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The Press Scion FR-S Part 2: Pace Notes

Hey guys. This article originally appeared on my website Shifting Lanes, but I thought I’d post it here as well so that you wouldn’t have to click another link to view it. If you like the content, head on over there and check out our other stuff.

Welcome to a new article series we’re starting at Shifting Lanes called Pace Notes. Here we take unfiltered, gut-reaction opinions from our latest car du jour and put them on the internet for you all to enjoy and ultimately disagree with. The goal of this series is to show that no matter who you put in a car, you’re going to have some differing opinions. Since Scion gave us an FR-S for the past week, we thought we’d get some people together to drive around in it and put some thoughts to paper. Each person was asked to either take a turn in the driver seat, the passenger seat, or both to get a full experience in as little time as possible. Would we all have the same reactions? Here’s what we thought.



  • Steering is very direct; point and go
  • Seating position is absolute perfection
  • Puts a big ass smile on your face at any point in the rev range above 4,000 RPMs
  • 3rd gear is magic
  • Feels wider than it actually is; pull into a parking spot, though, and you’re a gnat in a sea of SUVs
  • Have never received more looks from people on the sidewalk or in other cars; this includes driving or riding in a Porsche 944 Turbo, Ferrari 308, C5 Corvette, and my WRX
  • Needs more grunt down low in the rev band


  • Comfy for a sports car with good ride quality
  • Interior is a nice place to be; good materials
  • Seat bolstering is outstanding; never tossed around on a back road
  • Door cup holders are AWESOME for insulated, travel coffee mugs
  • Cabin cools down very quickly on a hot day
  • Black cloth seats are hot, but indescribably better than leather



  • Like exercising; it is a delight when you’re in the mood and a total chore when you’re not
  • If you’re in the mood for driving fast, you’ll be glad you’re in this low slung sports car; if this is your daily grind commuter, you’ll grow to hate it very quickly
  • You have to wring this car pretty hard to get the most enjoyment, but you’ll feel like a racecar driver while doing so
  • The loud exhaust, firm suspension, and low seating position makes this car feel like a purpose built track tool (EDITOR’S NOTE: Scion provided this car with the TRD factory exhaust)
  • Taking the engine to the higher revs and engaging higher gears is such an exhilarating feeling
  • Gears click-in ever so satisfyingly
  • It certainly looks and sounds fast, but it is really quite sluggish
  • Making quick passes on the highway requires more planning than other more powerful sports cars
  • The low torque and the 6-speed transmission in the car forces you to row through the gears like a madman
  • The car begs to be driven fast
  • When you actually want it to be fast, there’s just a lot of waiting involved
  • The steering wheel was nice to the touch and made quick pointing and slaloming quite easy, however, the road feel didn’t quite translate through the steering column and at times felt muted


  • The ride is very jarring in any surface that’s not freshly paved
  • The interior components that mattered were well designed
  • Pretty exhilarating though you will grow envious of the driver as they are having more fun than you
  • The seats are bolstered well to support you during the twisties
  • Riding in the backseat should only be reserved for an extremely small person (25th percentile-ish?)
  • Being 5’8″ and ~200 lbs, the backseat should only be suffered through in 30 minute increments, any longer and you and the guy sitting shotgun will be quickly de-friending the driver



  • LOVE the low down seating position; something I didn’t really notice until I got back in my car
  • The clutch is too light, but not awful; nothing some timing and practice couldn’t fix
  • Steering is excellent; quick response, light, and very solid feeling, but too vague. Only way to know I was at the limit of grip was because the tires were squealing, not because I felt it
  • Shifter is excellent; short throw and very accurate
  • An absolute hoot to drive. I would love more time with it. (specifically to perfect hooning it)


  • No backseat space
  • Cramped front seat position with a rear passenger that’s not an infant; to be expected, but still uncomfortable
  • Interior is nice, simple, and intelligible; plastic, but acceptable for this car
  • Willing to sacrifice luxury for a front-engined, RWD sports car at this price point
  • When no one is in the backseat, it’s more comfortable, but for some reason you feel like the car is more out of control than when driving

Kate (the wifey)


  • Slower than the WRX
  • Also louder than the WRX
  • Nonexistent back seat
  • Sleek design
  • Very comfortable with body hugging seats
  • Feels very low to the ground

Freddy from APiDA online (also known as Tavarish on Jalopnik)


  • It’s a little drone-y
  • The shifter feels playstation-y
  • LOUD
  • The speedometer is kind of useless
  • The steering wheel feels like there should be paddle shifters attached to it
  • Not bad power from a small-ish 4 cylinder


  • The seats are very comfortable; the ride is quite nice
  • The paint is beautiful
  • The car needs to be longer

Tom (fellow writer colleague, car nut, and extreme sports dude)


  • No clambering around to get in to the car; doesn’t feel like you need a parachute to break your free fall into it
  • Seats feel sporty without grabbing your crotch and man parts
  • Acceleration is smooth as a babies bottom
  • Ride is stiff on main roads and uncouth; more what I imagine riding a camel is like, as opposed to a horse
  • At home on back roads
  • Feels like it wants to be pushed; it wants to turn and take on winding roads; the ride feels appropriate here
  • Great for getting rid of your teenager’s obsession with their phone; that’ll fly straight out the window within the first 2 minutes
  • Give the car a wider, grippier set of tires and most of the kinks will be worked out in terms of ride and stability on the main roads

So there you have it. Agree/Disagree with us? Is one person spot on while the other is out of their mind? Let us know in the comments section. Stay tuned for more articles on the FR-S


Gregson is the co-producer of shiftinglanes.com where he and 2 gear head friends started an enthusiast website for shits and giggles to write about whatever the damn well pleased. You can contact Shifting Lanes here to tell us how wrong they are about everything, or yell at them on Facebook or Twitter

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