playful feel that some of the newer sports models on the market today may lack.
Certainly, the Scion FR-S isn’t designed to beat out the muscle cars of yesteryear or replace the Porsches of today. It does, however, offer young drivers a reasonable, safe alternative sports car that will not break their banks. It also gives drivers looking for a light, sporty vehicle the zip of a sports car with the stability control they’ve been looking for.
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Flickr Image: zombieite