Saturday, March 16, 2013

Scion FR-S test drive

I arrived 45 minutes early to a lunch appointment so I went across the street to the Toyota/Scion dealership. The non-pushy salesman was bored and asked if I wanted to test drive the FR-S. Why not?

Exterior: The car is quite attractive and compact and reminiscent of the hot hatches of the 1980s and early 1990s. It's low but not hard to get into, even for this out-of-shape guy. It was only after the test drive that I realized the strange looking tires are shared with the Prius. I opened the trunk, thinking it was a hatch. Nope, it's just a small boot lid covering a small (but not tiny) compartment.

Interior: The racing-style seats make you wonder if 5-point seat belts are an option. There is zero legroom for the rear passengers. It's simply vestigial. The front occupant compartment is snug but not claustrophobic. The layout is not particularly ergonomic and seems ill-conceived and cobbled together from various parts bins. The radio interface rivals that of a 1980s GM-Delco head unit.

Driving: But none of that matters because it's a $25,000 sports car. As soon as you get in the car, it begs to be tossed around corners at high speeds. The six-speed shifter was competent. The clutch pedal was a bit too light for my tastes. The steering was precise and gave plenty of feedback. There was plenty of pep from the four-cylinder. I only revved it up to around 4500 rpm. The engine sound was not memorable.

Verdict: If I were single and younger, I would definitely consider this car. Very few options are offered because Toyota's target buyers do not want them or cannot afford them. They just want a pure sports car on the cheap, and that's exactly what they are going to get.


F1Outsider said...

The Subaru BRZ is the one to go for IMO. It comes with a more grown up interior and better creature comforts.

I saw an FR-S with upgraded exhaust on the road last week and it sounded great.

Edvin said...

I soooo want one (the GT86 actually), but they are just so outrageously overpriced here that there's no way. They start at...wait for it... $61k. The BRZ is even more expensive at $65k for the manual. Will have to let them depreciate for a few years before seriously considering..

Maxichamp said...

@Edvin: We don't have the GT86 here, just the Scion and the Subaru. The Subaru's MSRP is $28,265.

What kind of taxes are you guys tacking on to that poor little four cylinder? I don't even want to tell you what you can get for $65k here in America.

Edvin said...

We only get the GT86 and the BRZ. Anyway, all three are supposed to be pretty much the same..

Believe it or not, that little four cylinder isn't exactly viewed as economical here. The car itself (before taxes) is pretty expensive here at $43k (on average it's around $40k around Europe with taxes). On top of that it gets taxed nearly $19k because of its CO2 emission of 181g/km.

For comparison, my ex-Polo had a 1.4 turbo with 180hp, but the CO2 emission was only 139g/km. Even better, the BMW 335i makes 306hp from its 3.0 TwinPower Turbo with an emission of only 169g/km. Not turbocharging is pretty much not an option for car manufacturers these days.

If I had to buy a new one right now, I could save a couple grand by getting it from Estonia and paying the taxes to Finland. A slightly used one from Germany would set me back around $48k after taxes. A few more years and a german import could be sub-$40k, which is almost acceptable.