Anyone who loves sports cars should send a thank-you note to Toyota and Subaru.
The two companies teamed up to produce the first all-new, affordable sports car the world has seen in several years.
That's a rare thing because true, hard-edged sports cars are difficult to engineer and even harder to sell. They just don't move in big numbers because, out of necessity, most drivers lean toward cars that are more practical and comfortable. At some level, sports cars are toys, after all.
But, after spending a week driving Toyota's version — which is sold as the Scion FR-S here in America — I'm pleased to learn that this sports car is legit.
It's not a semi-sporty coupe like the old Toyota Celica. It's not a comfy grand tourer like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. It's a real, honest-to-goodness sports car designed entirely around the driving experience.
The suspension is tuned to have a far rougher, stiffer ride than most cars. You can feel every tiny pebble on the pavement, which is perfect for drivers who want to test its limits. It's all about experiencing the road and becoming one with the road, not being isolated from the road.
Handling is ideally balanced thanks to its basic, classic sports-car layout: the engine up front, with power going to the rear wheels. That gives it a slight tendency to oversteer when you turn off the traction control and apply power while cornering — exactly what a fun sports car ought to do.
Much in the spirit of my beloved Mazda Miata, this is a car that lets drivers push their limits without killing themselves.
Compare it to the Chevy Corvette, for example. While the Corvette is a faster and more expensive car, I don't enjoy driving it as much as the FR-S because it's so much harder to test its boundaries.
With the Corvette's wide, sticky tires and giant V-8 engine, you almost have to be a professional driver — or simply foolhardy — to discover where it loses grip in ultra-high-speed turns.
With the FR-S, though, ordinary drivers can have a lot more fun. Its narrower tires lose their grip through corners at lower speeds and very smoothly, not suddenly, letting a mere-mortal driver do a delicate dance with the throttle and steering wheel to keep it composed in turns.
It makes a ham-fisted driver like me feel like an Andretti.
Power comes from a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated, horizontally opposed "boxer" four-cylinder engine that's derived from Subaru, but it's fitted with a high-tech fuel injection system called D-4S that Toyota previously used in its Lexus division.
It makes 200 horsepower, which is impressive in a car that weighs just 2,758 pounds.
While Subaru sells a near clone of this car called the BRZ, which I haven't driven yet, my first indication is to lean toward the Scion just because of the way it looks. The Scion has a smoother, cleaner, more classic shape in my eyes.
Still, this isn't a car for everyone. Rear visibility is limited by a thick pillar in back. The trunk is tiny, and the back seat is a total joke. It's going to be a noisy, rough riding, fairly impractical car by design. But that's what makes it a real sports car, something that's beautiful inside and out.
It's also the reason you should pick up your pen and write "thank you" to the engineers and companies that poured their hearts and souls into building a vehicle that appeals to a small but devoted cult of driving purists.
Better yet, take it for a test drive and experience it for yourself.
Derek Price is an automotive columnst for CNHI News Service. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who loves sports cars should send a thank-you note to Toyota and Subaru.
YARD OF THE WEEK: Spring or summer, Clift’s yard blossoms
The Clift Family at 2724 Woodland Creek Drive have worked many hours to make this week’s Yard of the Week a feast for the eyes. Mark Clift’s profession is in the technical field, but his passions are with the earth and sharing nature’s wonders with others, as he encourages his young children’s curiosity with their flower pot veggie gardens.
Scout earns Eagle rank
John Bernard Giachino, 16, of Edmond, was awarded his Eagle Scout rank March 26. He is a member of Venture Crew 2021 chartered by St. John the Baptist in Edmond. John is the son of Phillip and LaDonna Giachino, grandson of Linda and the late John Giachino of Oklahoma City and Fred and Joanne Horinek of Newkirk.
John’s Eagle Scout service project was designing and building a gaga pit for Camp Dakani in Oklahoma City for future Boy Scouts of America to play and enjoy for years to come.
John will be a junior at Bishop McGuinness High School, where he is a member of the golf team and National Honor Society. He attends St. John the Baptist Church and participates in Life Teen. John recently visited Peru on a mission trip.
New view on President Grant
What do you know about Ulysses S. Grant? If you’d asked me that before my visit to St. Louis, I would have said: “President of the United States, Commanding General of the Union Army, buried in Grant’s Tomb and — a drunkard.” Three out of four is not bad, but as history, I pretty much have to give myself a D.
On previous visits to the Gateway City, Jack and I have visited Grant’s Farm — an area attraction owned by Anheuser-Busch. In the midst of the 281 acres stands a small log cabin — once the home of Ulysses S. Grant. Somehow, I never noticed the road just outside Grant’s Farm boundaries that leads to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, a property of the National Park Service.
INTEGRIS welcomes 1,000th birth since opening in October 2011
Being the father of a new baby boy is pretty exciting, but being the father of INTEGRIS Health Edmond’s 1,000th baby made it even more special.
“When we got to the hospital, the night-shift nurse told us we were in a race with another couple who had gotten there at 7 a.m.,” said Bryan Lane, the new baby’s father.
Oklahoma County Free Fair offers competition, free fun
Oklahoma County residents are invited to compete in the 100th annual Oklahoma County Free Fair as they take part in many activities scheduled just for them.
The county fair will get underway Aug. 21-23 at the Oklahoma State Fair Park and will be highlighted by its open adult and youth along with 4-H and Oklahoma Home and Community Education categories, as well as its special contest and activities.
Grieving children find support at Calm Waters
Calm Waters Center for Children and Families offers free support groups for children, ages 3–18 and their families whose lives have been affected by death or divorce.
Oklahoma continues to rank among the top states in the nation for unintentional and premature deaths, leaving single parents raising children. Additionally, Oklahoma continues to have one of the highest divorce rates per capita in the nation. These tragedies leave children feeling isolated, sad, and uncertain.
Church hosts adult Vacation BIble School
“Jesus is the Source” will be the theme of Edmond First Church of the Nazarene’s second annual adult Vacation BIble School.
The progam will be from 6-8:30 p.m. Aug. 4-7 at the church, located at 3001 S. Boulevard. It will include a light supper at 6 p.m. and songs, games, storytelling and crafts beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Presenters will include members of the congregation acting as Bible characters and a special performer will be in from Texas.
UCO, local Y create community garden
A new community garden is providing a transformative learning opportunity for students and helping stock UCO’s Central Pantry.
The University of Central Oklahoma’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center and the Edmond Rankin YMCA are sponsoring the garden, providing a transformative learning opportunity for students, and organic fruits, vegetables and herbs for the food bank.
NAMI classes begin in September
NAMI Edmond North-OKC, the local organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will offer its Family-to-Family Education Program beginning Sept. 2. It will contine Sept. 4 and 8-9. Classes will be at Crossings Community Church, Quail Springs United Methodist Church, Francis Tuttle Technology Center (Portland campus), Tinker AFB Chapel and the Thunderbird Club House in Norman.
NAMI Family-to-Family is a free 12-session education program for family caregivers of adults living with mental illness. The sessions are offered once a week for a few hours each.
Edmond church to host free eye clinic
An Edmond church and Feed the Children are partnering to provide a free eye clinic.
Individuals will be able to receive a free vision test and free prescription eye glasses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Waterloo Road Baptist Church, 3100 E. Waterloo Road. All ages are welcome and registration is not required.
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- YARD OF THE WEEK: Spring or summer, Clift’s yard blossoms