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2013 Scion FR-S

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2013 Scion FR-S Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.0

A few years ago, Toyota and Subaru joined forces to develop a fun, affordable sports coupe. Known abroad as the Toyota 86 and GT86, the fruit of that union comes to America as both the somewhat-more-premium Subaru BRZ and the value-focused 2013 Scion FR-S. With a sub-$25,000 base price the 2013 FR-S gives budget-minded sports car enthusiasts all the essentials – sporting style, solid straight-line performance and nicely balanced rear-drive handling dynamics.

You'll Like This Car If...

You'll like the 2013 Scion FR-S if you want a reasonably-priced, excellent handling car that rewards and satisfies advanced drivers without posing a hazard to those with less experience.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If lofty horsepower figures float your boat the 305-horsepower Ford Mustang V6 and 274-horsepower Hyundai Genesis Coupe each offer more ponies per dollar than the Scion FR-S. Also, while it's technically a 4-seater, humans with thoughts and feelings shouldn't be subjected to the Scion's cramped rear quarters.

What's New for 2013

All-new and channeling the spirit of performance icons like the Toyota AE86 and 2000GT, the 2013 FR-S is undoubtedly the most thrilling product to enter Toyota's portfolio in some time (even if it does technically wear a Scion badge).

Driving the FR-S

Driving Impressions Above all else the Scion FR-S is built for driving pleasure, and in that mission, it is an unabashed success. Every movement of the steering wheel and minute adjustments of...

the throttle are met with an immediate response from the vehicle. The FR-S isn't just an excellent handling coupe, it's the kind of car that makes its abilities readily accessible to drivers of varying skill levels. Less experienced drivers can explore the FR-S's handling limits without major repercussions, while advanced drivers will find the Scion a willing high-speed accomplice. Balanced handling is the big draw but the Scion FR-S also delivers good, if not earth-scorching, acceleration and firm, confident brakes. Though engineered for aggressive driving, the FR-S remains civilized enough for daily commutes with a ride that is undeniably firm but not punishing.

Hidden Subaru Logos
Rich in dynamic thrills, the 2013 Scion FR-S is also fun when motionless thanks to numerous Subaru logos hidden throughout the vehicle. Searching for them is like an Easter egg hunt for car nerds.

Torsen Limited-Slip Differential
What good is power if you can't exploit it? Enter the FR-S's standard Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD). This little device distributes power to rear wheels in turns, ensuring proper acceleration out of corners. The LSD also means the FR-S is equipped from the factory to go "drifting" (on a closed-track environment of course).

2013 Scion FR-S Details
2013 Scion FR-S photo Interior

The interior of the Scion FR-S is as big as it needs to be but no bigger, resulting in a cabin that feels cozy but comfortable like a fitted t-shirt, at least it is for those sitting in the incredibly supportive front seats. In contrast, the rear seats offer very limited headroom and nearly non-existent legroom, limiting their use to desperate situations. Flipping down the rear seatbacks expands the small 6.9-cubic-foot trunk creating a useful, flat cargo space. Though compact, the interior feels smartly designed, excluding the confusing audio system, with nice materials elevating it above typical Scion fare.

Exterior
2013 Scion FR-S photo

Pictures of the Scion FR-S can be deceiving. In person, Scion's sports coupe is smaller than one might expect – 15.6 inches less lengthy than the not-particularly-large Hyundai Genesis Coupe. In person, those tidy dimensions serve to enhance the visual charm of the FR-S's shapely exterior. With pronounced fenders, a planted stance and a sleek profile, the Scion FR-S projects an appropriately sporty image without looking overdone. Helping distinguish the FR-S from its nearly-identical Subaru BRZ sibling are a revised front fascia, unique fender adornment and, of course, Scion badging.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Headlining the standard equipment roster are air conditioning, cruise control, 1-touch power windows, power mirrors and door locks, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth and an 8-speaker audio system with auxiliary and USB inputs. On the safety front, all FR-S's feature stability control, traction control, six airbags, and Smart Stop, a feature that cuts engine power if the brake and throttle pedals are pressed at the same time.

Optional Equipment

The Scion FR-S is sold as a single trim, meaning factory-installed options are limited to an automatic transmission and the buyer's choice of exterior color. All other add-ons come in the form of dealer-installed accessories including a rear spoiler, 18-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, lowering springs, and a sporty body kit. Buyers can also add a 340-watt Pioneer BeSpoke Premium audio system that includes navigation, a 5.8-inch touch screen and Zypr, a feature that lets users access iPhone app functionality with voice commands.

Under the Hood

A 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder is the lone engine offered in the 2013 Scion FR-S. Due in large part to the "flat" layout of its engine the FR-S boasts an extremely low center of gravity, a feature that helps enhance handling. Transmission choices include an excellent-shifting 6-speed manual and a similarly charming 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, although the latter's hesitance to downshift in manual mode can be annoying during spirited driving. Interestingly, buyers looking for the best fuel economy should choose the substantially more efficient 6-speed automatic, which returns up to 34 miles per gallon on the freeway.

2.0-liter flat-4
200 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 6,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (manual), 25/34 mpg (automatic)

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2013 Scion FR-S Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 31 Ratings for the 2013 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Own S2000 and FR-S. Both Are Wonderful Cars

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handling, comfort, gas mileage, smooth shifter"

Cons: "Wish it had another 50 horsepower"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"FR-S is all about corners. The FR-S is a much more comfortable car than the S2000. Both handle excellently and both are cornering fools. Both are rock solid reliable. S2000 is faster, but FR-S handles better when pushed very hard in corners on a track. I have driven both cars on long distance road trips. The FR-S is infinitely more comfortable, but the S2000 shines when you need high altitude horsepower. Both get very good gas mileage, though the FR-S consistently got 32 on the interstate, with the S2000 getting around 28."

Good car, but under-powered

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Planted handling; great after tuning"

Cons: "Traction control is a nanny in slides; crickets"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I really like my Scion FR-S. The 2014 model didn't have any real differenciating factor between it and the BRZ so I got the FR-S since it was about $500 cheaper. The car handles really well, particularly after installing TRD sway bars. Cornering is planted and you get plenty of warning before you lose grip in the corners. Not enough power to write home about - you notice that it is slow compared to other cars in the same price bracket (Miata, Camaro). However, if you're getting a Toyobaru FR-S, you're probably already committed to drifting or tuning, which is what this car excels at. Stock tires are a bit of an overkill spec-wise for what the car is capable of, but I enjoy them because traction control can be a bit of a nanny if you want to intentionally enter a power-slide. On the mechanical side, ALL the 2013,2014,and 2015 FR-S's are currently suffering from a mechanical issue known as 'crickets'. Basically, once the engine warms up and switches to direct injection, the fuel pump squeaks and sounds like a cricket or slipping belt. There *is* a supposedly _new_ pump that makes the issue go away. I just had it installed and can confirm that it does not resolve the issue, but definitely makes it quieter. Overall, I really like this car and recommend it strongly to anyone who is planning on dropping a supercharger in after the factory warranty runs out."

3 people out of 9 found this review helpful

nice sports car,great MPG but could be better

By on Thursday, July 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"first thing I didn't like was the windows, they couldn't design the doors to close with the windows up so they go down a little every time you open the door.(how long will that last before they break?) 2nd no back up cam. they have been on cars for years now, Toyota could of made them standard for pennies! other than that its fun to drive and unlike some sports cars it gets about 35 mpg."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Great exterior design, unusable back seat

By on Friday, May 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "appearance, sportiness"

Cons: "rough riding, lots of rattles, not a convertible"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I very much like the looks of this car, the gas mileage is quite good, the handling is great, but there are definitely some flaws. One flaw is the ride, which is punishing at best. Another is the back seat, which I put down immediately after I got it, and it has stayed that way for nearly 3 years. The trunk, with the addition of the back seat area, is decent for the overall size of the car."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

good perfomance low quality

By on Sunday, March 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "fun car"

Cons: "not worth mid to high twenty price"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"rear deck rattles,fuel pump chirps,brakes rub in reverse,wind enters door cup holders,fake engine noise pumped into cabin,runs on premium.The good is great MPG,a lot of fun to drive just have to block out all the quirky noises this car makes."

14 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Perfect little asphalt runner.

By on Sunday, January 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Affordable, sweet handling, Japanese reliability"

Cons: "Premium gas"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great little car built for winding roads, tight parking lots, and rush-hour traffic. Economical to boot - a poor-man's Porsche. Not really built for the larger bodies, my size 12 shoe accidentally kicked the OBD port off the panel so be careful."

15 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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