Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Toyota Rediscovers the Joy of Rear-Wheel Performance

Review: Toyota Rediscovers the Joy of Rear-Wheel Performance:

Image: Toyota Motor Company
Scion’s 2013 FR-S sports car succeeds on the most important level: It’s fun to drive.
Too bad Toyota couldn’t have had a little more fun with the name. The FR-S is known as the Toyota GT-86 in the rest of the world, and even wears GT-86 badges on its front panels. The name brings to mind the expression, “86-ed,” restaurant slang meaning a menu item has sold out, a customer has been banned, or something has otherwise been eliminated.
Imagine a television commercial wherein a Gen-Y hipster driving a GT-86 bests a competitor on a twisty road. At the end, we cut to a close-up of the winner as he looks straight at his nemesis in a VW or Hyundai and says, “You’ve been 86-ed!”
The actual TV ads for the Scion FR-S aren’t as much fun, so it’s a good thing the car is. It has a playful rear-drive character and curvaceous styling that should make it a hot commodity among Scion’s under-30 target market.
The design represents a revisiting of the past for Toyota, evoking a time when the company turned out affordable, rear-wheel-drive performance cars like the 1980s enthusiast-favorite AE86 Corolla. Toyota’s 1960s Sports 800 and 2000 GT are also cited as ancestors. The FR-S, which starts at $24,930, is also Scion’s first proper sports car, augmenting the less expensive, merely “sporty” tC.
The FR-S (“front-engine, rear-drive, sport”) was reportedly drawn up to appease Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who asked, “Where is the passion in our lineup?”
Continue reading our review of the Porsche Cayman R on Wired’s Product Reviews section.

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