Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Drive: Scion FR-S

The Toyota FT-86 Concept was first introduced at the 2009 Tokyo Auto Show. The car was a joint project between Toyota and Subaru. The car went into production and would be sold under three brands: the Toyota FT-86/GT-86, Subaru BR-Z, and the Scion FR-S. Production for the cars started in March 16, 2012. The Toyota GT-86 is available for the European market. The Toyota FT-86 is available for the Asian, South African, and Australian markets. The Scion FR-S is available for the North American market. I first saw the Scion FR-S at the 2012 Houston Auto Show, but I did not test drive the car at the event. I have seen the Subaru BR-Z and the Scion FR-S at Houston Cars and Coffee events. I went down to the local Toyota/Scion dealership and I was allowed to test drive the Scion FR-S.

The Scion FR-S is available as a front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2+2 fastback coupe. The FR-S comes with a 2.0L flat-4 engine that produces 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The FR-S is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The version I drove had the automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The FR-S goes from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 143 mph. Prices for the FR-S with the manual transmission start at $24,200. Prices for the FR-S with the automatic transmission start at  $25,300.

The FR-S has a sporty interior. The FR-S is a 2+2, which means that the rear seats are designed for small bodies, not for full grown adults. The driver and front passenger seats take a while to get use to. They are racing bucket seats, not the typical seats found in most cars. The longer I drove, my body got use to the seat. I like the dashboard and the gauges. The gauges are a mixture of analog gauges and digital gauges, which is a nice touch. The FR-S has a sporty exterior with an aggressive stance.

The FR-S was fun to drive. The car was quick. It took a couple seconds to get up to highway speeds. I had no issues with breaks. The ride was more comfortable than the Chevrolet Volt. The car is very sporty, but it was smooth on the road. The Buick Regal that I drove at the 2012 Houston Auto Show had a sporty feel, but it was very uncomfortable to drive. The FR-S I drove had paddle shifters, but I did not use them. I kept the car in automatic. If I was in an empty parking lot, then I might try use the shifters. But since I was diving on Houston roads and a small stretch of a freeway, I kept the car in automatic. The FR-S was an enjoyable car to drive.

The FR-S was just a concept car at the 2012 Houston Auto Show. It was roped off so people could only look at the car and not get into the car. I am glad that the FR-S is being produced since it is a good sport car. The Scion brand is known for making box cars (Scion xA, xB, and xD). The Scion brand also has the tC. All four of those cars were front-engine cars. The FR-S brings a new dynamic to the brand. It is sporty and is rear-wheel drive. The FR-S also has great performance for around $25,000. Few cars can perform like the FR-S for about the same price. If you are looking for a sporty car with good performance for around $25,000, you should test drive the Scion FR-S.

Photo was taken by a digital camera.
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