2013 Scion FR-S: First Look

  • Competes with: Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Nissan 370Z, Subaru BRZ
  • Looks like: The first legitimately sporty Scion
  • Drivetrain: 200-hp horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine; six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2012

Look familiar? We showed you a first glimpse of the 2013 Subaru BRZ yesterday, and besides some aesthetic differences, the 2013 Scion FR-S will be a nearly identical offering in the sports coupe category.

The vehicle you see is the result of a partnership between Subaru and Toyota. Subaru’s counterpart will be marketed as the just mentioned BRZ in the U.S. In the rest of the world, the Scion FR-S will be known as the Toyota GT 86, or simply “86” in Japan.

FR-S stands for “Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport.” Along with the basic, sporty rear-wheel-drive layout, the coupe comes standard with a 200-horsepower horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Premium fuel is required.

While the overall body shape is nearly identical to the BRZ, Scion has added some garnishes from its FR-S Sport Coupe concept vehicle to the front and rear end, including a honeycomb lower intake. Instead of the port vents shown on the BRZ, the Scion features an “86” piston emblem on either side, alluding to the Toyota AE86. The model shown features 17-inch wheels.

There are some significant differences between the Scion and the Toyota and Subaru models in the cabin, including some changes to interior controls. Instead of the climate control radial knobs with digital readouts, the Scion will get controls borrowed from the Scion tC and Toyota Corolla (Cars.com's Kelsey Mays called them “shoddy” in his review); the GT 86 and the BRZ featured dual-climate systems in their press photos, but it doesn’t look like the Scion has the feature.  The push-button start we saw on the BRZ is also removed from the center console, or maybe the feature is unavailable on the Scion all together. The radio unit has been replaced with a stock Pioneer head unit that most Scion models have recently upgraded to.

These telltale details could suggest an effort to cheapen the FR-S to bring its price in line with the rest of the Scion lineup. That strategy could be helpful in differentiating it from the otherwise identical Subaru BRZ in the U.S. market, with the latter vying for more upmarket buyers. 

Toyota will share more information about the FR-S at the 2012 Detroit auto show.

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