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2013 Scion FR-S Review By John Heilig +VIDEO

2013 Scion FR-S (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Scion FR-S

By John Heilig
The Auto Channel

Model: 2013 Scion FR-S
Engine: 2.0-liter horizontally opposed 4
Horsepower/Torque: 200 hp @ 7,000 rpm/151 lb.-ft. @ 6,400-6,600
Transmission: 6-speed manual or automatic with paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 101.2 in.
Length x Width x Height: 166.7 x 69.9 x 50.6 in.
Tires: P215/45R17 Michelin summer tires
Cargo: 6.9 cu. ft.
Economy: 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway (manual), 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway (automatic)
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gal.
Curb Weight: 2,578 lbs. (manual), 2,806 (automatic)
Sticker: $24,200 (manual transmission), $25,300 (automatic transmission)

Top 5 Reasons To Buy This Car:

1. Great sports coupe
2. Excellent performance
3. Styling
4. Be the first on your block
5. You can’t decide between a Scion and a Subaru

My Bottom Line: With the tag line “Bringing the sport back to the car,” Scion’s new FR-S (for Front engine, Rear drive, Sport) is a 2+2 sport coupe that will create a lot of noise in the segment, and not just for the supercharged audio systems that some Scion owners put in their vehicles. This joint venture between Toyota and Subaru has created a relatively inexpensive car that can do everything you’d expect from a car costing $10,000 more.

My co-driver and I had put maybe 15 miles on the Scion FS-R at the Regional Press Preview in Las Vegas. We were driving through the Red Rock Canyon area when we pulled over at a rest area to get some pictures. A young man, mid 20s, came running over to us and wanted to talk about the car.

“Dude, that is beautiful,” he kept repeating. “This car is awesome. My car will be paid off in a couple of months and this is my next car. Dude, this is great.”

A video of his enthusiasm is on my co-driver’s web site,

A few miles down the road and we pulled over at a gas station/convenience store to change drivers and we met a pair of older motorcyclists who knew what they were looking at and asked pertinent questions. Like, “What’s the engine?” It’s a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four that puts out 200 horsepower.

“Where is the engine?” We opened the hood and showed them the engine, sitting low in the chassis and further back than the standard front-engined car.

“Who makes it?” It’s made by Scion (although our test car was built by Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru)) and it’s a joint venture between the companies.

“How much?” $25,000 (roughly) including shipping. It’s a little bit more for the automatic, a little bit less for the manual transmission.

As Scion has done throughout its existence, they have hit the nail squarely on the head with the FR-S. They wanted a sports car and they got a sports car. Scion vice president Jack Hollis said the FR-S evokes the memories of the Toyota 2000GT, the Sports 800 and the Corolla AE86. There’s a strong resemblance to the 2000 in the FR-S’s hood line, especially when viewed from above. And the car’s logo is a reminder of the AE86’s intermeshed 8 and 6 logo, with opposing cylinders behind it.

Driving the FR-S, one is immediately impressed with the car’s solidity. There has always been the impression (largely unfounded by experience) that Scion cars are cheap. Inexpensive, yes, but cheap no. The FR-S isn’t heavy (roughly 2,800 lbs.) yet it has such a solid feel to it that you’d expect the numbers to be higher. We drove over some deliciously curvy roads and hills and the FR-S acted as if it was glued to the asphalt and concrete. On straighter roads, it was difficult to keep it below 85 mph, especially since it felt as if we were only going 55.

The front seats are very comfortable and offer excellent side support, both in the kidney and shoulder areas. The FR-S is claimed to be a 2+2, meaning that there are rear seats. Hollis said he has ridden back there for 30 minutes or so, but it isn’t a ride I’d look forward to. The rear seat backs fold down to increase cargo capacity from the standard 6.9 cubic feet, giving you enough room to carry four tires and a racing helmet. That, plus the door handles are deigned to allow installation of a roll bar, shows Scion's thoughts about the car.

In front of the driver is a clear instrument panel with a predominant tachometer with a digital speedometer inside. There’s a 160 mph analog speedometer off to the left, which I never looked at.

The underhood experience is exciting as well. The engine sits low and slightly midships, thanks to a revision of the MacPherson strut front suspension. The engine is co-branded Scion and Subaru, revealing its heritage.

On the race track, the FR-S handles well at speed. I forgot how much fun a rear-wheel drive car can be. We also drove the car on an autocross course with tighter turns that made the tires complain. I preferred the autocross.

This car will give Nissan fits when it’s put up against the 370Z. The cars have almost equal performance, but the Scion is $10,000 cheaper.

Scion has made few errors (if any) since it was founded as its own distinct brand by parent Toyota.

The FR-S, the brand’s first venture into a real sports cars, is another hit.

A big one.

Watch the complete introduction of the FR-S at the 2011 New York Auto Show

Scion FR-S Preliminary Specifications


166.7 in.


69.9 in.


51.2 in. (not including antenna base)


101.2 in.



59.8 in.


60.6 in.

Seating capacity



Total displacement

1,998 cc


Horizontally opposed four-cylinder, D-4S injection, DOHC

Bore stroke

86 86 mm.

Maximum output

200hp @ 7,000 rpm

Maximum torque

151 lb.-ft. @ 6,600 rpm


6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters


Rear-wheel drive



MacPherson struts


Double wishbone



Ventilated Disc


Ventilated Disc






Fuel tank

13.2 gallons


Premium Unleaded

2012 The Auto Page