The 2013 Subaru BRZ and its twin, the 2013 Scion FR-S, are the most hotly anticipated sport coupes to hit the scene in years. Promising a fun driving experience with a low price and decent fuel economy, they promised to answer many an enthusiast driver’s dreams.
The verdicts have slowly been dribbling in, and so far, those dreams are looking fulfilled. It’s fun to drive, as our sister publication Motor Trend can attest. And at a base price of around $25,000 or so, it’s certainly affordable.
Now we have word that it’ll be fuel efficient as well, but with an important caveat. The EPA has released its official fuel economy score for the Scion FR-S: If you opt for the Scion FR-S with a six-speed manual, you’ll get 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and a combined 25 mpg. Not bad. But if you decide you’d rather let the car do the shifting and get the six-speed automatic, fuel economy jumps to 25 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and a combined score of 28 mpg.
How does that stack up? Take a look at the Scion FR-S’s competition, and you’ll see it’s definitely in the hunt. A 2012 Mazda MX-5—that’s Miata to you and me—gets 21/28/24 city/highway/combined with a six-speed manual, and 21/28/23 city/highway/combined with the six-speed automatic. The 2013 Hyundai Genesis coupe with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine gets 21/30/24 with a six-speed manual, and 20/31/24 with the eight-speed automatic.
So what’s that caveat? Like the Mazda and Hyundai, Scion and Subaru will both recommend premium fuel for their sport coupes. So that thrifty little engine won’t really save you that much money at the pumps after all.
Automotive.com’s take: So fuel economy is pretty good, but it drinks more expensive premium gas. So what? If you’re looking at the Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ as a nifty fuel sipper, you’re missing the point of these cars by a wide margin.