“It responds to good driving skills….if you don’t have them, you should leave the stability control on.” These are the words of Akio Toyota when talking, rather beaming about the Scion FR-S. If you didn’t know already, the FR-S is Toyota’s bold attempt at bringing back some excitement and passion to the lineup. And if you remember when, back when Toyotas once ruled the back roads with the Celica, Supra, and the MR-2, we would have to say that they have more than succeeded.
The FR-S is the North American version of the GT-86, which will be offered in Europe and Asia. Born out of a collaboration with Fuji Industries, or more specifically Subaru, the FR-S is a joint effort to produce a rear wheel drive, front engine mounted (thus the FR) sports car. The Subaru version-the BRZ- is almost identical other than some suspension tuning. The details about who did what, between the two companies are a bit vague, and really not that important. Suffice to say that both companies were heavily involved in the design, and production, with the Subaru’s boxer engine getting the nod for the powerplant.
So what? Is it awesome? The short answer is YES! While the engine provides plenty of horsepower, and torque for some low end grunt-200, and 151 respectively, the FR-S would not likely be the car you would challenge someone at a stoplight with. Especially, a pony car with a surplus of just sheer cubic inches. Once the road opens up, and starts to twist and turn, the Scion really shines. With a very low center of gravity, coupled with almost perfect balance of weight, front to rear (53/47), the FR-S dives into and out of corners like a go-cart. All without the teenager in the tank top, MMA hat and megaphone telling you to “slow down and no bumping!” Ahhh go cart track attendants. But we digress…
The FR-S is available in a 6 speed automatic, or manual transmission, depending on your desired level of control, and that previously mentioned stability control that we spoke of that can be left on, or disabled depending on your level of skill/courage.
Coupled with plenty of interior options including Blutooth, USB and iPod connectivity, and checking in at under $25,000, nicely equipped, the FR-S is bound to appeal to younger buyers, and it has enough safety features (Stability control, lots of airbags), and respectable enough fuel economy (25/28) that it is likely to get the endorsement (maybe even a down payment) of plenty of parents as well.
Just remember to check the odometer when your dad gets back from taking if for a “quick run to the store”;-)