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2013 Scion FR-S Review

This review was written when the 2013 Scion FR-S was new.

Automotive writers say the 2013 Scion FR-S proves that thrilling performance doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Critics agree that the FR-S has shaken up the affordable sports car class. Separated at birth from its sibling, the Subaru BRZ, the 2013 Scion FR-S brings a surprising amount of performance and value to enthusiasts. Autoblog writes, “Is the FR-S one of next year's enthusiast bargains? Absolutely, and that is a conclusion we consider irrefutable.” 

It all starts under the hood. The FR-S’ engine is mounted low and as far back in the engine bay as possible. Combined with its low center of gravity and a performance-tuned suspension, test drivers say these attributes make the Scion FR-S one of the best-handling sports cars on the market. And although it trails competitors like the Ford Mustang and Nissan 370Z with significantly less power, its light weight and slick transmission choices make the FR-S a lively, enjoyable drive.

The Scion FR-S was the 2013 Best Sports Car for the Money because it has the best combination of ownership costs and positive reviews in its class.

Although the FR-S is nimble enough for weekend track days, it still offers more interior comfort and practicality than some rivals. Like most sports cars, its back seat is tiny, but the seat folds flat to increase utility, and test drivers love the comfortable, supportive front seats and driver-focused cabin. The FR-S also stands out with better safety ratings than most cars in the class.

  • “‘Natural’ is the operative word with the FR-S, as every action and reaction feels like you expect it to. The car's chief virtue is its simplicity." -- Automobile Magazine  
  • "Let me put it this way: a whole lot of budget-minded sports cars hitting the streets and autocross courses today should be worried- that means you, Honda CR-Z, Mazda RX-8, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Mazda MX-5, Honda Civic Si, and even the Nissan 370Z." -- Motor Trend

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Other Cars to Consider

The FR-S offers more space than rivals like the Mazda Miata and Nissan 370Z, but test drivers report that it’s not the most spacious affordable sports car. If you need something more practical, consider the Ford Mustang. It’s not quite as nimble as the FR-S, but the Mustang offers significantly more power and an attractive design.

However, if you’re not concerned with passenger space, and want a sports car that’s nimble and fuel-efficient, test drive the Mini Coupe. The Coupe only seats two, but provides good cargo space for the class. Like the FR-S, reviewers love the Coupe’s refined drivetrain, saying that its enjoyable driving dynamics will spice up even the most mundane commute.

Compare the FR-S, Mustang and Coupe »

Scion FR-S: The Details

The 2013 Scion FR-S seats four and has rear-wheel drive. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission are standard, while a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. The FR-S comes in just one trim level, and is all-new for 2013.

See the full 2013 Scions FR-S specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/22/14

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