The Scion FR-S was initially introduced to the American audience as a collaboration between Toyota and Subaru. What was thought of as a one-off pairing between two established automakers completely changed the face of Scion. The FR-S was initially introduced at the 2011 New York Auto Show and hit the market by midseason in 2012.

It didn’t take long for the Scion FR-S to start turning heads as it quickly won two major awards. Car and Driver magazine named the Scion FR-S one of the 10 best cars of 2013 while U.S. News awarded it the Best Affordable Sports Car in 2012. The Scion FR-S was a hit when it first came onto dealership lots in 2012 and is still a hit today.

Price and Value

It would be easy to assume that a sports car that started winning awards the year that it hit the market would be outrageously priced and difficult to fit into your budget. While the Scion FR-S certainly made a big splash in the auto industry, it won’t create a large impact on your budget. In fact, you can find a Scion FR-S produced between 2013 and 2016 for between $15,000 and $20,000.

That makes it significantly cheaper than the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86, which are two of the most popular comparable vehicles. If you’re looking for a vehicle with the look and feel of a sports car but you don’t want to break the bank to get it, the Scion FR-S is a great fit for you.

Size and Seating Capacity

The Scion FR-S has the look of a sports car but still allows up to four people to enjoy the ride. With 76.5 total cubic feet for passengers, it is fair to say that most of the interior room is reserved for the driver and the person riding in the front with them. The front of the Scion FR-S offers 41.9 inches of leg space while the rear seats have 29.9 inches. The back seat is smaller, but there is still room for four people to ride comfortably.

If you’re driving a sports car, you’re probably not looking for something with massive cargo space. The 6.9 cubic feet afforded in the trunk is about what you would expect in a sports car of this size. You may not be able to pile a lot of sporting equipment in the trunk, but there’s enough space for you to stop at the grocery store on your way home from work.

Scion FR-S: Head-turning, award-winning affordability
Range and Engine Specs

The Scion FR-S comes standard with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. With up to 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm, the Scion FR-S gives you the power that you’re looking for if you’re considering buying a sports car.

Fortunately, you don’t have to give up much gas mileage to enjoy the power of the Scion FR-S. While it gets 25 mpg in the city, the FR-S boasts 34 mpg on the highway. The 13.2-gallon tank allows you to get approximately 330 miles out of each tank of gas. It is important to note that the Scion FR-S does require you to use premium unleaded gas.

Trim Levels and Features

Every Scion FR-S comes with certain features. Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, electric power steering, and a fully independent suspension all come standard. The base model also comes equipped with 17-inch aluminum wheels, dual exhaust, projector-beam headlights, power windows, power locks, and keyless entry. If you opt for a base model, you’ll also enjoy the telescopic wheel, power mirrors, front and side air bags, and a 6.1-inch screen for your audio system.

Making the jump up to the Release Series does come with some added benefits. You get all of the features listed for the base model, in addition to LED running lights, HID headlamps, and dual-zone climate control. The Release Series also comes equipped with a remote start, aero body kit with spoiler, and its own list of unique exterior colors.

Entertainment options are also the same across both trims. The Scion FR-S is Bluetooth-compatible while also offering a USB port, an HD radio, and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system that allows you to enjoy all of your music straight from your phone’s playlist.

In order to keep the price point as low as it is, there are certain luxuries that just didn’t fit in. Instead of leather seats that are common in sports cars, the Scion FR-S has cloth seats. However, the seats not only look smooth and sleek, but they also offer some high-level comfort. The front seats are the same style of bucket seats that you would find in most traditional sports cars while the second-row seats are a simple bench seat made of the easily cleaned material as the front.

Scion FR-S: Head-turning, award-winning affordability
Reliability and Safety

According to J.D. Power and Associates, the Scion FR-S received an overall score of 78 out of a possible 100 points, putting it just one point below the Subaru BRZ. In the event that you’re bothered by that score, it’s important to understand why reviewers knocked the FR-S. The biggest complaint was the lack of room in the back seat.

While that may be an issue if you plan on having four adults in the Scion FR-S, you probably aren’t shopping for a sports car for the purpose of driving around multiple adults. If you’re looking for a sports car that fits in the budget while still offering plenty of power and is a joy to drive on winding roads, the Scion FR-S can go toe to toe with any of its counterparts.

According to IIHS, the Scion FR-S received a “Good” safety rating, which is the highest grade that they give. The Scion FR-S comes with an anti-lock braking system that allows the car to sense when a tire has stopped rotating due to extreme braking. It then modulates the brake pressure to help make sure the car can still turn while braking. The FR-S also offers stability control, which is a great feature to have if you’re on wet roads. The FR-S will reduce the amount of engine power and apply select brakes to help you quickly regain control.

Finally, the six air bags, which are strategically located in the front, overhead, and on the sides, work together with the seatbelt pretensioners to ensure that you are in the safest possible position and protected on all sides in the event of a collision.

The Takeaway

The Scion FR-S was released in an attempt to put an affordable sports car on the market, and that’s exactly what it did. No, it may not be the most ideal vehicle if you want to load up all of your friends and take a long road trip due to the limited back seat space, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for an affordable sports car that provides plenty of power and handling. Especially when you consider the price point, it’s hard to beat the Scion FR-S for a reliable, affordable sports car.