Read the full review and watch the video at AutoGuide.comThe best Toyota in 20 years is actually a Scion
Squeeze on the throttle at corner exit and the car begins to track out, with just a hint of oversteer. Get greedy and the tail will gently start to rotate. Ease off and the car tucks back in line. It does what you tell it to, no more, no less. The Scion FR-S is a return to the roots of what makes a sports car a sports car.
It’s not the raw driving machine many may expect. Its not visceral like a Lotus Elise or as singular in purpose as a Honda S2000, and it won’t beat you up. In fact, it’s quite civilized. It is, however, very much a purist’s car and one that company CEO Akio Toyoda aptly remarked, “rewards proper driving technique.”
A better description of the FR-S, or Toyota 86 as its called in Japan, there isn’t. The antithesis of modern sports cars, Toyota set out to create it as such, purposefully avoiding AWD, turbos, excessive technology and even high grip tires.
Instead, the basic front-engine rear-drive layout, combined with a low center of gravity (due to its flat-4 boxer engine), a limited slip differential and an overall curb weight that comes in around 2,700 lbs are the tools at the disposal of the driver. This can be humbling, but it also makes the FR-S a car where you can’t show up and fake-it at a lapping day. Flaws in your technique will show through immediately and the FR-S challenges you to be a better driver.
Like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car the FR-S will be compared to ad nauseum, it’s a momentum car, meaning that with just 200-hp on tap, if you’re going to be fast around a race track, you’ll need to keep your speed up. That’s not as hard as it seems, especially when acceleration feels much more rapid than expected considering the engine output. Even torque feels surprisingly potent, despite just 151 lb-ft of the stuff at a lofty 6600 rpm – suggesting a solid torque curve.