EXECUTIVE EDITOR RORY CARROLL: Every time it snows, I wish we had our old long-term Subaru BRZ back. Once we’d mounted snow tires, there wasn’t a better car in our fleet for blasting through the snow sideways. When I was assigned this Scion FR-S, I was looking forward to more of the same, until I realized that it was sitting on its stock tires. In the snow, the Scion struggled to accelerate and stop. The chassis was still great, it was still fun to slide, but if you’re going to buy one of these and drive it all year, I’d recommend -- as I always do -- ponying up for snows.
One other note, I took a trip to Home Depot for lumber and was again surprised by the usefulness of the FR-S trunk. With the seats folded, there’s a ton of room back there.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I don’t care that its 10 degrees out and that there’s 4 inches of snow on the ground. This car is a blast to drive, as long as you can get it out of your driveway.
Rory told me it’d be a pain, but I didn’t care. I woke up Saturday, fired her up and promptly flicked off the traction control and looped it in my subdivision, but that was the only time! Once you get the feeling, it’s all good. Just drive it on the throttle. No joke, I could drive this car all winter.
So, the usual FR-S and BRZ stuff: could use a little more power, great gearbox, great all around formula, impossible to hate.
I like all of those options, but as a purist, and cheapskate, I’d skip them all. For the radio, all you really need is an iPod or USB hookup, the TRD exhaust, fog lights and rear spoiler? Vanity parts I say!
When I did find some dry pavement, I wrung it out like a soapy rag. You can feel the road through the steering wheel -- it and the Alfa Romeo 4C might be the only cars that do that anymore. I’m exaggerating, but only a little. Turn the traction control off and you have a light, nimble, easy-to-control tire-spinning machine. Just don’t hit a wet patch when you’re in the dry, or vice versa. Work the pedals right, and it’ll pivot on a dime.
Utility is obviously low, though I did make a Home Depot run for some wood and tools, which all fit in the trunk. It’s also a pain to get into, especially when someone parks to close to it. You have to get so low; it’s hard to keep balanced when you’re trying not to hit the car next to you.
I’ll say it one more time. At $25K, a hot hatch was the only way to go for an enthusiast for the last 20 years, except for theMazda MX-5Miata. Now, though, there are lots of options at that price, including this and the BRZ. I would recommend it to any enthusiast, including a buddy who just bought one on my word.
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