It’s a Best Buy because:
FR-S offers a genuine sports-car driving experience with daily-driver livability at affordable prices.
A few typical sports-car vices are present, including a tiny back seat, stiff ride, and a low-slung seating position that can complicate entry and exit.
Scion parent company Toyota developed the FR-S with Subaru, which sells its own version as the nearly identical BRZ.
What Is It?
FR-S is a compact-sized sports car with rear-wheel drive and seating for four. The lone body style is a two-door coupe; the lone engine is a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. The FR-S comes in a single trim level, but, in keeping with the Scion brand’s owner-personalization aesthetic, many dealer-installed options are available.
FR-S debuted for 2013 and sees only minor changes for its sophomore year. Knee pads are added to the door panels and center console, and the available premium audio system gets Aha-brand smartphone integration and navigation functionality.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway with manual transmission, 25/34 with automatic. FR-S requires premium-grade gas.
Value in Class
The Scion FR-S is almost in a class by itself. It has respectable performance credentials, a fun-to-drive personality, and surprisingly modest pricing. Other relatively affordable 4-cylinder sporty/performance cars include the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The Mazda is great fun to drive and it is a convertible body style, but it lacks a back seat and can’t match the FR-S’ greater practicality. Though the Genesis Coupe base model costs less than the FR-S, it weighs more and lacks the FR-S’ level of standard equipment. Also, neither of those cars offers an array of stand-alone accessories and certain features can be found only in option packages or higher trim levels. Enthusiasts in the market for a new car should take a hard look at the FR-S. Besides the standard sports-car vices of a somewhat firm ride, barely habitable back seats, and somewhat poor rear-corner visibility, the FR-S makes up for those demerits with lively performance, good projected fuel economy, and unusual-for-the-class levels of comfort and daily drivability.