Seat Time: 2014 Scion FR-S

May 29th, 2014 at 3:00pm

2014 Scion FR-S

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Sean McElroy
Manufacturer: Toyota
Make: Scion
Model: FR-S
Type: 2-door coupe
Competitors: Mazda MX-5, Subaru BRZ, Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Price: Base: $25,255; As tested: 28,624 (Including destination charges)
Made in: Ota City, Japan
Drivetrain: 2.0L 4-cylinder Boxer engine 200hp w/ 6-speed manual transmission RWD
EPA Ratings: 22 city/ 30 highway/ 25 combined. Observed 27 MPG

Final Impression:

2014 Scion FR-SWhile I had the FR-S a buddy said that he had heard it was underpowered and wondered what I thought of the car. I told him it really depends… and then I explained.

To me, it really comes down to how you’re going to use the car, which should be no surprise because that’s what you should be asking yourself when buying any car. But when it comes to a sporty car, like the FR-S I think you need to be a little more honest with yourself. What are you looking for? Do you want something that goes fast in a straight line, which would be better for mostly city driving or do you want something that’s fast going around corners, say for some twisty rural roads or even the track? While the FR-S is quick, it really seems to be at home flying around a corner. However, I would replace the tires because the one’s that came on it (I think they were Michelins) just did not grip the road very well. Which would make going through the twisties even more fun. I know someone that races his FR-S in SCCA events and with very few upgrades (no power upgrades to the engine) dominated the class that he was in.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way lets take a look at the rest of the car. When it came to driving the FR-S, I had a blast. I even found myself shutting off the radio and just driving listening to the sounds the car made. You can hear the transmission click into gear on shifts and the engine has a good note to it. One drawback is the way the car rides. It’s very harsh. Great for while you’re flying through the corners but jarring while motoring around town. And I realized that after bouncing around some potholes there’s almost no way this car could be driven in winter conditions. It’s real-wheel drive for one but it also sits too close to the ground. I don’t think it’s something that winter tires could overcome, so I’m betting it will be some people’s second car. On the plus side, even though I felt like I was ragging on the car a bit it was still returning around 27 miles to the gallon, which is a testament to its naturally aspirated engine.

2014 Scion FR-S

There’s not a whole lot to talk about the interior well because there’s just not a lot of stuff in there. The layout is very minimalistic, which is the way it should be in a driver’s car. No distractions. At 6’4” I fit just fine in the driver’s seat, although getting in and out took a little bit of effort just because the car sits so low. And I noticed the fabric on the seat bunching up, making it feel like I was sitting on something, which meant I had to adjust every time I got in the car. And we’re talking about a vehicle with very few miles, so I would not expect that to get any better over time.

In the end I found myself comparing the FR-S to my time in a Ford Fiesta ST. The Scion is better around corners and would be better on the track. It’s also likely it will be more reliable over time because it’s not turbocharged like the Fiesta ST and should return better real-world fuel economy. But if you’re looking for something fun to drive around town, I urge you to go and test a Fiesta ST. Either way you’re going to have a blast.

One Comment to “Seat Time: 2014 Scion FR-S”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    Sean

    Excellent review of a fine new entry. Surprisingly here in the northeast I do see scion frs out in the winters weather.

    I personally think a dealer installed supercharger kit would do wonders for the car and the scion/suby dealers bottom line.

    The car needs more power and torque. At least as an option.

    Offering a dealer installed kit would avoid insurance escalation which tends to clobber sales.

    With the low volume of the present car that would be a death knell so as an dealer installed option it would be the best way to go.

    Either way your review was spot on. I look forward to each and every one you do.