The original Scion TC came to prominence in 2005 right around the time my youthful interest in front-wheel-drive sport compacts had started to wane, so I never really gave the little hatchback much attention. I had friends that purchased and loved them for many years, but I always brushed it off as an also-ran in a sea of competent small coupes. That sea has gradually turned into a puddle, with more and more two door compacts falling by the wayside in favor of boxy hatchback shapes or proper four doors. The Chevy Cobalt, Acura RSX and Mitsubishi Eclipse have all since been put out to pasture, leaving a compact coupe buyer just a handful of options – the two-door versions of the Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte. And, of course, the refreshed 2014 TC you see here.
Tag - FR-S
At the conclusion of my FR-S road test, I opined that we should be thankful for its very existence, as it functionally doubled the available choices in the almost-abandoned small sports car/coupe segment. The Brits are long gone. BMW hasn’t played in this niche since the Z3 (in the States, anyway) and Porsche since the 944. Nissan bailed on the U.S.-market S Platform in 1998. The S2000 showed up a year later and soldiered on for ten years, though it could be argued that ten years was a few too many.
I must admit I came away from my first experience with Scion’s FR-S somewhat disappointed. It had nothing to do with the car and everything to do with the timing of the loan. After all, what does one do when given a sports car for a week in the early days of the Mid-Atlantic winter? Drive it to the office, mostly.
As spring broke and I started arranging my press schedule for 2013, I figured it was worth a shot at getting one of the Toyobaru twins back for a more appropriate evaluation of its capabilities. Naturally, I tried Subaru first, only to be informed that the local media fleet’s BRZ was due for retirement. But my local rep suggested I contact Toyota and see if perhaps they’d loan me the FR-S again. It would be unusual if they said yes to somebody like me, but not entirely unheard of. Why not? So I shot off an email and promptly and the inquiry vanished from my immediate attention as I worked out the rest of my plans. A few days later, I got a call from Toyota’s northeast PR team.
I will be at Summit Point Motorsports Park this Saturday, May 18th to put Scion’s FR-S through its paces on the highly technical Shenandoah Circuit thanks to our friends at TrackDaze. Former SSLer, current TTACer and TrackDaze instructor Jack Baruth will also be there (and looking to set a lap record for Panther-platform Lincolns, I expect). Come see what HPDE is all about.
Lead photo courtesy of Scion. Other photos by the author.
I’m writing this only six weeks after driving the FR-S, but it feels like it’s already years too late. Thanks to the wonders of Web 2.0, the FR-S was old before it even debuted. Like the Nissan GT-R and the new Chevy Camaro before it, Toyota and Subaru’s joint project came in riding a wave of hype that would shame a lot of west-coast beakers, fueled by daily speculation and rumor seeping out from the innumerable followers of thousands of automotive forums and outlets.
If you read TTAC (and chances are if you’re a fan of this site, you do), you’re probably aware that Jack Baruth and his merry band of tag-alongs recently published a multi-part track comparison pitting the Scion FR-S against a Mazda X-5 PRHT and a Genesis 2.0T. You can read the crucial details here if you like (if you don’t, be warned that I’m going to spoil the results after the jump), but what you should really take away from this isn’t their analysis, but the absolutely ridiculous reaction from the online community.