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The 2014 Scion FR-S is an enthusiast's dream: light, agile, and affordable. Even compared to cars costing twice as much or more, the FR-S is one of the most engaging new cars around. The 2014 model carries into the new model year largely unchanged.
The FR-S isn't your typical Scion. Economy and practicality are still evident, but they're not the priority. Instead, the Toyota-styled, Subaru-built sports car is engineered from the ground up to be fun.
Simple surfaces and classic proportions give the outline of the FR-S. Details at the nose and tail give a modern, aerodynamic look to the car. Inside, the 2014 Scion FR-S is basic, but well-built and handsome, if not quite beautiful.
Under the hood you'll find a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine rated at 200 horsepower. The engine doesn't develop much torque at all, especially low in the rev range, with most of the power living toward the top of the 7,400-rpm tachometer.
Once you've reconciled yourself with grabbing the Boxer four by the nape of its neck and squeezing for all it's worth, the FR-S becomes a second skin. Nimble, light (by modern standards), and incredibly neutral in its balance, the Scion FR-S captures the essence of what a sports car should be: honest, inexpensive fun.
Steering is a bit of a low point, with the electric power assist taking out much of the feel, leaving behind an intuitive and quick, but not very communicative, wheel. The brakes are easy to modulate and adequate to the car's weight and tire fitment, easily surviving a half-dozen laps on track or a long, fast canyon run.
Sitting the FR-S isn't a chore, either. Though there's a sound pipe to bring some of the car's growling engine note into the cabin, very little actual exhaust noise is heard at all. Wind and road noise can become prominent at speeds above 70 mph.
But the seats, in the front, are where the FR-S's interior really shines. Well-bolstered, comfortable, with plenty of leg and hip room for larger and taller drivers, the front seats are an excellent offering for a production vehicle. The rear seat is best reserved for children and shorter adults, though it is serviceable for even six-footers in a pinch.
On the equipment front, there's not much to talk about: the Scion FR-S only has a few choices to be made. Fortunately, those choices include available premium audio with apps capability, while standard gear includes Bluetooth, keyless entry, and climate control.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the FR-S a five-star overall score, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated it 'good' in all categories--although it hasn't yet been tested in the new small overlap frontal category.
The 2014 Scion FR-S hasn't been crash-tested yet, but it is unchanged from the 2013 model year, so it should score well. Last year's results didn't include small-overlap front tests, however. With six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control all among the standard safety equipment, we expect the 2014 Scion FR-S to be a good performer in future crash testing.