Some of you may know that I have a 2013 Scion FR-S that I purchased around October of last year. It was my first brand new car ever and it came to me at a time when I needed to get rid of the most unreliable car in the history of the world. That Passat made me almost hate cars even with its redeeming qualities. I traded that car in so fast the dealer never even took it for a test drive.
I was originally looking at either leasing an Evo X or a buying a WRX, and only went to check out the FR-S because so many people were talking about how it was the savior of the auto enthusiast. I had pretty much already made up my mind, but figured I would just check it out. I was surprised. I took it for a test drive with my wife around the block and all of a sudden something happened, I started to grin. The shifts were great, the weight of the steering was amazing, the ease at which the engine climbed in the revs was superb, and in short I was hooked.
Now I'm no rube, when I got back from the test drive I told the salesman who couldn't be a nicer chap that I needed time to think and promptly left the dealership. I wasn't harassed to stay, they didn't keep my keys to my trade in, and didn't stall for time. It was by far the most satisfying deal I have ever made. When I left I started talking with my wife on finances and about 15 minutes later I called Russ back and had them set aside the car. What came next is history.
Fast-forward a few months later, I am sitting here typing on my computer trying to relay my experiences back to you. The car now has 10,000 miles on it. It's been through the Polar Vortex, rain, hail, a few car washes, it's first oil change, a new exhaust, and been topped out in the corn fields of southern Illinois. The car is great in almost every possible respect besides a few. I don't highly recommend it to those individuals that have a large family or have two dogs, one weighing in at over 75lbs, unless he decides to hop in the trunk in which you should really leave him there, it's safer.
We took the dogs on a short road trip to my grandma's house in northern Indiana one weekend. I being myself wanting to play with my car a bit in the wilderness that is northern Indiana, decided we could take it and our two dogs. They fit perfectly, but because of the drive shaft tunnel, neither could get comfortable enough to lie down. So in the course of the trip the TCS was turned off three times, my little pup jumped from my lap to my wife's lap, the dogs got into a fight, my wife's seat belt was unbuckled twice, and our bigger pup tried to come and lay down in my lap. It wasn't safe at all and won't be attempted again.
On a good note, you would expect the bucket seats to become uncomfortable on long hauls, but they don't. We have taken this car on a few road trips and later this year we will take it to Canada and to Austin for the F1 race. They are perfectly supportive, but they never really intrude on your comfort in those long hauls. The only issue with the seats has come up in the last week when I pulled my left thigh muscle. Getting out of the seats and out of such a low car while injured is extremely painful and I'm wishing that I was getting out of my wife's Outlander Sport. Nevertheless, other than my own personal injury, the interior cabin is great.
Another thing that isn't so great is the wind noise. The interior cabin's noise cancellation is not up to par, while doing 75mph on the highway you hear everything. The road, the wind, and the massive 16 wheelers with their wheels so close to your head that you think you will be crushed! What makes the wind noise worse is the really shitty window seals. I'm a big dude and getting into a small low lightweight sports car is probably a bit like a Benny Hill skit, naturally I hit my head on the rubber seals almost every time I get into the car.
About 3 months in with the wind noise getting ridiculous I took the car back into the dealer thinking the car was defective. The maintenance guy said nope, that the rubber seals tend to fall out if you keep hitting them with your head getting into the car. I asked him if there was a fix and he said the only fix is running your hand across the seal every few days to make sure it's seated properly in the door jam. Really Toyota?
Gas mileage ranges on this car more than people decide to talk about. My personal best was 416 miles to the puny 13 gallon tank. But on average you are getting somewhere around the 320 mile mark. It may just seem to me that I'm always filling up because the tank is so small, but it still seems ridiculous. Why not just make it a few gallons more? How hard would that be? I know they wanted it light and I applaud them for this, but come on 13 gallons?
What also makes for some interesting driving is when I topped the car out. It feels planted, or grounded to the ground, but I think Toyota should investigate the hood starting to come up at speeds over 90mph. I thankfully didn't notice this when I was doing a high speed run, but rather when I was just cruising down the highway. Above 90mph the hood begins to shake and look like it will pop up while driving. At first I thought the hood latch may have come unlocked, so I pulled over and checked it out. The hood was definitely secure. So I took it back on the road, climbed up to 90mph and immediately it did it again. My solution for the future would be to install a set of hood pins, but only if I decide to do another top speed pull.
Everyone knows the performance side of this car because of all the press and everyone knows it could use a little more horsepower. It certainly does. Right now the only modification I've done, solely due to lack of funds, is to put a Nameless Performance track pipe on the car. I lived with the stock exhaust for a couple months, but decided that it was just too quiet for the sports car it was. It deserved to be loud and now it sounds like a rally car! In addition, with a lack of funds being prevalent for the foreseeable future, the power is sadly not likely to change.
The tires are what many others have complained about they say there is an amazing lack of grip to them. Let me just say, I went through winter without changing to snow tires and I was never stuck. I took the car to its limits around on and off ramps, which depending on the ramp hovers between 60-85mph, never feeling like the car had a lack of grip. This car sticks even with its eco-friendly Prius tires. I would love to see what it could really do with a set of Pilot Cups wrapped wheels.
10k miles, and most likely another 8k this year with my car, in short I love it. It has its faults, but those faults are few and far between. It may be the one true god of the auto enthusiast or it could be one of the many second comings we've had recently. To me it's almost perfect, it could definitely use a bit more power, but overall it's a great car. If you haven't driven it, drive it, you will be impressed.
It's also great at slaying tires
A bit blurry but you get the idea
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