By on December 1, 2011

TTAC has long been bearish on the Scion brand, and in a lot of ways, Toyota’s global tri-branding strategy with its new “86″ sportscar (Toyota, Subaru and Scion versions are being sold) highlights how Toyota has lost its branding focus. On the other hand, the FR-S, Scion’s version of the 86, is by far the most compelling product that brand has offered… well, possibly ever (OK, since the Mk1 xB). If I were king of Toyota, I’d probably still kill off Scion and sell the 86 as a Celica in the US… after all, how much sense does it make to have two sporty coupes at Scion and none for the Toyota brand? But if Scion follows the FR-S up with a new truly compact pickup co-developed with Daihatsu, as has been rumored, I’d be willing to concede that Scion has a place in the market. After all, truly unique, funky vehicles justified Scion’s existence in the first place, before a watered-down second generation of products killed that positioning (and Scion’s sales). With the FR-S, Scion seems to be heading back towards focused and freaky niche confections… let’s hope it continues to return to those roots.

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60 Comments on “Scion FR-S: How To Say “Hachi-Roku” In American...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    If Toyota found it in their heart to really, truly bring an honest-to-goodness compact truck over here under the Scion brand, I’d be one of the first in line to have one parked in the driveway next to my wife’s tC…not that I’m holding my breath that they’ll green-light a compact truck, given the abysmal sales they’d most likely generate. Too bad…a small, reliable and fuel-efficient truck would fit my needs to a “t.”

  • avatar
    John R

    So Stateside, There IS going to be a Subaru BRZ and a Scion 86 and that’s it, yeah? No Toyota version?

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Scion seems to be have become a home for out-of-place cars. They have the xD (redundant with the Yaris; B-segments also being a niche in the US), xB (box-shaped, 5-door, now oversized, compact hatchback), the tC (3-door liftback with sporting intentions). And now they are getting the iQ and FR-S; a 3+1 supermini and a boxer-engined RWD 2+2 sports car.

    That rumored Daihatsu compact pickup would be the icing on the cake. Its got an odd, but diverse, line-up that aren’t high-volume vehicles.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I see the interior shots are of the automatic equipted model. I wonder if that’s the base stereo or not cause I noticed a USB port near the shifter (wondering if there’s an aux jack there too?) I would actually take just a volume nob, base and treble, fade, and a input jack as the basic stereo. Save yourself some money Scion and keep the FM/AM tuner and other crap. I don’t need it. (Others do, I’m only speaking for myself.)

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Scion is convinced (and rightfully so) that Scions target demographic wants decent audio, so the base stereo comes with aux and usb.

      The unit pictured appears to be the same “base” Pioneer unit as the one in the Tc. So probably Bluetooth, HD radio, usb/aux and 8 speakers.

      I believe there is also an “audio delete” option for those who would rather go aftermarket.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Maaaan, those back seats look. uh. interesting.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    No Toyota version. Personally, I think the FR-S fits in better with Scion than Toyota, despite Toyota making really sporty cars back in the day. I think Toyota’s “brand” is safe, reliable, efficient. Kids slamming their FR-S into guardrails and trees doesn’t fit in well with the Camries and Prii that are sold to normal folk that just want to get their family from A to B in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner.

    The FR-S is significantly decontented from the BRZ models we’ve seen so far. I’m thinking $22k for the Scion, $25k for the BRZ, $27k for the BRZ w/ leather, heated seats, and fancy wheels.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Too bad it isn’t a Toyota. I notice that the Scion loses the nice center stack of the GT 86. Being a Scion, it probably also won’t be available with heated leather seats, which I would like for the person I’m shopping for.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      Bemoaning the lack of automatic climate control in a budget sports car is the sort of thing I expect from the Toyota haters on Autoblog, etc, not you. If regular (and easier to use) HVAC knobs keep the cost down, who cares?

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    I like the idea behind the FT86 and the BRZ. I hope they owe up to all the hype.

    Reading about the basic specs got me thinking: how many front-engined, boxer, RWD cars have there been over the last 100 years (production only)? Kudos to whoever can come up with more than 2 without using the internet. I would think between Subaru and the nearly unlimited variations of Porsche models, there has to be at least one. Of all the boxer-engined cars I could think of, they are all F-AWD, MR, RR, M-AWD or R-AWD.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    after all, how much sense does it make to have two sporty coupes at Scion and none for the Toyota brand?

    The presence (and then termination) of sporty coupes didn’t seem to hurt Toyota’s ever-increasing pre-crash marketshare, and the lack thereof wont stem post-crash bleeding.

    Toyota, as a brand, is quite a bit different than many. It’s halo is the Prius, it’s exemplar (depending on market) the Camry or Corolla. Chevy, arguably, needs a Camaro and/or Corvette; Toyota doesn’t.

    Now, it could, and the whole Scion exercise could be aborted, but that’s a different question.

  • avatar
    stuki

    This car just tickles my fancy like nothing else in a long, long time. Love the interior, with big, grabable knobs for whatever few functions are there. It reminds me of a cross between the S2000 and the FJ Cruiser, both of which have some of the best interiors in the business, if you ask me.

    Come to think of it, why isn’t the FJ sold as a Scion?

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    The side profile reminds me of the 240Z a bit. But like the 370Z or whatever they call it now, this Scion will look huge next to the original Z. Seems like several hundred pounds could have been saved by shedding the useless rear seat and tucking in the dimensions a few inches.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Rear seats lower insurance premiums… and considering the target age demographic, they will need all the help with insurance costs they can get.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’ve seen people climbing into or out of the trunks of Smart cars three times now.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I don’t think that rear seats (or paint colour, or what-have-you) do anything for insurance premiums in this day and age.

        Insurance companies would go by claim stats> If Dodge Caravans started costing them money, premiums on Caravans would go up.

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      The side profile is supposed to evoke the 2000GT, which itself was originally a rejected design for the 240Z. At 166.7″ long it’s actually only 4″ longer than a 240Z (the original one with thin bumpers). It’s also about the same height and, despite being a 2+2 with modern safety, only about 300lb heavier.

      Toyota says the rear seat is there for storage space, but at 27″ it’s got enough rear legroom for my 3-year-old, which puts it on the map for me as a purchase. It’s got significantly more rear seat room than a 240SX as another commenter noted.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      @psar

      I think you’re giving insurance companies too much credit for rationality. State Farm still asks me if my car has a turbo.

      Hello, the 80s called and they want their stereotype back.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Heeeeyyyyy… I just noticed something amazing/horrible depending on who you are… There isn’t a single button in sight on that steering wheel. so your going to have to (GASP!) reach all the way over to the stereo.

    Oh the horror…

  • avatar

    I have several reactions, both positive and negative, to placing the 86 under the Scion marque. On the plus side, my gut (and my intellect) says it will be less expensive than as a Toyota.

    On the minus, my gut doesn’t want it as much. My gut wants a dignified brand, and that excludes “Scion.” My intellect doesn’t care as long as the fun to drive quotient is high, the thing is good on gas, and the interior is reasonably comfortable.

    But that interior–cheap!!! That probably won’t stop me. But I’m likely to look hard at the Subaru version if it comes to the US.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    What’s the car he passes 20 seconds in? It looks like the back of an Accord coupe grafted to an older SC-series.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    I’m really surprised the exteriors are so similar. Really all I see is the bumper cover and grille on the front and the trunk on the back. Reminds me of the Laser / Talon / Eclipse triplets, or the Dustbuster vans.

    The interior all looks very Subaru Impreza. The door handles, the wheel, the AC and other switches, the plastic finish and the leather stitching, all look like they came right out of the WRX.

    I do hope they have better dashboard material. The acre of shiny bed liner in the WRX is awful.

    The exception is the stereo, which is a good thing. I expect the stereo in a Scion would be better specced given their advertising. The Subaru stereo has too big a header, voice control that’s not really useful, clunky BT and USB controls, and sounds tinny.

    • 0 avatar
      Pleiades

      I agree, I was expecting more of a difference in exterior appearance compared to the BRZ. The rear of this car is straight out of the Subaru styling book, IMHO.

      Your observation of the nature of the interior is accurate. The pedals are also sourced from the WRX parts bin.

      I am interested to see how Subaru will differentiate its product and its marketing from the Toyota/Scion versions. People in the US might be getting a great deal if the Scion is not significantly different from the Subaru while being less expensive. Only time will tell…

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I would assume that is the base stereo. The tC comes, standard, with one very, very similar. You can get a touch screen mid-level stereo w/ Pandora and a top-level nav unit as a dealer installed (plug&play) option. I’m just thrilled it is double DIN.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    “If I were king of Toyota, I’d probably still kill off Scion and sell the 86 as a Celica in the US”

    So what you are saying is that you would “86″ Scion?

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    Why does this thing have hard points for two baby seats? It’s not like they’re going to fit.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Seeing this thing with a Scion badge makes me want it so much less. It’s not because Scions are supposed to be for kids, or that they’re low-budget cars, it’s that Toyota has neglected this brand for the last 5 years. The brand is as good as dead, and making the FT-86 a Scion is going to greatly hamper its ability to reach most consumers.

    Do you think a successful, 30+ year old male is going to walk into a Scion dealership, with the cheesy music and cliche marketing materials?
    On the contrast, making it a Toyota wouldn’t alienate any consumers.

    I suspect there will be a HUGE market for aftermarket Toyota badging.

  • avatar
    Daniel

    If this is going to be the FR-S, then why are there 86 badges on the sides?

    • 0 avatar
      Darth Lefty

      They assume you know what it’s about.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      It piques interest. Presumably, people unaware of the AE86 will go research it and come away with a better image of Toyota than they had going in.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel

        First, they call it an FR-S and then they place the “86″es on the sides. Subaru didn’t have that problem. Something very sloppy about this.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        It is the spiritual successor to the AE86. Always has been that in Toyota’s eyes. Cheap, fun, RWD. Since the Corolla wasn’t officially names the AE86, it is really just a homage. Subaru had nothing to do with the AE86. It has zero claim to the 86 name.

        A hairdryer and fishing line will take care of the badges in no time. Also, the Subaru faux-vent is a direct replacement. Judging from the catalog leaked last month, Toyota will be offering several different panels for that area.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Time to pull the plug on the Scion experiment. This should have been the new Toyota Celica.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    Maybe the Toyota version will be the Supra, and Toyota is planning to let the the ‘slow’ version hang out with the Scion tC.

    http://www.worldcarfans.com/111120238709/supercharged-toyota-gt-86-in-the-pipeline

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      This car is not coming to America branded as a Toyota. Ever. The plan has always been to sell the car as a Subaru worldwide, Toyota everywhere but the US, and Scion in the US.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    (This was supposed to be a reply to Jellodyne)

    The car has class-trailing horsepower. More than an MX-5, more than the original Solstice, but it still needs to compete with the Genesis Coupe, and to some extent the WRX and V6 Mustang. But putting a blower on a boxer engine sounds like a difficult exercise. A turbo is far more likely, especially considering it’s a Subaru engine. They are well accustomed to the process.

    Subarus are very modular. I wonder how long between the release date and the first time we see a GT, WRX, or STI mill swapped into it. It ought to be no problem.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Can’t agree that the car has to compete with Genesis or Mustang. It’s much smaller. On purpose.

      It’s meant to be a real sportscar, not a posermobile with numb steering and too much motor. If prospective customers don’t get “it”, probably best to buy their car by the gross pound and horsepower, in the usual American way.

      There’s been several articles on this car recently here on TTAC, and on the Subaru in C/D. Surely, the design goals of this car are clear? Who knows if it will actually be really decent to drive? I hope so because that’s the point, not to mash the opposition on some singular performance criterion.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    For the B&B supposedly being sooo brand savvy, no one seems to look at the Toyota and Scion lineups as a whole in the US when they say this should be a Toyota. Does a light, cheap RWD sports car fit in better with the Camry, Corolla, Rav4, Highlander, Sienna, and Prius or does it fit in better with the xD, xB, tC, and iQ?

    If you make this sports coupe a Toyota, Toyota Motor Sales is effectively saying that Scion is a second rate brand and should only get products that they wouldn’t want to badge as a Toyota. Scion has always marketed as the car your own. You choose only the color and transmission. EVERYTHING else is installed at the dealer or aftermarket. You can get springs, sway bars, brake kits, wheels, radios, and aero kits for the Scions. How does the FR-S not fit in with the brand that is supposed to be customized? Dislike for the Scion brand has so many of you knee jerking that this “good car” shouldn’t be a Scion. If Toyota loads Scion up with cars that are as good as the FR-S, as far as meeting their project target, the brand will be a success. You can’t right the ship overnight. I love the 80s Toyota sports cars and I’d love to have a Toyota FR-S in the garage beside my Toyota 4Runner, but my personal want doesn’t mean that the FR-S should be a Toyota instead of a Scion. This could be the car that truly does what Scion was set out to do in the first place.

    Honestly, I’d never built a car on the Scion site until today. After messing around with a tC to see what things would likely be like with the FR-S, I’m pretty excited they are selling a single version and letting you upgrade what you want. I can get the touchscreen radio without having to buy a slew of other options like Toyotas are normally packaged.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    Don’t CARE what badge is on it. Just want one. If the Scion badge bothers you, I’m sure the Toyota and “GT-86″ badges will fit, they’re the same car!

    SO excited for these cars. So excited. First affordable new car I’ve actually wanted since… uhh… I would say the 2nd-generation Miata or MkIV R32 VW.

  • avatar
    ekaftan

    Just logged in to say what a gorgeous interior that is. I drive a 94 Volvo 850 and this is the first time in like forever I’ve actually liked a modern car’s interior.

    I even like the weird rear seats :)

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    This will be a disaster. Toyota is already intimating a 32k sticker. If the current 4Runner is any indication of how much an actual model you can buy from a dealer costs MORE than the sticker they quote for the press, I’m guessing you can get one for 35-36k without dealer markup. And there will be ADM.

    That and the fact that it’s bastard sibling, the WRX STi, can be had for around that kind of cash. I can haul my groceries and drive the kids to school for the same amount of money. And I’m guessing the STi is faster.

  • avatar

    To me Subaru BRZ and Scion Whatsoever look exactly the same means identical. What is the point? Yawn.


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