I first fell in love with the Scion FR-S in 2012. I was checking out the new car models at the Houston Auto Show when I spied a beautiful object out of the corner of my eye. I walked across the floor to get a better look. However, I wasn’t the only person who was smitten by the FR-S’s looks. There was a swarm of guys surrounding the car taking photos, shooting videos, and wishing the FR-S could be theirs.
I pushed my way through the crowd until I was close enough to touch it. It was a work of art – compact, sleek, sporty – everything I ever wanted in a car. I fantasized about driving this car on a coastal highway on a carefree Sunday afternoon. But I knew that our relationship would never work. What would people think if they saw us together? I was a married man with three kids, after all. Like a forlorn teenager, I walked away stealing one last furtive glance at the gorgeous FR-S car before heading to the minivan display.
Two years later, I finally got a chance to live out my fantasy of driving the FR-S and it didn’t disappoint.
Beyond its looks, the Scion FR-S is built for people who love to drive. The rear-wheel-drive vehicle comes with a 2.0 Liter, 4-Cylinder engine that delivers 200 HP @ 7,000 RPM and a 6-Speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management. While the FR-S has an impressive set of standard features, the car’s interior has a minimalistic design that helps the driver to focus on the driving experience.
I took the car to a quiet, winding back road on the outskirts of the city. The FR-S hugged the curves and raced down the straight-a-ways with aplomb. I felt every bit of the road as I drove and the engine’s roar only added to the visceral experience. I only wish that the car had a little more initial acceleration. I managed to reach 0-60 in a little over 7 seconds, not bad, but definitely slower than some competing models.
My week-long fling with the FR-S ended far too soon. But I’m glad that I was able to spend some time with this fetching, affordable (Around $25,000), and fun sports car.
If the FR-S is the girl everyone wants to go out with, then the Scion tC is her cute, shy sister who would make a great girlfriend if you only took the time to get to know her.
Although the 2014 Scion tC has a sporty exterior design with new headlamps and a more aggressive-looking grille, don’t expect it to deliver the same performance as the FR-S. While the car was responsive enough to hold my interest while driving around the city, it didn’t impress me on the back roads. The steering was a bit loose for my tastes and the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine didn’t deliver the excitement I was hoping for. However, I must say the overall ride was smoother than the FR-S’s.
The tC’s interior was spacious and comfortable. Adults could actually sit in the back seat without feeling like they were squeezed into a sardine can. The car also has a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio system with apps, phone integration, and music streaming. Other interior touches include USB ports, standard auto-up/down power windows, leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and a panoramic moon roof. These appealing features along with the car’s styling are what made the tC Scion’s best-selling vehicle.
Where the tC really excels is in the area of safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the tC a GOOD rating in all its relevant crash tests, including rear impacts and roof-strength tests. I can validate these claims because I was involved in an accident while driving the tC.
The accident occurred during rush-hour. Traffic was inching along at a snail’s pace when I looked into the rear-view mirror to discover the guy behind me approaching at a more rapid pace. I tried to move out of the way, but I had nowhere to go. The car ran into my rear bumper and I only felt a slight jolt. I exited the car to assess the damage and I was pleased to discover that the tC only suffered a broken tail light. The other guy’s car didn’t fare as well. Although it was a low-speed crash, it destroyed the entire front end of his vehicle. I was able to drive away while his vehicle had to be towed.
After spending a week with the Scion tC, I came to appreciate it’s practical aspects. While it may not be your fantasy car, it is perfectly suited for the realities of daily life. With a starting price of around $20,000, the tC offers the perfect blend of practicality and performance. If you want to boost the car’s cool factor, you can opt for the Monogram Series that offers additional styling cues and upgraded features.