Highlight: The Scion FR-S shares a platform with the Subaru BRZ.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $27,200
Seating Capacity: 2+2
Standard Safety Features: airbags; daytime running lights; vehicle stability control system; traction control system; ABS; electronic brake force distribution; tire pressure monitoring system; First Aid Kit; automatic headlights; LED taillights; and a rear view back up camera.
Standard Equipment: 17-inch tires; a manual transmission; power exterior mirrors; manual adjusted front seats; cloth seats; air condition; aluminum sport pedals and scuff plates; a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel; power windows; and power door locks.
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: none
Other Trim Level: none
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 300-watt, 8-speaker AM/FM/HD
Bluetooth/iPod connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/200-hp
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage:
What’s New: With the exception of a rear view camera and a 7-inch touchscreen, the vehicle is basically a carryover.
Pros: Besides an extremely limited premium–equipped special edition model, the rear-wheel drive Subaru-based FR-S is only available in one trim, with one option and one engine choice, a super-peppy 4-cylinder engine, which pumps out 200 horses from the chrome tip dual exhaust pipes. With the FR-S, one can opt for a manual or an automatic transmission. The automatic transmission is approximately $1,100 more than the fun-to-drive straight shift transmission.
Moreover, with the exception of the soon-to-be government mandated back-up camera, the FR-S lacks many of the driving aids and convenience features offered in many of today’s vehicles. Some of those features include a keyless ignition system, an automatic rear view mirror, a navigation system, an electronic blind spot system, and a forward collision braking system.
Ironically, by not having the noted features, the overall price of the vehicle is driven down and the repair cost of the vehicle is reduced.
While the vehicle steers clear of a number of premium features, the FR-S is a total bare bones vehicle. It does include power steering, air, power windows and power door locks.
Overall, the FR-S is a fun-to-drive vehicle that yearns to be pushed, as it can easily accelerate, while either zipping down the back roads or the highways. It’s definitely a vehicle for the young, the young at heart or for those attempting to recapture their youth.
Cons: The two-door FR-S is only capable of comfortably seating 2 adults. Unless one is transporting infants, there is literally no room in the rear for adults.
In an age where the majority of today’s vehicles are equipped with speed-activated door locks, it’s quite evident that this is a Subaru. Just like all Subaru-based vehicles, the two-door Scion FR-S was not equipped with speed-activated door locks. This is literally a safety issue, since we have to reprogram ourselves to automatically lock the doors. Besides our concern with the door locks, the vehicle lacked a navigation system, a CD player, a satellite radio and requires premium fuel.
The FR-S sibling, the Subaru BRZ, is available in three trims. Buyers can opt for leather seats and a power sunroof too, all of which aren’t available on the Scion FR-S. It seem as though these feature should be available on the Scion too.
As this is a pure sports car, don’t expect a magnetic ride control system. The FR-S offers one type of driving characteristic, firm!
Verdict: The Scion FR-S runs down the same assembly line as the Subaru BRZ. While the Subaru is available in three trims, the Scion is only available in one trim (unless there is a limited special edition model). Scion also separates the two name plates by including a 2-year or 25,000-mile maintenance free warranty.
So, for those seeking a no-frills, affordable, spirited, fun-to-drive compact in either a manual or an automatic transmission, the Scion should be placed on your shopping list.
Competition: Subaru BRZ
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.