Toyota and Subaru working to fix defects on Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S

Article by Anita Panait, on October 5, 2012

Toyota and Subaru are currently working hard to fix the issues that hound their jointly developed sporty coupes. The initial batches of Subaru BRZ coupe and its Scion FR-S twin, which is also known as Toyota FT-86 outside the US, have shown some problems caused by a software mapping glitch.

While Toyota and Subaru officials say the problem is simply a software glitch and does not involve any mechanical defect, some coupe owners beg to disagree, saying that the fix that the carmakers have suggested has failed to keep the problem from recurring.

According to Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons, when the vehicles’ engine control unit (ECU) is installed, it adapts to the powertrain and owner's driving patterns in a process called adaptive learning. However those settings are basically frozen in the ECU within 100 miles.

As for the coupes, some of the software coding that enables the ECU to set a "handshake" with the engine is in error. The ECU monitors particular driving conditions, and when the engine is deemed as out of tolerance, the software picks up an anomaly.

When this occurs, the ECU lets out a fault code. When the ECU attempts to find an optimal driving condition outside its prescribed tolerances, it results to a rough idle or stalling situation.

Normally though, the check engine light illuminates, and a fault code of P0019 shows up on diagnostic readers. Toyota has suggested two ways to fix the problem.

One is if the car has travelled less than 100 miles, a technician will reflash the ECU with the correct software mapping. The other is if the car has more than 100 miles, the mechanic would replace the ECU.

Complete details on the 2013 Scion FR-S are now disclosed, with the compact rear-wheel drive sports car slated to be available to interested buyers in June 2012. The new FR-S – which stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive – is how the brand defines an authentic rear-wheel-drive sports car. This sports car features an ideal combination of performance, handling, utility, fuel efficiency and style.

Jack Hollis, Scion Vice President, remarked that the new high-performance coupe will be the brand’s halo car. He noted that Scion became iconic with the xB, pumped up by the tC, and broke ground with the new iQ, but the FR-S compact rear-wheel drive sports car should allow the brand to surpass its limits in terms of driving performance.

The arrival of the new Scion FR-S should allow more people to gain access to a new authentic sports car. After all, the new Scion FR-S equipped with a six-speed manual transmission has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $24,200. The version, which is equipped with a six-speed automatic gearbox and comes with paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management technology has an MSRP of $25,300.

Hollis remarked that Scion intended to create an affordable sports car that could be enjoyed by a true driving enthusiast – a goal achieved through the FR-S and its starting price of just under $25,000. Affordability isn’t the only great thing about the new FR-S, and it is accompanied by the brand’s Scion Service Boost and complemented by a network of about 1,000 dealers and their no-haggle no-hassle Pure Price.

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