Editor’s note: 2016 was the last production year of the Scion FR-S for the U.S which was replaced by the 2017 Toyota 86.
- Eagerly anticipated coupe starts just below $25,000
- Launches this spring
- Result of a joint project with Subaru
Pricing has finally been announced for the 2013 Scion FR-S. When it goes on sale in the U.S. this spring, the all-new model will start at $24,930. That includes $730 in destination charges.
This figure applies to versions with the six-speed manual transmission. The six-speed automatic costs $1,100 more.
FR-S stands for "Front-engined/Rear-drive Sports car," which is exactly what this Scion is. It’s the only car from Toyota’s youth-oriented brand to employ rear-wheel drive, a setup favored by driving enthusiasts. That’s because there’s a highly pleasing neutrality and poise to a car whose engine is at the front while the driven wheels are at the back.
The engine is a flat-four (also known as a "boxer") – where two pairs of cylinders are horizontally opposed instead of the usual four-in-a-row inline configuration. If this appears to be incredibly similar to a Subaru engine, it is.
The FR-S was developed in conjunction with Subaru (whose own model, the BRZ – for "Boxer/Rear-drive/Zenith" – has yet to be priced, but is expected to be in the same $25K ballpark). Toyota took Subaru’s flat-four engine and added its own fuel injection technology.
With a 2.0-liter capacity, the flat-four engine develops 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. For an engine to produce 100 horsepower per liter without the aid of a turbo or supercharger is still pretty much as good as it gets. And its size and shape allows it to be placed low in the body and far enough behind the front axle to contribute to the excellent balance of this chassis. Fuel consumption is estimated by the EPA to be 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined (manual) or 25/34/28 mpg (auto).
The transmission choice of enthusiastic drivers is usually considered to be the manual, for that extra connection to the car and finer control over what ratio is best for that moment. However, the auto option in the FR-S has paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel and there’s a rev-matching facility where the throttle delivers a pre-programmed "blip" on downshifts, to balance road speed with engine speed.
The FR-S is a traditional coupe: two doors and a trunk, no hatchback. And no really usable rear seats. In car-speak, this style of seating is described as "two-plus-two." That’s two proper seats up front and a couple of spaces in back for toddlers or weekend bags.
Safety-wise, the FR-S has Toyota’s Star Safety System with a range of advanced safety features, including Smart Stop technology. If a driver presses the accelerator and brake pedal at the same time, the brake will be the overriding function.
Scion/Toyota has yet to announce how much any options may cost, but standard features include sports seats for the driver and front passenger, Bluetooth connectivity and a 300-watt Pioneer audio system.
What this means to you: If you’ve been longing for an affordable, rear-drive sports coupe with Japanese build quality, then congratulations, your car has arrived.