There has been a lot of talk lately about the priorities of the Auto Industry. One week it seems like we are riding a wave of excitement, certain brands want to become interesting and focus on sport. The next week we are all in dire straights, the autonomous car seems on the verge of writing drivers out of existence and we are all manning our battle stations prepared to defend the manual transmission to the last man. I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty exhausting to me and unfortunately it’s the ride we are all stuck on as technology changes along with wants and needs of the majority consumer.
Thankfully, we have little gifts from the automakers that make this trip into the future more bearable and truthfully much more fun. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to test drive the 2016 variant of the Scion FRS a while ago and now its finally time to put pen to paper and tell you what I thought. There is no doubt that this vehicle is designed entirely for fun. From the price right down to the feeling you get when you sit inside, the FRS just puts a grin on your face and reminds you that they haven’t forgotten about the car enthusiasts just yet.
Now I tend to leave the picture taking to Mario but unfortunately I don’t always have that luxury so todays photo set lacks some of those fancy lighting goodies. Immediately as I got into the FRS I was impressed by the interior. The factory bucket seats are excellent, they offer more than enough support while you’re driving without making you feel like you are crawling out of a kayak on the way back up. The red and black colour scheme worked nicely on this model as it was black. However, if you were to opt for the blue or “lava” then I tend to think that a completely black seat would be better suited. The cabin size is well suited to the two front seats, giving you a feeling of control over the entire vehicle. If you are a very ambitious person and have two incredibly small friends then you’re in luck because there are seat belts for two more behind the front seats. While it is nice to have this extra bit of room, it is likely better for holding some groceries.
The rest of the cabin is quality craftsmanship as well. The touch screen is simple to use and the premium audio system means you can listen to your music as loud as you please (you really should be listening to the exhaust). With that said there is little exhaust noise inside the cabin of the car, though when you step on the gas there is a slight growl that will make you grin. The overall impression I got from the inside of the FRS is that it has everything you need, built properly. While it has more than its fair share of plastic components, all feel solid and firmly attached. The nice big one on the dash has a carbon fibre pattern on it too come on, what’s not to love?
Given that I am new to this, my road test occurred on a simple large loop of my hometown and it included both highway and in town driving. Now I can hear all you power hungry folks out there saying “needs more turbo” or “it’s underpowered” and with 200 horsepower it’s not breaking any records. BUT, what you need to realize is that this car isn’t intended to produce outstanding power figures. It’s designed to be a modern take on the classic sports car which means great handling and just enough power to keep you in control with maximum fun factor. Entering the highway, the car had more than enough power to get up to speed in a hurry, the steering is light but you still feel very in control, the car goes exactly where you want it to go in a real hurry.
While the cabin is small, I didn’t have any problems seeing what was going on around me, the biggest issue was the sales tag taped to the window that created a blind spot big enough to hide a dump truck behind. I must remember to remove that for next time, I looked a little crazy trying to peer around it during lane changes. When it came to driving around the town, the brakes proved their worth quite well when negotiating the many traffic circles that seem to be popping up all over the place. I’m sorry but some places are perfectly fine with a stoplight, most of the world isn’t ready to grasp how to use a traffic circle, we haven’t even grasped how to use a turn signal yet.
Easily the pinnacle of the trip came right near the end of our drive. Everything was going well and the car was just as new as when I began. I approached the last traffic circle before arriving at the dealer behind this massive tanker truck. Fully intending to leave him enough space to get around the median, I was forced to come to a rather abrupt stop as he saw it fit to place his entire truck in my lane. Three things can be taken from this:
- The brakes on the 2016 FRS work very well.
- Situation almost required a pants change.
- Why do we need these bloody traffic circles?
Thankfully this was the only hiccup during the drive and I can confidently say that this vehicle is excellent to drive. Balance of handling and performance makes for something that feels incredibly planted on the road. Now I have heard from others that the back end will step out almost on demand but that wasn’t about to happen during our little city drive. If ANYONE has the opportunity for me to try one of these out on the track it would be greatly appreciated. While a little more power for the get up and go would be fun, this car would definitely make an excellent daily driver that you would be eager to hop in in the morning year round.
The exterior styling helps solidify the sporty intent of the FRS with the long hood and wide rear fenders blending nicely to create a fluid line that runs the length of the car. The optional 18″ TRD alloys are a must have feature and their simplistic design maintain aggression while matching the lines of the car well. The front and rear echo this idea of simplicity with teardrop headlights and moulded fog light pods in the front and well as dual chrome exhaust tips and circular taillights in the rear. Overall, this is a design that is easily customizable to your own liking and one that attracts attention regardless of where it is parked.
I would like to thank the generous individuals at Ancaster Toyota Scion for providing a vehicle for me to use in order to write this piece, everyone was more than willing to help and answer any questions I had about the vehicle. I hope this is the first of many experiences I am able to share with you as I navigate my way through the automotive world. Happy New Year to you all and look forward to more exciting content to come in 2016.