The factory cat-back system on your Scion FRS is excessively heavy and restricts how much power your car makes. Installing an aftermarket cat-back system is a simple DIY job almost anyone can do in about an hour. When picking out the best exhaust for FRS, you want a system that looks as good as it sounds. The best cat-back system is the MagnaFlow 15157. This article will explain why this kit is the best for your car and give you some examples of other products to show the differences.
- MagnaFlow 15157
- Borla 140496
- Spec-D Tuning W/Titanium Tip
- Spec-D Tuning Catback Dual Roll Tip
- Borla 11839
- Invidia N1 Cat-Back HS12SSTGTP
Best Exhaust for Scion FRS – Top Picks:
|MagnaFlow 15157||Borla 140496||Spec-D Tuning w/ Titanium Tip||Spec-D Tuning w/ Rolled Tips||Borla 11839||Invidia N1|
|OEM Part Number||15157||140496||MFCAT2-FRS12T-SD||MFCAT2-FRS12||11839||HS12SSTGTP|
|Item Weight (pounds)||43||36||31||31||23.9||38|
|Latest Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
This is the exhaust the factory should have fitted to your car. It’s the perfect balance of sound and performance. Unlike most of the exhaust kits on the market, MagnaFlow built this one to perform. It gives you dyno-proven power and a boost to your fuel mileage. Lots of companies will make that claim, MagnaFlow backs it up with proven results.
The entire system is made from stainless steel. It features mandrel bent tubing that fits precisely. Unlike most systems, the MagnaFlow retains the single pipe to a single-in, dual-out resonator muffler. This design provides you throaty exhaust notes without resonance. It won’t give you a headache on the freeway either.
If you want to increase power and performance while improving the look of your vehicle, this is the only product you should consider. It won’t give you that annoying sound, so if that’s what you want, steer clear. It’s just the best exhaust for FRS.
- Significant increase in low RPM torque and horsepower
- Delightful exhaust sound
- Looks fantastic
- Expensive product that may force some buyers to look at inferior products
This is the second-best option and is a good choice if you don’t want to spend too much. The computer-designed mandrel bent pipes fit without the need to modify hangers, brackets, or cut anything. One of the reasons this kit is so expensive is that the 2.5” pipes are made from 304 stainless steel which is more common for tableware. It offers superior corrosion resistance over other types of steel.
The sound from this exhaust is best described as a sporty sound. Your car will gain a deeper sound that is somewhat more noticeable at idle. From idle to 4,000 RPM, you’ll heat a much improved performance exhaust sound. The exhaust is more noticeable in the cabin but isn’t annoying or buzzy.
The reason this isn’t the number one choice is the volume of exhaust. This kit is designed to make noise rather than power, and it runs right up to the limits of many state noise laws. In testing, it measured 104 db. In California, cars are limited to 94 db or less so this wouldn’t be legal. All similar designs will have the same problem.
- Provides a performance sound
- Easy to install
- Outstanding durability
- May violate noise laws
Spec-D Tuning w/ Titanium Tip
This is another product that seems like it would be a good choice, but you run a substantial risk of ending up with a pile of scrap metal in your driveway while you put your stock exhaust back on. There are numerous red flags you should be aware of before buying this kit.
The first thing to mention is that this is not a performance exhaust. It is an appearance exhaust and will make your car loud. The sound is not tuned, so it’s just loud like a lawn mower and a hair dryer running at the same time. The biggest problem is the use of numerous flanges throughout the system.
Each flange creates distortion in the flow of air through the exhaust, like a little tornado inside your pipes. That air movement eats horsepower and fuel mileage. Each flange is an opportunity for a leak and because of the turbulence of air at the flange mounting point, it will leak frequently.
- It’s cheap
- The kit restricts exhaust flow to create noise, not performance
- Manufacturer claims of performance gains are obviously false
- Frequent leaks and rust including sections of pipe that rust through in as little as 6 months
Spec-D Tuning w/ Rolled Tips
This is the same exhaust as the one above with different tips welded on. It has the same flaws as the other Spec-D kit. The manufacturer advertises this Chinese-made product to be of T-304 stainless steel, the same material used to make silverware. This is false advertising. This kit may be made with stainless parts, but the exhaust system frequently rusts through in a short period of time.
Buyers report that sections of pipe rust and even the internals of the resonator rust out, causing rattling that sounds like you have bottle caps in your exhaust. This kit has the same flaws with numerous flange mounts and will suffer the same fat of frequent gasket failures that cause you to remove and reinstall this kit.
Most people who buy this kit replace it with a true performance kit within one year of purchase.
- Inexpensive alternative to having no exhaust system
- Poorly designed system that hurts performance and fuel mileage
- Quickly rusts and becomes useless, often in less than 6 months
The BORLA 11839 exhaust system is a commendable upgrade for auto enthusiasts. Constructed from premium T-304 stainless steel, its durability and resistance to corrosion stand out, promising a long-lasting experience. With its patented straight-through and multi-core technology, this exhaust not only promises to unlock potential horsepower but also enhances the driving experience with its deep, refined sound signature, eliminating any unpleasant “tin can” resonance.
However, it’s not without its minor quirks. Some users might find the idle sound a tad quieter than expected, which, while pleasant for some, might not meet the expectations of those seeking a roaring idle. Installation, while generally straightforward, might present challenges, particularly if one encounters rusted or frozen bolts.
Despite these nuances, the BORLA 11839 is an impressive piece of engineering. It finds a balance between performance and sound quality, offering a richer auditory experience without being overwhelmingly loud. The backing of BORLA’s Million-Mile Warranty further accentuates its appeal, making it a solid choice for those looking to upgrade their exhaust system.
- Premium T-304 stainless steel ensures longevity and durability.
- Deeper sound without unpleasant “tin can” noise.
- Patented tech enhances horsepower and driving pleasure.
- Ultra-smooth mandrel bends optimize flow and power.
- Backed by BORLA’s robust Million-Mile Warranty
- Idle sound quieter than some competitors.
- Some users faced challenges with rusted bolts.
Invidia N1 Cat-Back HS12SSTGTP
The Invidia N1 Cat-Back (HS12SSTGTP) exhaust system stands out as a well-crafted and meticulously designed product for car enthusiasts. With its high-quality 304 stainless steel construction, the exhaust system not only promises durability but also offers a race-inspired sound that is sure to elevate the overall driving experience. Whether you’re seeking enhanced throttle response or a more enjoyable auditory experience, this system strikes the right balance. Installation is relatively smooth, thanks to the included hardware and gaskets, though the absence of detailed instructions might be a hurdle for some. Nonetheless, the direct fitment with welded exhaust hangers ensures that the setup process is generally hassle-free. The resulting moderate and throaty tone transforms the vehicle’s character without becoming overbearing.
The Invidia N1 Cat-Back exhaust system presents a valuable investment for owners of the Scion FR-S (2013-2016), providing both performance and aesthetic enhancements. While there might be some concerns regarding the loud drone sound initially, these can be easily overshadowed by the product’s overall quality and appeal. Highly recommended for those looking to inject some vitality into their ride.
- High-quality 304 stainless steel construction ensures durability.
- Enhanced throttle response with improved exhaust flow.
- Race-inspired sound elevates driving experience.
- Direct fitment with welded exhaust hangers.
- Installation hardware and gaskets included, aiding setup.
- No detailed installation instructions provided.
- Drone sound may be too loud for some.
Choosing the Best Exhaust for FRS
When you shop for a performance exhaust system for your FRS, you need to pay attention to some of the deceptive practices manufacturers commonly make, particularly in regard to modern cars with sporty styling. Unfortunately, there is no regulation that prevents companies from making wild and outrageous claims about what the product can do and cat-back exhaust kits are one of the most abused segments in the industry.
Performance Gains and Losses
Your FRS exhaust isn’t a bad design. It balances proper gas flow for performance with resonators to reduce the volume of noise from your car. Many people mistakenly believe that loud equals fast- it seldom does.
Exhaust gases must have a smooth, uninterrupted path of flow in order to offer a performance gain. There are two things many kits have that restrict this necessary function. The first is the use of oversized piping. Think about your exhaust like a garden hose. When you connect another hose of the same size, you get about the same amount of flow. If you connect a larger hose, you get less flow. A smaller hose causes a more forceful flow with less volume.
Exhaust works the same way. The main reason the MagnaFlow cat-back is our top pick is that the company pays attention to gas flow dynamics and builds exhaust systems that not only sound good, but actually improve performance. Both of our top two products will increase horsepower and torque. You can expect somewhere around a two to four horsepower boost with these kits.
Exhaust kits that use complex bends, flanges, and weird designs may look cool, but they hinder the ability of gasses to quickly and efficiently route out of the system, hurting overall performance. Kits built this way aren’t meant to make your car faster, they just make more noise. Most of the time, the exhaust isn’t tuned, so you get raw, unadulterated exhaust sound that usually makes your car sound like it is broken and you are too cheap to fix it.
Both the MagnaFlow and the Borla kit have extensive warranties and dedicated US-based customer service departments along with installation centers and a proven track-record of building quality parts. The other kits on this list don’t have those caveats. Instead, you’ll be at the mercy of the manufacturer, and quite often you may need to take your vehicle to a shop to have the new exhaust altered to fit. This increases the cost by anywhere from $60 to $250 dollars, eliminating any savings you’d get over buying a high-quality product in the first place.
A major source of headaches for owners is exhaust systems that require frequent maintenance. Many of the kits on this list use flanges to attach the various parts of the exhaust together. While this can make adjustment of the fit easier, it inevitably leads to leaks, rattles, and poor performance. The ideal performance exhaust system is welded and one piece. This makes it hard to remove and reinstall, but it won’t leak, rattle, or fall apart.
If you are serious about increasing the performance and sound of your Scion FRS, look at the kits from MagnaFlow and Borla. Either offers improved performance. We prefer the high-quality fitment and intelligent gas flow design of the MagnaFlow product (>>> Find on Amazon), but will admit that it doesn’t drastically increase the volume of noise your car makes. The kit from Borla may push the limits of legal noise, but it produces sound that isn’t bouncing around like crazy in your exhaust, so it actually sounds pretty good. The other kits on here will make your car loud, but that’s it. They won’t make it sound like you have a race car, rather they make your car sound broken. You’ll be much happier with your Scion FRS if you purchase a high-quality exhaust system like those built by MagnaFlow and Borla over cheap alternatives.