2015 Scion FR-S Review – Hot Lava Color Grabs Attention
Developed in conjunction with Subaru, the Scion FR-S has done wonders in reinvigorating the brand. It is arguably the most attractive offering Toyota’s spin off company has in its lineup and people are buying them in droves. What is so great about it? A rear-wheel drive sports car with sleek lines for under $26k has a lot to do with the demand.
Sporting a really amazing “hot lava” color, it was hard to take our eyes off of our 2015 Scion FR-S test model. Also, the exterior lines, wheels and overall styling really makes you take a double take. Don’t just ask me, this car was one of the few to get comments on all around town.
On the inside, the 2+2 sports coupe offers a monotone interior color highlighted by red striping on the seats. While, there are rear seats, I would challenge the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz to sit in them comfortably. (for the record, I didn’t even attempt to climb back there.)
This car is really more about the driver’s seat and the performance more than anything else. In this regard, it is a bit mixed. The driver’s seat is pretty good and the dash is easy to read. The seats aren’t quite as good as say a Lexus IS 350, but it also doesn’t cost that much.
For performance, I’ve driven its cousin – the Subaru BRZ – on the track and the flat boxer engine with a six-speed transmission is fantastic. Weighing just over 2,700 lbs doesn’t hurt its performance either. Yet, I just wish the street performance blew me away as well.
When on the open road, this car begs for more horsepower (rated at 200 HP at 7,000 RPM) and torque (151 lb-ft at 6,600 RPM). It goes 0-60 in the mid 6’s and 14.5 seconds in a quarter mile. Simply put, if you plan on dusting Mustangs or other performance cars, forget about it. It simply doesn’t have it.
However, it also, arguably, doesn’t need it. This is an entry-level, rear-wheel drive sports car to use for fun or to get serious about and modify for the track. The Scion FR-S opens the doors to weekend track warrior seekers for a much more reasonable price and, for that, I think Scion did a great job of targeting a market.
While I found the performance a bit lacking, the six-speed manual in my loaner was smooth, cornering was sharp and it was a fun drive. I mostly left traction control on because I don’t need to call Scion and tell them I put their car through a ditch into a field. Yet, even with it engaged, I was able to smoke the tires a bit and have a pretty good time driving around.
The rest of the car components like the Pioneer 7″ touch-screen display, remote keyless entry and back-up camera work as intended. Interestingly, the FR-S lacked XM radio. I can’t recall the last time I had a vehicle come without it, yet it would drive up the price – a key part to its appeal.
Like other sports cars, there are a host of aftermarket features available including quite a few from TRD including air intake, quick shifter, alloy wheels and sway bar. These are great items to consider for anyone who wants to get a little bit more “serious” about driving the car. Besides TRD, there are a host of other aftermarket suppliers out there.
Probably the biggest question on the FR-S is why there isn’t a turbocharger for the car? With dismal sales so far, Car and Driver notes it didn’t hit its modest sales goal of 20,000 units, and the biggest complaint being lack of power, it seems like adding one makes a lot of sense. Yet, the business case isn’t there.
Like Car and Driver notes, car manufactures develop a platform to use with several models. Since the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 (European Scion version) are the only cars that share that platform, there just isn’t enough volume to justify adding a turbocharger.
Now, that is the business case. However, Akio Toyoda sits at the helm of Toyota. As an avid sports car driver himself, he could override the business case and put one in. With the Lexus turbochargers coming to market, we have hope Toyota will work one into the FR-S. It would be a lot more fun on the street.
Model – 2015 Scion FR-S
Engine – 2.0L, 4-cylinder Boxer
Transmission – 6-speed manual (automatic is available)
Fuel Economy – 22/30/25 MPG city/highway/combined
Price as tested – $26,075 includes $770 delivery, processing and handling fee
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