Wednesday, July 30, 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 Fair set to open Wednesday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Marketing study looks at Berryessa resorts

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

Rio Vista woman died in Suisun City crash

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Police arrest suspected intruder

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Activity is Medicine program coming to Suisun senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
 
Big-rig crash shuts down freeway onramp

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

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Icon sends first A5 into the skies on maiden flight

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B7

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Suisun City police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Weather for Wedneday, July 30, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Hamas demands for cease-fire and Israel’s concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Fist bumps less germy than handshakes, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
New California fines for wasting water take effect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California lifeguard injured by lightning improves

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E charged with obstruction over San Bruno blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Chevron California refinery overhaul up for vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tuberculosis patient who refused care is arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

4 charged with murder in death of USC student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Crews make gains on 2 California wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Poll: Immigration concerns rise with tide of kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, Europe impose tough new sanctions on Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate confirms McDonald as VA secretary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Body of young stowaway found in US cargo plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Report: Health premiums rose significantly in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate bill would end NSA phone records collection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Liberians in US worry about Ebola outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

Opinion

Red light camera fate now uncertain in state

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Obscure state agency creates big money problems

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

Some people have missed the drought memo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
What kids don’t know would shock you

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Cemetery support committee thanks sponsors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What to do when ‘it’ hits the fan

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
I like Liam, but I think he’s interested in another girl

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

Horoscopes for July 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead dinner to make back-to-school smoother

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

You too can bake artisanal quality bread at home

By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B6

 
A healthy afterschool snack that eats like a treat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Music aside, Queen of Soul is pumped for fair food

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield Indians blank Next Level Athletic to win SRL tournament title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Mudcats tie Vacaville Admirals

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

No joke: Kings’ Cousins hopes for Team USA shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Liriano fans 11 in Pirates’ 3-1 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Athletics rally for 6 runs in 9th, beat Astros 7-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Husband arrested in death of NBA player’s aunt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Triple-A brawl results in 11 suspensions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers sign former Cardinals RB Alfonso Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vin Scully to return for 66th season in LA in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
McDonald’s could be liable for labor practices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Food writers subpoenaed in ‘pink slime’ lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks end lower ahead of economic data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Twitter 2Q results soar, stock flies high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Jack L Hudack

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jeanetta M. Hale

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Patricia Jo McDonald

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5