You may remember the early Z cars from Datsun in the 70s.
The Z, now a Nissan racer, has long been a desirable set of wheels.
What is the relevance? Good question.
At first glance, the 2013 Scion FR-S brings back the Z look. It is a rear-wheel drive sports car with a horizontally opposed boxer engine tucked under a sleek hood. The FR-S is in a class by itself and there really is no competition for this mid-$20’s priced car except its Subaru lookalike, the BRZ.
It conjures up visions of the first generation Mazda RX-7, the poor man’s sports car introduced in the late 70s. No rotary engine in the Scion however.
Manufactured in a joint venture between parent company Toyota and Subaru, the Scion line of cars debuted in 2002 to address the youthful consumer thought to be missing in the Toyota lineup. For Scion, the FR-S is a big step up the sport ladder from its siblings, the Scion tC and little IQ.
Driver and passenger are held securely in place inside the FR-S cockpit thanks to heavily bolstered front seats. Don’t look for mood lighting and fancy doo-dads inside. Neither is part of the FR-S culture.
Instead, a plain set of gauges is dominated by a large white-faced tachometer. For audiophiles, a Pioneer audio system cranks out 300 watts of power to six speakers and houses connectivity for phone and Bluetooth.
Mated to a six speed manual or automatic transmission, its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine develops 200 horsepower.
There is no skimping on performance hardware on the FR-S. From its D-4S direct and port injection system, electric power steering, front struts and 17-inch wheels, to its limited slip differential and traction control, all are designed for maximum performance. If you want the extra rear freedom for track conditions, the traction and stability controls will disengage through a console switch.