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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
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From the outset, the Scion FR-S was not intended to be a super-fast, super-powerful car. In that regard, no one is surprised by the 2.0-liter boxer engine's 200-horsepower output. In our editors' testing of the car, however, the FR-S often felt like it fell short of its claimed mark.
That's not to say the FR-S isn't tremendously fun to drive, however; it's a light, tossable, balanced sports car that rewards the driver for a properly setup line, and refuses to punish for going a bit over the limits. The whole chassis speaks to the driver, and while the electric power steering lacks some feel, it's easily one of the best we've tested, especially at the FR-S's $25,000 price point.
A six-speed manual gearbox is the standard gear, and its throws are very short, precise, and positive. Upshifts and downshifts are easy, with little play or vagueness at any point. It's one of the best mass-market stick shifts around. The automatic transmission is even easier to use, with a choice to shift manually via the steering wheel-mounted paddles, and while it rev-matches downshifts seamlessly, it occasionally displays some hesitation in selecting a lower gear, especially when the computer feels the engine speed is too high--beeping and delaying past the proper downshift point. Nevertheless, it's surprisingly competent on a windy canyon road or a race track when left to its own devices in sport mode.
There are no real performance options or upgrades for the 2013 FR-S at present, but Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is expected to offer some upgrades shortly after the car's June 1 on-sale date, with more accessories arriving over the next year.
Fun, light, and rewarding to drive, the 2013 Scion FR-S is a true sports car, despite the lack of absolute power.