By on August 7, 2012
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In our second installment, we take the Scion FR-S to the track, along with the heavier, but more powerful Hyundai Genesis 2.0T and its spiritual antecedent, the Mazda MX-5. Oh, and there are special guests from Japan and America.

 

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143 Comments on “TTAC Track Days Episode 2: Scion FR-S vs. Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T vs. Mazda MX-5...”


  • avatar
    felix

    That Jacket! Oh my eyes…. my eyes…!

  • avatar
    MrFixit1599

    So this just confirms what everyone already knew. If you want a sporty car at a decent price level, you have 2 options. Miata or Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      +1 FRS/86 is the slowest on the track?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        You’re just a bunch of haters! Put a turbo kit on it, upgrade the suspension, change out the exhaust and give it a cold air intake and it will mop the floor with these mere mortals. That’s what the fans will say.

        Translation, spend another $5K to $7K to address some of the issues (weight distribution won’t be one of them) and after fixing what was wrong from the factory, and hoping the taillights don’t fill with water, that the engine sensors don’t fail and Christmas tree the dash, and the idle doesn’t become rough you’ll have a pretty good car for $30K to $32K; $32K to $35K if you get the Subaru.

        I sure hope Subaru isn’t under some contractual obligation to keep selling their version. I don’t even know if this chassis will accommodate AWD, or how Subaru could add it without making it unaffordable.

        HOPEFULLY Toyota is listening and makes significant changes for the next model year. There is still hope.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I like the concept of the FR-S and admire Toyota for bringing it to market, but there’s not really a good excuse as to why they didn’t or couldn’t bump the horsepower to something closer to 240ish (give or take 10), unless I’m unaware of some genuine physical, technical limitation upon doing so with the boxer 2.0 as configured in the engine bay of the car.

        p.s. I have no idea how anyone could think that the dash and interior of the MX-5 is anything other than best in class. I sat in one that had the leather the color of baseball glove (I forgot the spec name) and that car, with about as ideal as possible gauges and driving position, is the equal of the best that VW used to offer and easily up to Porsche Boxter standards.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @DeadWeight

        They had to keep the MPG gods happy while not looking bad against turbocharged 4-banger engines that produce 225 to 285 HP (depending on manufacturer/make/model)

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        “I’m unaware of some genuine physical, technical limitation upon doing so with the boxer 2.0 as configured in the engine bay of the car.”

        Pure marketing.

        They went with a bore and stroke of 86mm.

        If they had thrown out that “requirement”, we would have seen something in the 2.1 or 2.2 liter range and every non-enthusiastic review would have been turned upside down.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        By the way- oh yeah, the video review- ….

        I’m really not blowing smoke up anyone’s ass, but had the History Channel decided to do this format for the American version of Top Gear, instead of the path they went down, I have no doubt it would have been better received.

        Great review.

      • 0 avatar
        AKADriver

        @Chicago Dude, the 86mm bore and stroke weren’t part of the car’s core design, just coincidence. That’s a common spec for 2.0L engines, including the Toyota 3S, Nissan SR20, etc. For tax purposes in the Japanese market it makes sense for this car to have a 2.0L engine. If it had a 2.2 or a 2.5 it would be taxed as a full-size car. Also the same engine, fitted with a turbo, is being used to power the next-generation WRX and Legacy.

        However, restricting power to around 200 *was* intentional. They wanted to be able to keep the driveline light, which allows them to keep the body light, and so on. As always, the car can support much more once the warranty and NVH are disregarded, but the factory is under much tighter constraint.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The V6 Mustang is fast, but not exactly seen as “sporty” (well, at least not as sporty as others).

    • 0 avatar

      Wasn’t it the old fashioned solid rear axle Mustang Laguna Seca that just got beat by the 1LE Camaro by 4 seconds around VIR? I guess everybody doesn’t know.

      • 0 avatar
        01 ZX3

        The 1LE had a roll cage, racing seat, and a professional driver at the helm. And it definitely wasn’t conducted on the same day.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        On a scale of 1 to 10, the “time difference” between the 1LE and Boss 302 as faithfully reported by GM’s journo-lackeys rates a zero.

      • 0 avatar

        What about all of the ZL1 bests the (higher hp) Shelby reports popping up by the independents, eh Jack? Face it, on the track IRS always wins…

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        I’ve read some of those reviews TCB… The ZL1 doesn’t Win because of it’s suspension so much as the Shelby Loses because of numb steering.

        In fact, numb steering is the one consistent complaint I’ve heard of Every current-gen Mustang from Every automotive news source.. If Ford could lick that problem I wouldn’t be surprised if Lord Clarkson himself were to welcome our new Dearborn overlords.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @TCBRacing – “on the track IRS always wins”

        When has IRS been proven or even suspected of always winning on the track? I must have missed that episode of Top Gear.

      • 0 avatar

        “When has IRS been proven or even suspected of always winning on the track? I must have missed that episode of Top Gear.”

        You’re right DM, I guess in Sprint Car, Dirt Track, and NASCAR the solid rear axle still reigns supreme…

        Besides the Mustang, has Top Gear even tested a non-IRS car???

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Road-tested, yes they’ve reviewed a bunch of B-segment hatches with torsion beams.

        Track-tested the only Non-IRS car I think they tested was the FN2 Civic Type R versus its IRS predecessor the EP3. And BOY did Clarkson rip it for its handling.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @TCBRacing – OK then, how do we know IRS always wins on the track? The closest comparo of like pony cars anyone has seen is MotorTrend running Mustangs and M3s. How did that work out for the M3?

        The Caterham is non IRS.

      • 0 avatar

        Because 90% of all race cars are IRS. If they weren’t winning, everyone would change to the solid axle. I know, logic has no place on the internet ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @TCBRacing – Ninety percent of race cars have transaxles. Come on, you know that, Mr. Racer…

        Ninety percent of front engine (and trans) racers are derived from street driven sports cars and or luxury cars where buyers would reject the thought of an LRA.

        Name the front engine cars or racers that are none of the above? Besides Mustangs. OK, the Camaro is based on an IRS (heavy) sedan and so is the Challenger.

        The Caterham and Donkervoork are about the only front engine/trans true or dedicated racers and one of them isn’t IRS.

      • 0 avatar

        Let’s see DM, there is World Touring Car, Australian V8 Supercars, SCCA Trans AM and Touring Car, etc., etc…

        What I failed to differentiate was transaxle from IRS. In my mind, if it is in the rear of the car and it is not a LRA and driving the rear wheels, it is an IRS. Then we can include F1 (and all of the other FIA variants), Indy Car, Formula Ford, Formula Vee, Corvette, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, etc., etc…

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s called over simplifying to prove your point. All the race cars you’ve mentioned either cannot take a LRA because:

        A) they are rear or mid-engine

        B) they are front engine RWD racers based on existing IRS production cars that are luxury, passenger or sports cars where LRA isn’t commercially accepted.

        You cannot simply convert a front engine IRS vehicle to LRA (for the track) without designing the car around it right from the start.

        The only front engine, dedicated and non production based racers I can think of are the Caterham and Dorkervoort. Name the ones that I’ve missed that could have possibly been designed around a LRA. That’s the point you’re missing.

  • avatar
    MattMan

    Lap times?

    We’re y’all wearing seat belts in the back of that SUV thing?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I don’t know what the lap times were for the Royal Exceed but I don’t think they were too bad :)

      We’re working on getting some reliable timing equipment; my Traqmate is hard-wired into my Neon so we have to buy another one. Based on hand-timing, rhe Genesis is faster than the FR-S which is faster than the Miata, but you knew that, right? :)

    • 0 avatar
      Feds

      SUV thing? SUV THING!

      The 1996 Mitsubishi Delica Long Wheel Base Royal Exceed is a van, and more properly a Minivan in the purest sense of the word. Near-cab-over configuration, a single sliding door, a flat floor, and 3 rows of reconfigurable seating.

      Sure, it happens to have tonnes of ground clearance and a low range transfer case, but on the whole, it’s a van.

  • avatar
    Jaynen

    About time :)

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Wow, of the cars featured in this video, I think I’d go with the Mitsubishi Delica Royal Exceed! ;) Looks cool inside, and that split sunroof looks interesting. Looks like the back cabin of a small airplane. What can I say, I’m a van lover!

    • 0 avatar

      That’s actually a pretty big airplane. I think the smallest thing with a club seating may be Piper PA-46 (Malubu, Matrix, etc.). That’ll be what, 1.3 to 2 million dollars? Something like that.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        Wasn’t the Bonanza available with club seating as well? Though to all non General Aviation person, most GA planes are “small”, as they are compared to commercial planes. Though they certainly have big price tags.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Again, great job, Jack…

    Not surprised about the FR-S.
    The minute I read the first reviews on the FR-S/BRZ months ago, my thought was “close but no cigar”: they simple need a better weight distribution (53F/47R wont cut it), and about 230+ HP.

    You have confirmed that perfectly. And you’ll notice from GoodCarBadCar, MX-5 Miata sales haven’t diminished a bit (factoring in the drop in July for all sports-car sales).

    The little Miata scores again: this thing is like the Energizer Bunny!

    —————

    • 0 avatar
      jleez

      I dunno, Miata sales still look very weak to me. I drive an NC2 Miata and I rarely ever see another NC Miata on the streets. The biggest obstacle to new Miata sales is the fact that there are so many old Miatas still running around that are arguably even better cars to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        Exactly. I have a ’94 Miata as my summer toy and I’m having a hard time justifying a replacement, though I’ve looked at all three of the cars in this review.

        They all seem like a bit of a downgrade in some ways, though of course they are newer, safer and faster around a track. Mazda just nailed the formula for a fun sports car in the first generation and it’s hard to improve on them.

      • 0 avatar

        Being designed with gnome midgets in mind may be an obstacle to sales too.

    • 0 avatar
      stottpie

      there’s nothing wrong with a 53/47 weight distribution, stop reading BMW gospel.

  • avatar
    Jaynen

    As someone who just had their first autocross in their stock 1990 Miata. I can agree with the fact that Miata is the answer if you want the driving enjoyment per dollar. Sure it doesn’t work for everyone but I have 3k into the car total and it was amazing even stock

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Looking at the videos, it appears that the Miata rolls quite a bit in turns. Would a little more roll stiffness be a plus, or would that make the car punishing to drive on the street? Or does the rolling in corners not bother you, as a driver?

    • 0 avatar
      jleez

      Body roll in and of itself isn’t inherently bad. It makes things more exciting, for better or worse, which is part of the appeal of a stock Miata. I’ve heavily modified the suspension on my Miata and kind of miss the sensation of the car moving about under my seat back when the car was stock.

      My biggest beef with the new Miatas is the fact that there isn’t enough roll stiffness in the rear. I autocross, so take my narrow viewpoint for what it’s worth, but I fought a lot of understeer when on race tires competing in stock class.

      The Toyobaru and the Miata compete against each other in the C-Stock autocross class. Again, it’s an edge case, so take this for what it’s worth, but I think that the Toyobaru has the power and the ability to cram massive tires into the wheel wells that will make it a better choice that the Miata for that class.

  • avatar
    SimRacingDan

    Well, I didn’t try the others (because I wanted the drop top) but I’m glad I bought the MX-5 a week ago. What Jack said about not wanting to get out of it is spot on – it’s even fun as heck on the street and I just never want to stop driving it.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Interesting video to say the least. You address a few things that some media outlets do, and some that some don’t.

    Everybody else has complained about the awful turbo lag in the Genesis, and the body roll of the MX-5. None of those seemed to be an issue for you. Why not?

    On the subject of track days, could you actually fit in a hardtop MX-5 with a helmet? Your head was awfully close to the top already. If you’re going to make this a track day review, then actually make it one by providing lap times and get geared up as if it was a track day, helmet and all. I don’t think a shiny gold jacket and shorts(!) would qualify as track day gear for the SCCA or other sanctioning bodies or tracks.

    I’m beginning to think that TTAC is anti-FR-S simply for the sake of being anti FR-S.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Answering the questions in approximate order:

      1) The turbo lag of the Genny didn’t bother me at all. Why? Simple. It was competing against N/A cars with similar displacement. Off-boost, the Hyundai was hardly worse than the FR-S. On the boost, it was a rocketship by comparison. And the turbo lag wasn’t that bad. It’s what you get when you boost to 135 hp/l. I’ve been driving cars like that for over a decade now on-track w/o problems.

      2) The body roll of the MX-5 is completely fine. To me, it means that the car is getting enough weight over the loaded tire. If you were racing the car, you would sacrifice a bit of grip for more predictable transition response, as they do with the Skip Barber MX-5s.

      3) I fit in the hardtop MX-5 with a helmet. Barely. With a crouch. Mostly because my helmet has a top vent. A regular helmet would be fine.

      4) I didn’t wear a helmet in the video because there’s nothing to hit on that track and I wanted the audio and facial expressions to be comprehensible. I promise you I didn’t back off a single tenth of a mile per hour just because I didn’t have a helmet on. I don’t work that way. TTAC readers can be hard to satisfy. When I put a race suit and helmet on for the CTS-V Challenge I was a douchebag for doing it. When I don’t put a race suit and helmet on for this test I’m also a douchebag for doing *that*. :)

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Thanks for summarizing what was sort of left out in the video. I actually read this article and watched the subsequent video a few days ago where Road & Track tested basically the same cars, but with different results.

        http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/comparison/mazda-mx-5-miata-vs-subaru-brz-vs-hyundai-genesis-coupe/the_results_page_5

        They do show some split times between corners, and show where each chassis and engine combo has an advantage over each other. I think their results may have been less biased than yours, but that’s what makes having different observations entertaining and insightful. R&T also goes into more detail about what they like and don’t like about each car as well.

        It is also worth mentioning that another video has been posted which shows the dramatic increase in lap times that can be achieved by simply replacing the tires on the FR-S, which is something you would actually do if you were going to track this car, which it wasn’t actually designed for in the first place.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_IWa_qlt3g&f

        There are big brake kits available for the FR-S/BRZ platform already, if you interested in making it into a true track day car, amongst the slew of other aftermarket goodies that are coming out every day.

        @APaGttH

        Naw. Just a general observation about all the FR-S hype “articles” that have been posted by TTAC already.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Thanks for summarizing what was sort of left out in the video. I actually read this article and watched the subsequent video a few days ago where Road & Track tested basically the same cars, but with different results.

        www. roadandtrack. com/tests/comparison/mazda-mx-5-miata-vs-subaru-brz-vs-hyundai-genesis-coupe/the_results_page_5

        They do show some split times between corners, and show where each chassis and engine combo has an advantage over each other. I think their results may have been less biased than yours, but that’s what makes having different observations entertaining and insightful. R&T also goes into more detail about what they like and don’t like about each car as well.

        It is also worth mentioning that another video has been posted which shows the dramatic increase in lap times that can be achieved by simply replacing the tires on the FR-S, which is something you would actually do if you were going to track this car, which it wasn’t actually designed for in the first place.

        www. youtube.com /watch?v=r_IWa_qlt3g&f

        There are big brake kits available for the FR-S/BRZ platform already, if you interested in making it into a true track day car, amongst the slew of other aftermarket goodies that are coming out every day.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Just adding to @grzydj —

        In addition to RoadAndTrack, MotorTrend (July 2012) also had a similar and detailed comparison, but with 6 cars. Their finishing order:

        1. BRZ
        2. FR-S
        3. MX-5
        4. Mustang V-6
        5. VW GTI
        6. Genesis 2.0T R-Spec

        In the same article, the highly regarded Randy Pabst had a different finishing order:

        1. MX-5
        2. BRZ
        3. FR-S
        4. Mustang
        5. Genesis
        6. GTI

        I appreciate TTAC’s differing results. All the reviews, the stats, the hype, the anti-hype are fun to read and watch. But in the end, it depends on what you are looking for in a car.

        For me, what’s important is a convertible with an unarguably great shifter.

      • 0 avatar
        mbaruth

        Changing the OEM tires on ANY car will drastically improve its lap times. Not really a feather in the cap of the Toyabaru twins.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        In the MT comparison Pobst had this to say about the Genesis and Mustang.

        – While the Hyundai finished in sixth place overall, Pobst placed it in fifth. “Way more controllable and sportier-feeling than the Mustang. Good high-speed car — not a lot of body roll.

        – Pobst sums up the Mustang this way: “In terms of this group of cars, the Mustang is fast and numb.”

        Interesting enough, in two prior V6 pony car comparisons MT did which included the Genesis, the Genesis was the winner both times for being the “driver’s car”/”most fun to drive.”

        Road & Track also did a comparison between the BRZ, Miata and Genesis with the Miata coming in last this time (taking into account price), albeit the Miata was deemed the more fun to drive car than the Genesis.

        http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/comparison/mazda-mx-5-miata-vs-subaru-brz-vs-hyundai-genesis-coupe

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        “I’ve been driving cars like that for over a decade now…”

        That’s probably it right there…

        Most complaints about ‘Turbo-Lag’ likely come from people unaccustomed to driving cars with turbocharged engines and thus less experience with and tolerance for their idiosyncrasies, same with people accustomed to ‘lazy’ American-style large-displacement engines complaining about the lack of ‘pep’ in smaller engines designed to peak at much higher revs.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …I’m beginning to think that TTAC is anti-FR-S simply for the sake of being anti FR-S…

      BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      Hey Jack, today you’re anti- FR-S Toyota/Scion. Man, you can’t win for losing. *snicker*

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        @APaGttH

        Not just Jack, but the whole slew of FR-S hype “articles” that aren’t really backed up by anything substantial other than they don’t care for the car simply because they don’t like it as much as everybody else seems to.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I’m with Jack on this comparison. He’s absolutely 100% where I was at the FR-S launch event.

      I wouldn’t say TTAC is anti-FR-S, Jack simply says there are better things out there. I liked the FR-S on the track, but there is a reason Scion didn’t have anything to compare it with at the event. That reason was obvious out on the street: the FR-S is down on power.

      As an aside, the lead engineer on the FR-S said on the record that Scion and Subaru have no plans for a factory turbo version and the engine packaging was not designed to accommodate one. Take that for what you will.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Interesting that people are talking about what little power the FR-S makes, when it actually has a very similar power to weight ratio as the MX-5.

        I cringe when I type that, because it’s akin to internet bench racing (which I detest) but nobody was complaining about the power of the MX-5.

        • 0 avatar

          The way they deliver power is totally different; the FR-S feels like there’s a dead zone right in the middle of the rev range, whereas the Miata has a very linear but also frenetic engine. If I’m not mistaken, there’s a couple hundred pound difference in weight between the two.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Yes, there are 2 torque peaks on the FR-S. One starting at 2500 rpm, and the other around 4750 rpm, with the hole at 4000 rpm. It seems intentional — a trade to get some low end torque and driveability around town. Not clear if it helps at the track though.

        Details and dyno test at InsideLine:

        http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2012/04/dyno-tested-2013-scion-fr-s.html#poll-140

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Derek, your flat spot feeling seems to match this power curve

        http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/assets/frsdyno.jpg

        How did that people allowed that car to go on sale like that?

        Hopefully they solve the issue for next year.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The head room in the Miata is a serious issue. Because of my torso I do not fit sitting up straight in an PHRT NC without a helmet, much less with one.

      However, I did own one, and it was an amazing car. And it makes sense. The Miata is a smaller, lighter RX-8, while the FR-S is a smaller, lighter Impreza. Even the larger, heavier car that the Miata is based on is arguably a better sports car than the FR-S.

      I was surprised to see the Hyundai in second place. The fact is that a lot of people cannot fit in a Miata or live with one as an only car, so second place is not the first loser in this competition. While I generally prefer less weight to more power I would have to drive both cars before second guessing that choice.

      Jack used to have a lot of biases – Ford and VW/Audi rule, everything else sucks, especially if it’s Korean (which adds legitimacy to the Genesis placing over the FR-S), but I have to give him a lot of credit that he seems to have gotten rid of most of them.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “I’m beginning to think that TTAC is anti-FR-S simply for the sake of being anti FR-S.”

      I’d hate to be an auto-journalist/blogger/video review/critic/freelancer.

      It’s really hard to please all the people, all the time, when it comes to anything as remotely subjective as to how one person feels about specific attributes of a vehicle, let alone the entire enchilada taken as a whole, versus another one.

      I am confident that other reviewers might place the pecking order of these three differently. Wait, I’m positive, because I’ve seen that done!

      This is a comparison. The reviewers, including Jack, gave their subjective opinions as to which vehicles they liked best and why. Neither reviewer exactly ragged on the FR-S. If one construes Jack’s comments about the FR-S as somehow malicious, I find that bizarre, surreal and just vaginal hurt level interpretation.

      WTFapplesauce.

      I’m going to do a comparison of 18eleventy sporty vehicles and have them all tie for first place, and I’ll only mention their positive attributes, and no negative ones.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        It’s a bit misleading when it’s supposedly an article is written under the guise of it being a “track day” and there’s not a single bit of data given after driving these cars on the track.

        That’s forgivable since TTAC admittedly lacks the capacity to collect and publish track data like the buff books do with their seemingly unlimited resources.

        I’m not asking TTAC to write articles that only appeal to my senses and that are fully agreeable with what I deem to be the best car in the known universe. It’s cool that TTAC has differing opinions from virtually everybody else on the planet; I just haven’t been able to figure out why it is that their opinion is so different.

        Maybe they need to make a subjective pie chart for the follow up article tomorrow.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not sure how this is mis-leading when we are clearly driving all three of the cars at the track.

          This is a topic that I’ve explored in many of my articles that you have criticized; there are a few reasons why we are attaining different results. As I’ve maintained in previous pieces, I feel that it is a good car, but unworthy of the superlative praise being showered upon it. My theory is that it is a combination of a groundswell of hype leading up to launch, and an unwillingness on the part of other writers to say that the Emperor is naked.

          Failing that, we have a video that took signifcant effort to produce, outlining just why we feel this way about the car. Jack said in the comments that

          1) We were unable to unleash his Traqmate from his Neon race car. Buying another one would cost $1000+. Not chump change.

          2) The FR-S was likely faster around the track than the Miata, but in the end, JACK’s PERSONAL CHOICE (and mine, and Colin’s) was the Miata.

          There’s nothing wrong with liking the FR-S. We here at TTAC are quite found of it. We had two drivers with significant on-track experience evaluating the cars. We ended up reaching similar conclusions to Randy Pobst. I am not sure what else we can do to convince you, short of declare the FR-S the winner.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        There is nothing misleading in this review. I very much appreciate the candid opinions of people with real track experience.

        Well done on the video. I’ve been waiting for this one and it didn’t disappoint.

  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    This was a fun video to watch. What I think I liked best is the fact that all of the cars in it are affordable, daily drivers. Hell, I’ve actually test driven two of them.

    This is an exciting market segment. I loved little cars like this in the late 80s/early 90s and I am glad to see them making a come back. I know the whole point of this was to look at rear-wheel-drive wannabe drift cars, but (rather than the Miata) I would have liked to seen a Mazda Speed 3 and the hot hatch Ford Focus in there to round out the field.

    Also, can you tell me where I can buy a jacket like that or do I have to steal one from a Persian cathouse? :)

  • avatar
    jco

    so the disco-hoodie is going to be your signature look in your reviews? like John Davis and his member’s only jacket?

    I want the Mistu Space Van!!!

    regarding the FR-S, I wonder how it would feel with a stiffer TRD suspension and some softer rubber. because I still can’t bring myself to look at a Genesis and be like “Yeah, I want one”, even though I don’t necessarily dislike it.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Kevin Jaeger
    August 6th, 2012 at 12:10 pm
    “Mazda just nailed the formula for a fun sports car in the first generation and it’s hard to improve on them.”

    Mazda greatly improved them with the 2nd generation, the ’99-’05 NB cars.
    More power, better shifting and shorter throws, revised suspension with less body roll. To me, the best series of Miata of the 3.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nicely done. The combination of the Mitsu Royal Exceed, the disco hoodie and the no BS track review borders on epic.

  • avatar
    AKADriver

    Doesn’t change my opinion one bit – but my expectations are different from yours. My reference points for track performance are a dearly departed 1990 240SX and a 2000 Miata. I don’t expect to run down a Z06, I just want cheap consumables.

    Coming from these, the FR-S wins hands down. It’s got a better power to weight ratio than any vehicle I’ve cared to spend money on, so the power is fine. In terms of feel I found it mostly indistinguishable from the NC MX-5 – the NC doesn’t give the “real sports car” vibe at all when you step out of an NA/NB. It feels like a nice small RWD coupe, but so does the FR-S, and that’s faster.

    I wouldn’t consider replacing brake pads “extensive track prep” and that is the only thing the FR-S might call for. It has the same brake hardware as the 3300lb, 265hp WRX. After you’ve smoked the factory pads on your first track day, replace them, problem gone.

    The Genesis let me down with how simply large it is. Nice car, but it disappointed me the same way the Z and Mustang did. Too much of a bathtub. Drives… fine, but not want I want. Nothing controversial, just preference.

  • avatar

    Mr. Baruth posts another winner! Thanks; as much as I wanted to pull for the Toyobaru, the reviews have made apparent they just did not do the homework Mazda did for the original Miata. Hyundai’s 20-year march from the horrid Excel is nothing short of remarkable.

    Nonetheless, I’ll be keeping my S2000.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      What homework did Mazda do for the original Miata? Take a British roadster and make it reliable?

      That’s not was Toyubaru was attempting to do with this car, so their lineage is a bit different to say the least. The FR-S is a successor to the venerable Toyota Corolla GT-S, which really didn’t have any track day intentions either. Like the FR-S, the GT-S was just a simple, fun to drive, RWD car. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        “Take the British roadster and make it reliable” is not really the faint praise that you intend it to be. First, give Mazda credit for recognizing the elements that made the British roadsters fun to drive even though they weren’t fast by any measure: small size, 2 seats, soft top, 4 cylinders, snick-snick transmission. Second,give Mazda credit for building such a car that would meet modern occupant protections standards (more or less, since early models had no rollover protection).

        Finally, give Mazda credit for bringing the car in at a price point that put it within reach of a lot of buyers . . . just like the 4-cylinder British roadsters did (that is, leaving out the 6-cylinder models like the E-type and the Austin-Healy 3000).

        Consider, for example, the price difference between a Miata and the first generation BMW Z3 with the 1.9 liter engine,which was barely faster than the Miata in a straight line and did not handle nearly as well.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, Mazda did an enormous amount. There is not one British roadster that combines the utility, handling, crash protection or performance of the original Miata. It is one of those rare automotive events where someone got it right from the beginning. For anyone who thinks it is a British roadster made reliable, I suggest you drive an MGB or TR-4 back to back with a Miata; they’re worlds apart.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        My hastily written response was in no way meant to belittle the impact that the MX-5 (I still call it a Miata) has had in the last 20 years. I still think it’s a brilliant car.

        I love the fact that it is still around to compete with fun to drive cars like the FR-S and the Genesis.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “There is not one British roadster that combines the utility, handling, crash protection or performance of the original Miata”

        The MGF did, which is why it outsold the MX5 in the UK.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark_Miata

        The MGF also has that wonderful English build quality – Google “MGF head gasket” to get a sense of what owning one is like. Just shows the English will buy the home team if they can, regardless of quality (not that they are the only nation guilty of that sin – I’m looking at you, America).

  • avatar

    Awesome video. Now let’s do LSX-FTW swaps in all of them.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Right off the bat, MAJOR kudos for doing the introductions in the rearward-facing back seat of a Mitsubishi Delica SPACE GEAR Royal Exceed. I love the pleasant airiness those skylights create.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    A good review for the track, but I’m more interested in which would be better for the next 10 years as a fun street car.

  • avatar
    Thill

    Thank you for the no BS review. You stated my thoughts exactly. The Hyundai is a good raw handling car with lots of power and solid breaks. The FRS is fun to drive and handles well, but is lacking the power to keep up with the Gencoupe and Mustang.

    The Miata simply has, for me, the best handling and gearbox of the three cars. My daily driver is a 2013 Gencoupe 2.0T, but I am looking for a entry used Miata with a few mods for track days.

    I thought you showed improvement over the previous track days episodes, keep it up!

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Great video: succinct, informative, witty, and even better than the first one.

    Out of the box, I agree with Jack’s ranking. But I remember all that stuff Tetsuya Tada, the FT-86′s chief engineer, said to Bertel:

    “…We talked to owners, fanatics, real buyers of sports cars around the world. They told us: Speed isn’t everything…what they want is a sports car that is small, compact, light, and that handles just the way they want it to handle.”

    “what these people are after is…a body that they can then work on – if they want.”

    “…something like the 80s kind of a sports car, echoes of an AE86…a stripped-down, basic sports car with the price more like that of a piece of sports equipment, not the price of a house”

    “The 86 was such a popular maniac car not because of what the maker did, but what the users did with it. It created its own aftermarket and a tuner industry. The idea of the FT-86 is basically the same. We want to create a car that is easy for people to tune and to play with.”

    The 86, and its FR-S twin, were _intentionally designed_ to be modified and improved to their owners’ exacting specs. It’s a starter pack. There are no hotter versions, because those would defy the ethos. This is a true DIY sports car.

    I’d be interested in learning what percentage of 86s, FR-Ss, and BRZs will actually _be_ modified by their owners…rather than driven out-of-the-box. Will that culture grow as big as the AE86′s?

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what you get for believing people: because they LIE. Every focust group Toyota ran about xB came with “great car, but too small!” But when Toyota made it bigger, they did not buy it.

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        Fair point, but I think they have left themselves some room for future growth, eg there has to be a larger displacement version of the engine in the works (always has been for Subaru boxers).

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        Then again, the original xB was so loved because it had such a funky and unique design, especially for a small hatchback. The styling for the second generation made it look too much like a truncated minivan.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    As a former Miata owner, I agree with JB that the Miata’s lower grip limit leads to a more fun drive. Even on public roads, you can get near and over the limit yet still be going at reasonable speeds. And this is when skill and fun meet in the seat of your pants.

    ps Let us not moan about the Miata’s body lean. A car with a low center of gravity can afford to have a more compliant suspension. Take a look in that trunk, you will be driving it to get groceries, you know.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    Any chance of this getting a written comparison review as well? I’m guessing there are many like myself that can’t watch this at their desk! I’ve been looking for this kind of match up. The top three cars on my current ‘one day’ shopping list are the Miata, Gen, and Mustang…

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    I love the FR-S, but I think that Jack has a point here. The Hyundai is more spacious and the real everyday car of the three. It is still a pretty good compromise car. The miata, with the direct handling and drop top is easily the most fun car and maybe the best choice for a track/weekend cruiser. The FR-S is in the middle. It is the best option for those that want something small, but bigger than a miata or with a hardtop. There is a case for the car as it may be someone’s happy medium and certainly will please Toyota fans like myself. However, I don’t know if those without bias will flock to the car. Can it be modified into a beast? maybe, but so can the miata and mustang or really anything you want to throw money at in this category.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Hey Jack,

    What I really want to know is, how are they compared to the Delica! (We’ve got a soft spot for those things)

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      They aren’t as good.

      I don’t know how obvious it is to viewers that the Delica segments take place *on the racetrack*, and the owner (a TTAC reader) wasn’t taking it easy.

      The Delica is easily the best Japanese van of all time.

      OF. ALL. TIME.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        I noticed, because in the first segment where you’re riding in it, you throw a few instructions at the driver. you canadians and your less-strict 15 year import law! *shakes fist in a northerly direction*

        the Mistubishi is good, but does it beat the Toyota MasterAce Surf ?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1988_Toyota_MasterAceSurf_01.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’m getting seriously pissed off that we don’t get Delicas or Škoda Yetis here stateside.

        What about a Citroen C6, at least?!!! (I would love the smooth riding, cushy, quiet Citroen C6 – peace, serenity, relaxation).

        It’s a damn conspiracy.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Agreed. The Delica is awesome. I was just up in Vancouver and saw a 3.0 liter V6 4WD Delica driving around with skylights and what appeared to be factory JDM limo-style curtains on the windows.

        Do want.

      • 0 avatar
        Feds

        Delica is way better than the Master Ace. Aside from the lack of Nazi connotations in the name, the front-engined nature of the L400 Deli makes it ride better, and behave better in a crash. Plus servicing is easier, and I believe the diesels in the Toyota are a weak link.

        The featured Deli (it’s mine, so I know), has powered curtain rails (I can open and close them from a button above the rear view mirror). The curtains were removed before I bought it. Eventually, it’ll get another set.

  • avatar
    GT-86

    Unlike most arm-chair critics in the comment sections, I actually have put my money where my mouth is. The FRS (well GT86) is exactly the type of car that I have been wanting for a LOOOONG time. I pre-ordered one, and got it on the day of release. I also happen to have owned Porsche, and still do own a 1993 Miata (Limited Edition)…

    Listen, if you intend on taking your car to the track, obviously there need to be some brake upgrades… that’s true of almost all road cars. It’s insane to think that anyone in their right minds would take these stock cars to a track for serious track days as is.

    So, as STREET cars, the FR-S and Miata are incredible tools. They allow a huge amount of fun for minimal dollars… and each can be relaxed too.

    I am no fan of the Genesis, but that’s my personal opinion. I think the bloated styling is fussy, and lacks cohesion. Sure it has more power, but in reality… where are you going to use it?

    I am sure people here are going to cry foul and say “BIASED BIASED” but like I said, I put my money where my mouth is.

    • 0 avatar
      Thill

      Well, that is just it. The Genesis has more horsepower and torque, but it also has Brembo brakes, and solid handling. I have driven all three of the cars in this review extensively, and I think Jack nailed it for me. The FRS is a great handling car, has great seats, and good styling. I really liked the car, but I was shocked at how much I liked the Genesis in terms of handling. It has strong numbers in the slalom, braking, acceleration, and skidpad for a reason. It is a solid car for daily driving with the modern amenities, and a more useable backseat. That said, it is larger and weighs more, but I never felt that car felt bloated.

      Jack’s review, performance-wise, is inline with all the other major publications. Once you strip out all the subjectiveness, it is what it is..

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        THe FR-S has handling that’s so good, Jack specifically makes mention of the fact that the motor isn’t strong enough to take advantage of it in terms of pushing the vehicle to its outer limits/capabilities easily; he said in particular that you have to really work hard just to get it sideways.

        200 horsepower in a car the weight of the FR-S is not exactly chump change.

        If anything, Jack has heaped a healthy dose of praise on the FR-S and its capable suspension and chassis.

        People focus on one aspect of a review of a car that they have a bias towards, and they miss the good stuff, and can’t see the forest through the trees that the FR-S will keep you from hitting as you’re hooning around.

      • 0 avatar
        GT-86

        Just curious Thill… how did you get “extensive” time in the FR-S?

      • 0 avatar
        Thill

        GT86 my counterpart in Atlanta has one. I spent 5 days in meetings with him and somehow the topic of cars came up and viola. He has a white manual FR-S. He was super cool and let me drive it two of the three nights we went out since I don’t drink, and he let me have some fun with it in an empty parking lot :)

        The car is a looker for sure. Being honest, I prefer the front end to the Genesis and the gearbox to the Genesis. The clutch was a little light for me, but could be adjusted. I instantly missed the toque of the Gencoupe and the additional horsepower. There is a noticeable torque dip in the FRS in the 3-4K range that is pretty noticeable. Handling was not nealry as far apart between the two cars as I was expecting.

        Being honest, Gencoupe to me has more power, the Miata (which I have owned) has the best gear box of the three, best clutch, and best handling. FRS was more of a balance of both.

        When they release an STI version I will definitely be inline to test drive :)

  • avatar
    Travis

    So how many other journalists were there that day? Pretty sure this was done in a similar time frame :P
    Edit – well, I tried linking to a video, but that’s apparently not allowed. There was another comparison between these two cars (same colors, similar editing, some shots being the same, and same race track) minus the MX5. Was just curious as to how an event like this works for you guys.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    What I posted on Google plus on July 12, 2012:
    “Eagerly awaiting +Jack Baruth ‘s Genesis, FR-S, & Miata track review on TTAC.

    Predictions: 1) Genesis 2) Miata 3) FR-S
    Why?
    1) Longer wheelbase, bigger interior, more power, and faster ’round the track than the Miata or FR-S. Extra weight not a detriment and the “big car” interior appeals to the tall fella.
    2) Miata over FR-S because 200lbs lighter makes it the nimbler car and completely makes up for the 30hp disadvantage. Plus, the open top means that his hair can flow in the wind and he can conduct a late night rendezvous with numerous women and that clearly cannot be done in the fixed roof FR-S.
    3) FR-S detriments: mainstream reviewers have left largely rave reviews, so it must be bad. The anti-hipster didn’t like popular things before hipsters were even hipsters, after all.

    Really, though, I’m excited to see the 3 flogged around a track back-to-back-to-back.”

    In general, I think I was pretty spot on with my prediction. That said, I’ve driven both an FR-S and a Miata, and while I nearly bought the Miata in summer of 2010, I’m glad I waited on the FT86. I don’t think I’d have ultimately have been happy with the Miata. It was a blast to drive, but I don’t think I’d have driven it very often because of the loud soft top (wasn’t planning on the PRHT) and the tiny cargo area. The Genesis is hideously ugly and too large for what I want. So, the FR-S (or BRZ) it will be. And really, I’ve owned 5 cars in my life: 2 Subarus, 2 Toyotas. It is like this car was meant to be for me.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The Genesis tested is the R Spec, not the base model,that one and the Miata are also more expensive than the FR-S, put a turbo in the FR-S lose some weight and then we’ll see.

  • avatar
    ajla

    IDK, the sound emitted by that Scion was pretty persuasive…

  • avatar
    sastexan

    There are a few apples to oranges comparisons in here, but overall, I thought Jack’s review was honest and balanced. Yes, as an FR-S owner who intends to do some HPDE in the near future (now that I’ve fully broken in the car). Opinions are like rear-end holes – everyone has one – so here are mine:

    1. The R-Spec is a $2,250 package that upgrades the brakes, tires and suspension, plus adds a torsen. I know Jack was only comparing factory available cars, and Toyota has yet to offer the upgrades to the FR-S, but comparing the base cars (which are the same price), the FR-S is far and away superior, and with $2k to the FR-S, many of Jack’s complaints would be fixed. Except power.

    2. The Michelin Primacy HPs on the FR-S are junk for the track. Heck, I think junk for the street even. They may be summer tires, but they have the stickiness of a wet noodle. They are very progressive and predictable, but the limits are amazingly low. I think Jack missed the ball on this element. And equivalent tires on the FR-S will put it way above the Genesis Coupe.

    3. The Genesis Coupe turbo is good for the track where you can keep the engine revving – Jack didn’t address how it is on the street – and I can say the turbo lag and the traction control are awful. The turbo spools up, traction control kicks on, turbo spools down as throttle is yanked down, then turbo comes back up, traction control once again invades your personal space, turbo comes off. The FR-S traction control (either sport mode or “on”) isn’t obscenely aggressive but allows some slip and is pretty invisible, while keeping the car reigned in. Jack, did you shut off traction control on the track (I’m sure you did but readers would like to know)?

    4. The Miata is a blast – I’ve driven a few – I fault no one for picking one up. There’s a reason they are all over every track event known to man. The formula works. But the Miata is tiny. I had a hard time with my size 13 feet driving an NB – my feet would hit the brake and accelerator at the same time. If I only needed two seats, the Miata is fun for dollar number one. I completely agree with Jack and the other dude.

    5. The infamous “torque valley” on the FR-S is not that noticeable on the street. On the track, I expect, the gearing will help keep the engine spinning above 4K and it will be invisible. Yes, it might require an extra shift but it is doable. Maybe not ideal but it isn’t that bad. I’ll eat my words once I get out to Summit Point if I’m wrong.

    The Genesis Coupe is certainly a good value for some track days, but for the days inbetween, I think inferior to the FR-S. But I do agree with Jack on the Miata.

    Looking forward to a written review. Also, not that quality happens overnight, but what took so darn long to get the video edited and produced? Alex has churned out a few videos himself since this was filmed.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Cheap and dirty videos like mine have to occupy no more than 8 hours per week from start to finish including processing and uploading. The feature segment videos are much nicer and take way, way more time to shoot, edit and publish. That’s just my $0.02.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    Ahhhhh WordPress just ate my reply! Not enough time tonight to rewrite it. Any chance it is stuck in cyberspace for moderation? I promise I didn’t use any bad words (at least I’m 99% sure I didn’t – not in my habit).

  • avatar
    fatalexception04

    I would like to see someone compare the recently discontinued rx-8 and the fr-s. Their pretty close in size and purpose. My money on acceleration and handling would go with the rx-8.

    I also agree with Derek’s sentiments about the fr-s. I feel like its a good car, but certainly over hyped. Heck, last week another auto site using the fr-s as a long term car bestowed praises on the car as if it was a gift from the heavens. haha

  • avatar
    Prado

    Did the MX-5 have the suspension package? I would assume yes.

    • 0 avatar
      Anchorman33

      I’ll second Prado’s question. I’m looking seriously at a fun car in the not too distant future and a MX-5 is on the short list. I would expect less body roll with the suspension package, but my sporty vehicle reference at present is an ’08 Mazda 3, so hardly apples to apples.

      • 0 avatar
        SimRacingDan

        Reports I’ve read say there’s less roll with the suspension package. Mine has it, and it’s great! I’m going to put on some bigger sway bars anyway, but that’s more because I’m dumb than any actual problem with the car. :-) It’s a blast to drive.

  • avatar
    Ishwa

    Great Video, what a nice job you all did!

    Of course I might be a little biased since I once considered buying a genesis coupe and then ended up with a used mazdaspeed miata. :p

    I was glad to see the video review of the 3 cars. I’ve been wondering why every one was so excited about the FR-S when there just seemed to be so many better options; even American (mustang) and S. Korean (gencoupe) options! (Two things I thought I’d NEVER say a decade ago!)

  • avatar
    dmf

    Random followup question given the earlier comments on first-generation miatas…I happened across a 1993 with only 76K miles and solid maintenance (only a few paint chips and perhaps a tired rear windshield) for $4K. Is that a good deal or are old miatas that common that their prices are so low? Were the improvements to the NA in the mid-late 1990s that much better?

    • 0 avatar
      Ishwa

      That seems a bit high for a 20 year old car. Time has taken a bigger toll on all of the rubber bits, more than the miles might suggest. (That is, unless if the prior owner was REALLY into maintenance and preemptively replaced suspension components before failure)

      Still, a $4400 worn ’91 Miata was a heck of a lot more fun than anything else I could have bought back in 2005. I did feel robbed once my brother bought a similar year miata (still had popup headlights) in better shape for $3,000. Of course – used car prices are crazy high right now, so maybe its not all that bad?

      I would try to get a later year NB (like a ’99 or newer, 1999 specifically if you want to turbocharge it) Inspect the top carefully, they are expensive!! Also, check out the miata.net forums

    • 0 avatar

      Do it! I have driven every single one…the 1.6 cars are slow, but they really do feel the most “pure” and alive. Maybe not the best choice for a daily driver, but they are the best Miata. Believe the hype.

    • 0 avatar
      mbaruth

      1.6 Miatas are largely considered to be better sporting cars than the 1.8.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Good review, Jack. Why anyone would cite comparison tests by the advertising mags like R&T and MT is beyond me. Theirs are the best advertising $$$ can buy.

    • 0 avatar
      daiheadjai

      Except when they actually have a professional race car driver at the wheel, and show a bunch of data (times, speeds etc. at various corners/sections of track) to back it up…

      Not saying there isn’t a lot of big marketing $$$ there, but comparisons (even at those advertising mags) can still provide useful info.

      • 0 avatar
        Thill

        Yes, and those comparisons at MotorTrend and Road and Track all show the same thing if you look at the data.

        For example look at the performance rankings for the three cars TTAC drove vs what Road and Track compared. Performance rankings have the Gencoupe in 1st, Miata in 2nd, and FRS/BRZ in third. This is real measureable data. Where the FRS/BRZ scored better was in all the subjective areas like interior and exterior styling. And some of those scores were really debatable (like the interior ranking where they rated the BRZ higher. Or in braking where the Miata and Gencoupe clearly outbraked the BRZ yet they gave the BRZ a perfect score…

        I am glad we have sites like TTAC where you get a no BS review.

      • 0 avatar
        daiheadjai

        Can’t find a source offhand, but I am skeptical that the Miata would perform better in terms of times/speeds than the twins, just because of the numbers (better hp, only somewhat higher weight).

        Not a knock on the Miata, mind you – still a fantastic car.

  • avatar
    righteousball

    That close up on ROYAL EXCEED makes me laugh so hard, oh my god.

    and the rest of it is the best TV I’ve seen all week :D

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    I wanted an FR-S… then I drove it. Then I watched this video.

    What we have, ultimately, is an underpowered, unimpressive, overpriced, overhyped toy. In the eyes of the FR-S owner, he has a car better than a Cayman-S because some dureefto racer with weird hair ran it sideways around a track.

    All is not lost, though. Toyota can give Subaru carte-blanche to make a frankenstein STi model with a turbo and AWD, add brakes that don’t suck and you’ll have a demon of a car that just MAY be worth its 33k sticker price.

    Of course that actually has to go back to whether Subaru even wanted to build the 86 platform in the first place, given they prefer to make granola cars for lesbians and Berkeley professors (often the same thing).

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    Apologies for my pedantry but from watching the video, I notice that the head restraints in the cars that Jack drives haven’t been adjusted correctly and he seems to be a bit too close to the steering wheels.

    It’s important to carry out the DSSSM routine before every journey, especially if someone else has been using the same car.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Never apologize for pedantry!

      The headrests weren’t adjusted… the seating is deliberate, after years of racing caged subcompacts I am used to having the wheel in my chest. Of course, with an airbag car that’s a problem, but I don’t use the same seating position off-track.

      • 0 avatar
        another_pleb

        FaIr enough. For the record, I teach my pupils to adjust the wheel/seat so that they have just a slight bend in their arms when driving on a straight road and the IAM and DSA back me up on this. For driving on the track, it may be advantageous to have the wheel positioned closer, your elbows looked to be close to a right angle.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        You have a lot more control steering with your elbows instead of your shoulders. I try to get as close to the steering wheel as possible, but I have to compromise for pedal placement so that usually leaves me far enough back that I wouldn’t expect modern airbags to be an issue. Most women sit even closer to the wheel, and many of them are much “healthier” than me. If it were a problem, they’d be the canary.

        If it came down to it, I’d rather just yank the fuses than steer with my shoulders. One of the many things I like about my Mazda3 is that I can comfortably sit closer to the steering wheel than in most vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        another_pleb

        I’m not saying that the wheel should be so far away that it becomes difficult to reach or awkward to control. You should have a slight bend at the elbow when the hands are at 10 to 2 but still be able to see all the dashboard instruments and reach the major controls easily.

        If you sat a little further back in your seat, you might feel more relaxed and confident behind the wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I’m pretty relaxed and confident with my elbows near my side resting on the armrests! I barely have to shift my arms to be in the best position for control that my car’s ergonomics will allow.

        It doesn’t bother me if others want to use a compromised position that they find comfortable. It’s good enough for street driving, and most people never do any aggressive cornering anyway. Before I ever did any track driving, I used to drive primarily with a single arm outstretched at the 12-o’clock position! Now, the position that offers the most driver control is the one that I feel most relaxed and comfortable with: 9-3 with lots of bend in the elbows. I’m not saying that’s what everyone should use, but I’m surprised that you’d encourage against that.

        I don’t use a full racing position. I do get as close as a street car setup will allow while still being comfortable. As you move farther from the wheel than this, you’re sacrificing control for comfort:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTUviCzqovw

      • 0 avatar
        another_pleb

        I’d like to add that Jack Baruth’s appearance and demeanour quite surprised me, I was expecting him to be something like a cross between Rich Hall and Mickey Rourke, but you know what they say about perceptions and reality.

        Perhaps this isn’t the best forum to discuss this but on a race-track or a rally stage, you don’t normally need to turn the steering wheel as far as when you negotiate supermarket car-parks and other obstacles on the road.

        If the wheel is too close to your chest, you risk not being able to move your hands comfortably around its circumference (especially at the bottom of the wheel where your hands might be uncomfortably close to your belly or knees) when push-pull steering, which means that you will have less control over the vehicle.

        There is also the problem of an airbag being ready to explode onto your body but that’s been mentioned already; besides, racing-cars don’t tend to be fitted with airbags. I also appreciate that push-pull steering has very few applications on a race-track.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Push-pull steering? I had to look that up. Yeah, we obviously have completely different perspectives on this subject! I have plenty of room for steering. As in the McRae video, it’s no problem for me even to completely cross the arms up in a tight corner.

        I was also a bit surprised the first time I saw Jack on video. Now, I can’t imagine him any other way.

  • avatar
    Feds

    So I’m way late to the party here, but that’s my Delica, and that’s me getting instructions from THE Jack Baruth. An amazingly fun day. Thanks Derek, Jack, and Colin (and the imaginary V McB) for the good times.

    Aside from starring in the video, I also got to ride shotgun with Jack in all 3 cars. Of course, the highlight for me was throwing the van into the first corner (at a whopping 50 kph), and hearing Jack curse as the doorhandles attempted to contact the pavement (12″ of ground clearance FTW). Being told that I might actually be going too fast by an experienced racer is quite the ego stroke.

    As for the cars, I came out with a different opinion (and again, I was only in the passenger seat). Succinctly, the FRS felt the most “alive”. It fizzed and buzzed and made wonderful noises. It also felt very much like my ’85 RX-7. I have no idea what the interior looks or feels like, because it didn’t call attention to itself. I liked it the most.

    The Genesis was definitely faster, but much quieter and smoother. You only knew that you were going faster as you set up for the corners, as the braking was much harder, and it felt like it was the moving around more on the suspension (likely a side effect of going faster). I was watching speedometers as best as I could, and the Genesis probably had 10 or 15 kph on the FRS at the end of the front straight.

    If the FRS was buzzing and fizzing and the Genesis was wobbling, the Miata was dancing. It didn’t feel quite as direct as the FRS, but it did feel more composed and graceful. It felt very much like it knew what it was doing, compared to the FRS’s playful puppy. The miata was down about 10 kms/h to the FRS at the end of the front straight. The FRS pulled noticeably once the miata got into fourth gear.

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    Great reviews, really professional video work. Now you just need to get Randy Pobst to hot shoe the cars and TTAC will be the REAL Top Gear!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Mr. Pobst’s sterling qualities as a racer have nothing to do with lap time.

      His own “gentleman driver” frequently outlapped him during his recent Grand-Am seasons.

      Randy is a winning racer because he understands the dynamics of passing, because he conserves the car when it requires conservation, and because his understanding of most North American tracks and their grip levels off the racing line, where a lot of actual racing takes places, is encyclopedic.

      As a teammate of Randy’s in 2009 I saw firsthand what a great RACER he is. As a one-lap driver, most of the field was of equal quality.

  • avatar
    wmba

    If you go to the top left corner of this very page, you’ll see the link to Autoguide, presumably another Vertaliscope publication.

    Click on it and on the front page, there is a comparison review of what looks like the same FRS and Genesis Coupe at the same facility. The drivers are Colum and David Pratte, apparently a racer.

    He says the Genesis ran out of brakes in 3 laps, and the FRS did not. He said the FRS was so easy to 4 wheel drift, it was outlandish fun.

    So, despite this good 3 car review from our own Baruth, I am still left wondering. How can two reviews be so different? Opposite, really, on what looks like the exact same two cars. Makes no sense to me.

    Perhaps Jack can comment on the other test, since it’s so easy to access.

    I’d like to point out that I commented here on TTAC on the FRS back in early June after a test drive. I hated it. Biggest car disappointment of my life. The FRS may have a nice sounding engine when it’s winding out at 5 to 7 K rpm, but on a regular drive it sounds like marbles in a stainless steel colander, and is inert and lifeless. I did not like the engine at all. End of story for me.

  • avatar
    replica

    I didn’t expect Jack to sound like Nicholas Cage with a hint of Mr. Mackie from Southpark.

    Video turned out good.


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