Auto blogFri, 11 Apr 2014 08:45:00 EST
Toyota promises that upgraded products for Scion are on the way, with the possibility of a redesigned xB coming soon. In the meantime, fans of the boxy hatchback have to make due with the new Release Series 10.0 special edition that is debuting at the 2014 New York Auto Show. The latest limited model puts an emphasis on technology with a wireless charging mat, backup camera, projected logos and a few interior changes.
All the Series 10.0 editions come in Electric Quartz, a pearlescent white color with green highlights, and their steel wheels are covered in Tungsten Gray caps. The exterior's jade color scheme flows inside with the accent stitching on the seats and door panels. This xB is equipped with three projectors - one in the rear bumper displays the company's logo on the ground, and two inside put "xB RS 10.0" on the driver's side and the car's build number on the passenger side. (That's kind of cool, honestly.) Smaller upgrades include piano black trim around the console, illuminated door sills and lit cup holders.
The Release 10.0 edition doesn't see any mechanical changes and uses the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 158 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque as all other xBs, mated solely to a four-speed automatic transmission. Scion plans to build 1,500 Series 10.0 models with pricing starting at $20,420, plus a $755 destination charge. Sales begin this summer. Scroll down for the full details in the release.
Consumer Reports has announced its annual list of worst vehicles, a cringe-inducing contrast to its list of top vehicles. Ignominiously leading the way in 2014 is Chrysler, which has a staggering seven models listed.
Jeep nearly sweeps the small SUV segment by itself, with its Compass, Patriot and 2.4-liter version of the new Cherokee, while the only midsize sedans listed by CR were the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. The new Dodge Dart and the Dodge Journey round out CR's condemnation of Chrysler.
Ford is taking heat as well, with the Taurus, Edge and their counterparts from Lincoln all listed as the worst vehicles in their respective segments. Toyota doesn't fare much better, with its Lexus IS, Scion iQ and tC also making the list.
Okay, folks - it appears we've got a problem. The Toyota GT86, Europe's counterpart to our own beloved Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S coupes, is apparently not selling too well. This, according to Toyota's European Vice President of Research and Development, Gerald Killman, is what's limiting plans for additional variants of the rear-drive coupe.
"A faster version of that car would be at the top of most people's wish lists, but like the cabriolet, it is hard to justify a business case to push either model into production based on the current sales," Killman told AutoExpress. "Personally, I think that engine could use a little bit more," he added.
More troubling is that slow sales aren't limited to the Euro-spec car, with Killman claiming that the GT86 have been missing sales targets in major markets around the globe. It may not be that the US is one of those major markets, though. Scion's Vice President, Doug Murtha, tells Autoblog that his brand is happy with the sales of its version of the GT86, the FR-S. 18,000 units were sold last year, which Murtha says is "generally in line with original expectations for the car."
For the first time since 1998, J.D. Power and Associates says its data shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased. The finding is the result of the firm's much-touted annual Vehicle Dependability Study, which charts incidents of problems in new vehicle purchases over three years from 41,000 respondents.
Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, the study found an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (PP100, for short), up 6 percent from 126 PP100 in last year's study, which covered 2010 model-year vehicles. Disturbingly, the bulk of the increase is being attributed to engine and transmission problems, with a 6 PP100 boost.
Interestingly, JDP notes that "the decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with four-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100." Its findings also noticed that large diesel engines also tended to be more problematic than most five- and six-cylinder engines.
Hope may remain for a convertible version of the Scion FR-S, according to a report from Ward's Auto. You'll recall that rumors were swirling about the feasibility of a rear-drive Toyobaru convertible as early as October, and that back in November, Subaru - which makes the FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 - essentially nixed the idea of an open-topped variant.
"We make the car, so if we don't make it, it can't happen," brand chief Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told Automotive News, according to Ward's, at the Tokyo Motor Show. "Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change."
Despite Yoshinaga-san's arguments against a droptop variant, Toyota is apparently still considering the model. Speaking to media at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, Scion's US vice president, Doug Murtha, hinted that the rear-drive droptop was in the works.
Scion is in the unusual position of offering a pair of inexpensive sports two-doors, the rear-drive FR-S coupe and the front-drive tC hatchback. Despite offering outwardly similar size and form factors, the two have vastly different characters, chiefly because of their different drivetrain philosophies.
One area of commonality, however, is that both interiors have historically been underwhelming in terms of material choice and options. Oh, the FR-S has the basics nailed: a great driving position, grippy seats and properly businesslike wheel and shifter knob, but if you've been looking for premium-minded materials and high-end features from either model, they've been hard to come by.
The just-launched Monogram Series editions seek to rectify this somewhat, with each model getting additional features at a special price. In the case of the 2,000-unit FR-S limited edition, that means heated leather and Alcantara seats, heated side mirrors, high-intensity discharge headlamps, dual-zone climate control and BeSpoke audio and navigation, among other features.
Scion has had plenty of practice launching limited-edition versions of its cars, but the brand's ultimate special line is its recently introduced Monogram Series. First offered on the iQ last year, Scion is now adding this premium equipment package to the 2014 FR-S and tC, and both cars will be hitting the stage at the Detroit Auto Show next week.
The 2014 Scion FR-S Monogram Series will be limited to 2,000 units, and it will have a starting price of $27,400 (*not including the $755 destination charge). Standing as a $3,000 premium over the base 2014 FR-S, the Monogram Series brings plenty of extra goodies, including leather seats with Alcantara inserts, upgraded BeSpoke audio/navigation system, HID headlights and dual-zone climate control, to name but a few. Scion says the equipment in this package represents a $1,900 savings compared to a standard option list.
As for the 2014 Scion tC Monogram Series, Scion is only making 2,500 of these, and it will start at $21,400. That's an extra $2,190 over a base tC, but it also represents a $1,500 savings overall. The tC Monogram Series adds in features like the BeSpoke audio/navigation system, perforated leather seats, keyless entry and pushbutton start and upgraded materials on the center console lid and door panels.
When last we checked in on our topless would-be hero, the Toyota FT-86 convertible had been reportedly placed on "indefinite hold." That was back in early October, not long after Toyota had trotted out the rear-wheel-drive canvasback to Scion dealers as a possible future product carrot if they decided not to turn in their franchises. And yet, we're here at the Tokyo Motor Show, where Toyota has taken the time to at least repaint the FT-86 Open Concept in "Flash Red," if not build a whole other car (the original Geneva showcar was white). It's enough to make our heads spin like a teenager on the verge of a breakup. Will they? Won't they?
At this point, we still don't know any more than you do - the last word we heard out of Toyota was not encouraging, although the story was that the program could still be fast-tracked if management had a change of heart. As the car has never been seen before in Japan, perhaps Toyota is merely extending its domestic audience a courtesy view before it lines this showcar in mothballs, or maybe they're still trying to make a decision on its fate and gauging public reaction on the homefront.
Interestingly, in a new story published today, Automotive News quotes Subaru brand boss Yasuyuki Yoshinaga downplaying the likelihood of a production model, saying flatly "We make the car, so if we don't make it, it can't happen." The executive went on to note, "Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change." Given that such a car would probably trade in rather small volumes, that sounds like a significant hurtle.
Scion brought four FR-S concepts to SEMA this year and one xB concept, while another three Scion tCs were brought to the show by three different shops that are competing in Scion's Tuner Challenge. The modified Scions range from mild to insane, and show how popular they are in the tuner world.
The Tuner Challenge teams brought unique creations to SEMA, after Scion gave each of them a tC, $15,000 and 90 days to modify it. At 11:00 AM on Wednesday, judges picked the Young Tea Scion Simpli-tC as the winner, the Walter Franco Scion L-DZ Concept got second, and third place went to the Josh Croll Scion WSD-tC. Check out the three videos below to watch the tC builds from start to finish.
Out of the FR-S concepts brought to the show, we're gravitating toward the GReddy Performance x Scion Racing Drift FR-S (top), which has the venerable 2JZ-GTE turbocharged straight-six engine in place of the flat-four that comes standard in the rear-wheel-drive coupe - ready to pump out 750 horsepower - and the Bulletproof FR-S Concept One, which features a striking, handmade wide body and a heavily modified, turbocharged flat-four that puts out 500 hp.
Typically, when the organizers of an auto show reveal that a new car will debut at their show, we take notice. But this particular claim from the Dubai International Motor Show ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
As our compatriots at AutoGuide discovered, the Facebook page for the Emirates auto expo includes a post with an interesting claim: that a sedan based on the Toyota GT86 (known in the US as the Scion FR-S) will debut at the show. The Facebook post is accompanied by the image above, purporting to show the concept in question.
The strange part is that the organizers claim the four-door GT86 concept will make its "regional unveil" at the Dubai show, which would seem to indicate that the concept in question would make its international debut at an earlier show. Considering that the doors open in Dubai on Tuesday, that seems increasingly unlikely. All of this begs the question, If this isn't actually a four-door GT86, what might it be?