The essential goodness of a true sports car; simple specs and an affordable price; surprisingly satisfying interior quality; unusually responsive automatic transmission
Modest power; intrusive road noise
The Scion FR-S gets a standard touchscreen audio system and supple padding for the center console and door panels
We'd opt for a manual transmission, a color we can enjoy for four or five years and little else. Toyota's performance division, TRD, will seduce you with dealer-installed options, and a few will be of value. Before you pull out the MasterCard at the parts counter, get to know your FR-S in its pure, as-Akio-Toyoda-intended form. You'll be pleased with the decision.
The FR-S ($25,455) is offered in one well-equipped trim level.
Equipment highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, dual exhaust tips, LED taillights, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob (with a convincingly manual-like appearance on the automatic shifter), cruise control, a folding rear seat back, Bluetooth connectivity and a 300-watt, 8-speaker audio system with a 6.1-in touchscreen, HD radio and auxiliary/USB ports.
For smartphone devotees, Scion optionally provides BeSpoke, which offers a higher level of connectivity with Facebook, Twitter and Internet radio. Other options include 18-in alloy wheels, bigger front brakes, fog lights, a rear spoiler, a cold-air intake, a performance exhaust and lowering springs.
|Basic||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years/60,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||5 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||2 Years/25,000 Miles|
|Maintenance||2 Years/25,000 Miles|
Subaru BRZ -- It's technically the FR-S's twin, but rather than the Scion's 1-size-fits-all sales philosophy, Subaru brings two trim levels to the showroom, along with two price points.
Mazda MX-5 Miata -- For someone coveting the stripped-down simplicity of a compact roadster, Mazda's Miata remains compelling, and its manual shifter is one of the best we've ever sampled. However, it lacks the day-to-day practicality of the FR-S, and its engine is even more breathless than the Scion's at highway speeds.
Ford Mustang -- The Mustang is easily the most athletic of the modern muscle cars, and if you can find a deal on a V8-powered GT, the 400-plus hp under the hood may tip the scales in Ford's favor.