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Something was missing from the Toyota lineup. Toyota president Akio Toyoda asked his technicians, “Where is the passion in the lineup?” So Toyota engineers got busy and developed a new sports vehicle with “passion” in mind.

That car is new Scion FR-S, which has only a $25,000 price tag while supplying an impressive 2,758 pounds of passion.

The Scion FR-S was built to go toe-to-toe with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro.

The FR-S is genuinely a driver’s car. It’s explained as having a 2×2 driving configuration, but actually the back seat is just too small, making for what is an impressive two-seat sports car.

The FR-S has a 2.0 L horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine with 200 hp at 7,000 rpm, and 151 lb-ft of torque at 6,400-6,600 rpm. The steering is inspiring, with braking and acceleration more than adequate.

The new Scion was launched in Las Vegas and the nearby mountains. Straight city streets and slow winding roads provided no challenge for the Scion. But driving the mountains required a degree of patience upon reaching about 60 mph. The acceleration was not there unless you down-shifted and waited for the engine to catch up.

The automatic has an EPA rating of 25/34 mpg city/highway, and with the manual the mileage drops to 22/30 mpg.

The two transmissions offer good choices. Personally I liked the 6-speed automatic, as the sports mode helps speed up the shift to provide a degree of quickness similar to a “dual clutch automatic transmission” but without the “shift drift” that is often common with other sport mode vehicles.

Muscular Design

Outside, the hood and roof-line are remarkably sleek and low, giving it an aerodynamic shape. FR-S sits low, but has an exaggerated, menacing face, aggressive front fender, and angular headlights that house the projector-style halogen lamps.

The rear fascia is low and wide, acting as protector to the sporty dual exhaust system. LED’s illuminate the edgy fog lights while center-mounted backup lights finish the muscular design.

The FR-S comes standard with an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB 300-watt Pioneer audio system. Also standard is the HD Radio technology and Bluetooth connectivity that allows both hands-free phone connections, as well as steering audio capacity.

The FR-S will be the first Scion to offer an optional connected multimedia audio system called BeSpoke, powered by Pioneers’ Zypr.

Like all Scions, the FR-S features the Star Safety System that includes: Traction Control, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control, an anti-lock braking system, and Smart Stop Technology.

The FR-S offers the charm that only a fine sport car can offer. It steers strong, lays cheetah-low to the ground, and comes out of the gate like a thoroughbred. It may get a little winded on the stretch, but promises you a place in the winner’s circle.

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