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Scion future products: City car, sports coupe part of new direction

Mon, 15 Aug 2011

A new wave of Scion products could redefine a brand that has consisted of boxy hatchbacks and a lone sporty coupe.

The launch of the iQ minicar reflects what executives call "the new urbanism" of young buyers. And the arrival of the FR-S rear-drive performance coupe will raise Scion's pricing, giving tC owners an aspirational vehicle.

But what happens to the two boxy vehicles, the xD and the xB? If Scion stuck to its short product cadences, as planned, they both would have been redesigned by now.

iQ: The three-occupant minicar arrives this fall, riding on a wheelbase 1 foot shorter than a Fiat 500. It is Toyota's first application of its 1.3-liter, 94-hp inline-four-cylinder, teamed with a continuously variable transmission. The iQ is priced just under $16,000 and comes with many standard features and 11 airbags. Its 13-foot turning circle will make it an urban favorite.

xB: Scion would have replaced the boxy hatchback in the spring of 2011 if it were on the traditional four-year cycle. Scion boss Jack Hollis says the existing model may stay around for a few years even if volume is low. Future development of Toyota's home-market Rumion could provide clues about the xB's successor.

xD: The base-model hatchback should be replaced in the spring of 2012 if it's on a five-year cycle. It shares a platform with the Japan-market ist, but there is talk that Toyota may kill the ist. That means the new product might be derived from the redesigned and more expensive Yaris platform.

tC: The sport coupe was redesigned in the summer of 2010.

FR-S: The rear-wheel-drive sporty coupe will be Scion's flagship when it arrives in the spring of 2012. The FR-S is powered by a 200-hp, 2.0-liter boxer-four engine from Subaru. It will ride on a 101.2-inch wheelbase and have an overall length of 168.2 inches. The price will start around $22,000, pricey for a Scion.

Mini pickup: The A-BAT concept is not dead; Scion wants it. This would be the nonhybrid version of the A-BAT, while Toyota would get a less stylized hybrid under the Prius banner. Likely combining RAV4 and Prius parts, the pickup would be more of a parcel carrier than a cargo hauler. Expect it in the 2014 model year.

By Mark Rechtin