The Edmond Sun

Features

April 9, 2013

Scion FR-S is a legit sports car

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 carcolumn@gmail.com.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 23, 2014

  • clock edit.jpg Antique clock collection on display at Edmond Library

    In a world that’s often hurried and brief, the Sooner Time Collectors have nothing but time. Oklahoma chapter members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors have provided antique pieces from personal collections to display at the Edmond Library until the end of April.
    Since the 1950s, Sooner Time Collectors have gathered to learn about the inner workings of clocks and to admire one-of-a-kind finds. Of interest to the community is their involvement with repairs for the Cowboy Hall of Fame clock and the UCO tower. They now have 35 members who meet monthly as a chapter of the 16,000-member NAWCC community across America and the world.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 22, 2014

  • 6th annual run event in Guthrie to benefit Free to Live

    The sixth annual “The See Spot Run” will take place at 9 a.m. May 10 in downtown Guthrie. This 5K, 10K and 1-mile run/walk event benefits Free to Live, a nonprofit animal sanctuary located Logan County. In the past five years of this event “The See Spot Run” has welcomed more than 3,000 runners and raised $30,000 for the Free to Live Animal Sanctuary.
    “The See Spot Run” will offer all participants the opportunity to compete in either the 5K or 10K event in addition to a 1-mile “Fun Run.” Walkers and runners (both two- and four-legged) are welcome and can register directly at www.theseespotrun.com. Visit www.freetoliveok.com. Donations also can be sent to “The See Spot Run,” P.O. Box 292, Guthrie, 73044.
     

    April 21, 2014

  • Touch-A-Truck event draws families to UCO

    Edmond Electric and Edmond Vehicle Maintenance are co-hosting the Edmond Touch-A-Truck from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 in the UCO parking lot off Second Street. Touch-A-Truck is a fundraising event that provides children of all ages with the opportunity to experience life-size vehicles and interact with community support leaders like police officers, firemen, construction workers and many more. Families will have the opportunity for a hands-on exploration of many vehicles such as Edmond’s own fire trucks and police cars, an Edmond Electric bucket truck and even a solid waste truck.
    Admission for the Touch-A-Truck event is a suggested $2 donation with the proceeds going to the Edmond HOPE Center. For more information, contact Edmond Electric at 216-7671 or email michelle.gumaer@edmondok.com.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 20, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo