When Toyota decided to bring a sports car back into its model lineup, it codeveloped the project with Subaru, resulting in a very fine-handling car with three different names. In the U.S., this car is called the Scion FR-S, while in other markets it goes by Toyota GT-86. Subaru also markets its own version of the car under the name BRZ.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET

The Scion transformation was not wholesale, as badges on the side of the car still say "86."

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Designers hit the nail on the head with the body, making a no-nonsense sports coupe. The grille sits low and the fender bulges are slight, while headlight casings are simple and integrated well into the front of the car.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET

The engine shows plenty of Subaru DNA with its flat-four style. Toyota added a hybrid direct- and port-injection fuel delivery system. This engine makes a modest 200 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque.

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The FR-S cuts a classic grand tourer profile, with a roofline that slopes quickly back toward the trunk.

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The FR-S' real strength is handling. The car feels extremely well-balanced in the turns, while the electric power steering system delivers precise and easy turn-in.

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Scion fits the rear-wheel-drive FR-S with a limited-slip differential, although its lack of exit power in the turns probably does not make the differential work too hard.

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The front seats, manually adjustable, are comfortable, surprisingly so for this dedicated little sports car.

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Scion calls this parcel shelf in the rear a seat, but anyone forced back there would probably not agree with that definition.

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The dashboard materials are very good, with a kind of rubberized plastic covering the main surface.

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Scion leaves stereo controls on the head unit, keeping the steering wheel free of any distractions. The FR-S uses an electric power-steering system.

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The instrument cluster comes in a classic sports car configuration, with the tachometer up front and the speedometer off to the side. However, the digital speedometer is a very useful addition.

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This very mechanical-feeling six-speed manual transmission is the only way to go with the FR-S.

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Shown here is the base Pioneer head unit. Scion offers an upgrade with an LCD and app integration.

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The Bluetooth system offers a recent-calls function and a phone book, but it didn't download a paired iPhone's contact list.

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With FM stereo, the head unit receives HD Radio broadcasts.

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Bluetooth streaming audio shows full track information, although limited by the screen size.

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The Pioneer head unit shows the music library from a connected iPhone or iPod.

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The audio system includes a midrange and tweeter molded into each front corner of the dashboard, along with woofers in the doors.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
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