By on May 9, 2012

Scion has had a sordid past. Originally, Scion was Toyota’s solution to a lack of 18-25 year old shoppers. Over the past 9 years however Scion has lost their way and lost their youth. Their median buyer just turned 42. The tC coupe, which started out as a car for college kids, now has a median buyer of around 30. Scion claims the FR-S is a halo car – to me, that means the FR-S will be bought by older drivers (who can actually afford it), attracting younger buyers to their showrooms. Despite being out of the target demographic, Scion flew me to Vegas to sample the FR-S’s sexy lines to find out.

The rear-drive layout, boxer engine and low center of gravity all play out in the car’s distinctive exterior. Toyota claims it was meant to pay homage to classic Toyotas of the past, but if Porsche and Lotus were charged with penning a Scion, this is what it would look like. Our time with the FR-S was limited to a 100 mile drive and about 6 hours of SCCA style autocross and road course track time in a pre-production FR-S. Jack will be flogging a production FR-S on track sometime this summer, assuming the stars align.

Inside, Scion opted for snazzy faux-suede instead of the coarse fabric of the base Subaru BRZ (the BRZ is available with  leather/faux-suede seating in the Limited model). Scion also swapped out the silver dash trim for something that looks like it might be imitating carbon fiber but is actually a motif based on the letter “T.”

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Like all Scion models, the standard radio is a Pioneer unit with standard Bluetooth and iPod/USB interfaces. Instead of bringing Toyota’s Entune system to the Scion brand, Pioneer was engaged to bring their “App Radio” into what appears to be its first OEM use. Unlike traditional nav systems, the “BeSpoke” system (as Scion is calling it) is essentially just an iPhone app. The app runs solely on your phone and the head unit merely controls the app and displays the video generated by the phone. This means an iPhone is required for it work (Android phones are not supported.) It also means navigating eats up your data plan and you must be in a cellular service area for it to work. The system is expected to cost under $90 and since it’s an App on your phone, it’s never out of date. Much like iDrive, BeSpoke will also offer Facebook, Twitter and internet radio integration.

Under the lies the fruit of the Subaru/Toyota marriage: a 2.0L direct-injection boxer engine. Although it’s based on Subaru’s Impreza engine, it has been re-engineered to incorporate Toyota’s “D4S” direct-injection tech. The addition of GDI boosts power by 52HP to 200HP. Since the engine is naturally aspirated, the torque improvement is a more modest 6lb-ft bringing the total 151 at a lofty 6,600 RPM, while peak horsepower comes in at seven grand. Despite the online rumors, Scion Vice President Jack Hollis indicated there will be no turbo FR-S.

Since the FR-S is intended to be “baby’s first track car,” Scion’s event was held at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort in Pahrump, Nevada. Out on the track, the FR-S isn’t as slow as an early Miata, but it’s not especially quick either. However, the low center of gravity and light curb weight make the FR-S fairly adept in the corners, whether you’re on track or on an autocross course. The lack of torque is the one major blight, whether on or off track. This deficiency was made more obvious by my trip landing in the middle of a week with Hyundai’s 2013 Genesis 2.0T which delivers more power at far more accessible RPMs, despite its porkier stature.

Unlike most “sporty” RWD cars, the FR-S is tuned toward neutral/oversteer characteristics. When combined with the standard Michelin Primacy HP tires, the FR-S is far more tail happy on the track than the V6 Mustang or Genesis 2.0T. The lively handling is undoubtedly more fun, but inexperienced drivers beware:  getting sideways can be hazardous to your health, not to mention your insurance premiums. Without empirical numbers, I cannot say if the FR-S will out-handle the Genesis 2.0T on the track, however the Genesis feels more composed and less likely to kill you, thanks to a chassis tuned towards understeer and staggered 225/245 series tires (front/rear.) Contrary to the web-rumors, the FR-S is not shod with “Prius tires” as we would know them. The Primacy HP is a “grand touring summer tire” with “lower rolling resistance” tech added. The tire is used on certain Lexus GS, Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 models and a JDM market only Prius “with performance pack.” Still, the tire isn’t as “grippy” as the FR-S deserves, so buyers should plan on swapping them for stickier rubber ASAP.

Scion’s “single-price with dealer installed options” philosophy continues. Starting at $24,930, the only options are: $1,100 for the automatic transmission, around $900 for the BeSpoke radio and a variety of wheels, spoilers and other appearance accessories. That’s about $1,295 less than the BRZ, although the gap narrows to almost nothing when you add the BRZ’s standard navigation system and HID headlamps. The nicer standard upholstery, more controlled pricing and a plethora of manufacturer supported (and warrantied) accessories make the FR-S a compelling choice vs the BRZ, but speed daemons will want to drive past the Scion dealer and test drive the Genesis 2.oT. If you want an FR-S, be prepared to wait as Scion expects supplies to be somewhat limited starting June 1st.

 Scion flew me out to Vegas, put me up in a smoky casino and provided the vehicle, insurance, gasoline, track time and admission to the state park for the photography.

 Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.6 Seconds

0-60: 6.7 Seconds

Fuel Economy: 22MPG average over mixed roads (track time not included)

 

 

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140 Comments on “Pre-Production Review: 2013 Scion FR-S...”


  • avatar
    mitchw

    No. Stop it. That’s enough about FT-86. Not even going to read the first line.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I wonder if this will suffer the fate of the CR-Z… the car everyone wanted with an engine nobody wanted. At least there’s hope for a turbo BRZ.

    • 0 avatar
      Botswana

      Considering the average commuter car out there, 200hp is nothing to sneeze at. There’s nothing there for track day enthusiasts but I’m all for bringing back the affordable sports car. Just a few years ago your options were a Mustang or a Tiburon. (I know the Tiburon reference will be met with chuckles)

      Still, the CR-Z comment is bothersome. Honda missed the boat with that one. Every CR-X owner I’ve ever met had nothing but praise for the car. It was a real commuter car unlike the attempts by Smart who completely miss what a commuter car should be. I have yet to figure out how it was a good idea to make the CR-Z a hybrid with worse gas mileage and less horsepower than its predecessor.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The non turbo car is almost as fast as my BMW 330i (mid 14′s in the quarter stock with a 6MT). That’s not fast by 2012 standards, but it’s not slow either.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The more I see the Toybaru Twins, the less I like them, and the smaller the ultimate buyer pool (i.e. when the dust settles, which won’t be during the first adopter hype phase) will be.

        Who does this car work for?

        Low on horsies. Check.

        In reality, a 2 seater but with no convertible top. Check.

        Too expensive for generation Wii/Why. Check.

        While lighter than some competitors (that DO have useable backseats), not light in an even remotely Lotus-type way, especially relative to the powerplant. Check.

        Harsh, noisy and uncomfortable ride, even relative to some other sporty coupes. Check.

        It’s a good thing they are only importing very small numbers of these.

        NOW, bump the powah by 25% (which would equate to 50 bhp, which might necessitate more displacement than this 2.0 offers, however), tighten the suspension significantly, lighten this up by gutting the rear seat, etc., and then the track toy crowd may follow (though that would take this to a price point and non-daily driver place that would make far more powerful, better handling, ready made competitors look logical).

        Fuzzy logic twins.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        It would be just fine for me, since “fast” is whatever you want it to be. I just worry about its penetration in the US, where people are ridiculously obsessed with numbers on paper.

      • 0 avatar
        photog02

        @DeadWeight: You’ve pretty much summarized my feelings about the twins. I was excited about the concept and initial information. However, the more that is revealed, the less excited I am. Still, this could be a good car to pick up if depreciation kills them on the used market.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        @ Dead Weight:

        You say: “Harsh, noisy and uncomfortable ride, even relative to some other sporty coupes. Check.”

        Later on you say: “tighten the suspension significantly”. What and ruin the ride even more?

        Does not compute. Have you been lucky enough to score a ride as a basis to offer all these pronouncements, or should I disregard these words as merely, gasp, your opinion?

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        “Low on horsies.” This car is focused on handling. When did you hear it was supposed to be about 0-60?

        “In reality, a 2 seater but with no convertible top.” A convertible is planned. What small RWD sports car offers a great deal of interior room, anyway? Besides, the rear seats help keep insurance costs down, even if they are not useful.

        “Too expensive for generation Wii/Why.” I’d agree it’s a few thousand more than it should be, but do they expect to sell that many? Also, the price is affected by the Yen.

        “While lighter than some competitors (that DO have useable backseats), not light in an even remotely Lotus-type way, especially relative to the powerplant.” What competitor is so light?

        “Harsh, noisy and uncomfortable ride, even relative to some other sporty coupes.” I’m envious that you got to test drive it so early. Or did you?

        “It’s a good thing they are only importing very small numbers of these.” It’s a niche car, despite all the hype. It’s unfortunate that the hype has caused people to expect the FR-S/BRZ to be everything to everyone.

        The niche it targets might not be you or me. But I’m glad that this car exists, and I have no doubt that spinoffs will appear. Personally, I hope they build a slightly larger 5-door hatch with a usable rear seat, much like the 2002-2005 Lexus SportCross (which was in itself a niche car), but I won’t hold my breath for now anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        Lynchenstein

        Deadweight: I doubt that tightening the suspension will help with the “Harsh, noisy and uncomfortable ride”, but I get what you mean and agree. It’s no Miata, but it’s a start. I hope Mazda takes a look at this and says “challenge accepted!”.

    • 0 avatar
      MR2turbo4evr

      “….I just worry about its penetration in the US, where people are ridiculously obsessed with numbers on paper.”

      +1000. People in Germany (where I grew up) are nowhere near as obsessed with 0-60 times and horsepower numbers, yet they are the ones able to actually use them. I don’t understand the point of buying a car that accellerates from 0-60 in 3 seconds and has a top speed of +200mph in north america, where the speed limit is 70mph. As long as you don’t struggle passing people on the highway (which you won’t with 200hp), who cares?

      I also don’t understand why people compare this car to the genesis or V6 Mustang. The overall specs are a lot closer to the Miata, so it should be compared to it.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        “As long as you don’t struggle passing people on the highway (which you won’t with 200hp), who cares?”

        I do, since I like to play the acceleration game and while I can appreciate a fine handling car just like your average 0-60/terminal velocity monster, there are zero places outside some sort of track (track being a catchall for any sort of closed course in this discussion) where you can fully utilize the car’s capability without breaking the law.

        One can make the arguement that a fine handling car is a plus for safety and I can say the same for a car that can accelerate briskly since thier use in avoiding an accident is entirely situational.

        Frankly given what most competent modern cars are capable of, whats the point to owning anything more than a Nissan Versa or the like since even these cars can be driven in anger and in a reckless law-breaking manner on any american road.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s pretty clear that almost no one that buys a 200 mph sports car ever plans to do anywhere near that. Even in Germany. It’s more of a credential and proves it has the power and legs to do it. Obviously if it can hold the road at that speed (not to mention, hold together), cruising all day at 80 is no big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I think it’s more likely to suffer the fate of the Civic Si – plenty powerful on its own, but significantly outgunned by the heavier, more brutal competition.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    (Android phones are not supported.) Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, hisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

    Not bad. At this point I’m just hoping enough people purchase it to lure other automakers into niche markets.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      That RWD, V8-powered Chevy is on its way…

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      Ha, yeah my brother-in-law is really interested in this car and I thought of him when I read that (Android not supported). Unhappy with his last Android, I suggested an iPhone. He purchased another Android. Ah well, guess it wasn’t that bad the first time after all.

      • 0 avatar
        sastexan

        This has a simple double DIN radio – an easy swap away (and probably much cheaper than the bespoke system). I never understood why people are so bent up about factory systems, except those that are highly integrated into the IP (and even then, often there are kits to modify).

      • 0 avatar
        Manic

        There is some Android apps witch will work (link below) but $900 for a system which uses your data plan for navigation? For the same money one could buy Alpine/Clarion/Sony/Pioneer 2DIN system with built-in navi…
        http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/AppRadio

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Since I never buy a car for the sound system (and would be just as happy with a blanking faceplate in the dash) I could care less. I do find it annoying, though, that Scion is also sucking down the Apple koolaid by the barrel.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      Heck I don’t even have a smartphone, so can I even use the radio?

    • 0 avatar
      indyb6

      If only they had the option of upgrading to AppRadio2

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    I’d always thought that the no-factory-turbo thing was acknowledged from the get-go, with the assumption that the aftermarket would supply all the performance bits that people wanted – that was kind of the point.

    But looking at that engine bay, and given how focused they’ve been at keeping down the size and stance (which makes me think that it’s got to be jammed in all the way down), is there even room for a turbo?

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Yeah, there’s not a ton of room in there. I suppose you could just do what people have been doing since time immemorial and rip out the air conditioning system to make room, but that’s a little extreme if you want to use the thing as a daily driver also.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Aftermarket turbos: a big chapter in the book “Blown Engines I have Known.”

    • 0 avatar
      whytry

      i believe HKS is pretty far along in development of a supercharger that looks to fit quite nicely (with AC intact)

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Plenty of people who don’t think they need at least moderately usable rear seats (for humans, including tiny & cute ones, in rear facing child safety seats) right now – may find out how critical such a feature is in any vehicle down the road, when it will be too late.

        I realize that those eyeballing these two vehicles probably have that as the last thing on their minds, but life imposes itself and its demands on people, at the least convenient times, in a non-discriminatory way.

    • 0 avatar
      sastexan

      There is a spec sheet that was distributed to dealers indicating TRD will have a dealer-add supercharger sometime this winter.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Toyota has already said there is no forced induction coming because there is no room under the hood for it.

      • 0 avatar
        sastexan

        I disagree – although I didn’t do any specific tests, it appears there is room for a small blower. Maybe I’m not used to seeing a flat engine, but there appears to be some spare room lurking under there.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          Scion’s US brass has said officially that there will be no turbo from the factory, nor will there be a dealer installed accessory that is OEM approved. I’m sure however that the aftermarket guys will cook something up.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The cook problem is what I would be worried about. That is one packed engine bay.

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        I believe they said “No Turbo”, TRD doesn’t make a Turbo, They make Superchargers, They never said anything about no Superchargers.

    • 0 avatar
      arbnpx

      Max Orido proved that there’s room for the 2UR-GSE 5.0 D4-S V8 from the Lexus IS-F. That’s what he’s running in his D1 Toyota 86 drift car. Search for “V8 86″

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Not much of a review here, just kind of a rambling general observation. TTAC has done better.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      We had a very limited time with the car. As I said Derek and Jack will be doing a full review based on more time with a production car soon.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        Seems so far only EVO have gotten serious road miles on a BRZ… and they had to pull some strings to get it…

        Too bad theirs was an automatic… shudder…

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Disagree. I think this is about the best review I’ve read to date. Toyota is being tight with wheel time on the FR-S and just about every review has been more around the emotions and less on speeds and feeds.

      I learned a lot about the car and fan of the FR-S or not, the 2013 Genesis coupe is going to 275 HP/275 TQ at the crank – that’s a 75 HP advantage and a 149 TQ advantage; even with the added weight it’s going to smoke the FR-S.

      I don’t get the worked up emotion here (I got roasted when I suggested a 0 to 60 time in 6.2 seconds and oh look, 6.7 seconds above, and I know another mag came in right at 6.2, the only time faster was an 18″ rolling start at 5.9). This is a halo car by Toyota’s own admission. Halo cars don’t sell in volume (Prius aside) they serve the purpose of getting people into the showroom to look at other products. The GT-R for Nissan. The Corvette for Chevrolet. The LF-A for Lexus. The reborn Viper for Dodge/Chrysler. The Prius for Toyota. etc. etc. etc. Only the Prii sells in volume. For those who buy the FR-S, they will love them, adore them, and largely use them as designed. Younger inexperienced drivers will wrap them around phone poles and walk away thanks to safety technology, and that will be the end of that. The unispired ehhh its a car types will probably quickly dump it, not liking the requirement to rev the crap out of the engine to get into the torque curve.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The first photo had me thinking this was CAL 130 to Mt. Hamilton! That would be an interesting drive, as I’ve done it twice – both in Impalas…34 years apart!

    The car looks interesting, but not sure who the market truly is.

    For the record, I absolutely REFUSE to drink the Apple Kool-Aid.

    I-Phooey…

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      You and me, both. I laugh how we panicked fifteen years ago that Microsoft was getting too controlling; but we’ll happily allow Apple to get into the same situation.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        While I use Apple products every day, I do believe that competition is a good thing, whether it is in the computer, phone, or car market. It keeps one company from “taking advantage” of consumers, and keeps everyone on their toes.

      • 0 avatar
        MBsam

        Maybe it’s not about kool-aid or branding…maybe it’s more the fact that Apple makes a more intuitive product that is much easier for developers to code for at this juncture.

      • 0 avatar
        bbkkrr

        Sometimes I think the anti-Kool-Aid feelings are stronger than the Kool-Aid itself.

        I think my iPhone works well, but that’s where it ends. Why Apple is either lovingly embraced or vehemently demonized is sorta mysterious to me. Their products either work or not.

        This article alerts me to finding an aftermarket head unit that works with phones. The car that formed the basis of this post … meh.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        @MBSam

        As a developer myself, I disagree. iOS is in no way easier to create apps for — the language required is Objective-C, which nobody outside of the OSX development community was familiar with prior to the iPhone, the development environment only runs on a Mac, and the requirements to get an app listed on Apple’s store are onerous and arbitrary. The fact is that developers follow marketshare: you code for the environment where there is room for your product, even if it’s a pain in the ass. (And hey, it’s miles better than Cell development.)

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Aristurtle has got it right. Technically there is nothing special about iOS (and more limitations than most other mobile environments). But creations an iOS app gets you more potential customers than other platforms do, hence the 10,000,000,000 apps in the Apple app store.

        I hope some combination of Android, Windows Phone and BB10 will provide credible enough competition for Apple in the marketplace to get the latter to drop some of its most monopolistic and controlling policies.

    • 0 avatar
      indyb6

      All they need to do is provide an HDMI interface (just like current USB inputs in newer cars) for the car nav/entertainment system. The nav system will be touch enabled, and just mirrors the output of the phone screen onto the nav screen. If your phone does not have a HDMI out, then use a converter to convert whatever proprietary port to HDMI.

      There – end of all dev problems. Let the nav screen be a passive device. The HDMI will route audio + video. The unit will always be as updated as your phone.

      And yes, as a developer, I agree. Objective C?? Really? Developing anything for Apple is a huge PITA. But, that is where a lot of money is, so devs tend to flock over to the store where sheeple will pay for apps that do something miniscule, albeit with a very polished facade.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Not particularly quick, prone to oversteer, lacking torque, limited availability…

    I can’t wait to spend 25 grand plus 4-5k ADM to buy one!

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      OMG, how DAER YOU QUESTION THE ONE TRU SPORTS CAR!
      seriously though, I’ll pass.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Subaru dealers, yeah. It’s going to be interesting to see how Scion dealers get around the ‘mandatory’ set pricing. We’ll have fun in Richmond. North of the James, the Subaru and Scion dealers share a property line – and are owned by two different firms. It’s a 60 meter walk from one showroom to the other.

      • 0 avatar
        RedStapler

        Its always interesting when you have twins of a car that are sold by different dealers. The Corolla/Prism & Matrix/Vibe twins come to mind. Similar to other new niche cars with a cult following I expect 6-12months of $5k over MSRP nonsense until the pool of suckas is depleted.

        IIRC Saturn dealers would fudge the “no haggle” pricing with generous trade in valuations. They can also throw in free oil changes & tires for X years.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      So are you suggesting that Toyota has successfully built an ill-handling RX-8 that gets moderately better MPG with an unusable backseat?

  • avatar
    Botswana

    I’m a huge fan of this concept, but the more I think about it, the more I am favoring the Genesis Coupe as my next car. I’m going to be in the market in about 2 years thanks to a teenager who will need their first car and one of our options if for him to take my current daily driver and for me to get a “new” car. (I’ll probably look at used first)

    I like what they’re doing with the car but the damn Scion brand is going to come with a whole lot of options I’d rather do without. I need air conditioning and would like a USB plug for my ANDROID phone. I’d rather it come with less and knock a couple grand off the price.

    I’m keeping this and the BRZ on my radar for now but I still think they are a wee bit overpriced for what they are.

    That said, I am not going to be one of those people complaining about the engine. The average driver is barely going to know what to do with that power. Even the average FRS/BRZ owner will not know what to do with it. I think car enthusiasts get a little too obsessed with how many horsies a car has. To me, the acceleration and handling are far more important than top speed. My daily driver needs to let me get out of tight spots. Being able to hit 200mph has never been a factor.

    • 0 avatar

      I second all of this except for the fone stuff. I loved the concept, but I also don’t need 200mph, options, etc., and 25k is pushing it. I also want a car, not a communications device.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Lucky you, the base stereo will do bluetooth audio and phone with your android device. You don’t even have to plug it in! It still does offer a USB port if you want to charge your phone or browse your music library through the headunit, though. Only the OPTIONAL head unit works with iphone only.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    While not especially fast like it’s body suggests but as you say, it’s not as slow as an early Miata but not especially fast either, it all depends on how you drive the car, but in my case, if it feels zippy and fun, that’s what matters. I find the old addage of it’s way more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow.

    We’ve gotten so used to cars that are so quick off the line, much quicker than the average car of 40 years ago that when it doesn’t feel quick (even though it is), one gripes.

    That said, it’s not a car I’d be interested in as I like my cars to emphasize practicality along with sporty handling, so cars like my Mazda Protege5, the Mazda3, WRX/Impreza etc are what interests me probably the most, even if they only produce between 130-160hp. Heck, I find the Fiat 500 adequately zippy for all of its 101hp even, it’s all in how you drive it that makes the biggest difference. if you drove it like you stole it, it’ll wake up in a big way, but if you don’t, shift at or below 3000rpm, the car may WELL feel poky and unexciting.

    However, bespoke radio or no, only supporting the iPhone is a no go for me as I’ve just transitioned to Android. Heck, the new JVC double din head unit I’ll be buying as early as Friday supports all three of the major phone OS, iPhone, Android and the Blackberry for various functions, Pandora is, I think available on all three.

    I think to make it even more bespoke is to support ALL OS/phones and of course, all carriers so no matter who buys the car, their smart phone will work with the HU.

    • 0 avatar
      GT-86

      “While not especially fast like it’s body suggests but as you say, it’s not as slow as an early Miata but not especially fast either, it all depends on how you drive the car, but in my case, if it feels zippy and fun, that’s what matters. I find the old addage of it’s way more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow.”

      Well said… I also have a 1993 Miata LE (the one with the red interior) and trust me, it’s SLOW but never fails to put a smile on my face!

  • avatar
    Lampredotto

    “Still, the tire isn’t as “grippy” as the FR-S deserves, so buyers should plan on swapping them for stickier rubber ASAP.”

    I don’t understand the obsession with maximizing tire grip. Part of the appeal of small, light RWD cars like this– as opposed to pricier/faster/grippier machinery– is that their chassis limits can be explored at reasonably safe and sane speeds. One of the main reasons I love my NA Miata is that I can get it to wag its tail on an off-ramp. If you’re not taking it to the track, why spend money upgrading the rubber, only to take away half the fun?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      While I agree that the chassis limits are fun to explore, the Genesis 2.0T has far more grip. Why bother buying the car with the lighter chassis and low center of gravity when you can’t keep up with the competition on your favorite mountain road?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Speeding gets you a ticket. Racing gets you a seized car and a jail sentence.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Motor Trend said the BRZ was an awesome canyon carver, even compared to the much more powerful V6 Mustang.

        http://wot.motortrend.com/2013-mustang-v-6-2013-subaru-brz-battle-in-latest-mt-video-201575.html

        The only person I know that has had real seat time in the car stated that it isn’t a numbers car, but a drivers car. Maybe we’ve lost that purist driving sensation in the race to produce the most HP.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Why bother buying the car with the lighter chassis and low center of gravity when you can’t keep up with the competition on your favorite mountain road?”

        You can fix grip with tires and perhaps some suspension tuning.

        You can fix a lighter chassis and lower CoG with a whole new car.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        CJ, nobody said anything about racing or speeding. There are plenty of N. CA roads with impossibly high speed limits for the terrain (55MPH).

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        grzydj, the Mustang is not competition. It’s big, heavy, and a totally different animal. The Genesis 2.0T is even something of a stretch to compare. I agree that it is as much of a purist driving car as anything Toyota had made in recent memory. It’s unquestionably a niche vehicle, but I am sure those niche buyers will be very happy with it.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        @Alex L. Dykes

        Of course the Mustang isn’t its competition, but interestingly enough, you were the first person to mention the word Mustang in your review.

      • 0 avatar
        Lampredotto

        Perhaps for a very small subset of owners. But I would argue that the vast majority of drivers, enthusiasts included, lack the skills necessary to safely take advantage of such copious grip.

        I’m no racer and have yet to attend any sort of Skip Barber/Bondurant racing school. But I do have some autocrossing experience, and consider myself a skilled driver, probably much better than the average Joe. For someone like me, the Miata’s grip levels represent a good safety valve. Absent some form of advanced training, I think a driver who takes mountain curves at velocities in excess of a stock Miata’s cornering limits is asking for trouble. There are so many potentials for unexpected hazards on public roads that do not exist on the track: oncoming vehicles, cyclists, wildlife, a sudden patch of gravel, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        grzydj,

        I had a number of questions regarding a Mustang comparison, which I deliberately avoided for the most part. I think the Mustang’s tail happy nature is one of the key selling points for the pony car. Likewise I don’t think the lively handling of the FR-S is a bad thing, quite the contrary.

    • 0 avatar
      another_pleb

      “Coming in hot to an especially luscious left hander I caress the apex and then slam shut the power pedal. All at once the Mazda’s polished posterior comes out to play. I simply catch it with a dab of oppo and I’m away.”

    • 0 avatar
      GT-86

      I absolutely concur… I am keeping my 1993 LE and adding the FR-S

  • avatar
    Ex Radio Operator

    Who cares if the car handles or goes fast. It is just life support for an I Phone. I would rather it be as slow as possible to limit the damage when the moron using his her phone while driving contacts a solid object.

  • avatar
    Jaynen

    So Alex the big question I want to know is, will the back seat accept a forward facing convertible car seat and a toddler? They are going to be kicking your seat probably anyway. What about if the seat was in the middle? Or is the rear buckets oddly shaped where middle is not an option?

    Parents who want miatas but cant because of the above are dying to know.

    • 0 avatar
      sastexan

      There are no mounts for the center. The back seat is scooped out pretty deep and the LATCH is above the bottom of the cushion and easily accessible. You might not be able to fit every car seat in there, but should be able to fit some of the smaller seats. Supposedly rear facing will fit but I did not pull mine out to test it.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      There is no center rear seat, it is strictly a 2+2 coupe. Space is far more limited than in a Genesis, so if you really wanted to stick a kid in the rear, you should probably cross the FR-S and BRZ off your list unless you are under 5’6″ perhaps or have short legs.

      • 0 avatar
        sastexan

        Front facing car seat (e.g., Britax Marathon) should fit in back no problem. Rear facing big fat maybe – Toyota claims that it will take rear facing car seat but I’d have to put mine in there to confirm.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        I’d say that pretty much anything with less than 33-34 inches of rear legroom will allow a rear-facing carseat but no front passenger. We tried to put my 13 month old son in the back of my dad’s 2012 Mustang GT when they visted last, but the front seat was so far forward that we decided to just take my car instead. Our OB has not much room for me (only 6 ft) when I sit in front of his rear-facing Maxi-Cosi Priori (one of the smaller infant seats).

        Check out motherproof.com for some great car seat reviews, I use that site quite often…before renting a car. Of course, another year and it won’t matter as much.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I’d say a more narrow carseat like the Radian Sunshine or some Maxi-Cosi models would fit better. I’d imagine that if the kids can reach that back of my seat (in both my Acura and Outback) with their feet, than they’ll do the same with the FR-S/BRZ. But, as they get bigger, their legs bend down better.

      It is tempting to forgo a replacement for my old TL, and get one of these for commuting and the backroads. Keep the TL for winter time. But, I don’t think that’d fly with the wife. She wants a 13 Fusion, and I get the OB back.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    Need to drive a Genesis 2.0T, but this review hasn’t changed my opinion of the FR-S nor made me rethink my deposit. Drove one last weekend on a fake autocross in Baltimore; seats are good, visibility decent. Back seat essentially useless if you are over 5’8″ but will take car seats (yes I checked). Hard to tell street handling as these cars were modified with prototype TRD springs and exhaust, plus yoko tires (the promo is a JV between Scion and Yokohama).

    This is a niche car and will not appeal to a large population, similar to a Miata. But those that it does appeal to will enjoy it, I believe.

    If I decide to go ahead with the purchase, and my car gets broken in, I’ll be working it out with some time trials and other amateur events.

  • avatar

    Tune it!!!

    I want better car. Change everything. Then we will know how good it is.

    Should be good.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “Toyota claims it was meant to pay homage to classic Toyotas of the past”

    Then why is it being sold as a Scion, alongside the humdrum tC coupe and the tiny iQ, two cars whose only similarities to the FR-S are their Scion badges?

    Toyota bothered to hold onto the Camry, Corolla, Land Cruiser and 4Runner nameplates, and even sells a retro FJ…and yet seems content to totally abandon their sports car heritage for…what, exactly? To nail a specific demographic (that has been steadily fading from Scion anyway)? To keep the brand alive (the xB and xD are being killed off)?

    I don’t get it. I’m sure others don’t either, and they may well replace those silly Scion badges with silly Toyota badges off of eBay once they take delivery of their FT-86s.

    Beyond that, you may say “it’s a great car no matter what brand it is.” But take two identical cars that cost the same, slap a BMW roundrel on one and a Buick trishield on the other, and the BMW will mop the floor with it. Brand does matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Botswana

      The Scion approach hurts its marketability against its twin as well. If it was a Toyota there might be a standard base model that does away with a lot of crap I could care less about. For not that much more I can get the Subaru and not worry about how it looks for someone pushing 40 to be driving a “youth branded” sports car.

      I’m not just some old guy who can’t afford a Corvette or Bimmer for their mid-life crisis. I am not driving a sports car to look cool, but because I like the car. The whole Scion image and concept is a big turn off to me. I wish Toyota would knock it off already. It’s not like there are free standing Scion dealerships anyway. Not that I’ve seen.

    • 0 avatar
      MR2turbo4evr

      +1

      The Scion brand doesn’t sit well with me. I’d buy a Subaru BRZ just for that reason alone. I wish Toyota would’ve killed off the Scion brand and marketed the vehicle as a Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Ignore the badge on the hood, and just look at your title and owner’s card. They say “Toyota”.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      And you’ve nailed the biggest problem.

      On its merits as a pure 100% drivers car for the masses Toyota seems to have done a really good job. I question the high revs needed to get into the power band as the only d’oh because it will make it a bit of a chore to daily drive it in bumper-to-bumper traffic (if you don’t rev an S2000 out its not a very fun car to drive – pokey comes to mind).

      But why this is a Scion, and why this isn’t called Celica defies all marketing logic to me. The average car buyer in America doesn’t read TTAC, LLN, Jalopnik and sure as Hell doesn’t know what an AE-86 Corolla is or was. FR-S for for Front engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport is a meaningless name. Alphabet soup is so popular for naming cars, but it is not evocative. When your selling front engine, rear wheel drive cars that are sporty, from a pure marketing stand point, you want evocative.

      If you say Supra – even if you’re not a gear head, if you’re over 30/35, it will evoke an emotion. If you say Celica – even if you’re not a gear head if you’re over 25/30 it will evoke an emotion. Just like Miata. Just like Mustang. Just like Camaro. Just like Charger.

      There is something to be said about digging up legacy names and pandering to the base. Toyota seriously hobbled FR-S sales by attaching it to a dead brand walking in Scion (hello, it only has three models now, a FWD so-so coupe, a RWD coupe, and the iQ A-segment car) and not attaching a brand name that the average car buying slob would “get.”

      Could you image the mainstream hype outside of the automotive enthusiast circles if there was a new Toyota Celica coming out. And it was RWD in hommage to the great Celicas of the 80′s. THAT is something the average non-enthusiast car buyer gets. Because at the end of the day, it’s about moving metal.

      The branding is all wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        It’s all about moving metal, but not so much about exactly what metal is being moved. Toyota created Scion to give youngsters a geezer free zone. But it hasn’t gone so well for them. At least partly because the somewhat geezerish nature of the metal on offer, Scion is not an aspirational brand for young people the way Toyota would like it to be. If the FR-S gos some way towards changing that, the total metal moved by Scion may increase by more than the total number of FR-S sales lost due to not having a nameplate familiar to the geezers Scion was designed to avoid in the first place.

        Not saying the Toyotas attempt to split the market along generational lines was necessarily a bright idea to begin with, but if they do intend to do so, putting their potentially most youth appealing models in the youth brand does make sense. Even more so with the increased Bimmerification of Lexus. After all, let the geezers old enough to remember the Celica spent twice to twenty times an FR-S on some Lexus variation.

    • 0 avatar
      arbnpx

      Did brand matter with the Cadillac Cimarron? It was still a J-body front-wheel-drive car, dressed up in leather and chrome.

      The word “scion” means “descendant of”. If you were paying attention during the press presentations at the late November 2011 unveil, you would’ve seen that the car is a descendant of the AE86 (Corolla GT-S / Corolla Levin / Sprinter Trueno), using the same front-mounted boxer engine, rear-wheel-drive layout as the Toyota Sports 800, and exterior styling inspirations from the Toyota 2000GT.

      I don’t know how well received this car would be as the “Toyota 86″ in the US, because the “hachi-roku” has a smaller cult following in the US as it does in Japan. People have mentioned that it should’ve been called the Celica, but the Celica hasn’t been rear-wheel-drive since the third generation in 1985. In addition, the Scion brand has more coupes today (the tC) than the Toyota brand (none).

      The Scion brand has been a little weird from the start anyway, from the importing of the ist (xA) and bB (xB; by the way, the bB was also chief-engineered by Tetsuya Tada), to the melding of Avensis chassis and Celica brakes and Camry powertrain (1st-generation tC). Full disclosure: I own a 1st-gen tC, am taking delivery of an FR-S on launch day, and am the regional president of a Scion car club.

      Either way, when you open the hood of a Scion FR-S, you have three car makes staring at you (the Scion badge on the front, and the “Toyota D4-S / Subaru Boxer” text on the intake header cover).

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    Phil, you nailed it. My last 3 cars have been Toyota’s. I love these twins, but I won’t own a Scion. I really like my local Toyota/Scion dealer. I couldn’t tell you where the nearest Subaru dealer is located. And yet, I won’t consider the Scion — reason and rationale be damned. I simply don’t want to own a Scion and have been irritated from the beginning that this car wasn’t blessed with a proper Toyota badge.

    • 0 avatar
      sastexan

      “Badges? We don’t need to stinkin’ badges!”

      You do realize it is sold as a Toyota in the rest of the world. I have no shame explaining to my yuppie friends it’s a scion.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    At quick glance the first picture had me thinking this was a 2013 Genesis coupe. I would certainly take the advice and skip past the Scion store and go right on over to the Hyundai with it’s superior power and warranty and at the limit grip. They even look similar from the A-pilar forwards.

    • 0 avatar
      daiheadjai

      I might see that in the old 2010-2012 Genesis Coupe if I squint really hard, but the 2013 looks nothing like this (except that it’s a 2-dr coupe with 4 wheels and 2 headlamps)

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Am I understanding this correctly, the $900 “Bespoke” radio option is merely an app for the iPhone? So you have to spend the $900 and $2-300 under contract plus monthly usage charges for an iPhone to have the ability to control everything from your iPhone (because you can’t control it from the radio which IMO is a huge mistake/distraction)?

    Big mistake in not supporting Android considering roughly half of smartphones sold are Androids.

    • 0 avatar
      B.C.

      Scion’s in cahoots with Pioneer for their stereo options and the AppRadio range been out for a while already and has only supported the iPhone so far. Blame Pioneer. And it’s easily swappable, anyway.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I’m not seeing the hate. It’s very good looking. It’s got more power than the old Celicas that many of you remember fondly as great cars. I’m sure the suspension is superior as well, and the interior is very nice. Would I buy it? No. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who will.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I am surprised by the Internet hate the FR-S/BRZ twins are getting considering how much enthusiasts were clamoring for an affordable rear drive successor to the 240SX.

    Given the production numbers, they will have no problems in selling every one they make and, due to the short supply (they have learned from Mini), I would expect no discounting of any kind. For those who want to take off fast from the lights or have a comfy cruiser, get a Genesis Coupe, V6 Mustang or Camaro. For those who value athleticism uber alles and can’t afford a Porsche Cayman, this is not a bad compromise.

    • 0 avatar
      whytry

      some people see a group having fun and want to join in.

      some people see a group having fun and want to stop them.

    • 0 avatar
      Zombo

      That’s the way I see it too carguy . But every four cylinder sports or sporty car is slammed on here for no rear leg room , not enough power , not enough torque , and now a new reason – their cheap piece of Chinese electronics that they have become a slave to won’t work with the upgraded stereo ! I suppose that there are sillier reasons for crossing a potential new car prospect off the list , but I can’t think of one right now .

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        Steering wheel looks wrong, as an example – not this car specifically. That would be a sillier reason to cross a car off your list, to me anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      FJ60LandCruiser

      I’m not 18-25, but I can afford this car and can go out tomorrow and buy one. It’s come up on the list of cars I may want to buy in the next year or so. I have owned Subarus and Toyotas, so this is a natural progression to me.

      I am troubled by the lack of power. I find the first and second gen Miatas “fun” to drive, but seriously down on power–which is a deal-breaker.

      There is only so far handling and “fun to drive”-edness will get you, and there is no good reason why there isn’t a turbo variant of this car that doesn’t involve a shadetree installation, voiding the warranty, and a destroyed engine.

      Get on any reasonable length track and you’ll find that great handling but low power get old fast.

  • avatar
    Marko

    I’m fine with this car – as long as the hype dies down. It’s a fine “driver’s car” in its own right, but it is not everything to everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      “…not everything to everyone.”

      This is good in my book, but it’s probably the reason this car is getting slammed. Cars should have personality, but once you give them personality they’re crap. I feel slightly bad for the manufacturers because they can’t seem to win, but that’s their job to figure out.

  • avatar

    I want this thing, but I already have a midlife crisis vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      This. My ten-year-old early-mid-life-crisis-mobile (Third life crisis? Paging Manufactured Social Trend Magazine!) cost only a little less than the FR-S, and lately I’ve been wondering how much power I’d be willing to part with for more reliability, better economy and an MP3-compatible stereo. I’m a little scared to drive the FR-S and find out…

      Oh, and whatever happened to the “better to drive a slow car fast” maxim? If you want something bigger and more powerful, you have lots of options… Mustang, Camaro, Genesis, 370Z. With the death of the RX-8, the only real light sportscar alternative is the Miata. Good for Toyota for having the cojones to actually make their niche car niche.

  • avatar
    John

    Golly, that abrupt ninety degree bend in the throttle body to air box rubber hose is restrictive. What were they thinking? Can anyone say “short radius”?

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    For all those who compare the Genesis Coupe favourably against the FRS/BRZ, two words:

    “Rev hang”

    From all accounts, the rev hang issue and the less-smooth shifter issues haven’t been solved with the Genesis Coupe.
    By all accounts (haven’t had a chance to drive this yet), the FRS/BRZ twins have an excellent shifter, and much sharper steering feel.

    I say this as someone who is a big Hyundai fan, and who seriously looked into getting the Genesis Coupe.

    I think someone actually crunched the numbers – factoring for inflation, this car (the FRS/BRZ) is close to what the original AE86 cost in the mid-eighties, and less than what other lauded Japanese coupes like the DSM twins and the 240SX and Silvias etc. cost…

    I’m looking forward to trying (and hopefully buying) the BRZ…

  • avatar
    GT-86

    Hopefully I can provide some real-world information soon… my FR-S is scheduled to arrive in a couple more weeks…

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If the anticipation turns into sales and there aren’t enough to go around, it will help other competitive brands get some additional business, Genesis, Impreza, Focus RS maybe even Mustang.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    What they need to do is delay the release date and make sure there are enough to go around

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    You can’t have it both ways, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. Search V8 MR2, Miata etc. I loved my MR2, but when it got stolen, I used the settlement on a V8 Stang.

  • avatar

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic this car exists and has turned out to mostly live up to the hype. But in the intervening years (what was it, 2006?) since the first concept was hinted at, following the Toyota/Subie “merger”, I’ve gotten married and had a kid. As such, the Focus ST has me way more excited, although to be truthful, I’ll probably be driving my ’07 Fit for at least another decade, barring accidents. By that time, who knows what the enthusiast landscape will resemble.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I must be missing something here. Exactly what is it about this car or the Subaru that make them worth $25k+? To me decent handling & 200HP does not equate to a $25k base MSRP.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      How would it not be worth $25,000? What 200HP RWD coupe costs less?

      • 0 avatar
        mtymsi

        I’m not placing any value on the fact that it’s RWD or that it’s a coupe bodystyle. I’m comparing it to vehicles with similar HP which also handle well. As far as coupe and RWD the actual cost (not the MSRP) of a Mustang or a Camaro is about the same and both are 300+HP.
        Understand, I’m not knocking this car I just don’t see the value. If it had more HP I could see it but not with 200HP.

      • 0 avatar
        srogers

        I wouldn’t pay $25k for this unless it was a hemi turbo-diesel ’69 el Camino SS for $10,000!

        Seriously, I feel sorry for anyone who’s ego is that fragile to care whether his car is a Scion or a Toyota. It’s not like they’ve stuck a GM brand on it.

      • 0 avatar
        srogers

        If you’re not placing any value on RWD or coupe style, then you’re not the market for this car. Problem solved! Used Panthers are way less money.

    • 0 avatar
      p4nya

      FWIW, the last Nissan 240sx, which many would consider the FR-S/BRZ’s most recent spiritual predecessor, had an MSRP of $18,359 USD in 1998. Adjusting for inflation, that equals $25,836 in 2012 dollars. While I think it would be a much better seller in the $22k (Civic Si)price range, the pricing does seem to be spot on with other comparable vehicles from the past.

      • 0 avatar
        mtymsi

        srogers

        FYI I drive a Mustang GT which in 2010 was $23k ($29k MSRP). I am in the market for a new car but fail to see the value in the FR-S/BRZ so you’re right I’m not interested in one. BTW, thanks for the used Panther advice having spent 30 years selling cars I wouldn’t have had a clue.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    Don’t you just love how much auto “enthusiasts” enjoy eating their young? The TTAC reader Homermobile: 500 hp, 750 ft-lbs torque, manual shifter with 1 gear, 60 mpg, 1.5 lateral g’s, 2300 lbs, 7 seats, $10,000, free maintenance, and 100 Gb/sec satellite internet connection to Jupiter. The market for enthusiast cars is rather small and getting smaller. A sports car with everything can be neither a sports car, nor affordable. Those hating on this attempt at a sports car by Toybaru are free to buy a $100,000+ mega-power egomobile at their earliest convenience.

    Were not that far from driverless vehicles. Relax and enjoy what’s available today, while you can.

    • 0 avatar
      GT-86

      Beautifully put!

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      I hate to bring up the trope of the basement dweller in mom’s basement, but I do wonder how many folks who regularly comment are teetering on broke. The obsession with old Panthers… lambasting people for buying new cars, particularly new luxury cars, while proclaiming the deals they found on 10 year old German cars (as if there’s any snob appeal left in a 10 year old luxury car)… Whining about everything that is ‘wrong’ with the FR-S/BRZ, along with whining about the price (which is pretty damn cheap). I’m seeing a lot of hourly-wage types, folks getting by on <$50,000/yr; Nothing wrong with that, most of us have been there at some point, but there's a strong element of jealousy in the posts.

      Back on topic – I wonder how this will affect the tC. It's possible it could serve as a halo car, or it could cannibalize it. The two cars have little in common besides having two doors, the tC being more of a discount priced Altima 2.5 coupe. It will be interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        geggamoya

        Back in the “good old days” of 2008 TTAC surveyed it’s readers, the results are below. Out of about 800 people who responded about 25% of readers claimed to earn 100k+ yearly, 22% replied “none of your damn business” so the real figure might be even higher.

        Direct link to PDF here
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/surveysummary.pdf

        Comments about the results: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/07/ttacs-best-and-brightest-revealed/

  • avatar
    WRC555

    151 lb-ft torque. So the new 86 will feel similar to the 1st generation S2000 during acceleration, and better than the 06-11 Civic Si (139 lb-ft torque).
    Not bad for a 2.0 N.A. engine with improved fuel economy.
    S2000 – 18 MPG City, 24-25 MPG Hwy
    FR-S – 22 MPG City, 31 MPG Hwy
    Civic Si – 20/21 MPG City, 29 MPG Hwy

  • avatar
    niky

    A lot of people won’t get it. But there are people who will… I think the car most in danger from the BRZ86FRS triplets is the MX5.

    Not because it’s more powerful.

    Not because it has a fixed top.

    But because you can fit four tires in the back for track time. Goodbye two seat convertible and trailer… Helloooo track days.

    —–

    But that’s just me. I’ll drive anything on track, actually, that has four wheels. A V6 Toyota minivan is awesome fun out there…

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      While you may be right that this will take a percentage of Miata sales because of its suitability for track days, I strongly suspect that no more than 10% of Miata buyers know about track days. Even if the Miata has the highest percentage of real enthusiast drivers, they’re still a tiny minority of customers.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        This is not meant to contradict your statement, but merely a factoid I feel like sharing: I attended my first track day this week, and the Miata was the most common car in attendance. For all its “girly car” image, you’re right that many find their way into the hands of enthusiasts. Further evidence: the existence of miataturbo.net.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      If it’s no more than 10% of Miata buyers… that’s a whole lot more than for many cars.

      There are few cars in the world that are raced as much as Miatas. Fewer still that have their own dedicated spec series in dozens of different countries.

      In fact, for a car that doesn’t qualify or compete in any class but its own spec races… it’s amazing how many people track Miatas. To the point that several manufacturers build LoCost style kits that use Miata parts, and there’s even one really nice Atom-alike that uses Miata parts.

      The one big problem for NC Miatas and trackdays is NA and NB Miatas. Specifically, the older Miatas may be much slower and may have brakes less convincing than anthropogenic global warming, but they’re dirt cheap to buy and run, which is why they’re popular on the track.

      But if you were to buy a new trackday car to replace a Miata… you want something with similarly low limits. Similarly predictable and easy-to-control breakaway and an uncomplicated (read: no turbo to take a pee on track and no overheating dual-clutch automatic that goes into limp mode every ten laps) drivetrain. Something with similarly low running costs (fuel, spares, cheaper tires… okay… so perhaps “low” is relative in this case, because there’s little that’s cheaper to track than an old Miata…).

      And… given that there’s barely enough room in the new Miata for spares and a helmet… let alone tires… I think that some of those people might just be looking at the Toyota and wondering…

      Perhaps the typical “hairdresser” crowd won’t move to Toyota… but the guys who aren’t buying automatic-equipped PRHTs will be sorely tempted.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    I applaud the restraint shown in the styling.Lack of power?If this number sells,I’m sure Subaru or Toyota will add a performance model.They probably just don’t know yet if anybody in this market can afford their student loans and a car note.To those worrying about smartphone compatibility:Do attempt to spend more time attending to the driving task.As for backseat comfort,there are oh so many other rides that flagrantly indulge your concerns.


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