by: Mike Ginsca
As mentioned in my previous review of this particular car, bolt-on modifications can completely change a vehicle and make it unique from the next. Since last year, this Scion FRS has gone through another transformation.
Performance – The last iteration of this vehicle was missing the “oomph” under the hood but now the owner has addressed that by stuffing a supercharger kit in it. The HKS V3 supercharger kit bumps the power output by approximately 80-100hp at the crank (275hp and 210 lb-ft of torque at the wheels). The increased power is immediately noticeable especially at lower rpms when setting off from a stop light. It doesn’t have the big surge that you’d get with a turbocharger but overall it just feels like a bigger and more powerful engine. Like other superchargers, the buildup of of power feels relentless as the rpms increase. But towards the redline, the power hits a plateau and it doesn’t pull with the same ferocity as in the low to mid rpm range. Shift into the next gear approximately 500 rpms before the needle hits the redline and it’ll be just fine. Speaking of shifting gears, the new short shifter takes a lot of time to get use to. Mis-shifts are very easy to invoke and I was always hesitant when downshifting for the fear of inadvertently shifting from 4th to 1st or worse, 6th to 1st.
With the increase in power comes more wheelspin in a car that is already wheelspin happy. This is particularly more true when the roads are wet like during my test drive of this FRS. Release the clutch too quickly or apply too much throttle and the wheels start spinning even though they are 10.5″ wide in the back and are wrapped in 265 section Zestino Gredge 07RS tires. But you only have to be cautious with wheelspin in the first two gears. After that, apply full throttle to your heart’s content because the tires will grip. The suspension did get changed since the last time I drove it but the setup is very similar to the previous. Small road imperfections doesn’t upset the chassis and you can take a corner like you’re in a racing car or with a clutch kick or flick of the steering wheel, you can take it like as though you’re pretending to be Ken Block. The front brakes have also been upgraded for bigger 2-piece Coleman Racing rotors and 6-piston Wilwood calipers up front and they have absolutely no problem stopping the Scion. Noise from the brakes is another issue though because lightly applying the brakes in regular city driving makes them squeel like nails on a chalkboard.
Comfort – The interior of this Scion FRS remains relatively unchanged apart from the new Bride racing bucket driver’s seat and plethora of gauges. The seat is just as tight as it was before for my larger stature however the new seat rails allow for more travel than before and as a result my long legs actually fit comfortably inside. Exhaust noise was a big issue before but a new exhaust system was installed along with the supercharger kit and you can have a civilized conversation now inside the cabin without having to yell. The aforementioned suspension is just comfortable enough to be bearable for use on a daily basis but long road trips might be pushing it.
Odds and Ends – The new front bumper, hood, and wheels are the only changes to the exterior. The new bumper makes the car look much more aggressive and it’s a bumper that is not quite as common as others that are available for the FRS which makes this particular car stand out even more. One tiny detail that I don’t like in terms of looks are the “86” taillights. To my eyes it looks too cheesy and ruins the aggressive overall look of the car.
Overall the new supercharger kit make a huge difference at how the FRS drives but with approximately 300hp, there still is room for improvement in a straight line. V8 anyone?!
Thank you to the owner for providing the vehicle for the review and photoshoot.
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.