If you follow car news at all, you've probably heard about the new Toyota 86, and you've probably heard about Toyota's decision to release the new model as the Scion FR-S in the United States. Although Subaru's BRZ has received a warm welcome, the FR-S hasn't been treated so kindly.
I've been hunting around the web to get a better understanding of the hostility towards the FR-S, and I think I've figured it out: Scion overall has a bad reputation, and therefore, by association, so does the car. Reading through comments on Speedhunters, Carbuzz, Night Import and Facebook, I came across repeated accusations that all Scions are "ricers." Essentially, they're all show and no go. Owners spend a lot of time making their cars look nice, but leave them untouched under the hood. But I find this problematic.
There's three reasons why I don't think the FR-S should be off so quickly. One, Scion is owned by Toyota, so despite the badge, you're still getting an FT-86. Two, basing Scion's entire reputation off how individual buyers choose to customize their own vehicles is absurd. Three, how can you make such an absolute judgement on a car before you've even seen what it can do? If major customization companies are chewing at the bit to get their hands on one, that should be a sign this car's more legitimate than you might think. (Greddy's already churned one out)
Let's remember also that the new 86 is a sort of revival of the legendary AE86, a car beloved by petrolheads around the world. The FR-S is meant to bring back some of the things that made the AE86 such a success and offer it on a modern-day car.
But if that's the case, why did Toyota make it a Scion? I think for the very same reason people are upset that it's a Scion. Toyota wants to improve the brand's image, and I think the FR-S could be just what the doctor ordered.
Lesson of the day: don't knock it before you try it!