Monday, September 15, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Sexy Scion flagship debuts: FR-S coupe

By
From page C1 | December 07, 2012 |

The secret is out: You don’t have to be a fanatical driving enthusiast to love Scion’s new-for-2013 FR-S sport coupe.

Yes, the sleek, sexy-looking two door recreates affordable rear-wheel drive fun in a small car the way the old Nissan 240Z and Mazda RX-3 did in the 1970s.

But the FR-S — for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive Sport — grabs attention from onlookers no matter who is behind the wheel and even if the car is being driven leisurely. This new model puts some verve into a commute or a trip to the relatives’ house, too.

The FR-S also looks pricier, at least on the outside, than its starting retail price of $24,955 with manual transmission and $26,055 with automatic. All models come with a 200-horsepower, naturally aspirated four cylinder.

Perhaps best of all, the smartly handling and well-balanced FR-S is rated above average in predicted reliability by Consumer Reports.

Competitors include the 2013 Hyundai Veloster, which has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $18,225 with manual and $19,475 with dual-clutch transmission that can be operated like an automatic. The base Veloster’s four-cylinder engine produces 138 horsepower, but the upscale 2013 Veloster Turbo, with a starting retail price of $22,725 with manual, has 201 horses. All Velosters are front-wheel drive, rather than the rear-wheel drive that many driving enthusiasts prefer.

Meantime, the twin to the FR-S, the rear-wheel drive 2013 Subaru BRZ, has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $26,265 with manual and the same 200-horsepower four cylinder that’s in the Scion.

Toyota and Japanese automaker Subaru worked together to develop the FR-S and BRZ, with Toyota officials doing the styling, while Subaru engineers took care of the chassis and powertrain.

They added Toyota’s direct and port fuel-injection system to the 2-liter, boxer four cylinder, where the cylinders are horizontally opposed. Boxer engines are a hallmark of Subarus, and the new injection improves the power.

The result is a strong four cylinder that has great sounds coming from its chrome-tipped exhaust. There’s decent “oomph” as the car is a lightweight 2,700-plus pounds. But peak torque of 151 foot-pounds doesn’t come on until 6,400 rpm, so the car doesn’t reach 60 miles an hour until some 6.5 seconds after launch, according to estimates.

Still, the six-speed manual was a precise, satisfying shifter, and the nimble handling and weight balance of the FR-S go a long way to making the driving experience fun.

The engine sits low, which Scion officials say gives the FR-S a dynamically low center of gravity like that of exotic, high-priced sports cars.

This helps explain why the FR-S tester was eminently tossable in curves and corners. There was only a bit of predictable understeer at the limits. There was nary any body tippiness in these maneuvers, and the FR-S always conveyed a strong, palpable connection to the pavement.

The electric power steering was tuned just right and didn’t have any artificial feel to it.

The flip side of these laudable driving characteristics is the plentiful road noise that came through all the time from the 17-inch summer performance tires. It was necessary on the test drive to regularly adjust the radio volume as the FR-S traveled from smooth asphalt to a rough stone-and-concrete-mix road surface and back again, for example.

Still, even with the low-profile tires and firm body control, the ride in the test FR-S wasn’t punishing. Indeed, the test car provided a decent ride on uneven city street surfaces. The suspension — MacPherson strut up front and double wishbone in the rear — worked to reduce the harshness in the ride that might be expected.

The FR-S isn’t bad on fuel, but it’s not a top-performer as a small car that stretches just 14 feet, from bumper to bumper. The manual transmission model is rated by the federal government at 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway. The test car, which was driven with spirit, nonetheless averaged 25 mpg in combined city/highway travel.

But the Veloster Turbo is rated higher at 24/35 mpg with manual. Even a 2013 Mini Cooper S is rated at 26/35 mpg.

Additionally, the FR-S specs sheet says premium gasoline is required, meaning a fillup of the car’s 13.2-gallon tank can cost nearly $50 at today’s prices.

That’s for a car with two minimal back seats — they basically look like shelves and don’t provide much legroom — and two firm, deeply bolstered, cloth front seats.

In the tester, the black, shaped front seats with bright red accents looked like race-car seats and were great at keeping passengers in place.

The other prominent racing accent was silver-colored, aluminum pedal covers that are standard equipment on every FR-S. The steering wheel was covered in leather.

In other areas, though, the FR-S seemed a bit cheap, with flimsy-feeling cargo area material and cheaper-looking grained plastic on the dashboard.

This is a bit at odds with the fact the FR-S arrived this year as the flagship of the Scion brand, and it has the highest starting price of any Scion, including the better known, boxy, small-van-like xB.

At least every FR-S comes standard with a 300-watt Pioneer audio system with iPod and USB connectivity as well as Bluetooth technology for hands-free phone calling.

Standard safety equipment on every FR-S includes electronic stability control, traction control and six air bags.

Drivers don’t get great views out in front of them in traffic, because the FR-S rides low to the ground.

Some 1,100 FR-S models were recalled in June because the owner’s manual gave incorrect information about the front-passenger air bag deployment. Scion mailed a correct owner’s manual insert in the summer, and the recall did not require any physical change to the cars.

2013 Scion FR-S

BASE PRICE: $24,200 with manual transmission.

PRICE AS TESTED: $24,955.

TYPE: Front engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, minicompact sport coupe.

ENGINE: 2-liter, double overhead cam, boxer four cylinder with dual variable valve timing.

MILEAGE: 22 mpg (city), 30 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: 140 mph.

LENGTH: 166.7 inches.

WHEELBASE: 101.2 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 2,758 pounds.

BUILT AT: Japan.

OPTIONS: None.

DESTINATION CHARGE: $755.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano County theater honored for stage work

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
 
Suisun council to hear fireworks sales report

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
CHP schedules teen driver classes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Kroc Center hosts fall senior health fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local governments schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Former Vacaville resident received TechCrunch honor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B6

Recycling business honored

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B6

 
Il Fiorello schedules butchery class

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B6

 
New freeway sign goes up

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B6, 2 Comments | Gallery

Weather for Sept. 15, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

S&P: California recovers growth with tax increases

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
Diplomatic push grows against Islamic State group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Santa Monica using $1M to evaluate its happiness

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California nudist camp accused of stealing water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Wildlife experts work to keep baby opossums alive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Small earthquake rattles Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Navy identifies pilot presumed dead after crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Northern California deck collapse injures 9

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

California regulators seek train-bridge inspectors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Skin shocks used at Mass. school draw FDA look

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Queen to Scots: Think carefully about future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
US man in North Korea given 6 years of hard labor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Britain mourns slain hostage; another under threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
$50K reward offered for tips on trooper’s slaying

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

The NFL can learn from football coaches in Texas

By Cynthia M. Allen | From Page: A8

 
To exit the Pottery Barn, turn right

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 22 Comments

 
Immigration facts by the numbers

By Earl Heal | From Page: A8, 17 Comments

Thank you from Meals on Wheels

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 15, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Randall: Travel tips for visiting my ‘homes’

By Sharon Randall | From Page: B5

Horoscopes: Sept. 15, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
I love Howard, but I hate his addiction to drugs

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Seot 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Miss New York chosen as Miss America 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

‘No Good Deed’ defeats ‘Guardians’ at theaters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Homers from Moss, Fuld lead A’s past Seattle 4-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants lose 4-2 to Dodgers, fall 3 back in NL West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Jay Cutler rallies Bears past 49ers in fourth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Raiders embarrassed after 30-14 loss to Texans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Armijo girls run to 3rd-place finish in Folsom

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Keselowski wins opening round of NASCAR’s Chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

USA wins basketball worlds, 129-92 over Serbia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Could Pacquiao fight be in cards for Mayweather?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Horschel caps amazing run with FedEx Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Kim beats Webb by 1 to win Evian Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Sally Forth Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield September 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield September 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Crossword Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Word Sleuth Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku Sept 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7