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Business

September 9, 2012

New Scion sports car captures youth

The FR-S changes everything for Scion. Bold, daring, quick and defiantly youthful, the new model lifts the entire Scion brand, and sets it down in a shinier, more prominent spot in the auto world.

Introduced in June, the 2013 Scion FR-S is a low-slung, rear-wheel-drive sports car that overflows with zest and acrobatic exuberance. Its body is sleek and snarky, embodying coiled and compact power like the stance of a welterweight fighter. Its cockpit elevates the business of driving, with scooped and supportive front seats that face gauges, switchgear and controls laid out for rapid engagement. The car’s mechanicals are set up to encourage that engagement, by acting with quick-snap agility.

Best of all, the new FR-S wears a price within reach of hip, energetic young drivers who gain most from the car’s racy character. When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the new little Scion starts at $24,930. With a six-speed automatic, the price hops to $26,030. Both versions use a flat, horizontal four-cylinder engine that puts out 100 horsepower per each of its two liters, an impressive measure of engine ability that makes the FR-S spritely and energetic.

This new little sports car is a joint development between Toyota, parent of the Scion brand, and Subaru. Low-to-the-ground, horizontal engines are a Subaru specialty. They promote stable, agile road handling, by pushing a car’s weight closer to the pavement, much as an athlete crouches when he’s ready for action. Subaru sells a version of the joint-project car called the BRZ. But the Subaru BRZ is configured for easier cruising, with a softer suspension. The more rigid slinging beneath the Scion FR-S gives it more aggressive road manners.

But for all of its thrilling road qualities, the affordable price of the FR-S is the ingredient that lifts Scion’s stature the most. It puts the right kind of driver behind the wheel and onto the roads, where he’s seen and envied by his fashion-conscious peers.

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