The folks at Consumer Reports are a lot like the Ben Steins of the automotive world. At first glance, they are the dry-as-saltines, facts-only crew that can't be bothered by anything but the empirical data with which they distill to arrive at their coveted "Recommended" accolades. It isn't always this way with CR, though, as we found out when they hopped behind the wheel of the Toyobaru coupes of our collective dreams, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ.

Automotive engineer Jake Fisher hosts this test and speaks for the CR team explaining that, though both coupes are very much the same animal, they have subtle differences. The BRZ comes with a bit more available kit, like a rear spoiler, HID headlights and navigation, while the FR-S carries a lower price. All seems like what we've heard before, right? Well, CR ends up favoring the FR-S, claiming it has a more balanced ride and handles better.

This decision stands in contrast to a recent Motor Trend comparison test, in which the print publication favored the driving characteristics of the Subaru over the Scion.

More than anything, this highlights just how close the two cars are, and as CR's Fisher put it, "You're not gonna go wrong with either one of these." We agree, but click below to see the video and find out exactly what made CR err on the side of the Scion, then weigh in with your thoughts in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 96 Comments
      Chris Markham
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be interesting to see a test with the same tires on both. It also seems like both cars have lots of headroom for tuner add-ons in the form of turbos or superchargers. As far as the as-bought test, it's Firebird v. Camaro. Plenty of room for the paddock for both. And in lieu of those things which do not yet exist, I'd have to go with a Randy Pobst review over a Consumer Reports review. Give Randy his own show and I'd hit the pavement myself selling the ad space to keep it on the air.
      Worx2749
      • 2 Years Ago
      The car mags seem to like the Suburu better because of different rear suspension calibrations. They said the Scion rides rougher. Or you can believe CR. Some of the opinionated numbskulls on this forum are extremely tiresome to wade through.
      kcroc10077
      • 2 Years Ago
      Imagine that...two different people not preferring the same thing. Shocking!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        sp33dklz
        • 2 Years Ago
        Agreed. It was an idiotic review at best. The only numbers they even threw out there were, "They're both about 200hp...". Any automotive comparison without metrics is a waste of time. Numbers aren't everything, but they at least tell you things about the cars.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 2 Years Ago
      Woo hoo! A piece of crap against another pice of crap! The pice of crap wins! /s Seriously, it gets my blood boiling. How this car is so overpriced and overhyped. It has been proven again and again that today's modern sportscar = AWD and turbo. This thing has absolutely no horsepower nor torque. Sure, it can handle, but what fun is there to a corner if there is no speed involved? For a lower price, a WRX kills this. A real, Torsen based AWD system, a 0-60 of 4.7 vs 7.4, much better handling, more practical, won't feel gutless . The list goes on and on. Fist (or one of the first) comment In before all the ricer boy fanboys who traded their fart can Civic in for this car start downvoting me.
        Burabus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Pretty sure most if not all of the auto reviewers out there disagree with you there. But what do they know?
        TailGunner
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        As a WRX owner, I don't agree at all that a "modern sports car" has to be AWD and turbocharged. If your argument against these cars stem from numbers, you are entirely missing the point. Sorry.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TailGunner
          The numbers tell everything. The car is 50 hp down to nearly every competitor. The WRX also beats it in handling and skidpad and on the track . 150 torque means that it will feel absolutely breathless. If I wanted a ricer car so bad, I'd save the money and get a Civic Si.
          TailGunner
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TailGunner
          Once again, totally missing the point. Yes, we can safely conclude that the WRX will put down better numbers than the BRZ and pull at least four car lengths on it in the quarter mile, but if I got my car when the BRZ was available, I would honestly say I would have a tough time deciding between the two. The WRX is for those trying to go as fast as they can for the least amount of money, while the BRZ offers the feel of canyon carving in its purest form. The WRX might get there quicker, but it doesn't feel as...fun.
          Stephen Liu
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TailGunner
          @FuelToTheFire: You're looking at this from a pure numbers standpoint. It's been established by now that the 86/FR-S/BRZ are not about numbers but about feel, and it's the feel of driving them that makes them such great sports cars.
        Stephen Liu
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        The video reviews I've seen for this car involve the driver chucking and giggling as they're sliding around with ease. I'm pretty sure they're managing to have boatloads of fun driving these cars despite its lack of power. Some reviewers have gone as far as to say its lack of power is part of the balance of the car.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Stephen Liu
          I take CR's opinion with a grain of salt.
          Stephen Liu
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Stephen Liu
          @FuelToTheFire: Nearly every single reviewer, not just CR, has come to the same conclusion.
        FuelToTheFire
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Ugh, using my iPod to comment didn't have good results. Edit button, please. Autoblog.
        kcroc10077
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        AcidTonic...is that you???
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @kcroc10077
          I dont know of his intelligence, but Acid has a stronger bias towards Mitsubishi Evo like cars than a 911 has a rearward weight balance if an elephant sat on the rear spoiler.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 2 Years Ago
          @kcroc10077
          Acid is one of the less biased and more intelligent people on AB, but I am definitely not him.
        Aaron C
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        This may blow your mind kid, but I've driven a 135hp 1986 jetta over a 6.2 mile winding road through the mountians in 3m 52sec, that's an average speed of 105mph. I don't know about you but when your car is light and balanced your turn in and exit speeds are much higher. For example one of the corners has a psted speed of 25 mph, I went 80mph around it, oh and it was fun!! ; ) some of the other cars I was racing were these high horespower awd cars that you mentioned, they didn't come within 5 seconds of my time. Plainly you have a lot to learn when it comes to balance and power.
        twofingersneak
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        downvoting, and i'm not a fart can ricer. it doesn't need horsepower, and it doesn't need torque. i've driven too many cars that focus more on straight line acceleration than on solid balance, predictable breakaway and mechanical grip. give me a torqueless wonder to toss around the track all day (miata/mx-5, s2000, etc) over a dippy, front heavy machine that wags its tail at the slightest hint of a change in surface camber every day of the week.
        Aaron C
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Oh and no a jetta is not a sports car, and I prefer rwd to awd or fwd, but all i had was a jetta so I modded it the way that made sence. Suspension and tires over hp, and it paid off, low wieght cars don't need big numbers to go fast. Same goes for the fr-s there is a reason it's handeling has been compared to a gt3-rs. Oh and if you want you can allways add more power but unless you know how to handle that power it will just get you to that tree or wall a bit quicker.
        Toddley
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        You do realize that AWD isn't necessarily superior to RWD for handling, right?
        Gorgenapper
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        A WRX is a sports car? News to me. Sporty performance hatchback/sedan, maybe, but never compare it to the GT-86 as a sports car.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've learned on AB and FT86club that any car with more than 200 hp can't possibly be fun.
        Aaron C
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Owning a GT-R doesn't mean anything, have you ever been to a proper driving school or a track day and sat with an instructor. From your comments it's pretty safe to say no. I'm not trying to rag on you man, but you are coming across as just another troll talking out of your ass, because what you are saying goes against everything automotive enthusiasts and race car drivers have known for years! You asked why we like these cars and we told you, and all we get in return is more bs. Go to your local track get an instructor and throw all those unfounded opinions out of your head and learn something.
      Dreez28
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's like comparing a turd to poop. They're the same damn thing.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is like having flapjacks and pancakes on a breakfast menu at iHop and being bewildered as to what to order. They are virtually identical vehicles, with more badge engineering than anything. Yes, the headlights and tires are different, but cmon now. A more important question would by why both of these cars are so overpriced and get such poor fuel economy considering the size of their engines. If a soon to be last generation C6 Corvette pumping out 430hp/430ftlbs naturally aspirated from a 6.3 liter engine in a heavier vehicle with high-friction 285mm tires can get 26mpg, what is their excuse?
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        And yes, I'm sure the answer is the same as the S2000's crappy mileage, they run very inefficiently at low RPMs, they run very rich to extract more horsepower from a small powerplant, and they are geared far too short making for noisy and poor fuel economy 80mph freeway cruising.
          tloza7
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ducman69
          its a banging 4 cylinder imo 2x better than the boxter engine. the only thing the boxter has it going for is its well thought direct injection and low center of gravity but sadly its shitty engine. can't handle boost for its life. maybe 8 psi tops while a stock f22c can hold 600 rwhp stock internals. i dont see the fa20 boxter engine being a viable engine for boost at all. Its a over priced turd in terms of power. s2000 has a hands down better chasis even tho convertible its stiffer than c5 corvette. and not to mention double wishbone all around for nice and plentiful adjustibilty . dont believe me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F0XQ8OT2fw on 93 oct dont bash on a s2000 engine its better than what ever you are driving. when you drive a sports car you dont worry about gas mileage. you just DRIVE IT and enjoy it
          Ducman69
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ducman69
          How do you know a S2000 chassis is stiffer than a C5? If you jack up a C5 from one corner, the other wheel lifts and the trunk, hood, and door lines are all smooth and operate normally. That is the only way I know of testing chassis stiffness. *facepalm* And that is great the S2000 has double-wishbone all around, just like the Corvette.... and you can make a lot of power in any engine, but reliable power over a broad RPM range for street driving, at a reasonable price... I think I'll stick with my Chevy smallblock (and I pull 460hp naturally aspirated without sacrificing daily-driving torque or spending a fortune). And yes I am driving a C5, hopefully a C6 soon, and it is a sports car and yes I care about fuel economy. Only an idiot or someone that would buy a much more expensive car than the Scion or Subaru wouldn't care. When I'm rich enough to trade in for a Lamborghini, then I won't care about gas.
        4 String
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        "If a soon to be last generation C6 Corvette pumping out 430hp/430ftlbs naturally aspirated from a 6.3 liter engine in a heavier vehicle with high-friction 285mm tires can get 26mpg" Okay, to be honest, I highly doubt the Corvette and FR-S get nearly the same mileage in real life driving. The city mileage is something like 15mpg. The FR-S gets nowhere near that low in mpg. The Corvette is also north of 50k in pricing, whereas the FR-S is roughly half that price at 25k. So the comparison is a moot point. Overpriced? I'd say, for a true RWD with independent suspension and a standard LSD, a car that weighs 2700 pounds, it is a bargain compared to anything else remotely in its class. Bolt on one of those upcoming turbochargers/superchargers, and you have one undeniable bang for the buck.
        Ryan Hastings
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        2X better... Are you kidding me. First of all HP means NOTHING, the only thing that matters is torque, and the s2000 makes 1 more lb-ft of torque than the BRZ/FRS. They could have got that extra lb-ft of torque if they had reduced fuel economy but toyota wanted it to have good fuel economy. BTW how is 34/25 bad mpg fot somthing making 100 hp/liter? We also dont know how much boost the thing can handle bc nobody has blown one up yet. Oh and the S2000 cost $10,000 dollars more new.
        404 not found
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        Look at that. You answered your own question.
      LEO
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the FR-S and BRZ is the worst thing that ever happened to automotive journalism.
        David Donovan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @LEO
        I couldn't agree more. I'm so tired of hearing about this car when it can't even out perform a Miata design that's 6 or so years old now.
          Tirac
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David Donovan
          What? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ronU4dyK-8
      miketim1
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a waste of a comparison. Despite little difference THEY ARE THE SAME DAMN CAR. For the love of christ
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @miketim1
        BRZ: slightly firmer, more stable on a racetrack with a hint more understeer. Can get loaded up with more creature comforts. FRS: slightly softer, more tail happy setup that would be less ideal for tracking. Also has less stuff and is cheaper.
        jboogiezx6
        • 2 Years Ago
        @miketim1
        you just exposed yourself right there. 'who cares about handling characteristics? i want this one bc it looks cool!, duh'…
      Clayton Cova
      • 2 Years Ago
      if this was a saturn sky and a pontiac solstace everyone here would be bitching about "how gm has lost touch" and "Badge engineered crap" well, i think both of these cars stink. i think a sports car with 150 ft/lbs of torque is a joke.
        Aaron C
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Clayton Cova
        I would go drive one of these before making comments like that. These cars are amazingly fun to drive. I don't understand how someone could base a car purely on how much hp or torqe a car has and I've been in cars with almost 1,000hp and what I've learned being around high hp cars is that there really is no substitute for balance and usability/confidence inspiring handeling. You can have all the power in the world but if you can't get it down or your afraid to use it it's just a waste.
          jboogiezx6
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Aaron C
          randy probst doesnt think it needs more power. you either dont know how to drive or you live in an area with no turns.
        drewpy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Clayton Cova
        I'd hit it... Have an outback xt...too fast for a car with 3 kids in the back...and not a terribly full filling experience...something not so fast but hella fun to drive is right up my alley...
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Clayton Cova
        Guess you have never been in an 89 Miata, idiot. If you think HP=fun, you need some serious driving experience.
      Joe D. Weaver
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have only 2 complaints about these cars... one is that they are overpriced for how much car you get... they shouldn't more than 18-19k for the base models. Second, it needs a turbo model... nothing extreme just like 275HP vs the base 200HP. For those in higher altitudes 200 N/A HP is simply not enough as it drops steeply at altitude and it is not a lot to begin with anyway. So yea, lower prices and a turbo model would make this a much more attractive option. BTW I dont care whether its rwd or awd, awd may be safer but rwd is more fun and on the street can be just as good if not better. As far as comparing scion vs subaru one thing I dont see any reviewers touching on, is perceived brand superiority. As car people we know these to cars are basically identical, but in a few years when you go to sell it, the scion will be worth far less than the subaru because of the stigma against scion.
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