Test Drive: 2013 Scion FR S car test drives scion reviews
2013 Scion FR-S. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2013 Subaru BR-Z
Comparison Test: Subaru BR-Z vs. Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Manufacturer’s web site
Scion Canada

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Photo Gallery:
2013 Scion FR-S

What is there to say about the Scion FR-S that hasn’t already been said?

Pretty much every auto journo and their mothers, sisters, nephews, and in-laws seem to have reviewed this car, and it’s pretty much unanimous—this car is the second coming, nirvana, the cure for cancer, Chuck Norris and ‘the most interesting man in the world’ all rolled into a tight, two-door coupe. And when I say tight, I don’t just mean well-bolstered seats that will hug and squeeze anyone more substantial than a waif like Mike Schlee, I mean that it is a hot little design that keeps getting sexier every time I see it. And in Lava Red, oh my, I get a little hot and bothered just thinking about that colour.

The colour might also play a part in the amount of attention this car gets, as does the fact that they are only now turning up on public roads in numbers after years of anticipation-building—from strangers in the grocery-store parking lot doing full walkarounds and striking up friendly conversations, to teenagers on the highway giving the thumbs up, and even the occasional highway paparazzi stalkers flipping out cell phones and shooting away… I don’t think I’ve received this much attention in a car since driving the GT-R when it was launched. While this colour is fantastic for getting attention, one of my friends reminded me that its heat score is far too high to get anywhere too far past legal limits.

Test Drive: 2013 Scion FR S car test drives scion reviews
2013 Scion FR-S. Click image to enlarge

However, one thing that really stuck out in my mind when we had its platform-body-engine-almost-everything twin, the Subaru BRZ, was Mike’s accusation that it was “slow”.

I’m sorry, but a 200-hp, 1,255-kg coupe, slow? What have we come to?

Well, as much as I hate to admit, and while I think the manual-transmission BRZ was not slow, per se, there is no denying that the automatic FR-S I drove was, um, “acceleratively challenged.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

On the flip side, this is a momentum car. On the track, or out in traffic, the key to wringing the most out of this engine is to a) keep the rpms somewhere around 6,000–7,000; b) plan ahead; and c) brake as little as possible. Of course, this is much more fun on a track, where braking as little as possible means diving into corner as hot as its 215/45R17 Michelin Primacy (its infamous ‘Prius’ tires) can take, and then some. But even out on the highway, it is best to keep tabs on traffic well ahead and coming up behind to avoid heavy braking behind slow cars, because picking up speed, especially when already at highway speeds, is not something the FR-S does quickly when left to its own devices.

Test Drive: 2013 Scion FR S car test drives scion reviews
2013 Scion FR-S. Click image to enlarge

However, there are two devices mounted on the back of the steering wheel that can help with that little problem. Paddle shifters, which have been proven to enhance accelerative dysfunction by 30 percent. Okay, I just made that number up, but a couple quick tugs (maybe a few) on the left paddle (do the paddles remind anyone else of Klingon weapons?), and the automatic transmission blurts out a scrappy exhaust note, blipping the throttle with each downshift until you get into the sweet spot of this engine at about 6,500 rpm where it is making almost peak hp and torque (as per InsideLine.com Dyno Test). Further inspection reveals that of the 151 lb-ft of torque, peaking at 6,400–6,600 rpm, most are available from as low as 2,500 rpm.




About Jonathan Yarkony

Jonathan Yarkony is the Senior Editor for Autos.ca, a Brampton-based automotive writer with eight years of experience evaluating cars and an AJAC member.