10.10.2015

Small Change(s): The 2016 Scion FR-S

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Scion FR-S
The 2016 Scion FR-S.
What is there to say about the 2016 Scion FR-S that we didn't say about the 2014 or the 2013...or for that matter its identical cousin, the 2015 Subaru BRZ?  After all, there's no change under the hood and the styling remains the same.




Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Scion FR-S
2016 Scion FR-S.
Truth be told, the FR-S is such a satisfying car to drive that proclaiming a lack of changes would be as satisfying as a full review of most other cars would be.  It's a perfectly-balanced sport coupe focused on handling.  Find a winding, twisty road, and delight in the positive responses to your every input.  As we're bombarded on a daily basis with stories about the inevitability of autonomous vehicles, the FR-S is a four-wheeled antidote...a reminder of just how good the relationship between man and machine can be.

Some say it could use more power, but its 200 horsepower, 2-liter 16-valve boxer four is more than adequate.  I've said it before in a review and I'll say it again...this is the modern-day equivalent of the original 1970 Datsun 240Z. Read this June, 1970 Car and Driver review of the Z and virtually everything about it also fits the FR-S, apart from technologies and price (which, adjusted for inflation, is close).  I say virtually everything because the FR-S doesn't have the defeciencies C/D found in the original Z (drivetrain vibrations, finicky-when-wet brakes, understeer, carburetor settings that interfered with smooth upshifts).  And it's faster than the Z....quicker both to 60 and in the quarter-mile.

And though it's not mentioned in the C/D review (the EPA wasn't doing fuel economy estimates 46 years ago), the FR-S gets much better gas mileage with an estimated 22 city/30 highway (Motor Trend got an average of 20.2 MPG in their instrumented testing back in the day).

Interior view of 2016 Scion FR-S
2016 Scion FR-S interior.
So what is new for 2016?  What seem to be minor improvements on paper that make the driving experience a lot nicer.  Silver accents on the doors, dash, steering wheel and console brighten up what had been a dark and kinda dull interior.  The too-tiny buttons on the Pioneer audio system are gone...replaced by a much better touchscreen that includes a backup camera.

Our tester came with exactly zero options.  And we wanted for nothing.  The base price of $25,305 was boosted by $770 for the delivery processing and handling fee for a bottom line of $26,075.  A bargain price for a true driver's car.

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