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Monday, May 13, 2013

Scion FR-S

The Scion FR-S is a two-door, two-plus-two sports coupe built on a lightweight, capable platform with a punchy four-cylinder engine. It's intended for the budget-conscious enthusiast. The FR-S' closest competitor is its twin, the Subaru BRZ, though the Mazda Miata and Hyundai Genesis Coupe are reasonable alternatives, too.

Brand-new for the 2013 model year, the FR-S hasn't developed a history yet--but it is already spread widely through Toyota-group companies, with Subaru getting its version of the car, known as the BRZ. Toyota itself also has a version of the car, the GT 86, but it's not yet being offered in the U.S.

It's powered by a 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder engine rated at 200 horsepower. While that's not a whole lot in the sports coupe realm, the FR-S tips the scales around 2,700-2,800 pounds depending on trim, and the combination should make for an entertaining, if not quite thrilling, driving experience. The rear-wheel-drive layout alone gives the FR-S more sporting credibility than anything that's yet been offered in Scion's ranks. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, while a six-speed automatic is available.

Fuel economy ratings for the new FR-S are quite respectable, though not as high as you might expect for such a small four-cylinder car when paired with the manual transmission: the EPA estimates 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. With the automatic transmission, things get noticeably better, rising to 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

Inside, the FR-S is sporty, with a youthful, modern design and a minimalist ethos that puts the emphasis on the driving itself, rather than coddling occupants with rich materials and intricate features. As such, it suits the sports car nature of the FR-S well, and considering the affordable price point (around $25,000 for most models), it's well within expectations.

The Scion FR-S has already earned some excellent safety results, including top 'good' ratings in all categories from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and IIHS Top Safety Pick status. It hasn't yet been through crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some owners have had minor issues with the FR-S, but it's still early in the car's lifespan to evaluate reliability or durability.

Like other Scion models, the FR-S is available with a wide array of aftermarket pieces and accessories, many of which come with a factory warranty--and we expect more in the way of performance enhancements to come as the model matures. Appearance, features, and equipment are also highly configurable from the factory and/or the dealership.

The 2013 Scion FR-S has proved itself to be one of the best new cars on the market, and accordingly, it made it to the final cut of Motor Authority's Best Car To Buy 2013 awards.

Rumors of higher-performance versions, a hybrid, or at the least, a factory-backed set of upgrades, persist for the FR-S. A convertible version of the car is also possible; a concept version of the car was shown at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

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