Wednesday, October 1, 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

Middle school students put school candidates on the hot seat

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Pact with union wins Vacaville council OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

Suisun City candidates get lively in 2nd council forum

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Solano focuses on rail safety

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Juveniles hit by vehicle have minor injuries

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Booz and Brewz benefit for the Blue Star Moms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Blessing of the animals slated Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

DUI-drivers license checkpoint nets arrests

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Travis airman killed in motorcycle accident

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Salvation Army gears up for annual Red Kettle campaign

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Theaters primed for bevy of new movies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

4-H Achievement Night honors county members

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

$26,227 payment to maintenance man challenged

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A10

 
FBI announces reward for Vacaville bank robber

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A10

American Legion seeks Korean War veterans for award

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Third Annual Ride to Defeat Diabetes is Sunday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Forest areas reopen after huge fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hong Kong leader refuses to meet with protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Secret Service chief on hot seat for WH breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Afghan pact signed amid questions on Iraq pullout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Government confirms first case of Ebola in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Mayor of suburban Los Angeles city killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Crash, suspicious device lead to 101 closure in LA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Gov. Brown governor vetoes ethics bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Police on manhunt find pipe bombs in woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Oklahoma man charged with murder in beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Luck, instinct determined fates of volcano hikers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Gov. Jerry Brown signs California gun restriction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Bay Area looks to expand overnight transit options

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Ignored House contests may hold surprises

By Albert R. Hunt | From Page: A8

 
Stop hounding Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

One simple slicing trick to bake a beautiful tart

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
A speedy, kitchen sink approach to pumpkin bread

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

The flavor of fall – pumpkin pie in a cinnamon bun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Morgan: ‘Can’t believe’ Walmart blaming him

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Royals beat A’s 9-8 in 12 in AL wild-card thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local report: Rodriguez volleyball team downs Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Pirates’ Volquez looks to continue revival against Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders make Tony Sparano interim coach after firing Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL has laundry list of verboten celebrations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Government: NFL TV ‘blackout’ rule unsportsmanlike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Olympian Michael Phelps apologizes for DUI arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gravely injured Giants fan sues Dodgers again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex 49ers RB James agrees to terms with Dolphins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FCC will consider petition to ban ‘Redskins’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Training camp essential for NBA’s new head coaches like Warriors’ Kerr

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
No. 14 Stanford trying to jolt stagnant offense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NC State coach apologizes for fake injury remarks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL says Abdullah should not have been penalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers’ Wilhoite filling the injury void at linebacker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Business

EU says Apple gets illegal tax benefits in Ireland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Could a merger follow the PayPal-eBay split?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Obituaries

Marte Abad Lubag

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Clara May Clift Triplett

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

John ‘Bo’ M. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
David Earl Butenhoff-Forristall

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

.

Breast Cancer Awareness 2014

Breast cancer in younger women

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA2

Talking with your doctor

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA3

Breast cancer myths

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA4

Diet linked to cancer

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA9

Giving emotional support

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA10

After the treatment

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA12

Join the fight: Get involved

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA15