I Did What All Fathers of Young Children Do - I Traded My Scion FR-S for Something Less Practical
A lot of life changes occurred in conjunction with the sale of my old website, GoodCarBadCar. We also sold the family home in Nova Scotia, moved to rural Prince Edward Island, and quickly began spending more time behind the wheel of a Husqvarna lawn tractor than behind the wheel of any car.
From an automotive standpoint, however, the major ensuing change involved the acquisition of an older Miata. A lifelong dream became a 14-month possession, costing scarcely a dollar while entirely living up to expectations. But with a second toy acquired, in the form of a Suzuki Kingquad, attempting to justify the use of a seasonal two-seater seemed laughable considering there are two young children at home.
Naturally, I sold the Miata and bought that famed minivan alternative, a 2013 Scion FR-S. (Our family vehicle is a 2018 Honda Odyssey.)
10 months later, with most of the time spent on winter tires, the FR-S is gone. It was just too practical. Too flexible. Too reasonable. Too functional. Too pragmatic.
Toyota Exec Confirms Development of Next-gen 86/BRZ
As the future of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ began looking rather bleak in the West, we spent the the better part of this year trying to figure out the automakers’ next move. While both automakers were rumored to have something in development, subsequent reports looked less promising. Much talk surrounded what Subaru might do if Toyota pulled out of their next cooperative endeavor.
Maybe we were all just worked up over the sudden surge of special-edition models heralding the final stage in the vehicle’s lifespan. Still, with only minor reassurances coming from either manufacturer, concerns mounted. Some even floated the idea that Japan’s base-level Supra could eventually replace the 86 globally. However, it seems these fears were overblown. Toyota has confirmed that a new 86 is in development in conjunction with Subaru.
Winter Is Only Solidifying My Desire to Drive Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars for the Rest of Time
I’m beginning to worry that many vehicles I once fervently desired to own will never again appear on my shortlist of possible daily drivers.
These vehicles, from the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Fiesta ST to the Audi S4 and Porsche Macan and numerous others in between, possess one of two common traits. Their internal combustion engines send power either to the front or all four wheels.
I don’t want to be that guy; I don’t want there to be any hint of sounding like this. You know the kind of guy I’m talking about: a real, living, breathing version of the 14-year-old forum addict who, never having driven any car of any kind, suffers all manner of teenage angst over the very notion that BMW sells all-wheel-drive M cars while scolding Ford for emasculating the Mustang GT350R with electronic aids.
But a hard-hitting winter manifested itself early on Prince Edward Island, and I’m worried that the fun quotient exhibited by a 2013 Scion FR-S could never be replicated by a front or all-wheel-drive car.
Fragile Valve Springs Leads to Global Toyota-Subaru Recall
The defunct Scion brand isn’t done making headlines, it seems. The rear-drive FR-S 2+2 sport coupe is among a number of vehicles — mainly Subarus — recalled over valve springs that could break, leading to serious engine damage.
In total, some 400,000 vehicles built between 2012 and 2013 are included in the recall; among them, Subaru BRZs, Foresters, and Imprezas. The Japanese-market Toyota 86 and North American-market Scion FR-S, twins of the BRZ, feature the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
Five Years on, Scion FR-S/Toyota 86 Has Few Buyers Left, But Still There's a Comparison Test Win up Its Sleeve
Five years have passed since the Scion FR-S — known elsewhere as the Toyota GT86 and known now in America as the Toyota 86 (and at Subaru as the BRZ) — arrived in America. Buyers, never particularly numerous to begin with, are few and far between. Toyota now sells 62 percent fewer Toyota 86s in America than the Scion FR-S managed during its first year.
You expect to see sports cars peak early and then gradually fade. The degree to which the Toyota 86 née Scion FR-S has faded, however, has been more than a little striking. FR-S/86 sales have fallen so far, so fast, that U.S. car buyers are now ten times more likely to acquire a new Chevrolet Camaro, three times more likely to acquire a new Volkswagen Golf GTI, and twice as likely to acquire a new Mazda MX-5.
But is the Toyota 86 deserving of such rejection? Not according to a just-completed CAR Magazine comparison test in which the five-year-old Toyota claimed victory — ahead of the Mazda MX-5 RF and BMW 2 Series.
2017 Subaru BRZ Review - Better, Not Best
Back in May of this year, TTAC reported the list of changes coming for the 2017 Subaru BRZ and asked if what amounted to a rather modest workover would get consumers excited enough to reverse the sports coupe’s declining sales trend.
Having spent a week acting barely responsible in Subaru’s only two-wheel-drive offering, my belief is no, the BRZ will not buck the trend. After commuting in it, doing school pick up duty and grocery runs — all in a most irresponsible way, revving the little four-cylinder boxer engine to redline again and again — I expect there will be a blip on the sales radar this year. Sadly, I also expect the BRZ (and its Toyota 86 twin) to slowly slip into automotive obscurity.
This terribly depressing thought has mostly to do with declining overall consumer interest in fun, driver-oriented cars, and it does nothing to celebrate what a wildly fun machine this is.
How Sports Are Your Cars? We Have Answers
Even Mazda, we told you last week, is now selling more crossovers than cars.
One-third of Chevrolet’s U.S. volume is produced by pickup trucks. An SUV now generates more than half of the Bentley brand’s U.S. sales. Half of all Chrysler buyers choose a minivan.
Where are the sports cars?
Toyota 86 Shooting Brake Lands Down Under, Probably Won't See Light of Dealer Lots
The main complaint levied against the Toyota GT86 (and Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins) is its supposed lack of power, even though it pumps out 200 horses. Coming in at a close second on the 2+2 hatchback coupe’s complaint list is its lack of usable space.
Toyota Australia has an answer to that second concern, and it’s in the form of a Shooting Brake that looks like a Honda CR-Z after hitting up some free weights.
Toyota 86s Scion FR-S in Name Only, Gets Power Bump
Scion’s slow-selling FR-S rear-wheel-drive coupe is about to become Toyota’s slow-selling rear-wheel-drive coupe, and it will be branded with the same moniker as in many other parts of the world.
That’s right: this is the Toyota 86, also known as what it should have been named here in the first place.
Doug Drives: Is Old-School Rebadging Dead?
So I got up behind a Dodge Grand Caravan the other day and I started thinking about my youth. This is because, in my youth, the Dodge Grand Caravan was an acceptable vehicle to drive, and not something you were stuck with when Enterprise ran out of full-size sedans.
There are two reasons for this: 1. Back in the day, the Dodge Caravan didn’t really have any competitors, so we didn’t really know that there were better options out there. Honda had the hinged-door Odyssey. Toyota had the weird-ass Previa. It was a mess; more importantly, 2. There were so many different versions of the Dodge Caravan that you were pretty much stuck buying a Dodge Caravan even if you actively avoided buying a Dodge Caravan.
Among Sports Cars, New Beats Old: FR-S Hits New Low As MX-5 Takes Over
November 2015 produced the lowest full-month U.S. sales total for the Scion FR-S in its history.
November 2015 also produced the sixth consecutive year-over-year Mazda MX-5 Miata monthly sales increase; November was also the fifth consecutive month in which the Mazda MX-5 outsold the Scion FR-S.
The FR-S and MX-5 are clearly not direct rivals. One is sold exclusively as a coupe with rear seats; the other is a two-seat convertible.
But the comparison between the pair, like the forthcoming comparison between the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, is pertinent because of the contrast between old and new. From June 2012, the first full month of availability of the FR-S, through June 2015, the Scion was the fresher sports car parked outside A&W on a Thursday night. However, it suffered from the same malady that typically afflicts most sports cars early on in their tenure: DDDD. Drastically Decreased Demand Disorder.
What Is This Performance BRZ/FR-S and Where Can We Get One?
Our friends over at AutoGuide have a juicy story about a patent filing from Toyota that details a decidedly BRZ STI-looking drawing that may signal a performance variant on its way.
According to AutoGuide, the patent, which was approved in Japan, was filed by Toyota, but named Subaru-parent company Fuji Heavy Industry as its owner. The patent was approved so let’s get them on the lots already.
Scion's FR-S Took A Hit In 2014
The U.S. market, long in need of an affordable, compact, rear-wheel-drive sports car, allowed the hype to initially take hold. The Scion FR-S’s best ever month was its first full month of availability – June 2012 – when 2684 copies were sold.
But in the second-half of the FR-S’s first full year in the U.S., FR-S volume slid 4%.
• FR-S accounts for 24% of U.S. Scion sales
• Scion accounts for 2.4% of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. volume
• Subaru sold 25,492 WRX/STi Imprezas in 2014
The numbers weren’t terribly low. 18,327 FR-Ss were sold in the U.S. in 2013. But they weren’t terribly high, either. Nissan, for a reference point, sold 36,728 350Zs in 2003.
Regardless, only 18 months into the car’s tenure, monthly declines became notable because of their severity and consistency.
Difficile Est Saturam Non Scribere
It is difficult not to write satire – but this might be too subtle. Thoughts?
QOTD: Subaru BRZ Will Live To Fight Another Generation, Says Fuji Heavy Boss
“If I were to be told that, I’d pass out…It’s not going to be just one generation.”
-Fuji Heavy Industries President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga