Scion FR-S TRD Exhaust Makes All The Right Notes

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Scion's lightweight, rear-wheel-drive FR-S only left us with a small list of wants after we gave it and the nearly identical Subaru BRZ our most prestigious Best of 2013 Award. At the top of the list is more power, but that of course hasn't happened yet. The twins' weak aural experience from under the hood and the exhaust is thankfully a much easier and less-expensive issue to address than squeezing another 40-50 horsepower from under the hood.

Cars.com Names Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ Best of 2013

A 2014 Scion FR-S we recently tested equipped with Toyota Racing Development's performance exhaust system hit a home run in the area of the ear-pleasing notes. That's important because we always thought there was something lacking from the FR-S' factory equipment.

A sound tube designed to make the engine more audible inside the cabin was not the robust sound I wanted to hear more of; the noises out back were more pleasant and less audible. TRD's exhaust adds a whole new layer of fun to the already entertaining FR-S.

By Joe Bruzek | June 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

Subaru Updates BRZ for 2015

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Just like its Scion sibling, Subaru's sport coupe gets some minor updates and a small price increase for 2015. Outside, the BRZ gets larger tailpipes and a new "shark fin" design antenna. Inside, new faux carbon fiber trim lines the center dash panel. Subaru also says handling has been improved for 2015 thanks to revised suspension dampers.

Scion Updates FR-S, tC for 2015

Base 2015 BRZ Premium models with the six-speed manual start at $26,490, Limited models with the manual at $28,490 and Limited trims with the six-speed automatic at $29,590. Model-year 2014 versions start at $26,390; all prices include destination. By comparison, base 2015 manual versions of the BRZ's platform mate, the FR-S, start at $25,655.

The 2015 BRZ goes on sale in the summer; a Series.Blue limited edition model (pictured above) will go on sale in July for $30,285, including destination. Add-ons include an aerodynamic body kit, STI-branded black 17-inch wheels, and specific interior trim and badging; it will only be available with the manual transmission. Production will be capped at 1,000 cars — 500 painted WR Blue Pearl and 500 in Crystal White Pearl.

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By Jennifer Geiger | May 30, 2014 | Comments (3)

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.

By David Thomas | May 27, 2014 | Comments (16)

Would We Buy a 2013 Subaru BRZ Again?

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Cars.com's 2013 Subaru BRZ long-term tester marked the first time we purchased the winner of our most prestigious annual award. Cars.com editors named the BRZ and Scion FR-S twins the Best of 2013 as leaders in value, innovation and quality for the 2013 model year. What better way to put our recommendation to the test than buy one and drive the wheels off of it year-round?

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

The 14,352 miles and 11 months of ownership of the BRZ Limited with a manual transmission was a blast, but not uneventful. Our BRZ needed snow tires to survive winter, patience to survive the touch-screen multimedia system and damaged ears to survive the faulty fuel pump's loud chirping. After all those tribulations, we polled the voting editors to see if the BRZ is still a deserving winner.

By Joe Bruzek | December 23, 2013 | Comments (9)

Selling Our 2013 Subaru BRZ Wasn't Easy

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We imagined unloading our mostly beloved 2013 Subaru BRZ long-term tester would be a breeze. Not only was the Cars.com tester a loaded Limited trim level with heated seats, high-intensity discharge headlights, navigation, Alcantara and leather interior, and more, but the grin-inducing coupe had a Crystal Black Silica exterior with metallic flake paint and six-speed manual transmission that, in our eyes, is the only way to buy a BRZ.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

Purchased for $31,826 out the door, owning the BRZ for 11 months sucked another $3,739.13 from our pockets in ownership costs on fuel, maintenance and repairing a cracked windshield. In the end, we sold the BRZ for $21,000.

Like our Nissan Leaf, selling the BRZ was challenging. Demand for the lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe wasn't as strong as we imagined; or at least not in Chicago, in November, with winter approaching even though we were including winter tires and heavy-duty floor mats in the asking price.

By Joe Bruzek | December 10, 2013 | Comments (16)

Consumer Reports Survey Shakes Up Rankings

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The annual car reliability survey conducted by Consumer Reports is one of the most watched in the nation. This year, the approximately 1 million participants had a lot to say, and it shook up the established order of a few brands. This reshuffle for some was based on the strength — or weakness — of just one model.

Subaru fell five spots from fifth to 10th place due to one model — the BRZ — performing so poorly. You can read about issues we’ve had with our long-term BRZ here.

Our friends at USA Today have the full story about the Consumer Reports survey here.

By David Thomas | October 28, 2013 | Comments (2)

Long-Term 2013 Subaru BRZ Gets New Fuel Pump, Runs Better

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It's been awhile since we first noticed strange sounds coming from our long-term Subaru BRZ, but we finally had the issue addressed at our local dealership with the installation of a new high-pressure fuel pump, which is under warranty. We knew we needed to get the repair completed, but it hadn't been a big priority since the car seemed to be running fine. We were wrong about that.

Follow Our Long-Term Test Cars

We dropped the car at the dealer the night before the appointment and also asked them to check a few additional issues that had cropped up in the intervening months. Our BRZ had started erratically idling with or without the air conditioning running, and it had developed a new noise: a clicking sound every time we pressed the clutch pedal.

By Mike Hanley | October 28, 2013 | Comments (3)

Tracking the Fuel Economy of Cars.com's 2013 Honda Civic, 2013 Subaru BRZ

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Despite having the keys to our 2013 Subaru BRZ three months before we picked up a 2013 Honda Civic long-term tester, the Civic's odometer is quickly catching that of the BRZ. Summer road trips in the Civic helped rack up 12,217 miles in seven months, while the BRZ sits at 13,061 miles after 10 months of ownership.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

The Civic is delivering great gas mileage on long highway drives: We've recorded a best tank of 42.83 mpg, exceeding its 39 mpg highway rating. The BRZ is also able to exceed its highway mileage estimates but hasn't had a chance to stretch its legs on the highway much during the last month; its best tank rating remains 35.94 mpg.

By Joe Bruzek | October 9, 2013 | Comments (2)

Cool Compared: Subaru BRZ Versus Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

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Untrained eyes could easily overlook the Mitsubishi Evolution sports sedan. Its front-mounted intercooler for the turbocharged engine, large wing of GSR models and wide fenders are the type of cool features performance nerds appreciate. The turbocharged, all-wheel drive Evo was in its prime at one point, but now in its seventh model year — relatively unchanged — it is slowly losing pizazz each year the capable sedan goes untouched by Mitsubishi.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

There's a new import turning heads on the streets among sub-$40,000 performance cars, and Cars.com owns one: the 2013 Subaru BRZ. The rear-wheel-drive, lightweight BRZ and Scion FR-S are no match for the Evo on the track or the dyno, but the rear-wheel-drive twins exude an unheard of dry-ice cool factor. The Evolution GSR we recently tested provided a good opportunity to drive these affordable performance cars back-to-back.

By Joe Bruzek | October 4, 2013 | Comments (5)

Half-Year Ownership Cost of Cars.com's 2013 Honda Civic

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The six months of ownership and healthy 10,513 miles traveled in our long-term 2013 Honda Civic have been uneventful. Unlike our other long-term tester, a 2013 Subaru BRZ, the Civic hasn't developed any under-hood noises, needed winter tires or been assaulted by a rock traveling at Mach 3. The lack of excitement has equaled low operating costs except for one unscheduled, and much needed, interior shampooing.

Follow Our Long-Term Fleet

The 6,500-mile mark saw the Civic's Maintenance Minder system alert us it was time for an A1 service. We used it as a reason to throw a few steaks on the grill smothered in A1 steak sauce, and then opened the owner's manual to decode A1 as an oil change and tire rotation. This also seemed an appropriate time to address a foul stench inside the car similar to what I would imagine a wet towel soaked in pond water would smell like after being left in a plastic bag for six months.

By Joe Bruzek | September 18, 2013 | Comments (1)

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