The hotly anticipated Scion FR-S now has a sticker price. Starting at $24,200, the rear-wheel-drive FR-S comes equipped with a slick six-speed manual transmission. At $25,300, Scion includes a six-speed automatic transmission derived from the 8-speed auto in the Lexus ISF.
Scion’s new sports car is identical to the new Subaru BRZ on nearly every level. There are even Subaru badges tucked in the nether regions of the FR-S. Pricing for the BRZ will be similar but you can expect it to be the rarer of the two simply because of production demands from Scion’s parent company, Toyota. (Toyota owns nearly 1/5th of Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries.) With such rarity, it could be in your best interest to use an auto moving company to ship your BRZ door-to-door from wherever you can locate a car.
First and foremost, the Scion FR-S will be a driver’s car, infinitely more in tune with the track than Scion’s front-wheel drive tC. Nevertheless, customers will be seeking more than just a steering wheel, pedals, and shifter when they plop their hind ends inside an FR-S, particularly given the premium feel of a key FR-S competitor, the Volkswagen GTI.
Scion calls the FR-S a 2+2, a clear sign that there’s little space to be found in the rear seat. Up front, the FR-S’s driver has access to a centre-mounted tach and both digital and analog speedometers. FR-S drivers hold on to a tilting and telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel and adjust music through an eight-speaker Pioneer audio system with 300 watts. Bluetooth and HD radio are standard fit, as is a slate of safety features: traction control, EBD, stability control, brake assist, ABS, and smart stop technology.
Under the hood is Subaru’s most obvious donation, a naturally-aspirated 2.0L horizontally-opposed “boxer” four-cylinder which generates 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Keep in mind, the Scion FR-S weighs approximately 2700 pounds, lending credence to the theory that, despite average power figures, the FR-S will be quick enough.
With all that in mind, we can consider the FR-S’s value quotient in the light of its competitors. It may be the better machine for drivers who wish to drift around Mount Fuji, but can it keep up in a market which caters to younger buyers who aren’t overflowing with cash?
The Volkswagen GTI is a front-wheel-drive hatchback based on an everyday car, VW’s Golf. (Of late, Volkswagen has been selling more GTIs than Golfs in America.) The GTI starts at $23,995 in three-door trim; add $600 for two extra doors. Volkswagen’s excellent six-speed direct-shift gearbox adds $1100 to the MSRP. The GTI generates 200 horsepower and a plateau of torque – 207 lb-ft of it – with a 2.0L turbocharged powerplant.
Like the GTI, the Honda Civic Si is derived from a front-wheel-drive compact, but it’s available in true coupe form, unlike the hatchback Volkswagen. The Civic Si now uses a 2.4L four-cylinder to produce 201 horsepower at a still-lofty 7000rpm, along with 170 lb-ft of torque at a more manageable 4400rpm. The Si Coupe costs $22,205 and can’t be had with an automatic transmission.
Hyundai’s updated 2013 Genesis Coupe is a rear-wheel-drive car like the FR-S, although substantially heavier and more GTesque. The 2.0L turbo Genesis now makes 274 horsepower; the wild 3.8L V6-engined Genesis generates 348 horsepower. The lesser-powered turbo begins at $24,250; the V6 at $28,750. An 8-speed automatic runs $1250.
Less likely rivals for the Scion FR-S include the 180-hp Scion tC at $19,305, Ford’s 305-hp $22,200 Mustang V6, the $25,595 265-hp Subaru Impreza WRX, Mazda’s $27,540 retractable hardtop MX-5 Miata, and the $23,800 181-hp Mini Cooper S. Those cars put their power to the ground using front wheels, rear wheels, all four wheels, rear wheels, and front wheels, respectively.
The Scion FR-S, therefore, can’t be represented as a stunning sports car value, but no cost analysis will prove the FR-S to be overpriced, either. There’s also little doubt that an FR-S buyer will opt for the FR-S because the FR-S is what they want, not because it’s $237 less than a competitor or has a leather-wrapped wheel. In the growing affordable sporty coupe market, simple desire is the name of the game.