Scion FR-S 6MT

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Perpetuus
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Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Perpetuus » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:41 pm

First Impressions

Got to take a FR-S home for the weekend. As you may know, this car has been wildly popular because of its focus on performance and relatively low price. There's alot to like about the car - it looks sleek, has a center of gravity lower than a Porsche Boxster, is lightweight (~2,700 lbs), and got me lots of questions and compliments from strangers. Also, I recently realized that it looks like a mini Lexus LF-A from the front. What a bargain, right? :wink:

FR-S
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LFA
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Interior

The interior has a nice driver-focused layout. However, you can't help but get an el-cheapo feel with all the materials and choice of design for the interior. For example, the stereo looks like a $50 aftermarket one that was bought from Wal-Mart; even the volume knob is cheap, lightweight, and has zero tactile feedback. If it wasn't for the word "Scion" printed on it, one could easily mistaken it for a basic aftermarket unit. The sound quality is average, but you do get to switch between different pre-set equalizer modes for your music. Functionality-wise, the bluetooth connectivity for making/answering calls is a nice bonus that I found myself using alot, both in this car, and in other new cars. When you look beneath the stereo, you will be greeted with a digital clock with old-fashioned "Hour" and "Minute" buttons to adjust the time, very retro and reminiscent of what you'll expect from a 1980's Corolla.

Center Console:
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When it comes to the shifter (which is what most of us care about here) I can happily say that it looks good, and has nice, short throws- if a bit notchy feeling. You also get red stitching on it for a sportier look.

The seats are very nicely supported and has deep bolsters that gives you a nice, snug fit. However, one highly apparent drawback of this comes up when you attempt to turn your head over the side of the seat to look out the rear window. The deep bolsters makes this maneuver a challenging and painful one, putting lots of pressure on your shoulder:

Seat (Note the deep bolsters)
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Being 6'2 tall, I often have difficulty finding a good fit in smaller cars. Unfortunately, the FR-S just happens to be one of those cars. To get a good reach of all the pedals, the steering wheel, and the shifter, I had to choose between 1) sitting upright (but with my legs cramped and very close to the pedals), or 2) reclining my seat backwards for better comfort, but not an optimal reach of the steering wheel.

All of the pedals are well positioned, but the gas pedal is very slippery because there is no friction material on that pedal, which is present on the brake and clutch pedals. This made modulation of the throttle more challenging for me.

Driving Impressions

For a car that weighs just ~2,700 lbs to have a 200hp engine, the result is a car that feels light on its feet and has relatively quick acceleration. This was exactly what I noticed during my time with the car. Sure, the tires are skinny (215/45/17), but because the car is so light, the smaller tire contact patches gives the car very good grip in both wet and dry conditions. I feel that using a tire that is any wider will make skidding much easier on wet roads. As you might expect, the highlight of this car is the handling performance, and I am happy to say that it delivers. You can toss the car into any corner, and it will handle it with poise and confidence, with no apparent body roll. Toyota/Subaru did a very good job with the chassis because the weight distribution is wonderfully balanced and makes for some very neutral and predictable handling during cornering. The one caveat is that the tires are absolutely below par. When driving onto the same on-ramp that I use everyday, I noticed the FR-S will start to skid before my GTI does, despite the much higher center of gravity on my car. Whereas my car will start losing grip at 80km/h (50 MPH), the FR-S tires started to give out at 70km/h (43 MPH) during the same corner. My tires are 7 years old and desperately need replacing. With proper tires, the FR-S will have a much higher level of grip for sure.

For a non-turbo car, the engine is also wonderfully torquey, which I enjoyed. On the flipside, this engine is not the smoothest or most free revving engines in this price range. For comparison, the Civic Si revs much more freely, and has a very smooth and satisfying feel to it. Also, the Si has a nicer transmission that is easier to shift.

Overall, I was very impressed by the FR-S. It has been compared many times to cars costing several times more, and almost always wins when comparing strictly fun and handling performance. After spending some time with this car, I have to agree with them as well. At the price that it is being listed as, I consider it a true bargain for the enthusiast, albeit in a package that is somewhat impractical because of the lack of interior space and cargo space.

Other Thoughts


Condensation in the Rear Right Tail Light
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-Yes, it's true. The car has less than 8,000 KM on it, (~5,000 miles).

Squeaky Windows
-Both the driver and passenger side windows started squeaking when opening or closing them after my second day with the car.

Boxer Engine
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-This engine sounds great!


More Pictures:

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Last edited by Perpetuus on Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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potownrob
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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by potownrob » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:29 pm

teaser pics?? you gotta do better than that :o :(
FÜR DIE FAHGLEITZ!! :shock:

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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Squint » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:09 pm

How did you get to take one home for the weekend?
'15 Mazda 3 iSport Hatch 6MT
'11 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE 5MT
'14 Giant Escape City 24MT
'97 Honda Civic EX 4AT - Retired @ 184,001 mi

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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by comawhite » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:28 pm

Car is dirty. xD

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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Perpetuus » Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:25 pm

Borrowed for product evaluation purposes, it's a small but exciting part of my job. :D
Squint wrote:How did you get to take one home for the weekend?
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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Perpetuus » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:35 pm

Review updated. Enjoy!

Let me know if there is something you wanted to know about the car, but I didn't talk about.
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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by six » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:00 pm

Thanks for the update! The condensation and squeaky windows are really kinda sad for a practically brand-new car. That stuff doesn't even happen in my >10 year-old car. The 1980s Corolla clock is kind of a turn-off as well. But, you're not buying an FR-S/BR-Z for nice windows and a cool clock.
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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by 4onthefloor » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:58 pm

That clock is ghetto. I know it's such a small thing, but it just seems cheap at the price point for this car.

Also, I think the unwillingness of the engine to rev is a boxer trait. I love the sound of mine, but man it's a slug low down. Feels like it takes forever to reach any revs.
Two pedals, two feet, too easy.

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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by potownrob » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:27 am

4onthefloor wrote:Also, I think the unwillingness of the engine to rev is a boxer trait. I love the sound of mine, but man it's a slug low down. Feels like it takes forever to reach any revs.
perhaps this is a DBW issue?? mine revs up like a banchee :mrgreen:
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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Perpetuus » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:52 am

I have DBW in my car too, but I also have a small turbo, and the car doesn't rev up as quickly. Not sure if it's DBW lag or just lag in the turbo system.

By the way, here's a nice FR-S in red!

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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by 4onthefloor » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:36 pm

potownrob wrote:
4onthefloor wrote:Also, I think the unwillingness of the engine to rev is a boxer trait. I love the sound of mine, but man it's a slug low down. Feels like it takes forever to reach any revs.
perhaps this is a DBW issue?? mine revs up like a banchee :mrgreen:
I think that may be it. I drove a buddies '02 Legacy and it was definitely more responsive and rev happy. Although he also had the cable tightened like a piano wire. A stiff breeze on the pedal would have that thing hitting redline.
Two pedals, two feet, too easy.

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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by six » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:41 am

Perpetuus wrote:By the way, here's a nice FR-S in red!

Image
Wow, they have exhausts and body-kits for it already? :shock:
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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Shadow » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:33 pm

six wrote:
Perpetuus wrote:By the way, here's a nice FR-S in red!

Image
Wow, they have exhausts and body-kits for it already? :shock:
I guess you haven't seen Jack's car yet. He says this is his personal car (if you believe that) and it has a body kit (Five Axis) and the TRD exhaust on it. Of course it's lowered and has two different sets of wheels (look at each side) as well. All in all, I think the car is very tastefully modded.

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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Shadow » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:57 pm

BTW, I drove an FR-S this weekend. Overall, it's a really nice car and fun to drive, but it definitely lacks torque. The power is really lacking until you get somewhere around 4500 RPM. If they just put a small turbo on the car, it would give the car great low-end grunt and it would be much more fun to drive.

One disappointment was the notchy shifts. With a cold engine/transmission, the shifting was VERY notchy into 2nd gear and fairly notchy into 3rd gear. The rest of the shifts were smooth, even when cold. After everything was fully warmed up, I only noticed a little bit of notchy shifts in 2nd gear. I'm sure a gear oil swap could make the shifting much smoother. The Redline MTL that I just put in my Audi definitely helped out with my notchy 2nd gear shift, but then again my car was nowhere near as bad as the FR-S.
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Re: Scion FR-S 6MT

Post by Squint » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:58 pm

Perpetuus wrote:Borrowed for product evaluation purposes, it's a small but exciting part of my job. :D
Squint wrote:How did you get to take one home for the weekend?
A bit late, but what job do you have where you get to borrow new cars?? I want that job...
'15 Mazda 3 iSport Hatch 6MT
'11 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE 5MT
'14 Giant Escape City 24MT
'97 Honda Civic EX 4AT - Retired @ 184,001 mi

For Pony!

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