I love both the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. And when I was in the market for a new car about three months ago, the two were on my short list (along with the likes of the Focus ST and Veloster Turbo). But I came to a crossroads when deciding which new car would be sitting pretty in my driveway for the next few years or so — Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ.
I chose the more expensive BRZ (about $30K sticker price), and yes, I am ragged on constantly as my buddies ask me how the “FR-S” is treating me. Very funny.
But why is the Subaru BRZ just plain ol’ better than the FR-S? Here’s why:
Inside and out, the average consumer has a very difficult time telling both of these cars apart. But any well-versed enthusiast (like myself) will give you every single specific difference and detail until they’re blue in the face.
With the BRZ, the front end is cleaner, arguably meaner looking, and more refined. In the back, you get a sharper factory spoiler. And on the sides, Subaru does away with the “86″ badge for obvious reasons. Inside it’s much of the same.
Alcantara seats coat the BRZ compared to the cloth of the FR-S. And while I can undoubtedly admit the infotainment system on the FR-S is leaps and bounds ahead of the the BRZ’s Pioneer system, the BRZ has much more detail elsewhere. It’s just a better experience.
Ok, so I’ve driven both of these cars and I can tell you that they are phenomenally fun. For a lot of you, choosing between the two is quite difficult. But here’s the thing: the FR-S — while driftier on the track — is almost actually uncomfortable on the open road. That was really my only gripe with the car, the suspension is pretty harsh in comparison.
The BRZ on the other hand — while not necessarily as drifty, but still capable enough — is tweaked a wee bit softer for everyday use. It’s not as spine jarring as its Scion counterpart, and that’s a very good thing.
Growing up as a product of the 90s, my hero cars weren’t from Maranello, but rather, lands further East. The Supra, the Evo, the NSX — proper Japanese sportscars. So, when Toyota announced that its sporty car would live on through the millennial generation, I was happier than a kitten with a q-tip. The Supra/Celica was born again.
And then Scion stepped in. Oh dear god why Scion? It’s not a brand as much as it is a moneymaking tool for Toyota aimed at buyers like myself (teens to late 20s). It’s hip, it’s cool, it’s new — but it doesn’t do a damn thing for me in terms of relatability or history. And yes, that actually matters.
Subaru, on the other hand, is a brand that has a very positive reputation amongst the younger crowd. The WRX and STI are phenomenally great, and the BRZ lived up to that great reputation through the badge.
So, is the Subaru BRZ $3K (or so) better than the FR-S? Absolutely. The Scion FR-S — as amazing as it is — is still too brash for some Americans. Of course, they’re both still selling like hot cakes, and will continue to, but if you have the extra scratch, the BRZ is the way to go.
- Subaru BRZ