The Truth About Cars » boxer engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:00:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » boxer engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Hedonist vs Frugalist: 2012 Scion FR-S (Street Edition) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/hedonist-vs-frugalist-2012-scion-fr-s-street-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/hedonist-vs-frugalist-2012-scion-fr-s-street-edition/#comments Sat, 18 Aug 2012 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=453561

There is a well traveled myth in the animal kingdom when it comes to dogs.

Seven years = One human year. In reality, dogs will often reach their version of adulthood within the first year to two years of their life.

The same is true with certain sports cars.

The Mazda Miata quickly became a car of legend within the first two years of its release. The first Ford Mustang did so well, that Ford managed to build over a million units in the first 18 months alone.

On a far smaller scale, the AC Cobra, Ferrari 250 GTO, and Jaguar E-Type may never be a common sight in the flesh. But they have adorned millions of posters and magazine covers, and established a benchmark of what sports cars represent in the eyes of auto enthusiasts.

The Scion FR-S may not ever come near these heights of popularity. However, it will help redefine the current image of a sports car as some testerone poisoned icon that tries to invoke power and muscle above all else.

Hedonist: This car reminds me of a well-designed suit; smooth, svelte, with an eye towards the conservative side of design. It’s not meant to draw attention in a brutally obvious way like most other sports cars of today.

There is no bling. No steroid ridden look to the front fascia, and as a result, it doesn’t get the eyeballs of anyone other than the enthusiast.

Frugalist: I consider that a good thing. There seems to be a minimal level of ostentation to the outside that blends well with the extreme focus on functionality and sport with the interior. The driver’s window lowers itself about a half inch when you grab the door handle and you see…


Hard plastics are kept to the simple functional aspects of the dashboard along with the precious few buttons that adorn it.

The armrests on the door panel are well padded and well stitched. Speaking of which…

You better like the color red when it comes to all the stitching on the door panels, steering wheel and seats. If not, then just enjoy the road ahead.

Hedonist: I rarely stopped smiling for the first thirty minutes I had this car on the road. There is a linearity to the handling, the acceleration and the overall design that makes the FR-S a fun daily driver.

For perhaps 25% of the population.

If you are in a part of the world with rough roads. If noise is not your thing. If you have even a slight orientation towards driving isolation, don’t buy this car. The Scion FR-S is a noisy, hard riding vehicle that is nearly as unforgiving as a first generation aluminum bodied Honda Insight.

But if you live in an area where the roads are relatively smooth. If driving involvement to you is not so much about speed as it is about handling and finding that quick little spurt of joy in a humdrum commute, this car should be right at the top of the list.

 

Frugalist: 34.5 mpg overall and 37 miles per gallon on the highway. That is what I averaged in a long commute through metro-Atlanta where I spent about 20% of my time stuck in various traffic jams and construction backups. The Scion seems to take an almost perverse pleasure for those drivers who feather the pedal when the road ahead is chock full of cars.

There is one down side, or good virtue, if you want to look at it through the economics of long-term driving.

When you’re not in an enjoyable environment, the Scion will lock in 6th gear at around 37 mph and keep the car moving without the feel of a heavy pedal or lag in the acceleration. This makes the FR-S a far easier and economical vehicle to drive on a daily basis than most other sports car of today.

Hedonist: But where it excels is in the country. If you’re one of those folks who gets to enjoy endless winding one lane roads in your commute, the Scion FR-S will represent a sweet spot of satisfaction well worth the $26,000 MSRP. Precise real world handling devoid of nervousness. Solid mid-range torque. Exceptional fuel economy. In real world driving it’s all there.

Frugalist: Most sports car enthusiasts will never spend any time in a race track. Even the ones who would like to have that experience simply have too many other things going on with their life. The real world of driving is where a Scion FR-S can outshine a heavier and more powerful sports car because it never feels ponderous or laborious while handling the misfortunes of traffic.

Hedonist: Lightness has its virtues. A 2700 to 2800 pound drivetrain engineered with a focus on handling and balance is a far better companion for most daily drivers than a high revving glorified go-kart or an overwight muscle car.

Even the noise levels and patterns of acceleration for the FR-S are designed for you to find a comfortable limit, and enjoy it. Many sports cars encourage stupid behavior on the open road. This Scion is the exact antithesis of a stupid sports car. The set of tools that it provides you; a 2.0 Liter 200 horsepower engine devoid of turbo boost or lag, and a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, is a solid fit for the winding road.

There was one other surprise underneath this car.

It’s maintenance friendly. Oil changes are easy to do. All the fluids and nearly all the basic maintenance procedures should be easy to perform. Unlike most other cars of the modern day, the Scion FR-S seems to take pride in letting the owner get to know the vehicle and be directly involved with its long-term care.

 

Hedonist: There are a slew of competitors to the Scion FR-S. The Fiat Abarth is a bit lighter, smaller, even more go kart like, and has the thrill of turbo boost. But the interior and packaging are not up to the same standards as the FR-S.

The Ford Mustang V6 is an excellent alrternative consideration if you want more power and plenty of fun. But the spirit of that car is from a different age and the greater curb weight makes it a better fit for those seeking an American styled daily driver. The Camaro and Challenger have nearly the same virtues of the Mustang. But all three are hard to find well equipped in this price range.

Then you have a slew of four door models and European hatchbacks. The upcoming Ford Focus ST, the VW GTI, the Mazda 3i and Mazdaspeed 3, the Hyundai Genesis coupe, the Mini Cooper S. Even the Subaru WRX and FR-S cloned BRZ will fight the Scion FR-S for the souls and pocketbooks of American sports car enthusiasts.

The competition is exceptional (let’s not forget the Mazda MX-5 as well). Overall, Toyota has performed an exceptional job as well. If you are in the market for a $25,000 to $28,000 sports car, test drive one.

It will be time well spent.

Note: Toyota provided gas, insurance, and the Scion FR-S pictured for a full week. 

 

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Pre-Production Review: 2013 Scion FR-S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/pre-production-review-2013-scion-fr-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/pre-production-review-2013-scion-fr-s/#comments Wed, 09 May 2012 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=443221

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

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

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

Click here to view the embedded video.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.6 Seconds

0-60: 6.7 Seconds

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

 

2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Front, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, side 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Rear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Front 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Front 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Front grille, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Front 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Scion logo, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, FR-S logo, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Exterior, Boxer Engine Logo, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, on the track, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, on the track, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, on the track, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, on the track, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, on the track, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Scion FR-S, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Toyota Motors 2013 Scion FR-S, Interior, seats and dash, Photography Courtesy of Toyota Motors 2013 Scion FR-S, Interior, center console, Photography Courtesy of Toyota Motors 2013 Scion FR-S, Interior, seats, Photography Courtesy of Toyota Motors 2013 Scion FR-S, 2.0L boxer engine, Photography Courtesy of Toyota Motors Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

 

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