Why I Can't Buy a Scion FR-S (Even Though I Want To)

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Cars.com named the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S our Best Cars of 2013, and we ended up buying a BRZ for our long-term test fleet. During the following 12 months I discovered it was a practical daily driver on top of being fun to drive.

Follow Our Long-Term Test Fleet

I loved the BRZ. Then I spent a few days with a Hot Lava 2014 Scion FR-S. It fixed the one complaint I had with the BRZ, offering a better entertainment system, plus it came with an ear-pleasing racing exhaust (courtesy of Toyota Racing Development) that doesn't sound anything like a coffee-can-equipped Honda Civic racing down Main Street on a Friday night.

Granted, if I truly owned the BRZ I would've been at Best Buy getting the stereo swapped out. But even though I liked the Scion's color and exhaust better — plus it had the preferred off-the-lot entertainment system — I still wouldn't buy it because of the name.

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Maybe it's not even the name. Maybe it's the outdated Scion emblem on the front and back and the connotation that Scion is a "hip" youth brand. Yes. Yes, it's both those things. I'm also neither hip nor young.

I'm pushing 40, and even if I was pushing 30 I don't think I'd feel right piloting a bright orange Scion sports car. A brightly colored Subaru sports car? I have no problem with that. And yes, I realize that besides the 4-inch badges on the front and rear, these two cars look practically identical.

Does this make me jaded? Narcissistic? I don't know. But I can't be the only one out there who feels this way. So far in 2014, sales of the Scion FR-S are at 4,870 units, down 22.3 percent from last year at this time; meanwhile 2,886 Subaru BRZs have been sold, up 11percent from last year.

Looking at those numbers it does seem like I'm in the minority.

Check out the photo gallery below and let us know if you think the brand matters.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

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Comments 

Tozierp

Agreed. Scion has had one foot in the grave for years. An answer to a problem that didn't exist. I can almost guarantee that if the FR-S had been marketed as the new Celca , sales would be way higher.

Julio

So you're basically judging a book by its cover. Even though it offers the same thing with a slight little emblem difference. Age doesn't matter. It sounds like an insecurity issue or an image issue. At the end of the day, there's more Scion dealers than Subaru dealers and it's a lower starting price. Plus you save more money with an audio system. This Scion has a positive image in the Los Angeles area. And it's one of the most materialistic cities in the world. As long as I like the car, I go with practicality. Sure, who am I to judge? But you presented a point. And this is how I interpret the product. Be happy with the vehicle, itself. Not a brand name.

Soakee

I agree - perhaps it really is just your own insecurity or a self-image thing. It's the same reason why so many guys think they absolutely MUST drive pickup trucks. I felt the same until I got older (older than 45) - now I drive what I want, not something to project a certain image to others.

Mike

Re-badge it as a Toyota GT-86. I've seen a couple owners that have done this and it looks sharp

Six

Jaded? Narcissistic? No, shallow. People that either discount or endorse a car simply on the brand badge have never made sense to me. At least in this case it might make sense when you have rebadged options, but to say "it can't be reliable, it's a ford" or "it's fast, it's a bmw" always makes me cringe.

YahooSerious

I'm 45 and I bought a Scion tC 3 years ago. Most of the people I see driving xB's around here are older than I am. I wouldn't let age get in the way of buying a Scion.

Jose Ralmeera

Surprise! Shallow leftist blogger judges a car by it's brand name. It's no wonder Cars.com is up for sale.

Erik

I used to work for a Toyota dealership. Plenty of people bought Scions. It doesn't matter how old you are. What matters is how the car drives.

DL

Wow, the trolls are coming out of the woodwork ...

We are a nation that buys SUVs and crossovers rather than minivans and wagons because of our insecurities. Not long ago, we sold the same terrible cars under different names plates -- Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet badges; or Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler. Here in New England, I see about 5 BRZ badges for every FR-S. So yes, many -- probably most -- people are very much affected by the badge.

Julio

You prove my point. They allow themselves to be affected by it. And for what? It's a great car regardless. The problem with all the other companies you mentioned is the not so great reliability long term.

Alextouring

Well a few weeks before my 39th birthday I opted out of the incredibly boring to drive 2015 A3 with a equally dated badge for a FRS. It's mainly for trailerless track play but I'm very happy with my more conservative investment.

Looks great it's a hoot to drive beyond its limits and my 5 yr old daughter thinks I'm pretty cool even with the lame badge.

Alex

5Hairpins

As a 40+ 2 time Scion owner (xB and FR-S), all I had to know was it was built by Toyota (and Subaru for the FR-S) and I was sold. I really don't care about what the badge says, just that both of the cars were exactly what I wanted and needed when purchased.

Same exact feeling here... which is why I bought the BRZ (still have the stock entertainment system... :P).

I still can't believe Toyota didn't bring the GT-86 to the US. I would've bought it in a heartbeat since it would've had the premium edition (with heated seats, etc), which is one of the reasons why I went Subaru BRZ... Limited.

I dislike the Scion brand. I think it's childish and "ricy". Too bad... :\

Jorge

Enthusiasts would be able to see past the branding because they know better, but certainly if branded as Toyota the sales would have been way better than with the scion brand. I've talked to people that don't even know what a scion is but the fact that it has a "toyota engine"(scion brand in general), so basically a lot of consumers assume that this is done by someone else.

Cory

@ Levi Figueira (@levifig)
If you actually knew what you was driving they are both the exact same car. Other than some luxury items in the brz. I can't stand people that talk without knowing what they are talking about.

Paul

Right on the head cory! In fact the FR-S is far more exotic looking

heflys

LOL. Is this a joke? A 40 year old man worried about a car badge; and, obviously, what other people think about him to such an extent that it will prevent him from enjoying something?

LOL. Sad.

Eileen S

I'm 60, and don't give a hoot about the logo. I would have no problem driving/owning that car, the logo, or the color. I'm more of a Tahoe/Yukon kind of gal, but I think it's a sharp little ride.

Car Guy

Ignorant.

brian

I am 48 and am a proud owner of an frs and i couldnt be happier. I debadged the rear of the car, only keeping the front scion emblem. I have added a lower body kit. And believe me i have many people every day who love my car. Take pictures and wish they had my car. Grow up and get what makees you happy. At the end of the day that is all that matters.

AladdinSane

@ brian:"Grow up and get what makees you happy. At the end of the day that is all that matters."...Amen, friend. I totally agree. Good luck with your machine too...
Peace...AladdinSane < ~ ☆

wilmansion

I dont mind the scion badge i would still buy it. But scion can stop that "oh lets call it a cool name for the youth " nah we all know what this car is about young or old, its the revamp toyota 1986 corrola sr (or sprinter trueno in japan) please call the the damn thing GT 86 like the european and japanese models. It sounds way better than scion

caden

the scion frs is a brilliant car. you get speed, performance, and even though it has a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder boxer engine, you get drifting capability of a toyota supra, one of the best drifting cars ever made. but age doesn't matter. yes scions are for young people but when you drive one you will have the time of your life guarenteed. but i only guarentee that if you get or have the manual transmission.

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