How can you raise the fun-to-drive quotient for Scion’s FR-S, which already rates high in the category with paddle shifters providing for manual gear selection of the six-speed automatic transmission?
How about yanking out that slushbox and going with a straight stick?
It works out very well.
Technically, of course, you don’t have to do the actual yanking. They do it for you.
Well, that’s not quite right either. A six-speed manual tranny is standard equipment on the FR-S, so presumably it’s already there. And you have to play an extra $1,100 over the base MSRP of $24,900 to get the automatic.
Oh. And they’re not going to take one off the showroom floor and actually take out the automatic if you prefer a manual version. You’re going to have to find a manual that is a color you like at the dealership or order one and wait.
But we’re getting off the point here, which is that if you want to fully appreciate the driving experience this sporty little coupe offers you need to have the three-pedal version with a clutch pedal to the left of the brake and a smooth-functioning shifter mounted in the center of the console.
As noted in a review of the 2014 model, the FR-S has undergone little change since being introduced for 2013. That remains the case for 2015. Parent company Toyota tweaked the suspension for a firmer feel and smoothed out some design touches, including new shades of white and silver colors for the exterior. Automatic headlights are now standard as well.
As with the previous models, the latest version comes with a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine (note: Toyota collaborated with Subaru on the engineering and design with Subaru dubbing its product the BRZ).
It sends 200 horsepower at a peak 7000 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque at 6400 to the rear wheels. The website zeroto60times.com, that combination results in a zero-to-60 clocking of 6.2 seconds for the manual versions, which is more than a second quicker than what the automatic delivers.
But the fun of the FR-S isn’t so much about straight-line power and speed but the way it handles. The strength of the FR-S is in its agility and nimbleness, and working with the clutch-and-stick you may perhaps get more out of it than you would by simply stomping on the accelerator and flicking paddles.
You’ll pay slightly more in the way of fuel charges since the EPA rates the manual mileage at 22 miles-per-gallon in town and 30 on the highway compared to 25/34 for the automatic.
Big deal. It’s worth it, even with the cost of the premium fuel that is required.
For a look at the 2015 Scion FR-S and some specs, check out the accompanying slide show.