Motorcity Breakdown: Suburu BRZ Vs. Scion FR-S

Written by a Guest Blogger

Scion isn’t a name that has a rich history associated with quality, but it’s come into its own now that Toyota has gotten serious about the brand. In fact, the company hopes to compete against the likes of Subaru – known for its “unkillable cars,” at least in the road rally niche.

Simple, and affordable, are key here. These cars are both marketed towards young drivers, not old ones. For the seasoned sports enthusiasts, the Subaru BRZ looks like the better choice. After all, Subaru has a history of producing all-wheel-drive sport coups and even sedans that tear up the off-road scene.

But, what you might not know is that there’s not much of a comparison in terms of the Scion FR-S vs Subaru BRZ when it comes to build. They’re almost identical in that respect. How could that be?

Well, both cars were, oddly enough, designed as a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru. Both companies wanted to produce a vehicle that was affordable and yet spoke to the racing enthusiast under 30.

That’s a slim market. You can’t even find a dedicated sports car out there in the marketplace anymore. It used to be that Honda was good for at least the S2000, and Toyota could put out a drop top roadster, but those days are disappearing.

Even with their similarities, there are some important differences, though, that make both vehicles right for different individuals.

Take the BRZ, for example. It’s a very “back-to-basics” car. Putting down 200 horsepower at the crank, its high-revving engine won’t ever be mistaken for American muscle. But, it has something American cars don’t: a 6-speed close-ratio transmission. Those are good for maximum utilization of what power it does have – zooming you from 0 to 60 in short-order.

Here’s where this car surprises a lot of folks used to Subarus though – the fuel economy is a stellar 34MPG.

Now, what about the Scion? While it shares much of the styling, and the chassis, there’s an important thing that’s missing from this car: creature comforts. The base model BRZ gets you a voice-activated navi system and an upgraded stereo system. You also get to take advantage of bluetooth hands-free.

If you want those options on the Scion, be prepared to pay for them a la carte.

Still, if you’re into the whole stripped down thing, it’s hard to beat the Scion. It’s got the same 200hp engine, a 6-speed snappy tranny, and power up in the 7,000+RPM range for technology-driven power (as opposed to raw displacement power a la the American muscle car).

The no-frills Scion will be the cheaper option for you, and it will be lighter too, as you won’t have all the extras. That will affect how snappy the vehicle feels and it could affect 0-60 times depending on how you drive the thing.

But, if you’re looking for a road-trip car, forget about it. Neither one is comfortable for long distances. These cars are fun-on-wheels, and perfect for tooling around town and on the country backroads. That’s where they shine and where you’ll be happiest in these cars.

About the Blogger

Robert Navarro has always loved all things cars. When not researching trends and innovations, he enjoys blogging about his insights into the automotive industry.


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Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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