If you're looking for a vehicle with the close and personal feel of a sporty GT but what you really need is the everyday usability of a daily driver, do yourself a favor and check out the all-new 2013 Scion FR-S. It's a well-balanced sports car with plenty of style, good fuel efficiency and it's budget-friendly.
The product of a joint development between Toyota and Subaru, the FR-S gets its name from the F in front engine, R in rear-wheel drive and S in Sport, the essential characteristics of an authentic 2+2 coupe.
One look at the long hood and short deck proportions, and you might want to compare it to sports coupes like the Nissan 370Z or the Ford Mustang. But the FR-S is so much more affordable that it nearly stands alone in the category.
If you like the outside, the inside should keep you interested, too. First off, you won't need to become a contortionist to get comfortable like in some sport coupes. Outward visibility is much better, too.
The gauge layout has a nice, neat logic to it. There's nothing like the straightforwardness of a big tachometer in the center with accompanying digital speed readout.
Our FR-S came with the standard Pioneer sound system but we recommend the BeSpoke multimedia audio system. It provides access to smartphone apps including internet radio.
If there's any drawback here, it's the nearly unusable rear seat, typical of a sports coupe. It might be better to just make it a storage shelf.
The Subaru influence is the horizontally opposed engine that sits low in the chassis for better balance, and that means better handling. It's a naturally aspirated 2-liter flat-four boxer engine that sends 200 horsepower to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission like we have here or an available 6-speed automatic.
Either way, we're talking pretty decent fuel economy for a vehicle in this class.
But if that's a big concern, the automatic will serve you better, getting as much as 34 miles per gallon on the highway versus just 30 on the highway with the manual.
I really appreciate the selectable stability and traction controls. There are five combinations to work with. I can set it for typical road conditions or loosen it up for a little fun.
Anti-lock brakes and a full array of airbags with front and rear side curtain airbags are standard safety features, too.
Base price for the Scion FR-S is just $25,000 with the manual transmission. The price rises to over $26,000 with the automatic. That's going to make a lot of people very happy.
This is a driver's car that's more about involvement than speed. Sure it's quick but it's the great handling that makes it enjoyable. The 2013 Scion FR-S is a hot, all-new sports car that deserves a close look and a few turns behind the wheel.