Second Place- 2014 Scion FR-S
The haters will gripe about the Scion FR-S not having enough power or being equipped with too narrow and low grip a tire, but the track data shows it to be quicker down the front straight than all but the WRX and GTI, a trick it achieves by carrying more speed out of the final corner and onto the straight than the more powerful Fords or the Juke. The WRX and Focus ST did spike slightly higher peak corner g-forces in one or two places, but over an entire lap the FR-S had the highest average cornering g-forces and cornering speeds.
So we’re afraid the Internet thugs are going to have to troll somewhere else, because the FR-S is exceptionally fast in the corners and deceivingly fast down the straights as a result. And the thing is, it’s not only consistently faster in the corners than any other car in this group, it’s also far more willing to rotate, drift and then straighten out with no drama or loss of momentum. If the Fiesta ST frees you to drive it in more than one way, then the FR-S frees you to drive it in an infinite number of ways, or at least at far greater yaw angles.
We will admit, though, that this chassis could easily handle more power. We know from first-hand experience that with a lightly tuned FR-S that makes an extra 25-hp, the FR-S really comes alive and starts to embarrass much more expensive and more powerful cars around the race track. We would love to see a 2.5L engine in the FR-S, or perhaps a hybrid version where the electricity is used to boost performance rather than fuel efficiency. But even with the bone stock 2.0L engine it has now, it’s still a hugely engaging and invigorating car to put through its paces at the race track, especially if your idea of fun is attacking corners with reckless abandon and getting your opposite lock on.
Lap time: 1:27.803 (4th) Top Speed: 96.6 MPH (3rd) Max Cornering G-Force: 1.15 (3rd) Max Braking G-Force: 0.79 (4th) Fun To Drive On The Track (out of 25): 24 (1st) Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 200 HP, 151 lb-ft Transmission: Six-speed manual Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive, Torsen (gear-type) LSD Fuel Economy Ratings: 22 MPG City, 30 MPG Highway Fuel Economy Observed: 35.6 MPG Price: $25,470 after destination charges