By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.9
For reasons unknown, Toyota and Subaru joined forces to create a fun, fast and relatively affordable 2+2 sports coupe known collectively as the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ. Although nearly identical, the Scion version puts less emphasis on features, helping to keep the price in the $25K neighborhood. The result is a playful, rear-drive sports coupe with neutral handling, decent power and a wicked-looking exterior treatment unlike anything Scion has produced in the past.
If you're all about driving dynamics, rowing your own gears and putting your skills behind the wheel to the test, there is no better car to prove yourself in than the 2014 Scion FR-S.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes to the 2014 Scion FR-S are limited to the addition of a standard touch-screen radio and front-seat knee cushions added to the doors and center-console sides.
Driving Impressions The Scion FR-S for 2014 is built to excite the driving enthusiast who believes driving is more than just mashing an accelerator pedal and hurtling forward as fast as humanly...... possible. In the FR-S, the driver gets to practice the lost art of driving, not just steering. Keep the rpm high and the throttle response is magical. A slight input to the steering wheel sends the FR-S exactly where you want it, and although the rear steps out slightly, it doesn't require much correction to keep it in check. Those still gleaning their skills will find the FR-S is very forgiving, making it an excellent car to practice with on an enclosed track. Power from the 2.0-liter flat-4 isn't bad, and the 6-speed manual is so good it could very well be the poster child that inspires a "shift-for-yourself" revolution.
We love that Scion has made this feature standard on the FR-S. Now if we could just get some steering-wheel audio controls to go along with it.
TORSEN LIMITED-SLIP DIFFERENTIAL
A must in any sports car worth its salt, the Torsen limited-slip differential in the FR-S evenly distributes power to the rear wheels in the turns, ensuring safe passage out of sharp curves and tempting the "Tokyo Drift" crowd to come play (on a proper track, of course).
The interior of the 2014 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 nonexistent 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
Pictures of the Scion FR-S can be deceiving. In person, Scion's sports coupe is smaller than one might expect – 15.6 inches shorter 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 for 2014 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.
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.
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. Get it, it's worth the money.
A 2.0-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder is the lone engine offered in the 2014 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 mpg on the freeway.
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)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Scion FR-S coupe starts right around $25,500 including destination. Thanks to Scion's simple "1-spec" ordering system, the only factory option is the automatic transmission, a feature that adds $1,100 to the bottom line. Both the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the Mazda MX-5 Miata cost about the same as the 2014 Scion FR-S, while the Ford Mustang can be had for several thousand dollars less. When it comes to resale value, Scions have traditionally held their worth well over time, a tradition we expect the FR-S to carry on. For the latest pricing and residual value information on the Scion FR-S and its competitors, be sure to check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price.