No sooner than we took our seats in the movie theater-turned presentation room at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas that we knew this was unmistakably a Scion program. Thumping music, flashy images and video – and everything product-centric.
Scion is the new, trendy little division of Toyota and we were here to experience the all-new rear drive sport coupe co-developed with Subaru and marketed as the Scion FR-S here in the States. With the exception of its Lexus luxury division, Toyota has been out of the rear wheel-drive car segment in the U.S. for quite some time. Well, they’re back.
Drawing on the heritage of rear drive sports cars, the Scion FR-S (known globally as the Toyota FT-86) is the modern interpretation of the AE86 sports car of a few decades ago, a fact not lost on the fender logos affixed to each new FR-S model.
I have to say that Scion veep Jack Hollins nailed it when he opened his presentation by
throwing out the first acronym of the day for FR-S as “Friggin’ Really Sweet!”
At the heart of the vehicle is a new 200hp 2.0-liter direct-injected boxer engine. Thanks to the horizontally opposed engine design the motor can be placed lower in the engine compartment allowing for an overall lower center of gravity and better balance on the road or at the track.
Hair on fire or taking it easy the new Scion FR-S is easy and fun to drive with great support and comfort coming from its sport bucket seats up front. The car is listed as a 2+2 sport coupe but we would not suggest making anyone sit in the rear seat area and although it does have child seat latches I am not sure that even a baby seat would truly fit back there.
The Scion FR-S is what it is: A Scion. That means it will appeal to many across the board. While primarily going after the street tuner crowd (especially with the offering of a manual gearbox) I believe the take of the car with the automatic with manual mode and paddle shifters (and Rev Match downshift technology) will be much greater than Scion’s anticipated split of 50/50.
Scion demonstrated its new BeSpoke infotainment technology that will arrive when FR-S does. It is app-based and available only on the iOS platform right now. An Android version is in the works and should arrive with the next year model Scion.
Pricing. As Scion enters a new segment with the FR-S it also enters new pricing territory.
Base MSRP is around 25 grand and with a few goodies one can now purchase a Scion vehicle for north of $30,000.
The first generation is good and can only get better. And while automakers never discuss future plans, one look around the Subaru engine plant will tell you they do make turbocharged engines and one could surmise a performance edition may be somewhere down the road for the shared platform.
The first 86 vehicles were sold in ceremonious fashion (again, Scion paying homage to its “86” heritage) but expect the new FR-S to arrive in dealerships nationwide around the 1st of June –just don’t be surprised if you hear “We’re sold out already.”