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.
Rounding out the Toyobaru trio of GT86 variants is the new Scion FR-S. Like the Subaru BRZ shown yesterday, the Scion has subtle differences to set it apart from the GT86 and BRZ. The headlamps appear to be toned down a bit and the front fascia is a little cleaner than the others. Also gone is the gaudy fender vents that are found on the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ versions. Scion has said that the first number in the price of the car will start with a 2. We’re going to guess somewhere in the $24,000 range but we will find out for sure soon.
We’ve got the full press release and photo gallery after the jump. We’ve thrown the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 galleries in there as well so you can compare all three. Let us know which one is your favorite!
Exterior Photos by Zerin Dube, Interior Photos Courtesy of Kia Motor Company
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Soul Sport
Price-as-tested: $18,345 incl. $695 destination
Major equipment: 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, power sunroof ($700 option)
Approximate mileage driven: 175
If ever there was a car doomed to fail in the American market, surely it was the first-generation Scion xB. The underlying idea — hastily converting a Japanese-market “room-on-wheels” based on the showroom-poison Toyota Echo to left-hand-drive — was so terrible that one wonders exactly what kind of blackmail took place behind the scene to make it happen. Of course, the little xB turned out to be Scion’s success story. Nominally aimed at artsy college kids and even-artsier bohemians, the xB turned out to be a massive hit with small businessmen, housewives in search of a shopping-cart-sized shopping car, and older people who appreciated the basic utility of Toyota’s no-frills wagon. The xB’s runaway success was an object lesson in the fact that some people really do want an affordable urban utility vehicle, but Toyota chose to ignore that lesson by making the second-gen xB half as again as powerful, hundreds of pounds heavier, and utterly devoid of the original car’s simple charm.