By David Colman
For: Light, Swift, Agile, Racerized
Against: Needs Stickier Tires, 6-Speed Automatic Is Buzz Kill
The bold new Scion FR-S looks best when painted in Hot Lava, a shocking shade of pearlescent orange that perfectly summarizes the impertinent nature of this sizzling hot hatchback. With the FR-S, Scion engineers have managed to craft the perfect autocross car. Once properly classed by the Competition Board of the SCCA, the FR-S will win many national titles, not only in autocross, but road racing as well. In fact, the FR-S is destined to become the next Mazda Miata/MX-5 in terms of affordability, competitiveness, and cult interest. The FR-S will also launch a cottage industry of tuners dedicated to making it go faster and handle better.
Video from Ignition
This is a ground-breaking product, because its design was generated, not by considerations of practicality, comfort, nor gadgetry, but by performance metrics alone. This is not to say that the FR-S is impractical, uncomfortable, or bare bones, because it is not any of those things. But those ancillaries never factored into the basic equation here. Toyota, with input from Subaru (who sell their own version called BRZ), never wavered from their laser-like design vision: “Build a sports car – not by committee, but by passion – that is light, compact, agile, and intuitive, delivering true sports car performance at an affordable price.”
Just like the original Miata of 1990, the FR-S offers quintessential sports car performance. And it does so at a remarkably affordable base price of $24,200. In fact, the out-the-door bottom line on our test car was $24,997, including $67 for wheel locks, and $730 for delivery processing and handling fee. At the long-lead press presentation of the FR-S, Scion included hot laps on the Spring Mountain motorsports and country club track in Pahrump, NV. Just to prove the car’s bona fides, event planners also included a testy autocross course on an adjacent skidpad area.
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