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FR-S For Us: Of Fuel Economy and the Scion FR-S

Sections: Fuel Economy, Powertrain

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2013 Scion FR-S Photo Shoot 021

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

Though its 200 horsepower, 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine lacks the raw, aggressive power of some, nobody can deny the Scion FR-S is a true sportscar after driving it. Thankfully, the car won’t make you regret your purchase every time you fill it up, unlike many of its fellow sportscars.

While we didn’t get to calculate our fuel efficiency the old-fashioned way with a fuel receipt, the tripmeter, and a calculator, we did keep a pretty close eye on the car’s instant MPG and long-term MPG over the course of our test week– and we made sure to reset the long-term MPG measurement when we took delivery of the car with a full tank of gas.

2013 Scion FR-S Photo Shoot 022

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

At first, the numbers were underwhelming as I took the car on an in-town paper route, not breaking 20 MPG on the long-term average. Of course, carrying nearly 700 newspapers in the trunk and on the back of the folded-down rear seat while stopping and restarting the engine every few minutes and driving in the city probably isn’t going to yield good fuel efficiency numbers on any car, especially one as light as the FR-S. (And for those of you wondering: All the papers fit back there– barely– and yes, pulling off such a feat in a car as small and sexy as the FR-S was like livin’ the dream, baby!)

After that first day with the paper route thoroughly testing the FR-S’s cargo-handling and stop-and-go driving capabilities, the car saw mostly commuter duty to and from my day job at the newspaper. My 10-mile commute involves rural 45-MPH two-lane, mostly, with a couple of miles of city streets that sometimes require me to stop for three whole traffic lights (!) before reaching the workplace. Under this duty, carrying only my 19-month-old son in the back in his compact forward-facing car seat (doable, though not exactly desirable), the FR-S fuel efficiency tracker inched its way up and up. By the weekend, I was staring at 26 MPG average– and that was with a fair amount of hoonage playing with the six-speed automatic transmission’s flappy paddles during quick drives back home for lunch a couple of those days.

2013 Scion FR-S Photo Shoot 023

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

At the end of our test week, I was a couple of tenths away from achieving 28 MPG without really trying. That’s on-par with the fuel efficiency of my daily driver, a pokey-yet-faithful 2006 Ford Ranger pickup that has three-fourths the power and none of the handling prowess of the FR-S. I have a feeling I could do better given more time with the FR-S, as the car is rated at 34 MPG highway, according to the window sticker.

But even if I could never do better than 28 MPG, would it be worth it to consider an FR-S as a sporty daily driver if I didn’t have a growing family to consider? You bet it would. Its required premium fuel notwithstanding, the FR-S offers a golden combination of fun and fuel efficiency.

Disclosure: Scion provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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