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Old 01-12-2013, 07:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Test drive fr-s and 8th gen Si back to back

Got lucky and found a dealership with both cars on the lot and a salesman that let me test drive them alone. 9th gen Si. Title is incorrect.

I'll be brief for now but will add more later.

Both are off of my possible list.

The frs really lacked torque and the engine felt bland. The Si felt more peppy, but was still not "fast". I understand both are just 200hp. But they lacked the zippy feel that I expected from a sports car. It could be that I also have a c6 ls3 in the garage.... But comparing to my past cars Audi TT and mini cooper s Dinan- the frs just lacked the feel of power.

Si had the better clutch and transmission. Hands down. Steering was lighter in the Si but not as tight as ratio as the frs. It would be my pick for a daily driver.


Frs was very very connected from the driver to the road. Felt almost as confident as the lotus I test drove last year. Would be awesome track car or weekend mountain curve car...

Seats in the frs are too narrow for my back size. Otherwise the frs interior was better than the Si. I did like the side gauge on the Si as well as the steering wheel controls. Arm padding is non existent in the Si but at least it had a arm rest.


Frs needs a supercharger or turbo for the price. Si is ok but I would need the downpipe and tuning.

If I wanted a sports car for the frs price I'd have to consider a used corvette.
Dealer said that he didn't like the lack of torque in the frs and he hinted that many people have test drove it and said the same.

Last edited by ryker; 01-19-2013 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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did you drive a 2012 si or a 2013?

the 2013 has a tighter steering ratio, which i noticed was something you mentioned the fr-s had that the si didn't.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I test drove the fr-s too and own a mugen. The fr-s transmission felt clunky and the car felt slow but I could tell it would be easy to control the over and understeer on the car. I could feel the weight on the rear end of the car. The 8th gen si has a better engine by far, more character and my mugen si has a sharper feel to the driving. I didn't like the back seat of the fr-s it is not usable and I have kids so I really like the practicality of my mugen. I'm sure the fr-s would be fun on the track but on the regular roads it is lacking on the special feeling I get in my mugen and the si engine is great to rev in the higher rpms without getting too crazy. The k20 series engine have so much potential too.


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Old 01-12-2013, 09:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Argh, lost my post. Forgot I had vimperator installed.

Anyhow, I test drove an automatic fr-s a few weeks ago and also semi-autocrossed one when Scion had a promotional event. Even with the suspension upgrades on my si, the fr-s stock has much better feedback and feels much more connected. The first thing I noticed when I sat in one is the seating position. You're lower in the car and it just feels right. By comparison, the civic's seating is noticeably higher.

As others have said, the k20 currently has more potential (and sounds a whole lot better) than the fa20. Seems like there's a ton of aftermarket support for the fa20 but I'm waiting for a brz sti. It would be a good car to both autocross/track and drive daily as well as having a rear seat for storage space.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I drove the FRS and I loved it!
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sure don't see people trading an Si for an frs and being happy about it. 200hp is 200hp. Rear wheel drive frs was fun but straight line it lacked power. Twice I went from driving to full throttle (without downshifting 1-2 gears) and my wife didn't even know I went wide open throttle.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by G5usFrk View Post
I test drove the fr-s too and own a mugen. The fr-s transmission felt clunky and the car felt slow but I could tell it would be easy to control the over and understeer on the car. I could feel the weight on the rear end of the car. The 8th gen si has a better engine by far, more character and my mugen si has a sharper feel to the driving. I didn't like the back seat of the fr-s it is not usable and I have kids so I really like the practicality of my mugen. I'm sure the fr-s would be fun on the track but on the regular roads it is lacking on the special feeling I get in my mugen and the si engine is great to rev in the higher rpms without getting too crazy. The k20 series engine have so much potential too.


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Frs transmission felt very mechanical. I've owned six speed camaros, Audi TT, vw tdi, mini cooper s - All had better feeling shifts. Even my old dodge truck felt better.

Clutch was different and i probably could have learned it. But the Si clutch required no learning curve and I've not driven a manual in about 6 months.


Frs was taken around a nice roundabout in an empty complex... Traction and stability control off Very easy to control the car. With the lack of power, average tires and light weight it felt more fun than my corvette... But I don't dare go full throttle with my corvette as 436hp would eat up $$$$$ tires.

Frs would be the most fun with cheap hard tires so you could just spin and act a fool. Because 200hp isn't good for much else....
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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imo fr-s smokes the si because RWD.
instantly makes it more fun.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I pretty much agree with your conclusion ryker. I still own my si but I got a chance to test drive the frs. The transmission and the motor in the Si is better. The tranny is much smoother shifting and feels great. The Si's motor sounds a million times better and actually pulls to redline like a low tq car should. The FRS just tapers off at the high end.

However the frs has better seats and feels much more connected to the road. It responds very well to steering input and has a great steering ratio. RWD makes its more fun to take on the curves.

Overall it's a great weekend warrior car and I plan to eventually get it. But I'm waiting for the aftermarket to catch up cause the car really needs a supercharger in my opinion.

TLDR; frs; great chassis; meh transmission; meh motor.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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imo fr-s smokes the si because RWD.
instantly makes it more fun.

My Lawnmowers is rwd....


The only "fun" with a rwd is pushing it at or near it's limits in curves. With just 200hp I had to whip the steering wheel to enduce a drift at full throttle...
Even a 90 degree turn from a redlight with no clutch drop and full throttle applied as I turned the rear end didn't even break loose.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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My prediction is the car will fizzle out in sales volume and soon the used car market will have many of them at discounted prices... As people begin to hate having so little HP. Unless a turbo or s/c option becomes cheaper in price.

I would consider a used fr-s (15-18k) provided the aftermarket parts are price right. But by the time I would add a turbo, exhaust, tuning and suspension I could have purchased a used corvette for the same price.



--- the design should have been a hatchback. That rear trunk limits the size of cargo entry.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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A buddy of mine bought an fr-s it dynoed at a disappointing 161hp and 130tq, I don't see what all the hype is about these cars, yes they are rear wheel drive but getting them in the higher hp and tq range requires a lot of work and money, you can't really go over 300hp on the stock block, the k20 is def the superior motor of the two cars and I think the si is more fun.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I find it odd that the K20 made the same 200HP as the FRS and the frs has direct injection. Whats the deal there? Does the frs make much more torque?

Having the frs/brz being RWD, it instantly makes it a better car to drive compared to any FWD. Its not about the car, its more about the law of physics.
Even two ton sedans that are rwd , feel more neutral then the civic.

Last edited by pks17; 01-13-2013 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ryker View Post
My prediction is the car will fizzle out in sales volume and soon the used car market will have many of them at discounted prices... As people begin to hate having so little HP. Unless a turbo or s/c option becomes cheaper in price.

I would consider a used fr-s (15-18k) provided the aftermarket parts are price right. But by the time I would add a turbo, exhaust, tuning and suspension I could have purchased a used corvette for the same price.



--- the design should have been a hatchback. That rear trunk limits the size of cargo entry.
It's not going to fizzle out; it's a fantastically balanced track car in a segment that doesn't have a lot of that. Perhaps you've heard of the miata? it's small, rwd, not terribly powerful and popular as hell for people looking for a track car they can run and *afford to maintain*. A big point here that everyone seems to miss when they talk about cars you're actually going to regularly take to the track is when you start talking about used corvette's and stuff, big power means big bills for stuff when it breaks, not to mention tires. Power is great as long as you can afford to maintain it - most people can't on regular people money.

This car isn't for people who want to stoplight race, or compare HP numbers. It's probably also not the greatest DD out there - it's not made for any of that. I'm also not saying one with more power wouldn't be a hoot and hope Subaru build one, but stop complaining about this car not being something it was never meant to be in the first place.

As for the comparison to the SI - I just don't see it...you're talking about a light weight RWD sports car that's really aimed at weekend track warriors and a FWD sports coupe/sedan made to be a fun DD. Everyday if I had to pick one it'd undoubtebly be the Civic, for a weekend run around the track I'd have the BRZ - I think the majority of people would make the same decision if given any seat time with both of these cars and that's the point. Purpose built - for different things.

At least Subaru continues to build stuff for the enthusiast - maybe Honda will give you some more cup holders and a brighter Vtec gauge in the next gen SI. (yes, shameless dig at Honda - step it the hell up and stop giving us the same old tired 200hp mil's)
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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So much compression for a turbo kit
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:41 AM   #16 (permalink)
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At least Subaru continues to build stuff for the enthusiast - maybe Honda will give you some more cup holders and a brighter Vtec gauge in the next gen SI. (yes, shameless dig at Honda - step it the hell up and stop giving us the same old tired 200hp mil's)
The S2000 is hands down a better RWD 2.0L car and can be had for much less money than a new BRZ

For someone looking for a NEW car around 25k there are only so many options and really only ONE if you want a light weight car - the BRZ is it - but the motor leaves ALOT to be desired - I hate boxer motors and the FA20 isnt any different - it has no top end and the head/ports are not going to have near the potential of a K/F20c

Its a lightweight, affordable RWD Japanese car - the ONLY one available with a back seat - which means its hyped for THAT reason alone....if Nissan builds a turbo 4 cyl Silvia for the United States the BRZ is done.

If Honda releases a turbo S2000 the BRZ is done

But I suspect the avg BRZ buyer might not stretch to 30k which would be turbo Silvia/S2000 territory so it would still be the "value" buy for the RWD japanese enthusiast for a NEW car

Here in cali though we have a TON of stretched tire/stance whores and the FRS/BRZ is MUCH better for hard parking and deep dish wheels sitting "hella flush" as compared to the Civic - especially the ugly 9th gens so

I drove the FRS in manual and noticed once out of 3rd it was flat - my FA5 feels much better up top and with the RS3's I put on this week in 225/45/17 the car is awesome on my local drives - with some bolt-ons I dont think the FRS will be nearly as fun for me so - I decided to keep my FA5 for now lol

But I am keeping my eye out for something from Honda thats RWD - and although I had a less than stellar time with my 350z I might consider a turbo silvia or Z if they got the weight right....ugh and the interior better! lol
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:44 AM   #17 (permalink)
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It's not going to fizzle out; it's a fantastically balanced track car in a segment that doesn't have a lot of that. Perhaps you've heard of the miata? it's small, rwd, not terribly powerful and popular as hell for people looking for a track car they can run and *afford to maintain*. A big point here that everyone seems to miss when they talk about cars you're actually going to regularly take to the track is when you start talking about used corvette's and stuff, big power means big bills for stuff when it breaks, not to mention tires. Power is great as long as you can afford to maintain it - most people can't on regular people money.

This car isn't for people who want to stoplight race, or compare HP numbers. It's probably also not the greatest DD out there - it's not made for any of that. I'm also not saying one with more power wouldn't be a hoot and hope Subaru build one, but stop complaining about this car not being something it was never meant to be in the first place.

As for the comparison to the SI - I just don't see it...you're talking about a light weight RWD sports car that's really aimed at weekend track warriors and a FWD sports coupe/sedan made to be a fun DD. Everyday if I had to pick one it'd undoubtebly be the Civic, for a weekend run around the track I'd have the BRZ - I think the majority of people would make the same decision if given any seat time with both of these cars and that's the point. Purpose built - for different things.

At least Subaru continues to build stuff for the enthusiast - maybe Honda will give you some more cup holders and a brighter Vtec gauge in the next gen SI. (yes, shameless dig at Honda - step it the hell up and stop giving us the same old tired 200hp mil's)
this guy gets it.
if i wasn't in school i would totally trade in my civic for one of these.
This is a throwback to Japanese 90's cars that handle like a dream.
the ae-86 is underpowered but people still praise those cars because of the Superior handling they offer.

to all the kids who say this car doesn't really drift, i think you need some time actually drifting as i can get my friends sideways no problem on the track.

i guess i am biased though, because i would rather have a car that handles like a dream while sideways, than a car that has 500whp and can go straight really fast, which is fun too but in a different way.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:14 AM   #18 (permalink)
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People do mind getting into a car that looks like the fr-s and brz and being completely underwhelmed with the power. If the only people buying them are autocrossing then that car and platform IS in trouble. Because very very few people do that. It's hilarious that people think because it handles well but lacks power it'll do fine like the miata.

The miata weighs 2450 lbs. The fr-s weighs 2700 lbs.

I'm looking at dyno's and it looks like the 2.0L in the mx-5 is capable of outputting it's rated horsepower and torque AT THE WHEELS with simple intake and exhaust mods with a tune. So this means with simple modifications the mx-5 would be a blast to drive and be faster than the fr-s.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm keeping my si as my dd. I've been looking for a sports car for under 35k and I keep coming back to used vettes like Ryker stated. Performance vs money, you just cant beat them. I wouldnt buy the frs or brz because of the lack of power and I dont plan on tracking that much anyway. I already own a slowish, great handling, reliable car, my si lol
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:01 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by labowsky View Post
This is a throwback to Japanese 90's cars that handle like a dream.
the ae-86 is underpowered but people still praise those cars because of the Superior handling they offer.
This is what's sad about the whole thing... Everyone getting goo-pants over something that was commonplace in the 90's.... (light, RWD, good handling but lower HP). I wish those kinds of cars would have never gone away.
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