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Old 06-13-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
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RSX vs FR-S

I sold my RSX 5-speed two weeks ago to buy an FR-S. The FR-S is an incredible machine, but it also reminds me daily of how good my RSX was. I sold the RSX with 155K on the odometer, with almost all the original parts - so reliability was outstanding.

Here is a comparison of the two cars:

Braking: Always a weak point in my RSX. Too much slack in the pedal. FR-S is direct and a dream to modulate.

Steering Feel: Pretty equal. The RSX had great steering and tracked beautifully. Very slight edge over the FR-S. Quicker steering ratio in the FR-S should have been standard in the RSX.

Ride: The RSX was softer over small imperfections, with less jiggling, but the FR-S handles big bumps without any harshness. Edge to the FR-S. The FR-S does pick up the road surface and translate it back to the cabin. The RSX is more isolated from that on the highway.

Handling: The FR-S is better around curves and more confident on the highway. But the RSX was remarkably good and not far behind. The RSX was a little better in maintaining traction when turning on bumpy pavement. The FR-S has much better balance, but the difference doesn't really show up in normal driving.

Ergonomics: The RSX had better ergonomics in the controls and the angle of the radio face. The FR-S' controls are closer to hand. The RSX is way better for storage spaces and trunk room. I prefer the fairly upright windshield in the FR-S, and like it much better than the super low angle one in the new Civic SI. Upright windshields are cool in my book.

Visibility: Both cars have good visibility, but the FR-S has the edge in being able to see the hood (wheel bumps on either side), a thinner A column and better side mirror positioning. But the RSX had much better left rear visibility. Rearward gives a slight edge to the RSX.

Quality of Interior: The RSX was a mixed bag. I loved the dash and liked the controls and the steering wheel was the best I have used. But the top door panels and the rubbery armrests were bad. Leather seats in the RSX were outstanding. FR-S seats are confining but extremely comfortable. Climate control better in the RSX. Interior materials are no-frills, but uniformly good quality in the FR-S, except for the climate controls. I like the design in both cars.

Transmission: The RSX is the clear winner, as the FR-S is much more notchy. However, I prefer the clutch in the FR-S since takeup is shorter and more precise.

Noise: The FR-S is quiet at low speeds, and fairly loud on the highway due to road noise. The RSX had both wind and road noise. Edge to the FR-S.

Driving Experience: I give the edge to the RSX at low speed and in congested conditions. Driving normally on empty roads they are equal. At higher speeds the FR-S shows tremendous confidence and surety that my base RSX couldn't match.

One other area where the RSX is better is in ease of entry and exit. I still haven't found a graceful way to get into and out of the FR-S. Its long doors and high threshold means that the doors have to be open wide to get in and out. The RSX has a clear edge in tight parking spaces.

I'm not going to talk about the engine, since I didn't own a type S that would be a more direct comparison. But I will say that the engine sound in the FR-S is more throaty and coarse - but very likeable.

If anyone has questions, I'd be glad to answer them. Also, I am not about to start drifting the FR-S until I get access to a track and money to burn.

If you own an RSX I suggest that money spent on increasing its longevity is well spent. Almost every car I test drove over the past year, including Honda, Acura, Mini, Mustang, Subaru, Nissan, Volvo, Mazda and Ford, did not offer road feel and steering comparable to the RSX.

Last edited by andex; 06-13-2012 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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I looked into the FR-S myself

nice review
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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interesting
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:15 AM   #4
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Walkthrough pics!!!!!!
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:19 AM   #5
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:21 AM   #6
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Nice review and comparison! My fiance is looking into one as well but really likes my RSX also. She just wants something different and the FRS/BRZ are her first choice
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:21 AM   #7
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Congrats on the new car purchase. I sat in one in a Toyota showroom in Tokyo, and could almost imagine what it felt like to drive. I like how the car looks, and the fact that it's a lightweight RWD car with good mileage. I hope you're enjoying it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:23 AM   #8
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congrats i just bought my fr-s last friday. i miss my bom, but love the fr-s. awesome car
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:30 AM   #9
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Would be better if you compared it to the type-s....

I'm always telling people this, but the rsx's steering feel is amazing. Both of my friends with evos drove my rsx, and the first thing they said was that the rsx felt just like their Evo, just without the boost. I feel like if the rsx came with better tires, the steering feel would be matched by handling, too, on the rsx.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:30 AM   #10
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Nice review. It seems like the RSX is pretty comparable in some aspects. It shows that the RSX's biggest bottle neck is the drive train.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:32 AM   #11
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It's disappointing to hear that the fr-s' tranny is notchier, though. That is a big part of having pleasure in the driving experiences. Congrats on the buy though. They look great. Can't wait for them to get modded.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:37 AM   #12
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what is making you guys pick FR-S's over BRZ's?


Quote:
Originally Posted by andex View Post
The FR-S has much better balance, but the difference doesn't really show up in normal driving.
that is the problem with RWD
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:37 AM   #13
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wow nice review. I clicked on this expected something stupid. Very nice.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:39 AM   #14
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what is making you guys pick FR-S's over BRZ's?
I'm actually interested in a neutral review between the 2. I personally like the BRZ more
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:41 AM   #15
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I don't really like the BRZ more but it comes with HIDs and nav, that makes me want it more..also the 2 FR-S's at the dealer by me listed for 26k, I though they were supposed to be cheaper..
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:41 AM   #16
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Curious what is even the difference between the two? They look almost the exact same its stupid.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:44 AM   #17
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I don't really like the BRZ more but it comes with HIDs and nav, that makes me want it more..also the 2 FR-S's at the dealer by me listed for 26k, I though they were supposed to be cheaper..
Pretty much the HID and nav that interest me also for the cost
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:46 AM   #18
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the suspension is tuned differently, FR-S is tuned more for oversteer. interiors are a little different, BRZ has standard hids and NAV, BRZ limited has push button start, heated seats, leather/alcantara(sp?) seats. Some tests have shown the FR-S to be slightly faster in a straight line, though I can't see why. basically you get the brz if the options are worth the extra money to you

there are lots of magazine articles comparing the 2
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:46 AM   #19
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ah okay. so BRZ the more glorified version.

Inb4 FR-S people rebadge theres to be a BRZ
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:49 AM   #20
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ah okay. so BRZ the more glorified version.

Inb4 FR-S people rebadge theres to be a Toyota
Fixed.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:51 AM   #21
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I would order the toyota badges as soon as I signed the paper work..scion is the dumbest thing ever
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:52 AM   #22
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ah okay. so BRZ the more glorified version.

Inb4 FR-S people rebadge theres to be a BRZ
They wouldn't, everyone would badge them as FT86 because it would be the JDM thing to do
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:55 AM   #23
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They wouldn't, everyone would badge them as FT86 because it would be the not diving around with an idiotic marketing ploy emblem on your toyobaru thing to do
fixed

they should make a lexus version...I'd buy that...any also rebadge it
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #24
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It's disappointing to hear that the fr-s' tranny is notchier, though. That is a big part of having pleasure in the driving experiences. Congrats on the buy though. They look great. Can't wait for them to get modded.
It's just that Honda makes such smooth-shifting manual transmissions (particularly the more performance-oriented models with the six-speed sticks) that it almost spoils the experience with other cars. But again, it doesn't take away from other transmissions still being very good. The shifter is characteristic of what is on Subarus, but it actually feels a bit smoother than others. I actually prefer its shift feel over the six-speed in other Subarus, meaning the STI.

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I don't really like the BRZ more but it comes with HIDs and nav, that makes me want it more..
I feel the same way. I'm not currently in the market for a new car and have no reason to switch, but if I were to be deprived of my car, I'd likely get a BRZ over the FR-S, if it came down to it.

After having owned an Evo IX with and without factory HIDs, I don't think that I want to own a car without HIDs if they are available for that vehicle, which is the case when considering the FR-S/BRZ twins. Navigation isn't necessarily, but I don't mind it, especially since that head unit looks MUCH better than the Scion one. Also, at first, I liked the FR-S's front end much better since I thought it looked more aggressive, but the BRZ's front end has really grown on me to the point where I actually prefer it over the other one.

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Curious what is even the difference between the two? They look almost the exact same its stupid.
Between the FR-S and BRZ Premium? The interior material is slightly different. The FR-S has some kind of cloth in the middle of the seats, while the BRZ has a mesh-like material that current Impreza owners (particularly the WRX ones) will recognize. As I mentioned before, the BRZ has HIDs and navigation as standard equipment (which are not really factory options on the FR-S), while the BRZ Limited includes a few other things, particularly a leather/alcantara interior, the upgraded HVAC controls with dual-climate control (I think) and heated seats, push-button start and rear wing. Both the FR-S and BRZ Premium have the same HVAC controls, which look like the ones found in most Scions and also previous Yaris models (where the knobs look like gears).

Performance-wise, they're pretty much the same, except the spring rates are a little different. From what I've read in reviews, the FR-S is set up to be a bit more playful in terms of its rear end (though not by a huge margin), while the BRZ is set up to be a bit more stable (and mirroring Subaru's ideals).

OP -- good review with solid input, but I'd also like to see a similar review from someone who is coming from an RSX Type-S. As a side note, on the FT86 forums, there is a guy who is coming from a Cayman S who did a pretty thorough write-up on his experience driving an FR-S. He walked away from it with a lot of good things to say about it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:11 PM   #25
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Regarding FR-S vs BRZ. I went to the Subaru dealer first. Though I was indifferent to whether I purchased an FR-S or BRZ - the differences are unimportant to me, and I don't like Alcantara. It became clear very quickly that the Subaru dealer was evasive on pricing and delivery and wanted a non-refundable $1000 deposit and no test drive. On the other hand, the Scion dealer I chose got top recommendations, has an efficient service department and was above board about pricing and delivery. The only disappointing thing about Scion is that they are way behind the ball in terms of making accessories available for the FR-S.
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