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Roseville, Calif.- Back in 2002 when the game plan was unveiled, Toyota launched its Scion brand to hopefully capture a younger, hipper segment of car buyers.

While the targeted millennials seemed to warm to the idea of owning these quirky styling, inexpensive vehicles, the ultra boxy xB wagon and the xA hatchback (which lasted just three years) certainly weren’t being embraced by the masses.


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Perhaps appearance is a primary reason why there’s nothing too fancy about the 2016 Scion FR-S, which has a long front end, smallish tail, swooping roofline, and weighs less than 3,000 pounds. It’s essentially the type of back-to-basics sports car that people have loved for decades.

There’s plenty to admire about this light weight, attractive sports car that has good performance, delivers admirable gas mileage (22-30 mpg), and is priced very reasonably at $25,305. By the way, that price is by far the highest among any Scion vehicle.

2016 Scion FR-S

  • Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 200 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 22-30 mpg
  • Estimated price: $25,305 to $29,510
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 2 years/25,000

Not only will this vehicle appeal to younger car buyers, there’s little doubt that it’s a suitable for any driver who is seeking some driving fun. The FR-S, which was introduced in 2013, will definitely deliver that.

The FR-S has one engine, a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that creates 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It’s an engaging rear-wheel drive compact coupe that’s easy to maneuver and the manual transmission goes 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. It shows some trepidation when climbing hills, but on flat roads it zips along quite nicely.

My primary complaint with the Scion FR-S – it isn’t offered as a convertible! The lone trim model has a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic that includes paddle shifters.

Unlike other Scions, the FR-S has a very basic cabin setup with the exception of its fine audio system. Note that there are very few luxury options.

Seating and comfort are fine in the FR-S front seat, but don’t even consider trying to put your friends in the backseat, or they may quickly become ex-friends. The trunk space of 6.9 cubic feet is diminutive as well. The recommendation here is forget about this nearly useless back seat and keep it folded down so at least the FR-S becomes cargo friendly.

The Scion FR-S is a sports car with many enviable qualities, the most obvious being it’s attractive and fun to drive. And isn’t that the essence what people want in a sports car?

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