By on June 26, 2013

When Jack Baruth took the Scion FR-S to the track and pronounced it the least desirable among its chief rivals, some readers were despondent. How could the car that would supposedly provide good care for the sick and slow the rise of the oceans be ranked dead last against a hairdresser’s car and a Korean Pony Car?

EVO Magazine stands as one of the few outlets that hasn’t bought into the Toyobaru hype either. A prior test against a Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy was fair less charitable than the ST vs GT86 shootout above. Even so, the latest shootout has a Ford Fiesta ST, a front drive hot hatch that’s down on displacement and outright power, handing the Toyota GT86 its ass.

Now, EVO’s Dickie Meaden says that the GT86 is much more fun – the same rationale we used to rank the MX-5 in first place, despite being the slowest car and rolling in the corners like a Coachella reveler high on MDMA. Fun counts for a lot. Unless you are a real HPDE 1 hero or, an auto journalist, your lap times really count for very little in the real world. But it’s worth noting that the lead the ST established over the GT86 is pretty big. And the Fiesta ST seems to shake a tail just fine, even if it is “wrong wheel drive”. We know the Toyobarus are fun cars and capable track cars. If anything, this suggests that the Fiesta ST should be an absolute riot, and perhaps even better than the Focus ST.

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96 Comments on “Evo Finds Out What’s Faster: Fiesta ST Or FR-S...”


  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    You win the prize for most contrived Obama reference in a TTAC article ever.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t read Derek’s mind but I read that phrase as a comment on unmatched expectations after considerable hype, like with the GT86/FR-S, but then I also think the Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi is about loss, not the environment.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    I think it’s the way you guys went at it which made it weird for the readers. First there is the Baruth posts from the ‘First 86′ where he made an insanely strong case for the car and the huge amount of material you guys got from the car’s engineer to the all of a sudden talking about it like it was the ‘Meh Machine’ of the decade.

    Anyways … just my humble opinion

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe because it is a meh machine.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem is that initial reports/hype was so strong and uncritical, then when we actually got our hands on one, the expectations REALLY did not align with what was delivered. This happens all the time (notably, the new Camaro). Publications do the “pump and dump”, hyping the car up at launch then shitting on them a year later. The criticism of the Toyobaru is already starting to happen (witness R&T’s long-termer for an example).

        • 0 avatar

          Hey! I know all about that and it’s a structural problem in the profession in that honest assessments are penalized (journalist black-listed etc.). Happened here with the Hyundai HB20. Pretty (too most) design, never-ending hoopla (the shape of all things to come!), but in the end it’s a very meh car that is outclassed by Uno, Gol, Fiesta, even the Etios!

          I think that cars like these (thinking of Veloster here too) either need sublime handling, exquisite design or a brutish engine that compensates everything else. think a Civic hatch of old, a Peugeot 205, a Fiat Coupé or, on the other end of the spectrum, the American pony cars, had at least one or two of those elements. The Toyobaru has none, while the Veloster maybe, just maybe, has the design.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’ve yet to see anyone provide evidence that the BR-S doesn’t have sublime handling. As for brutish power, it certainly has it in spades compared to the affordable cars of Brazil. Have you driven one? You’ve championed all sorts of cars that couldn’t run the accessories of a US market Subaru, and yet you’re engaging in a campaign against the GT-86 based on…? Maybe it isn’t as nice to look at as a 250 GTO, but that’s about all you seem to be going on other than prejudice against Japanese cars.

          • 0 avatar

            aiaiai CJ! Sorry my view of things upsets you so. I like what I like, you like what you like and all is fine.

            What I can tell you though is that living in Brazil, I have access to most cars you have in the US, plus a bunch of others you can’t touch. I live in a country where European cars set the template and where Japanese cars are relative newcomers. I live in a world where none of my 5 or 6 Fiats never let me stranded nor failed to start every single day.

            So when I see that a little Fiesta, which I consider one of the most beautiful cars out there, and considered by so many like you a clown car, beating a, to my eyes, very meh looking car, from a company that has never fully satisfied my criteria of a car worthy of my money, then yeah, it brings joy to my heart.

            Finally, as to prejudice against Japanese cars, well you didn’t read my post very closely. In it I praised the mid 90s Civic hb. That one, with the 1.6 vvt thingy was both a hoot to drive and aesthetically pleasing. The current one, not really. Also, I have praised more than a couple of Nissans on these pages, the Miata, among others.

            Take that as you wish.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            Have you even driven an FR-S or a BRZ, Marcelo?

            While the car disappointed me greatly because of its interior noise, I pointed out over a year ago in these pages after driving an FR-S, that the engine sounded like marbles in a blender, had no zip, and the clutch was weird. I went prepared to buy one, and rapidly escaped to my Subaru Legacy GT after the test drive. I was excoriated here, of course. Now, with experience, everyone else has caught up.

            The car, however, handles extremely well, and my subsequent drive of an auto over very bad roads showed me it had about the most solid body of any car I’ve driven.

            I’m struggling to think of a Fiat that might beat it, but I’m sure a Panda 4×4 with a Twinair should do it, and lambast the Fiesta at the same time.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I don’t think the Fiesta hatch is a clown car. The Fiesta sedan is awkward looking, which is odd considering that the Focus sedan looks respectable while the Focus hatch makes me throw up in my mouth.

            I’m not sure what the access thing means when the most common car in the US is reserved for diplomats and the nobility in Brazil. Can you get some cars we don’t? If enough people wanted them, we’d have them here too. They’d probably have more power, lower prices, higher standard equipment levels, and be available in five shades of grey too.

            The average new car buyer here can get a VW GTI if they so choose. They cost less than the average car. A few times as many get that Camry reserved for executives in Brazil instead.

            The average hp of the three cars I drive is 284. How accessible is that? The least powerful car I’ve ridden in or driven during the past couple years has 117 hp. I’m 190 cm tall, weigh 100 kgs, and the sedans I can’t sit comfortably in the back seat of here are in the minority.

            What’s the best car you can buy or lease there with a moderate middle class income? How many brand new 3-series BMWs(now with at least 240 hp) or C-class Mercedes are there in your public high school parking lots? That’s pretty much what accessible means here, although we’re not headed towards an even higher standard of living.

            The BR-Z is great because it repudiates the urge to quantify everything. The car I wanted but couldn’t afford when I was young was an E30 M3. It was a fun car that could punch above its weight class in the right situations. The GT-86 does everything it could at least as well, other than carrying two adults in the back seat. If it doesn’t appeal to street racers because of its lack of a turbo, that only means that it will be cheap to insure if I get around to buying one. The worst thing about it seems to be its quality, which put Scion right behind Fiat on the latest JD Power survey. Do you suppose Toyota or Fiat will address the quality issues more effectively?

          • 0 avatar

            Hey wmba!

            Nope, never driven one, but I have seen the Toyota version in person and sat in one.

            I doubt any Fiats out there can touch it. As to the handling, I’ll have to take your word for it. It’s probably a nice enough car (for some more than nice enough), from what you say the handling is more than good. So, maybe the car has at least one of the 3 criteria I listed above?

            I really thought the car was a disappointment to look at. When I compared it in my minds eyes to things like the Ford Puma, Fiat Coupé, Opel Calibra it just came up short. I too had read all the hype and thought that maybe Toyota could pull it off. To me, and I stress to me, it came up short.

          • 0 avatar

            CJ, when I say access I mean that many people have given me access to their private cars and some of them even let me drive them. If I can’t bum a ride, the town offers everything from Chinese car dealerships to German luxury makes. Here, BMWS, Mercedes et al are not as rare as you think and are becoming more accessible (in the sense of the word the way you’re using it). Right now I’m doing a refresher course, and though the school doesn’t offer a parking lot (few schools here do), I’ve been able to recognize 4 teachers’ cars. 2 BMWs and 2 Hondas (that they park on the street). Not to mention the orher students’ cars. They range from the lowliest to the mightiest.

            Cars I have driven, that you probably haven’t Fiat Uno, Palio, Siena, Strada, Palio SW, Elba, Premio, 147, Coupé, Marea, Doblò, Idea, Tipo, Tempra, Punto, Freemont (aka Dodge Journey). Renault Clio, Logan, Duster, Sandero, Mégane, Scenic, Twingo (!). Peugeot 205, 206, 207, 307, 405. Citroën C3, C4, Picasso. Chevy (Opel) Astra, Astra SW, Opala, Chevette, Monza, Vectra, Cobalt (Brazilian), Onix, Spin, Corsa (hb, sedan, sw), Montana. Ford Fiesta, Ka, Escort, Verona, Del Rey, Pampa. Troller. VW Voyage, Santana, Gol, Quantum, Saveiro, Brasilia. Brazilian Alfa-FNM and Alfa 156 (just once, so sweet the sound). Nissan March. Toyota Hilux. Mitsu L200. Mercedes Class A. Hyundai HB20. From 1.0 8v to 2.4 24 v. 3 cylinders to 5. Ethanol, gasoline, diesel.

            Some cars you might have driven. Honda Civic, Fit, CRV. Toyota Corolla. Mitsubishi Pajero (Montero). Nissan Pathfinder, Maxima. Ford Explorer, Galaxie, Ranger, F1000, Mustang (just once, but so good), Fusion. Chevy Silverado, D20. Chrysler PT Cruiser, Neon. Dodge Dart, Dakota. VW Beetle, Bus, Jetta, Golf. Mercedes SLK (just once!). 2 or 3 BMWs. Audi 3 and 4. Not to mention I can see on our streets 300, GTR, Corvette, Ferrari, Navigator, Hummer, Edge, Sentra etc., etc.

            That list goes to show that though the market here is concentrated on smaller cars with small engines, you can see the best, and having the right friends, or money you can drive a wide selection. In many ways, a wider selection than what’s available up north.

            I’m 1.8 and also weigh about 100 kg. I can fit in the back of a Ka (apecially if the person in front is short, I drive my baby and wife in that car all the time). The Logan has loads of space. Plus 500 L for baggage in the trunk.

            The cars I own have on average 70 hp. I have owned cars with less than 60 hp upwards to 150. What’s that got to do with anything? Guess the most powerful car I’ve driven regularly was my Dad’s Maxima (3.0 V6). Great, but don’t think that made that car any better than my 65 hp Ka. The Ka is more fun to drive. Hp was important to me, now frankly, I just don’t care.

            One thing I have learned about myself over the years is that (yes, damn it!) I like small cars. I’d like to own a Cinquecento one day soon. For my wife, I think a Duster would suit her just fine.

            One thing we do agree on then, the Fiesta is not a clown car, and I also think the sedan looks awkward, though the hatch looks great. But then we disagree. I have always preferred the Focus hatch, the sedan looks boring to me (the back is too conservative).

            As to the cars sold here not being sold there, just wait. In a way the Clio/Logan is already there. The mini, smart, Spark, Sonic, Fiesta. It might be that an overwhelming majority of Americans rejected small cars, small engines in the past. Guess they don’t so much now. Don’t worry, America will go on as the land of the giant car. There will always be a v8 burbling somewhere. I think though that nowadays a majority of cars in America come with 4 cylinders. 4 cylinders with 200+ hp. Don’t think most people think they need more, though they might surely (or sorely) want it.

            All of this, in conjunction with my previous answer to you, is to say we come from different worlds. Have different expectations, taste and experience. We are joined by the fact we are enthusiasts. My enjoyment of something (and my posting of it) does not invalidate your enjoyment and vice versa.

            EDIT: I forgot to mention your financial considerations. Middle class people here buy from small Kas, Unos to slightly bigger Sienas, Cobalts, Versas, Puntos, Stradas. Higher middle class buy Focus, Corolla, Civic, various SUVs and sometimes simpler cars like the middle class do. Rich people buy whatever they damn please (kind of like Europe with more pus thrown in for good measure). With less standard equipment and higher price. I get it, the US is rich and Brazil not so much so. But I know at elast a couple of millionaires who drive Palios, Unos, Gols. They do cause they like (not because of security stuff) the cars. In other words, I firmly believe the small car culture (with 1.0 or slightly bigger engines) is firmly entrenched in Brazil and if tomorrow the country magically reached the same level of prosperity as America, small cars would still occupy an important space in the market.

        • 0 avatar
          Oren Weizman

          I’m still convinced it’s because Motortrend liked it !

        • 0 avatar
          Type57SC

          So you’re saying that it’s not a Game Changer of the level of the Fusion then?

  • avatar

    OK, I’ll play. Before even reading the article or seeing the video, I’ll say Fiesta! Why? Cause I like it much better than the Toyota-Subaru.

    EDIT: Have now read the article and I was right! Hah! Toyota has yet to make a car that’d interest me in the least. Can’t even beat a Fiesta…

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Lol about, “look at the new Toyota” as I think most enthusiast agree Toyota’s lacking depth of product for us. I did not read or see any video but just your comment and the comments on Autoblog for entertainment as a track instructor. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Lombard

      The time difference on the track almost assuredly comes down to tires. Remember, the FR-S/GT86 has low rolling resistance rubber (if they were running a stock configuration). The tester even said as much during the video.

      I’m personally more likely to buy the Fiesta than the FR-S, but I don’t know that the results of a track comparo will be born out on the street in this case.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        The driver looks at the camera from time to time and occasionally takes a hand off the wheel because he can’t talk without moving his hands. I don’t think either lap time should be considered valid.

        • 0 avatar

          When you make a video like this, you do a whole bunch of laps, including your timed lap, and then splice it all together so it’s interesting to watch. There’s no way he’s talking about gesturing while doing a flying lap. It can take an entire day to get a few minutes of usable footage.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        The tires do indeed make the difference. I drove the Focus ST when Ford’s sponsored autocross event came to my area, and I was so impressed with the Goodyear tires (moreso than the car,) that I bought a set for my econo-pod, and have since enjoyed a completely different driving experience.

        I have not driven the Fiesta ST, but I find comparing the Focus and FRS from a performance standpoint difficult- they are clearly for drivers with very different priorities. One is thrusty and idiot-proof, a great road machine, whereas the other is slow, but very nuanced. There should be no surprise when the slower car loses the bench race, but as has been stated ad nauseum, that just doesn’t matter.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You can improve the tires on either car, although it will be easier on the GT-86, which starts with slippery tires in a common size that gives you many replacement options. Use of old Dunlop Star Specs has been shown to allow the FR-S to leapfrog cars all the cars it is compared to on their stock rubber. The issue with the Fiesta ST is that it comes with 205/40 tires. Hello wheel repair! Owners can look forward to joining the Dub crowd on the side of the road.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    C’mon, Toybaru fanboys have to be severely butt hurt by this point.

    They now have good reason to view that FIESTA ST rolling up on them with the same sort of fear and trepidation they would if it were a Zonda.

    Then again, it’s actually worse than that…

    No one could possibly conceive of a Toybaru hanging with a Zonda, but very few would suspect a Ford Fiesta would absolutely hammer the one car that completely turned Wheels Magazine’s Peter Robinson’s world upside down, and inside out (being a better scalpel and tool than a Porsche Cayman).

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      Are either cars really stoplight racers? Clearly not. To the point of the video where one was declared the winner on outright speed (Fiesta) and the other was declared the winner on outright fun (GT-86). I’m sure I’d have a blast driving either car.

      I’m just glad that such affordable, fun little cars are being produced, despite their shortcoming or drivetrain configurations.

  • avatar
    epsilonkore

    Both are fine vehicles, and both have their target markets with a different twist. A 2 second advantage IS significant and I love Ford for making this car!! The one thing I am noticing though, is that the Subaru/Toyota twin is being pitted against EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN. In various videos by reputable journalists: one day its fighting the fun to drive roadster crowd (Miata, S2000, Cayman) which it is NOT, and is out priced (and outclassed) by the later; next day videos pop up of it vs Mustang/Camaro/Genesis… which are heavier, more powerful GT cars (but at least in the same price bracket); Day 3 its fighting off front drive hot hatches (GTI, Fiesta ST, Focus ST, MazdaSpeed3)that are often fully loaded sports editions of their model; and finally by the end of the week you see comparisons with its own twins the FRS/BRZ/86. Where is the proper car to put the twin fairly through its paces? It doesn’t exist in the US, not on a fair, front engine rwd, price, displacement, seating and weight comparison. It was practically invented to bring back what we lost years ago with cars like the 240SX and RWD Celica/Corolla. These comparisons are entertaining, and useful to some buyers and more than useful to the fanboys of all sides to bicker back and forth about, but the honest truth is… until a real proper competitor comes, the twins are alone in their form and function. Now, if only EVO would pit the Fiesta ST against its own kind from KiaHyundaiVWMazdaGM then we would see Ford truly earning its praise and buyers will have a proper video guide. On the other hand, since the Scion brand is all about customizing (so is Subaru/Toyota but to a lesser extent) why are we not seeing mildly modified comparisons of the twins (slightly stickier tires to lose the fun but gain the track numbers) and intake/exhaust from the factory? I am not talking about an over the top 450hp version of the BRZ that is loaded with $15k in kit, just a mildly massaged, maybe $3000 worth of performance options (that are factory warranty approved) to see how little it takes to aim the affordable twins at whatever random class of car it may be fighting against that day…

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Your argument is just one step away from saying that you can’t compare BRZ with anything else since there is no other light affordable RWD coupe on the market. I disagree. BRZ overlaps with many cars. I think any comparison of BRZ with any other car is valid if the two cars are cross shopped by many buyers.

      I think the Boxster and Mustang V6 are different sufficiently enough that most people won’t be comparing either one with the BRZ. I do think that comparisons with Miata, Civic Si, Focus, Fiesta, GTI, and Genesis are valid and there will be many people cross shopping in this category.

      • 0 avatar
        epsilonkore

        The mustang v6 has been compared multiple times to it. Show me the last time that a GTI went against a Miata in a professional review, or a Genesis and a Fiesta ST were compared? Why if these cars are so different do they all get to take shots at the twins and rarely if never at each other?

        When Nissan releases its mini z, we will see a direct comparison if the price holds.

  • avatar
    rodface

    Derek, I take it you’ve been on NYT.com recently and know where I can find Molly?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    FWD always was a better solution for small cars but it’s taken time to get FWD to be as good as they can make them now. I am wondering if FWD evolution has surpassed RWD (for small cars anyway) and that is why the BRZ is not shining like it should?
    BTW I love it when FWD hotcars lift the back inside wheel. I have seen Alpha Romeo Juniors (RWD) do that with the front inside wheel when driven in anger, that is awesome!

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Ford applies the rear brake to rotate the car in the Focus ST. I imagine the same trick is used in the Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      One thing I heard about BRZ is that tires are a joke. I have seen track tests showing that BRZ is slightly slower than Civic SI and Mustang V6 on a race track. But wear on it good high performance summer tires and it will be faster by a good margin.

      In theory, the RWD system in BRZ is supposed to be among the best. The longitudinal H4 engine has low center of gravity and completely symmetric weight distribution. The FWD car, no matter how well tuned will always be slightly nose heavier, and there will always be some torque steer in it, specially with a torque engine.

      • 0 avatar
        W.Minter

        Toyota starts to learn from that, probably not in every country.
        Germany’s “sport auto” track tested the GT86 at Hockenheim.
        First test:
        1:21.5 min: hot climate, Michelin Primacy HP
        Second test:
        1:19.4 min: cooler climate, Bridgestone Potenza 215/45 R17
        2.1 sec, here they are.
        I’d still rather go for Goodyear.
        Comparison data:
        Audi TT 2.0 TFSI quattro: 1:18.9 min, Opel Corsa OPC: 1:21.4 min

        In my eyes the GT86 is a blast, with the AT6 for daily use. But in the end just don’t fast enough on the straight line to make me sign the dotted line. Reminds me a little of the 964.

        The Fiesta surely is entertaining, but I think the press car probably has slightly more than 180bhp.
        Stock is 180-185 bhp / 160 whp but some dynoed 169 whp.
        The GT86 was dynoed 170 whp.
        Same power, bad tires, one hand driver, 2 sec difference.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Track pack Mustang V6 was 1.5s faster than the BRZ around Willow (maybe? can’t remember). Since the ST is 2 s faster than the 86, simple math would determine that the Fiesta ST is faster than a Mustang V6 Track Pack. Right?

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      If so, impressive.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      I don’t think I’m able to post links on here, but C&D didn’t bemoan the lack of power in the BRZ, they cited the lack of adequate braking as a determining factor for its lap time. Things got mushy in a hurry.

      If you browse to their website, you can find a breakdown of each vehicle, and a catalog of every vehicle that they’ve done a Lightning Lap with. Good times.

      http:// www. caranddriver.com/ features/lightning-lap-2013-hot-cars-hot-track-hot-laps-feature

      C & D appreciate the car for what it is, and what it was intended to be; a fun drivers car.

      Apparently not everybody can appreciate that for some reason.

      • 0 avatar
        daiheadjai

        Worry not.
        Buyers are voting with their wallets. And Toronto has a lot of FR-Sesesesesss and BRZs.
        Impressive, given that we actually have 4 full seasons here (most people shudder and gasp when you say you’re in a RWD car).

        I know I did (vote with my wallet that is – waiting my the BRZ)

        I would certainly take a Fiesta ST over a Focus ST, but at the end of the day, these are 2 cars with different missions.

        The Miata probably is the best comparison (and I see a lot of those around here too).

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        thanks for the Lightning Lap link. You’ve just killed a chunk of my free time. Maybe even some of my not free time too.

      • 0 avatar

        This is all very fine and soothing, but does not answer Quentin’s question.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Mustang V6 ran a 1.29.09. The BRZ ran a 1.30.32. The FR-S ran a 1.31.15.

      And your math doesn’t work out as the 86 was not run against the ST at Willow.

      Plus, you can’t really compare different times with different drivers and different conditions in the first place.

      You’d need to run them against each other same track, same day, same driver(s) to get an accurate comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        V6 Mustang FTW!

        Regardless you have to compliment Ford for getting the results.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I was being facetious with my post. Similar to how some people claimed WVU was the best team in the country in 1993 because we beat BC who beat ND who beat FSU who eventually won the title. But you made my point. Different tracks play to the strengths of different cars. There was some MINI challenge a few years back where the MINI was only a second or so behind a 911. The track was set up to the MINI’s strengths. A light car like the Fiesta ST on a course where torque lower in the rev range plays a larger role would certainly put it to an 86. A course where momentum driving mattered more might have a different result.

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    As others have pointed out, the Toyobarus come with pretty crappy tires (from a performance standpoint), whereas the STs come with good gear right from the get-go (being hot versions of already capable hatches).

    That alone probably accounts for the gap right there.
    Plus, IIRC, the ST is turbocharged – if that’s the case, displacement isn’t a valid comparison, since forced induction is just a form of adding/simulating displacement. And outright power is a useless statistic without accounting for weight (I suspect the Fiesta has similar, if not better P/W ratios – someone correct me if I’m wrong)

    EDIT: 197hp, 214lb/ft of torque from a 1.6L turbocharged four – not exactly an underdog against a 2.0L four N/A with 200hp/151lb/ft – couple that with the fact that the Fiesta ST weighs under 2,600lbs – and anyone who is surprised the Fiesta doesn’t romp the twins, isn’t paying attention.

  • avatar
    wsimon

    I’m going to say what everyone else has been afraid to: the boxer engine in the Toyobaru isn’t very good. Boxer engines have never sounded particularly good, and with it’s lack of a turbocharger in the 86 it makes the car go slower than it looks…which is never a good thing. I know it has different headers than it does in the Legacy, but it is such a terrible motor in the Legacy that even despite Toyota working out the small stuff in the 86, the engine is worse than the ones in the other cars it competes with. It simply is not as refined as the engines in other similar vehicles, not to mention slower. It’s a shame too, because the rest of the car is great – with the right engine it has the potential to dominate its rivals.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The Legacy has a 2.5L. Completely different engine than this 2.0L with DI.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      How slow the car is totally subjective. In my book, anything start than 8 seconds in 0-60 is fast enough for a daily driven street car. Anything faster than that is purely for bragging rights. What makes a sports car is razor sharp controls and precision handling.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        So I seconds to 60 is fast enough? Your probably correct. Might I entertain you with a hybrid? Sorry no Prius family applies. Maybe sub 10 seconds for them.

        How about a rear wheel drive hybrid?

        • 0 avatar
          daiheadjai

          Doesn’t Audi make one or two of those?
          But 0-60 isn’t everything (except for those who live “one quarter mile at a time”).

          I’m coming from a blazing 140hp Celica GT.
          I know that the Camry in the next lane could smoke me – but the fun is in taking off-ramps and on-ramps at double the posted speed, and revmatching downshifts into a turn.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    They did so much to create such an amazing car, then ruined it with a Subaru engine making terribly low power to weight ratio.

    Stop wasting time with Subaru and source the 3.6 from GM

    THAT would get the ball rolling

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Suburu doesn’t need to source anyone’s engines. Doesn’t subaru have its own H6 engine?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I realize Subaru makes engines, but honestly now, We have a sports car with “meh” styling that further hurts itself by making the base package have a wheezing 4 cylinder engine that Toyobaru tries to charge a ridiculous amount for.

        Why would I pay $25,000 for a vehicle that’s only redeeming factor is the RWD. It’s good for an engine swap, but not much else, the reliability issues have been a nightmare, seems that the majority of owners are middle aged – older folks trying to relive the 80′s.

        Sourcing an engine from GM such as the 3.6 would make the car pretty solid in the powertrain department, then they would only need to make it look decent.

        • 0 avatar
          Jacob

          The big 3.6L engine is now well suited for the BRZ. Besides the fact that Subaru already has its own H6 engine, one of the selling points of BRZ (besides RWD) is how light it is. There aren’t many sub-3000lbs coupes on the market. Big 6-cylinder engine would certainly change the agility of the car. Subaru was right to go with a light 2.0L engine. For the “go crazy fast” crowd, they probably will add a turbo 2.0L engine as an option a 2-3 years down the road, when the novelty of the base model starts wearing out.

          I suspect the styling may have been influenced by the Scion division of the company, the car looks exactly as I expected a Scion coupe to look. I don’t feel crazy about the styling, but there is certainly a sizable market for such a car among those who as as kids grew up playing nintendo and playstations and watching fast and furious. For $25K it’s a decent package and may be compared to a Miata (by folks looking for a toy weekend sports car) or Civic Si (by folks who don’t care about rear seats and want a car with sharper handling than SI).

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I will add another comment point out the tires being a major issue. Put the two cars on the same rubber, then let’s see what the times are. Road & Track found a pretty significant difference:

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/special-reports/scion-fr-s-tire-transformation

    In the real world both are fun cars with different character. EVO aren’t without bias of their own. A top-of-the-line RenaultSport Megane vs. a BRZ with an automatic would only end one way. I found Pistonheads to be rather more nuanced:

    http://www.pistonheads.com/doc.asp?c=47&i=27360

    Others mileage may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      I saw the auto her and was going to comment but that Megan is a beast so auto or not the Megan would destroy the FR-S.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Oh, absolutely. I found the whole premise to be ridiculous. But find the whole Britsh car journo crowd likes to set these kinds of comparisons up. Their obsession with badge status is another gripe…

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Subaru are experts in turbocharging their 4-cylinder boxer engines. I think it’s only a matter of time before BRZ and derivatives come with a turbo engine. How long? Maybe 2-3 years? The stock BRZ is selling well enough that most dealers can’t order them fast enough. In 2-3 years, when they start selling the turbo version the same people would bought the originals will be lining up to trade in for a turbo version. cha-ching.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I still won’t buy one (I need a back seat), but a BRZ STI with a 2.5 turbo, performance summer rubber, big brembos, and AWD…. Well, that might track differently until it heat soaked. Two to three years? That would be nice.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      What’s the point? They already have the WRX STI, and even your Legacy GT. What you described would be the same thing, except without usable back seats or storage space.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      AWD is a physical impossibilty. The BRZ chassis is RWD only.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        Just you wait.

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          For what? Subaru and Toyota to develop a Ferrari FF style AWD system?

          I’m tired of the silliness. If people didn’t read enough by now to understand AWD isn’t coming to the BRZ then the joke is them.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            No, for the bottom of the car to be cut up and an STI center diff shoehorned in by tuners. The desire is obviously there. Probably wouldn’t be a popular conversion but I will be surprised if it does not happen at least once.

            Only the foolish are expecting awd from Subaru themselves, but you say it is a physically impossibility, and I say you are wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            Have you looked at the engine bay of these cars? Unless you plan on chopping off the entire front end and starting from scratch I would like to know how someone is going to move the motor a foot forward for that differential to fit.

  • avatar
    daviel

    The Fiesta reminds me of my late lamented focus svt.

  • avatar
    Ned Funnell

    I think Toyobaru made the right compromises with this car. As a company, they need to release something with moderately broad appeal, that helps them with CAFE, and is inexpensive to produce. If they made a track monster, they would have beat the ST, but not have actually ever produced the car. Instead, they introduced compromises that the buyer very easily overcomes, and which helps them meet their needs- softer suspension for greater appeal to the daily drivers. Prius tires for CAFE. Less powerful engine that’s cheaper to produce, but can be tuned. So what if the track rats need to change the tires, shocks, and add some HP tweaks? That’s what they were going to do anyway. Toyobaru cut out the stuff that is easy for the user to change to their preference, and willingly took the hit in the stock specs in order to make a mass-market car that makes a formidable and very fun track car after a weekend’s worth of mods.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Well, this comparison is a bit of a mess, IMHO. It has many conflicting or opposing considerations:

    1) It is true that the 1st generation FRS is not all it should have been – -
    …a) The flat engine has a ridiculous “M”-shaped torque curve in mid-range, which loses 10%;
    …b) The engine needs about 230 HP, at a lower RPM, up about 15% from current specs;
    …c) The weight balance of the car should NOT be 53/47, but closer to 50/50;
    …d) Tires need to be sports-car grade!
    So, yes, I agree with Derek and Jack, and am not “drinking the FRS Kool-Aide”. It needs work.

    2) That having been said, Evo’s driving test comparison is a bit stacked in the Fiesta’s favor. The 2-second advantage can be attributed to two primary features that benefit Fiesta:
    …a) The Weight/Torque ratio of the Fiesta is 12.7; for the FRS, it is 18.3, 50% worse!
    …b) The Fiesta tires are Bridgestone Potenza RE 050A Summer Tires; for the FRS- they are Prius low-rolling resistance economy tires (of all things).

    So, in my view, the fact that the Fiesta had a 2-second “win” over the FRS is surprising in that it was ONLY 2-seconds. The Fiesta had to pull that off despite its FWD layout, not because of it. The real comparison would be to stick the Fiesta engine into the FRS, and equip it with those Bridgestone Potenza RE 050A Summer Tires. Then let’s see what track times are reported, especially in contrast to the Fiesta ST.

    ————————

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I think some commenters are forgetting that those slippery tires were a very deliberate choice by Toyota. The car was not built to set track records. They wanted to make it fun, and part of that was allowing the tires to lose traction at reasonable speeds/G-forces.

    The crappy tires were not to save money, or because of a deal with the tire manufacturer, or any other cynical reason. They wanted crappy tires so the car would have approachable limits.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      burgersandbeer – - –

      I agree. But if Evo really wanted to test cars in track conditions, then comparable track-like tires are called for on both vehicles. The current Evo video is misleading.

      ——————–

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    I wish it had a 100% Toyota engine. I’ve never been impressed with a Subaru, except for the 2005-2009 Legacy.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    The most cost-effective decision for the Toyota/Subaru factory to increase performance would have been to use EJ25 engine as a basis instead of EJ20. Blocks are the same size and weight, with additional .5 liters displacement GT86 would have gained valuable torque and with Toyota’s DI treatment the horsepower would have been around 250hp. No weight increase for the car, only power and torque gains. I don’t know why factory decided to go 2.0 way. Main reason can be, that they will introduce the turbocharged version next year. Even with mediocre OEM tires (Potenza 050A for example) and adequate power this chassis will turn into a serious and sharp track weapon. Maybe Toyota wanted the stock introduction version to be a fun sliding toy, and next version to be serious track contender. That is the only reason I can think of, because going to 2.5 liters instead of 2.0 would have been a very cheap power-increase solution during the development process.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Brock_Landers – -

      Your analysis is spot-on, IMO. The FR-S could have been a real champ out of the gate, but not as is.

      —————–

      • 0 avatar
        daiheadjai

        Minor nitpick – I believe the Toyobaru uses the FA20, not an EJ series/derivative.

        That being said, I’d have preferred an inline-4 with Yamaha work (a la the 2ZZ-GE).

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      Going with a 20 year old engine design is a losing proposition in terms of future development for the new FA/B series of engines that Subaru came up with to replace the aging EJ.

      The EJ has its strong points, but CAFE and ever tightening emissions regulations has put it on the chopping block. Eventually the EJ would have been shelved, which would have required retooling, new emissions controls etc to a new chassis. That doesn’t make sense from a business perspective at all, especially in a low margin, low volume car like the BRZ, FR-S FT-86 trio.

      You’re also forgetting that this car wasn’t designed to be a track star. It was the successor of the Toyota AE-86, which was a low powered, fun to drive car that many people enjoyed, and still do.

      Crawford and all sort of other aftermarket companies have come up with aftermarket goodies to make this platform a track star, if that’s what you really want it to be.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Subaru only sells an EJ in the WRX and STI now. It is a near-dead engine family. The current 4 cylinders are the FA and FB. The FB25 is found in the Outback and Legacy making 170hp. I don’t think adding DI to that engine is going to get it anywhere near 250hp. It was designed for a fat torque band to carry around a heavier Outback chassis. It would probably have nice drivability, but it wouldn’t feel like a sportscar when revved out. The FB20 found in the Impreza is related, but very distantly, with the FA20 found in the BRZ. The FB20 is long stroke, small bore while the FA20 is a square design. Completely different block, head, pistons, rods, etc. Having been behind the wheel of practically every Subaru engine built since 1998, a dedicated engine was the right choice by Subaru and Toyota if the goal was to keep it inexpensive, naturally aspirated, and have a sports car feel. The only other engine that would feel right-ish would be something like the ’02 WRX w/ the EJ205, but you’re only gaining 27hp and the power doesn’t come on as nice as the FA20, IMO. The EJ205 was a great engine for a light AWD chassis that you can hamfist. At the end of the day, the BRZ is just a brilliant package on a country road. It might not be fun on the interstate, but you are at extralegal speeds for something that is honestly fun on the interstate (I plead the 5th on my time behind the wheel of a V10 M5 on I64!)

      As an aside, this BRZ engine actually is very robust and willing when dabbling in forced induction. There are loads of examples out there running superchargers and turbochargers between 270 and 370hp on the stock bottoms.

    • 0 avatar
      thesal

      The tires thing, it’s because Toyobaru knows something about people who actually go to a track, they don’t give a shit about stock tires. Actually, the cheaper they are, the better, since they only get used for street driving. And a little slidey makes for a good time on the street without going ridiculously fast.

      Especially in an FR-S with low torque. You can get the tail out taking a left turn in 2nd gear with delicious ease. Surprisingly harder to do on my RWD car, with twice the torque and RS3s.

      For anyone making a “serious track weapon”, unless it’s a vette that comes with the factory sport cups, chances are the stock tires are garbage anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      “I don’t know why factory decided to go 2.0 way.”

      I’m guessing it was largely due to engine displacement taxes in Japan once you cross the 2.0L threshold.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I really want to like this car, honest.

    The cheap tires, suspension setup, lack of sound deadening doesn’t bother me, easily corrected. The interior does bother a little, especially how I keep hearing of the rear view mirror falling off, then again as a GM guy, I can’t say much about interior quality.

    But what really gets me is the Subaru engine and the miserable horsepower ratings.
    Put a v6 or as a last resort turbo it, if it can get to 280-300 respectable horsepower, then it will be lightyears ahead.

    I can take some compromises, especially ones that are easily rectified, but an engine swap isn’t one of them on a brand new car.

    If they could keep the price static and get around 300hp I would seriously consider.
    But then I’m probably dreaming

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I’ve said it since day one about the FR-S/BR-Z twins – they blew it (bad pun intended) when didn’t fit this car with a turbo from the get go. Subbie knows turbos. They sourced a flat 4 design to get the weight down low but forgot this was a sports car that needs some POWER (and torque). Thus I’d rather have the Genesis, but buying used saved me BIG money so an older 350Z was a win/win.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    I’m disappointed in the TTAC readers. all these lies about pirus tires on the fr-s. Yes the tires appear on the pirus, but only as an option.
    the tires themselves are a grand touring SUMMER tire

    https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Primacy+HP&partnum=145WR7PHP&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=Scion&autoYear=2013&autoModel=FR-S&autoModClar=

    Are these different then actual performance tires? off course. But to listen to the cry baby fr-s apologists here, its as if scion put the super low rolling resistance tire on this car like they do on the standard prius.

    Heck even browsing tirerack now, I can’t find a prius that uses the tire the fr-s does.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      They’re not even tires that you can get on a factory spec Prius in the US. It’s a JDM only Touring Series model that these tires come as standard equipment. These tires also come as OEM equipment from Audi, Mercedes and many, many others.

      It’s blogger hyperbole as a feeble attempt to prove a moot point, even though it was a buff book that started the misnomer.

      • 0 avatar
        was385

        It is definitely misleading, but the point remains true that these are not real performance tires. As an example, I’ve been autocrossing my BRZ with another BRZ driver this year. We both started out on completely stock setups running within a couple tenths of eachother on 30-40 second courses. He changed to ZIIs with no other modifications and immediately began running 2-3 seconds faster on the same short course. The tires are a HUGE handicap on this car (when looking at lap times) when compared to OE tires on other performance-oriented cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      It is an optional tire on some handling package for the Prius in Japan. It isn’t what you’d find on my Prius v, but it certainly isn’t what I’d consider an extremely grippy summer tire. It is somewhere in between.

      You can’t fault people for believing that it is the actual US Prius liftback tire when it was parroted by all the media outlets. So many media outlets took that innocent comment by a Japanese engineer about a Japanese only version of the Prius and applied it to the US. We see the same thing over at Autoblog all the time when they quote that the new Golf TDI will get 73MPG*.

      *on the euro only cycle where the Prius is rated the same unreachable number and this is using a 1.6L diesel that won’t be sold in the US and they are using the wrong gallon type.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    Did anyone actually watch to the end of the video?
    GT-86 did a 1:31.6
    Fiesta ST did a 1:30.4

    That’s 1.2s, quite different to 2s, and the commentary in the video states that as well.

    As others have mentioned, tires would probably more than make up that difference. Also, the commentary implies that while the fiesta laps quicker, it may not be the better car to drive.

    I do also get that the 86 does not live up to the hype. Nothing can live up to that much hype :-)

  • avatar
    thesal

    I don’t get it. When will people understand that sticky tires + on the street fun do not mix?!?!

    Toyota made a car with accessible limits on the street. This is a good thing! It lets you slide around while still putting down decent braking and lateral g numbers (so you can avoid a moose or other obstruction if required).

    For all the armchair race track drivers, the first thing anyone with serious track intentions will do is buy the stickiest tire they can afford that is allowed within the regulations of said track event. Anything in between is a waste of time.

  • avatar
    Power6

    This is all so terribly predictable…lets recap

    Extreme Renaultsport machine beats slushbox BR-Z
    Fiesta ST beats GT-86 around track due to tire differences
    GT-86 is more fun than Fiesta due to RWD, tire differences

    Why does every mention of the Toyobarus have to support or deny the hype. Its a well balanced moderately powerful RWD car on slippery tires. There are no surprises about any of the hype/no-hype conclusions from that.

    I love the idea of the Fiesta ST though it seems in practice, at US prices, it will simply highlight the value of the slightly more expensive Focus ST.

  • avatar
    mktimes5

    We can’t even get an ST 3 door in the U.S =(

    • 0 avatar
      Cubista

      That is why this test isn’t terribly relevant for us Yanks, unfortunately. The extra weight that a 5-door Fiesta ST carries by design would make the results of the tests a bit closer. I’m surprised no one has brought that up sooner; the lap time difference is certainly less than a second if they ran the car we get in North America. And since every write-up I’ve read about the Toyobaru twins mentions the rear cargo area being “enough to hold an extra set of wheels for track days”, the stock-vs.-sticky tires difference closes the gap even more substantially.

      But the Fiesta ST probably wins out on pricing and value, though…if you’re shopping new cars, I seriously doubt you’ll find a Focus ST out there for as little as $25k and I KNOW you won’t find the BRZ for that low…the FR-S would be close, but if the Fiesta ST really is a $22k car that has a semi-usable back seat (at least big enough for car seats/children) and cargo storage bay (as well as improved fuel economy) it is obviously the best choice RE: “bang for your buck”.

      Plus, we already know how well the base Fiesta works when being chased by bad guys in Corvettes through shopping malls, as well as participating in amphibious beach landings (the cup holders fit smoke grenads perfectly, IIFC)…adding more POOWWWERRRR can only make it better still.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    The BRS is the kind of car we all needed. It’s too bad its a let down in both the engine and styling. You are better off with a BMW. Sorry.

    There seems to be no replacement for a big checkbook. Even in the cheap range I probably go with V6 stang…despite the primitive suspension.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    The frigging Fiesta casts $22000!!!
    Really…$22k for a Fiesta..Really
    Thank god for 72 mo financing huh??

  • avatar
    oldyak

    The frigging Fiesta costs $22000!!!
    Really…$22k for a Fiesta..Really
    Thank god for 72 mo financing huh??

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Sorry about the Subaru engine codes, but still I guess 2.5 version wouldn’t have been too much more expensive to develop.
    There is one used car that has quite similar characteristics to GT86, but doesn’t suffer from under powered engine. It is BMW Z4 3.0si Coupe, chassis code-named E86 (!) :) Preferably with manual transmission and M-Sport seats and suspension. Curb weight is around 100kg heavier than GT86, but that is basically all. Small car, light weight(relatively), two seats, long hood, coupe bodystyle, low seating position, practical trunk, E46 3-series suspension and rest of the technical parts (cheap to maintain). 3.0si has 265hp and 315nm of torque. Only theoretical downside is electric power steering, but Ive driven one, and it feels quite nicely weighed and direct. Market value is around 18K USD for those cars, as with sports cars most of them have low mileage. Torsional rigidity is 32.000 nm/degree – which is world class super car level, and you can really feel it, the car feels very tight and well put together. Suspension feels very well sorted and handling is really sharp. It’s quite a special feeling when you are behind the wheel – seating position is very low, you sit basically very close to the rear axle, in front of you is a long sloping hood, steering wheel is smallish and thick and m-seats hold you firmly in place. Few non-m cars (and even M-cars) can claim to be the Ultimate Driving Machine, but this one really can wear this title proudly. Z4M is ofcourse faster, but already in a different league – 100kg heavier, way more expensive to maintain, uses lot of different and more expensive special m-parts etc and market prices are around 10k usd higher. So 3.0si coupe is an affordable true drivers car. Anyone who considers buying GT86, but feels its too thin and lacks power and is also open minded about used cars should consider the E86. Funny that this little BMW went totally under the radar for auto journalists. And if you buy one, then first thing to do is ditch the run-flats and buy proper normal performance tires – then the car’s true nature really comes alive and harshness/tramlining on a bumpy roads disappears. As with with all true performance cars (GT86 including:)) tire choice is crucial for handling response, cornering speed and road feel – stock factory tire choice isn’t always the best option. There are only few reviews online about the 3.0si version (most are about M-version), but here is one: http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evocarreviews/202574/bmw_z4_30si_coupe.html

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    The Fiesta can’t “shake its ass”. It can loss grip and slide its ass around, like any car setup to do so will.

    The Subayota can shake it from a standstill, like any good modern RWD car can.

    Its a big difference and something FWD will never achieve.

  • avatar
    KentuckyRob

    I’ll lay it on the line. I drove a 1972 Opel GT in the mid 1970′s. It replaced a 1972 Vega GT on which I installed one of the first sets of BF Goodrich radial TA’s, 60 series. 60 series back then was what 40 series is today.

    Technically, the Vega cornered better, but the Opel was a HELL of a lot more fun, especially when I threw a rear axle, with European anti-sway bar (from an Opel Kadet) on it.

    I moved from Seattle to a small farm in central Kentucky two years ago. My commute is 122 round trip miles, most of which is on back roads and twisties. Right now I’m passing a lot of corn, soy and Tobacco on my way to work on roads that have a default speed limit of 55, which will kill you in some places.

    I needed to retire the Chrysler 300m at 200k miles and shopped around. I looked at the mini, the Focus ST, Genesis, even the Dodge Dart GT. I don’t have TV and did not know these cars existed until three months ago when I saw the Subaru and, searching the internet, realized it had a Scion twin. I’ve owned a 2006 Scion xBox since it was new in 2006 and absolutely love that car. I’ll drive it to the junk yard.

    So I read the reviews, the hype, the naysayers and everything else. Then I test drove one. Two months ago I bought the FR-S. It has been two months of absolute bliss. I kick the rear end out at least twice a day and that second gear chirp never ceases to bring a smile to my face. And yes, it is very reminiscent of the Opel GT. I’m sure I could put more sticky tires on it and get it to scream around the corners, but that was not the point. I LOVE sliding around on my way to work every single day.

    I also love the “Opel GT / Stingray” top fender bulges. And the interior! It’s retro in just the way I like it. I absolutely LOVE this car like none I’ve ever owned. It’s like driving a comfortable – and quiet – go-cart to work every day.

    If I had asked them to build me a car, this is pretty much exactly what I would have asked for.

    Side notes:
    I don’t do turbos. I’m old enough to still not trust them.
    I like a car to be as small as possible and still be comfortable.
    I play bass and I can get my bass and an amp into this car and still carry a passenger.
    I read that the engine sounds bad at high revs, but I LOVE the sound.
    It’s a stick and I am getting between 30 and 34 mpg, depending on how many slides and chirps I do.

    I have no desire to race. I did that stuff in the 70′s. A friend still races 1960′s Lola’s at tracks around the country and, frankly, this car reminds me of those in many ways. The styling is retro in just the right way.

    I will do no mods to this car. I’ll put 35k a year on it until it goes the way of the Blues Brothers police car, which is the condition most of my cars are when I finally trade them in, almost always for $500.

    All of my cars are white, so naturally I got it in white out.

    Well be driving it to Chicago a lot to see the grand kids and the east coast to, well, drive in the six states I have yet to drive in. :)

    It kind of reminds me of a review of the MG Midget I read in C&D or R&T in the 70′s. They said it didn’t go very fast but it FELT fast – and isn’t that the point?

    Exactly.

    I can’t wait to drive to work tomorrow.


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