Test Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S – Pilgrimage to Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway

What happens when Scion gives you a car and tells you that you can do whatever you want with it except for smoke and bring pets into it?

Well you drive it 2000 kms down to the world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca race track via the best driving road in North America of course!


(Sorry Scion we promise to never do that again)

26 Comments Add Yours

  1. Sylvia

    Hey Jon,

    Sorry.. I don’t love cars enough to watch the whole 30 min…..but the first 5 min were great!! 🙂 Awesome job!

    • Jon

      Yeah I recognize that its a bit long. But the car was too epic for me to condense it down.

      I’m sorry it wasn’t enough to retain you for the full 30. Maybe next time.

  2. Viet

    Hey Jon,

    Excellent review. How the heck did you convince someone to lend you an FR-S for a week and put a ton of km’s on it, I envy you.

    Laguna Seca is such a tough track, so jealous that you got a few laps with a pro driver. How fast was he going through the corkscrew?

    • Jon

      Thanks Viet!

      Haha I got a bit lucky I guess.

      Hmm how fast were we going through corkscrew? To be honest I’m not really sure as I wasn’t looking at the speedo. I was too busy with a big huge grin on my face ;).

  3. Patsan


    nice job !!
    i watched complete video and it was fun
    this Laguna Seca raceway reminded me about the first time I played my GT2 on PS, it was exactly the same crazy as the real curve shown on your video. must be fun to try in real life

    also it was great that you could test drive the 86 for such long period
    what will be you next target ??

    looking forward to your next review.

    • Jon

      Thanks Patsan,

      Not sure about the next target right now – have a few stories I’m working on. I’ll let you know 😉

      Also – the video did NOT show the g-forces at work. They were strong enough to put a serious crick in my neck after 6 laps.

  4. Jay

    Good video. Can’t wait to get the BRZ out on those same roads.

    • Jon

      Thanks for watching Jay!

      How do you find the BRZ anyway? I’ve heard it has some minor chassis differences and have been meaning to compare them to see how they differ. Some people have said there’s no difference, while others contradict each others comments.

      Anyway congrats on bagging one! The wait is long for one right now.

    • Jay

      Still in the break-in period. And feel lucky that I found one with a 2-3 week delivery. So far love it. I did drive an FRS at the BC AutoX championship at Pitt Meadows (best test drive ever). I would have to drive the cars back-to-back to see if there is a difference. Went with the BRZ for the extras and I also own another Subaru. Will be taking the BRZ to Pitt Meadows in January, see how it feels, but then I will not have stock rubber and will be able to set the traction control.

    • Jon

      Awesome congrats again Jay

  5. Ian L

    Jonny boy, great video. Now just to invest in a proper microphone and you’d be pro. Also, you should set up some drive-by shots.

    I wanted to see video of you getting pulled over by the cop. And was waiting the entire video for some e-brake drifts but I was disappointed.

    I guess it’s time for you to say bye to your Miata!

    • Jon

      Thanks Taz

      I did this trip solo, and didn’t feel comfortable leaving the camera on its own while I blew past it at XX kms/h.

      On the video where I am talking about what the chassis is, there is a car coming the other way right near the end of the video. That was the cop that pulled me over. Unfortunately the camera was pointed the wrong way so you never actually saw him pull me over.

      If you watched the section just after Laguna Seca I do a small drift in the corner. And by the way this car handles in such a way that you don’t need the handbrake to initiate drifts – just adjustment of the car’s balance to get it to slide.

      The Miata is not completely dead…YET.

      Your comments about getting a mic are very valid – intend to get one soon. Also want to pick up a multi-LED panel so I can capture some shots at night while I am in the car. Thanks for the feedback! Stay tuned – more to come.

  6. Kent

    Thoroughly enjoyed the video. Makes me want to buy a sporty car and find a track. I like your commentary as you described the car in a fun way.

    • Jon

      Thanks Kent!

      Yeah it’s a great car. And never too late to do what you described 😉

  7. Rob

    Replying back to your YouTube comment here, thought this would be easier 😉

    This actually is the first time Ive been to your site, and I just saw the last post about your Miata. What you said is a pretty close reflection of my feelings as well. Ive had my NA for almost 6 years, and I’ve put a LOT of love and work into it – detailing, replacing misc parts, maintenance, tires, new top, Flyin Miata stage 2 suspension etc.

    I still think its a great car, but I can’t help but be lured by the new FR-S/BRZ. I originally bought the Miata because it was cheap and it was pretty much the best sports car you could get under $10k, and it still pretty much is. However, the Miata is great at what it does best – driving on curvy roads. But when its your only car, doing pretty much anything else in it is a pain in the ass.

    There hasnt been anything else out there that really compares or would make me consider getting something else until the BRZ came out.

    What makes it so appealing to me is that it is a very similar type of car, but it has a couple extra things that make it more practical than the Miata like a larger trunk and more interior space. Not to mention that anything built in the last DECADE feels like an absolute luxury car to me. The things that are standard on the car that most people wouldnt think twice about are pretty exciting to someone whos never owned a car that was newer than 15 years old (I had an 86 RX-7 before the Miata).

    While I have really enjoyed fixing up and restoring bits here and there on my cars, Im honestly tired of it at this point. It would just plain be nice to have a new car. As long as the BRZ was a little bit faster than my NA, and I dont see how it couldnt be, I think Id be happy as a clam in one – as hard as it would be to see the little NA go! Im not quite in the position to buy a new car at the moment, nor do I relish the thought of having car payments but this is the first car Ive literally dreamed about in a long time, and I could definitely see myself in one in a year or two.

    • Jon

      Hey Rob,

      Thanks for visiting! And yes this is much easier than replying to you in 6 comments on youtube ;).

      I agree with you completely; and I find myself really struggling to not consider buying one. In fact, I’ve probably looked at the Scion website for at least an hour today while at work.

      I bought the Miata 6 years ago for the same reasons as you – it was the cheapest, best handling RWD car for the money.

      I’m almost 30 now, and I feel like I’m outgrowing the Miata. I’m 6ft tall, and when I put a helmet on I need to shrink down in my seat to be able to sit in with a hardtop on, much less stay below the roll bar. I’m also tired of banging my head on the hardtop when I go over a bump, or getting splashed by another car when it hits a puddle with my windows up. Road trips are cramped, loud, and when I am on a boring road and I want to listen to some music I can’t in my Miata because the car is too loud. My girlfriend is not a big fan of my car (not that she calls the shots, but it is a factor), and she has no such gripes with the FR-S.

      As I’m sure you’ve read, I am starting to run into a situation where parts are breaking down at what seems like the same time. While I would love to sit in my garage and work on these slowly when I have time, I live in an apartment building where I shouldn’t even be technically working on my car, nor do I have much space to do so. In other words, like you – I am tired of having to work on my car. And with its age, the time between working on the car is getting shorter and shorter.

      I just want to have something that is new(er), that doesn’t need work, that is ready to go. Is that lame? Some of my friends think so. But I only have space/money/time for one car, not multiple ones, so this car has to be good to go at all times. When I drove the FR-S I really liked how the car flowed on curvy roads, but how I could also plug in my iPod and listen to tunes once I hit some straight ones. Or have bluetooth so that if somebody called me I could talk to them while driving without needing to hold a phone to my ear (actually its illegal to drive and hold a phone where I’m from). Although I didn’t get to use it, I’m sure the A/C would be handy on a hot day.

      I have never owned any cars with A/C, bluetooth, or a iPod plugin before and I didn’t realize how nice they were to have until now.

      The one thing you’ll have to ask yourself is how much work you are willing to put into the BRZ. It sounds like your NA has had some work done it, and after having driven the FR-S I actually think my very mildly tuned NB is faster than it on the curvy roads (just purely on grip). You can mod the BRZ of course, but that is something you would have to factor in. I’ve come to the conclusion that ultimate speed is not what I’m after, but the driving experience itself. You may have a different opinion.

      I’m going to “tidy” up the Miata, and although it would be hard to see it go, I’ll have to see what I can get for it. If I feel that its not worth the trade in value or what it could conjure up on private sale, I might find some room for it somewhere and keep it as a project car. Something I can put aside, and if its not working perfectly, its ok, as I can work on it another time.

      Hopefully you will get a chance to drive a BRZ/FRS so you can see how you feel. Good luck!

    • Rob

      Sounds like we are totally on the same page. I’ve had A/C on both the FC RX-7 and my NA, and it is possibly worse than not having it. I cant stand having the A/C on. Because the car is so dependent on using every one of the 100 horses, turning the A/C on reduces it to a bogging, weezing turd. So I end up just sweating it out anyway.

      I’ve never really felt that the Miata didnt handle like I wanted it to, I think I’ve just added all that stuff on in a quest to keep myself happy and entertained with the car. It was also a case of my shocks needing to be replaced anyway, so why not? The thing turns like you wouldn’t believe now, but I honestly hardly ever use it to its potential since I dont autocross or track it.

      I think the ol’ Miata would make a great “toy” car or weekend warrior. But I cant afford/dont want 2 cars, and when the other car is another small RWD sports car, theres not much of a point.

      I havent driven one, but if I did get a BRZ I could imagine upgrading the tires and putting some nice looking wheels on, but I dont know if Id be quick to think about any other mods. I feel like Ive kind of gotten that out of my system a little bit, but Im probably kidding myself 😉

    • Jon

      Haha I’m not sure that kind of stuff ever leaves your system.

      I’m looking at replacing my NB right now and will try a few cars, but the FR-S is definitely the front runner. In fact, the other cars are more there to make sure I am making the right decision.

      If I get my hands on one, stay tuned as I will be posting to see what life is like with this FR-S.

      And to give my car a proper farewell/send off, I will be doing a segment “My Car” (this is my segment which details people’s relationships with their cars) – using my own car this time. I will be taking my car to the Miatas at Mazda Raceway event in order to capture the essence, culture, and spirit of Miata ownership.

      Would you be interested in a “subscription”? It costs $0, and all I do is send you an email when a new article comes out.

    • Rob

      That sounds awesome man! I would love to go to Laguna Sec a one day. I’ll be subscribing for sure!

  8. Scott

    I am seeing this many months later, but I just wanted to say that you did a fantastic job reviewing the car, and answered every single question I had about the car. I am planning on making this my next car (2014 M.Y.) and I haven’t even been able to test drive one because the demand for them has lead to a shortage here in the Bay Area where I live. I can’t say I suffered through all 33 minutes of the video, because I loved every minute – you made me fall in love with a car I have only ever sat in for a moment, I can’t wait for the day I get to drive mine off the lot. I owned a Miata a few years ago, and now, sadly, I own one of those boring cars (Corolla) – but I have come to trust Toyota, and I have been waiting for them to come out with a car like this for the last 5 years. Fantastic job on the video!

    • Jon

      Thanks for the kind words Scott! I hope you were able to watch the last 2 minutes of the video because I have tried my best to capture the essence of the car.

      Feedback noted, and I am working on making my videos shorter in the future ;).

      Thanks again for watching and commenting!

  9. Doug

    Modern day 240Z

    • Jonathan Yeung

      yeah pretty much!

  10. Jon

    Not sure I am familiar with that emoticon. Are you calling me a nerd? are those butt cheeks? Nerd glasses tearing up?


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