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by Sommer Thornton and Daryl Payne
Scion has a sleeper one their hands! The 2014 FR-S gets two thumbs up as one of my favorite sports coupes under $30k. The FR-S has a fresh sporty design with a drag capable powertrain that surprisingly balanced. New for 2014 is added style with a two-tone interior with contrast stitching, a new touchscreen with multi-info display, and a great EPA. Men and women were attracted to this cool new sports whip further making the FR-S is a great buy fully loaded for $27k.
We reviewed the 2014 Scion FR-S on a great week in autumn. The fun little coupe was nicknamed the lil turbo gangster- great for everyday driving, with a ferocious engine that growls as it attacks the road.
Super Stylish Fresh Design
The 2014 Scion FR-S offers cool new colors for 2014 like Hot Lava, Firestorm, and Ultramarine. The FR-S’s sexy contoured hood slops to a long wheelbase contributing to its coefficient drag of .27- similar to a Nissan GT-R or a BMW i8. The contemporary design includes 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome tip dual exhausts. An added rear wing aids aerodynamics. I like that despite its affordability the FR-S never felt cheap. The coupe has a sturdy steel frame with a curb weight of 2,758 lbs. The doors of the FR-S were heavy and feel sportier than a typical $20k coupe.
The FR-S manages to look contemporary and classic so it appeals to young and older fans. The muscles on the sides paired with its high wheel arches make the FR-S coupe resemble a Ferrari from the side. But the FR-S is also less intimidating as a sports car, so it appeals to young millennials, sports car enthusiasts, and it could be a more affordable remedy for a mid-life crisis (that the whole family could drive).
Fun Performance for Everyday Thrills
The Scion FR-S is one of those low-key stunners that can rip the road if prompted. Its powertrain is fun, but is comfortable for everyday city driving…at least for the driver and front passengers. The FR-S has a 2.0 liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine that boasts 200 horsepower. The front-mounted 16-valve engine has direct and port injection and dual variable valve timing. With 151 lb-ft of torque at 6,400 rpm the peppy 4-cylinder supports smooth aggressive acceleration with dynamic handling. We reviewed the FR-S equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. A 6 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management is also available.
The 6 speed manual is another big plus. The FR-S manual transmission supports the driver in any and every driving situation, quickly shifting down to move over bumps and delivering max torque for quick acceleration.
I like how the FR-S will subtly let the driver know which gear they should be in without knocking or over revving. The intelligible trans will hold for downshifts and prep for upshifts. And the FR-S delivers power exclusively to each wheel even cruising in 1st and 2nd gear. The response time for the manual transmission is fast, but not fast enough. Sometimes I’d hear the clunkiness of the clutch.
Start Stop technology helps the FR-S achieve an EPA of 25 mpg combined with 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Start Stop technology works harmoniously with the engine and manual trans to subtly shut the engine off when idle for an extended time. And even though the FR-S takes only premium fuel, the 13.2 gallon tank only took about $40 to fill up in Chicago.
Dynamic handling perks make the FR-S nimble and athletic on the highway. The FR-S has standard electric power steering, torsen limited slip differential, independent MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension. The 2014 FR-S also has front and rear ventilated disc brakes that stop on a dime.
Standard Safety Features Leave Drivers in Control
Standard safety features include the Star Safety System with Vehicle Stability Control, traction control, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution. There could’ve been a backup camera, a blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, or forward collision alert. Perhaps the automatic transmission FR-S is equipped with more safety tech. In the manual FRS-S, however, the driver is in charge of the safety of all passengers. Hopefully the 2015 FR-S will better combine safety tech with dynamic performance technology.
Stylish Driver-Focused Cabin
The FR-S has a cabin that’s stylish and fresh. While technology is abundant, comfort tech is manual in the manual trans FR-S, with no power seats, no leather, and no power tilting steering wheel. Power tilting sideview mirrors is probably asking too much. The cabin has two-tone cloth seats with contract stitching, a leather wrapped steering wheel, leather shift knob, and aluminum sport pedals and scuff plates. The FR-S also has carpeted floor mats and a one-piece fold flat rear seat.
The front passengers have 41 inches of legroom and the rear passengers a measly 20 inches of legroom. The backseat isn’t the tiniest of any coupe I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t put a child seat back there.
Drivers have sporty looking gauges in their dash including a tachometer, coolant temp gauge, fuel gauge, and speedometer. A small multi-info display has a digital speedometer. A cool 6.1 inch LCD touchscreen has navigation, Bluetooth, aux and HD radio controls. And an 8 speaker sound system is standard.
The 2014 Scion FR-S was a surprise hit for Daryl and the crew. The head-turner got a lot of praise for its simple effectiveness and highway prowess. With a sticker price of just $27,534, this whip will surely be a hit for sport coupe lovers who want high speed thrills without the high price.