“Tail happy.” It is one of the happiest phrases in the auto writer’s lexicon and one of the traits we value most in a sports car. “Tail happy” refers to a car biased towards gentle oversteer, in other words it’s a car that will allow the back end of the car to fishtail when taken to its limits of traction.
Engine: 2.0L boxer four cylinder makes 200 hp and 151 lb-ft ot torque.
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
Fuel Economy: 22 MPG city/30 MPG highway/25 MPG combined with manual trans, 25/34/28 with an automatic.
Price: Starts as $25,655.
Being tail happy isn’t necessarily a good thing. Take the old air-cooled Porsche 911, which would snap into sudden and severe oversteer if the driver lifted off the gas too suddenly in a turn (lifting shifts weight forward and lightens the rear end). And there were several rear-engine death traps sold in Europe that would spin out if you so much as looked at them the wrong way.
But a car that makes a gentle transition to oversteer, which can be easily corrected with steering and throttle – giving it just enough power to shift some weight onto the rear wheels, but not enough to break them loose – a car like that, friends and neighbors, is an absolute treasure.
Fond Memories of the Past
The Scion FR-S, launched in 2013, was tail happy in the absolute best sense of the phrase. Not only that, but every other system on the car seemed like it was designed to exploit the car’s tail-happy nature. The engine put out a modest 200 horsepower, so there was little chance of getting overzealous with the gas while correcting.
Read more: 2015 Scion FR-S Review: Car Reviews