By on November 2, 2013

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Many automotive companies test cars and components for resistance to radio frequency interference not far from where I live in suburban Detroit. There are a number of radio and television broadcast antennas in the area, so it’s not uncommon to see camouflaged preproduction cars driving in the neighborhood or parked in the shadow of one of the radio or tv towers.

IMG_20131101_101506

I was running over to my ex’s to give my younger daughter a ride to her teaching job, when I spotted this car. The driver was concerned about getting into trouble so I told him that I’d obscure his face, but I suppose he was a bit freaked out that I knew what he was doing there because he pulled away and drove around the corner. My first guess, based on the shape of the headlamp units is that it’s a sedan version of the Scion xD, which is currently sold here as a five-door (Toyota has a large R&D center in Ann Arbor and a technical center in Plymouth), though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a car intended for the U.S. continent.

IMG_20131101_101743

Automotive suppliers with R&D facilities in southeastern Michigan will sometimes test foreign market cars in the same neighborhood. What do you think it is?

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129 Comments on “Spy Shots: A New Scion Sedan?...”


  • avatar

    It’s obviously a filthy bar of soap!

  • avatar
    paultantk

    You know, it kinda looks like a sedan version of this car.

    http://paultan.org/2013/06/28/ford-ka-replacement/

  • avatar
    sayahh

    New Focus or Escort? The side view mirrors reminded me of the Mustang’s so I thought maybe it’s Ford, and the antenna on the top of the roof could mean that it’s a Focus or Escort. Just my guess.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m sure its a Toyota model intended for export. Looks like its got about $600 worth of materials in it too.

  • avatar
    2kriss2kross

    Mitsubishi Mirage Sedan?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Are 13″ wheels back?

    Funny little muffin-car reminds me of the Echo.

    I love bare naked slotted steelies. They take me back to the ’80s and seeing the cockroach guntai spilling off the boats.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, the Echo had 14′s standard in the U.S., thank you very much… Canada had the 13′s :p

      I do see that it does have very awkward Echo proportions, but so does the Sonic sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Yep, how can cars in this class look much different from one another?

        They’re all Cozy Coupes with an engine.

        • 0 avatar

          The Sonic is similar because of the boxy ass end and matchingly sqauare-edged lamps out back. The Fiesta and Accent sedans run away from an Echo-like shape by having the trunk lid WAY up in the air for a rakish look. That adds a lot of sheet metal over the tiny rear wheels, so it doesn’t add up to being attractive. There really is no way to make small look good because they are now tall but also short and skinny (like the Echo).

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I hate modern car design but I must say that nothing ever looked so ready to just flip over sideways as the Echo.

            You know, like a cat… boom. I’m on my side now. ‘Cause I feel like it.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            It’s a tough job for a sedan, although I think small hatchbacks can still look good. The Echo… that thing was especially horrible on all levels. It’s pretty impressive that Toyota felt so bad about it they euthanized the name as well and went with Yaris.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That seems like a third-world-country kind of vehicle. For looks like that, it had better undercut the Nissan Versa sedan…significantly.

  • avatar

    It looks like a sedan version of this car.

    http://paultan.org/2013/06/28/ford-ka-replacement/

    Ford Ka/Figo sedan?

  • avatar
    fabri99

    That’s a Datsun Go Sedan…

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Tailights, lower front clip and the body crease through the door handles are different, though that could just be a model year tweak. Overall dimensions match and the hint of grille contours visible beneath the melanoma wrap looks very much like the Go. I think they covered the headlights’ rear sweep with the wrap, too.

      Tough call.

      • 0 avatar
        fabri99

        Well, at the front they have the same “nose” and at the back tailights looks quite similar to me and the rear bumper, the plate is in the same place too: very low on the rear bumper…
        And a Sedan version of the Go, they say, is coming, so it might be this…

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I’m sure others have noticed that the more upmarket the car, the more constrained are your color choices.

    If those steelies are color-matched with the paint beneath that cancer cell applique, this is another pleasant light-blue econocar. The Versa, Fit, Corolla, and Spark also offer a light blue IIRC. And there are a few greens and yellows also dispersed among sub-23K vehicles.

    But as you go upmarket it’s almost uniformly the same silver/white/black/red chromatic poverty. Funny.

    Edit: I have pretty severe B/G colorblindness. Those wheels are really green, aren’t they?

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    It looks a lot like the Toyota Etios sedan for the developing markets.
    I’m guessing it’s not for the US release.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    maybe a new Yaris sedan?

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Unfortunately, they’re probably very certain of who was driving that car when, obscured face or no, which means your friend’s story needs to be that he was ambushed by some pushy press guy with a camera. ;)

    I’m thinking it’s either a Yaris refresh or a Mirage sedan, like others have said. Timing’s wrong for most of the other mnufacturers. Unless it’s an overseas-destined car, but I would think it would be too expensive to design/build one of those here unless it’s also being sold here.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    regardless, it looks like a blast from the past! now if they could only leave out all the electronic gizmos that are so prevalent in most cars today.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I feel bad for the driver who pulled the short straw at the office.

  • avatar
    Tinker

    Toyota MouthBreather, because of the $1.97 front grille, and because it looks like a Toyota Yaris/Echo clown car.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    “What do you think it is?”- A cheap little sh*tbox!
    Seriously, It could be almost anything. In addition to Toyota and Hyundai, Every significant carmaker in the world has presence in Metro Detroit, still the Motor City, in this regard!

  • avatar
    Robert Fahey

    You’re all wrong. If you look closely at the vehicle wrap, it says “Property of NHL.” It’s the new penalty box prototype, and those wheels are just for temporary transport to the nearest stadium.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Toyota Echo is that you?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    This can’t be a Toyota, the lower front of the car looks far too…”sane” compared to what they’ve done to the rest of their line-up.

    I think it could be a Mitsubishi, I’m surprised they haven’t made a Mirage sedan already since us Americans can’t stand the site of practicality.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “the lower front of the car looks far too…”sane” compared to what they’ve done to the rest of their line-up.”

      Bullseye. My biggest complaint about their current cars. But this may be deceptively sane because it’s intended for 3rd world roads while Toyota caters to America’s conceit that we’re still 1st world.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Seriously, but hey at least their new cars don’t look boring right?
        I knew something like their new “styling” would shop up after so many users made note of Toyotas boring (but bearable) styling.

        At Marc: The upper grille vaguely says “Taurus” or “Mustang” to me, I really hope that Ford isn’t planning on the 2015 Fiesta bearing the “face” of the newer compact Mustang.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the bottom of the front bumper says Ford though it looks slightly different from the Aston Martin grille. The more I look at it the more I think Ford. Or GM. Toyota is now into swoopy Vs.

  • avatar
    fabri99

    .

  • avatar
    mcs

    I’ve always thought a great prank would be to camo-up an older car and see how many people get sucked-in. Something like a Mustang II 4 cylinder (although it’s too late for that one). Cobble in some LED headlights and modern wheels, then drive it around Dearborn.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m so game for that! The Echo or Aveo fits in so well with the modern minicars and subcompacts for foot-print, shape, and so on, it’d be great to try and fool people with it. Just have proof that’s what you did ;)

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Even better, do it with discontinued brands, leaving the front badge showing, and make the internet explode.

      “Holy shit! They’re bringing back Oldsmobile!!”

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Actually, this is a new Fiat/Chrysler.

    And I see they’ve finally figured out what to do with all of that leftover “Mod Top” fabric they’ve been storing since the end of the 1970 model year…

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    What boggles me is that they even bother at all to camouflage an entry-level econoblob (nee econobox) . All cars at this price point look the same as dictated by aerodynamics, small footprint and the necessity for tiny drivetrain and suspension components being shoved to the edges of the passenger bubble. They all look like clown cars so who cares?

    • 0 avatar

      Well Kenmore, fact is I like my econoboxes. Heroes of the working class and whatnot. Modern ones are very decent drives while older Euro ones definitely had their charm. Maybe Pintos and Vegas ruined it for you, but this is the future of the car. One that even the US is coming close to as witnessed by the success of such things as Nissan Versa, Fiat 500, Mini, Sonic, Spark, Fiesta et al. Ask GM, Fiat, even mighty Toyota where their profit centers are and you’ll be surprised how much cars such as these bring in for you boys to spend up North.

      You ain’t ready for it yet, but think f such things as Fiesta and Spark as the first wave. In the second wave you could see such things as Ford EcoSport or Nissan Terrano. Think of that, Americans buying clown SUVs developed in India, Brazil and Romania.

      Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you!

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “Heroes of the working class”

        I’ve been reading your posts a while now. You’ve been busting your ass to *not* be working class. You’re as American as anybody.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Because camo-suits are the only thing that can draw any interest or excitement for todays economy cars, or whatever obnoxious face-lift is being pumped out.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The 2015 Mediocrity is here!

  • avatar

    I agree it’s a Ford Ka sedan, or maybe a Hyundai i20. The headlight design language is closer to those cars other spy shots/companies. The door handles are also more correct on an i20 that Ford (reference: http://paultan.org/2013/06/28/ford-ka-replacement/).

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Is there anything more useless than a compact sedan?

    I should be driving a hatchback to maximize the little space I have, but no, I will choose to drive a sedan just in case people mistake my car for an S Class!

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Completely agree. I’ve bought my last sedan. Next car will be a minivan or a taller hatch like a Soul.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Pretty much there. I loved the Mazda6 five-door and still don’t understand why it never sold well. It looked practically like the traditional sedan but was infinitely more practical.

        Poor crash test ratings and high insurance rates kept me from buying one – but I sure as Hell loved driving it and could see the practicality.

    • 0 avatar

      Well some compact sedans built in the third world can carry 5 people in comfort and carry upwards of 500L of baggage. Cars like (Brazilian) Chevy Cobalt or Renault Logan have a wheelbase as long or longer than such things as Civic or Corolla while carrying 30 to 40% more in the trunk. And they don’t cost as much as the SWs or the really minivans on offer here. And carry more stuff in the back. So there you have it, cheap, with a humongous trunk to carry all the family’s treasures. You bet they have a market.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Save for aerodynamics on some models compact sedans are basically useless compared to their hatchback siblings.

      Its a bit weird how more “upscale” buyers take the practicality of CUVs while more budget-economy buyers like psuedo-sedans, a complete reverse of the norms in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “Is there anything more useless than a compact sedan?”

      Sure. A compact coupe. Buying one seems like an exercise in getting the least amount of space for your money to me. I don’t know why anyone would bother to buy the two-door version of the Civic, Elantra or Forte. The Scion tC is fairly roomy for its class, however.

  • avatar

    It looks like a Hyundai i20 Sedan (Google it). They’re supposedly on the up-n-coming in other markets, and the headlight LED swoopy thing is correct for the brand design language. So are the door handles and possibly tail-lights/C-pillar.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Corporate handles and mirror speak about a Ford product to me. I may be wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      Good points and I agree. Can’t really dimension the size, but if very small Ka, if Logan, Versa size then Escort. I’d be interested.

      Wonder if it’ll make it to NA? Major blow for American pride…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      There are other hints of Ford in the design. The exact placement of the turn-signal-indicators in the headlamps, the cut-line of the front bumper, the mini-grille on the lower lip of the front bumper, the shape of the rear-bumper, and the faint outline of what is clearly a trapezoidal grille all say Ford to me.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Tough call…. I’m actually stumped to be honest.

    In my personal opinion, I doubt this is a Scion being that the brand is in trouble and this probably isn’t going to help, unless it’s outrageously cheap, but that’s not Scion’s mission per se…. but then again it’s very much open to interpetation.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The guys who stated they saw Ford, saw correctly.

    It’s the new Ford Escort for the Chinese market.

    Designed in Australia.

    http://www.carsguide.com.au/news-and-reviews/car-news/australia_designs_ford_escort_for_china

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      nuh-uh.

      Tail lights are different on the mystery car… they don’t protrude as far into the rear fender as the Escort’s. The lower front clip’s openings are different and the headlights’ internals are completely different. Side mirrors on the mystery roach appear larger than the Escort’s; almost approaching a useful size. Escort’s wheel openings appear larger.

      Next contestant…

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Kenmore
        It the Chinese Escort.

        The render is very close down to the crease on the side of the vehicle and the roof line.

        Your comments seem to be derogatory. Why don’t you contribute some postive input for a change.

        It’s the Escort.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          I see… disagreement = derogation.

          OK, then you’re absolutely right. It’s The Chinese Escort.

          Not to be confused with the Rossini opera of the same name.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Kenmore
            No, your smugness is quite unbecoming.

            If you look at the picture of the camouflaged vehicle, you will see that the taillights and headlights amongst other things are covered.

            Hence, the word camouflagued.

            Like I stated it’s definitely the Chinese Ford Escort.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            The car you linked to and the car at the top of this story are very different. They aren’t even the same size.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Awesome Al,

            I agree. I capitulate. I bask in you Oz-ness.

            For you, the war is over.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      It’s a Ford, but it’s not an Escort

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Athos Noble
    Australian? Hmmmmmmm.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      I stopped short of suggesting the Escort because I wasn’t sure (still I am not). This looks smaller than the previous Focus, more like current Fiesta (with boot) size.

      The steelies are not from any GM car I remember. Nor a Toyota.

      For the apparent tall ride height I would side with Marcelo: this is a 3rd world special.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        The Escort, in the article Al himself linked to, is said to be Focus sedan-sized. This is obviously smaller than that. Might be a Ka-sized sedan if it’s a Ford.

        Al’s assurances lead me to believe he needs new glasses.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @brenschluss
          It’s the Escort.

          Why would Ford build identical cars for the one market?

          • 0 avatar
            Athos Nobile

            Escort concept has a small window in the C-pillar, like any Focus sedan. Makes sense since it would be a reskin of the old car. It would be a C-segment car

            The car in the picture looks like a regular sedan with a windowless C-pillar. It also looks like a B-segment car.

            Having entries in 2 of the most contested/highest volume segments in most markets makes a lot of sense to me.

          • 0 avatar

            Hah! Athos, Big Al,

            Welcome to Brazil.

            Same segment:
            Fiat – Uno (2 generations), Palio (2 generations), Punto. Not to count sedan and SW and PU variants…

            VW – Gol (2 generations), Fox

            GM – Celta (and Classic sedan), Onix, Agile, Prisma

            Ford – Ka, Fiesta (2 generation, hatch and sedan)

            Renault – Clio, Sandero, Logan

            The list just goes on, and on, and on. So yes,2 or 3 or 4 or 5 cars in the same segment seem to make a lot of sense, contingent on market of course.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I would agree with the comment above that this is probably a sedan version of a yet-to-be-named Ford, possibly a Ka replacement.

    There have been spy photos of a Ford hatch being tested in Europe with very similar design cues.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This is all over the net with these same spy shots…

      “Ford has already commenced work on a new small hatchback which will replace the current Figo and Ka. The camouflaged image as shown above is the next generation 2014 Ford Figo (codenamed as B-562) which the American automaker has been testing on German roads. Ford has designed the Figo specifically for the Indian market and no doubt the model is a value for money buy in its segment. “

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Figo and Ka are both hatchbacks. The photos that I’ve seen elsewhere have been of a hatchback.

        The car in the photos above has a trunk. Whether this is a Ka (which probably will be renamed for Europe) or something else, I don’t know.

        • 0 avatar

          Sorry Pch wrong. While the Ka until now has only been a hatchbcak, Ford has ong expressed its opinion that the Ka should carry its own weight around. In other words, though a perennial favorite of entusiasts like everywhere except the USA, the Ka needs more volume. Yet volume there is in this segment hence Ford’s insistence. The Ka WILL have a trunk in the next generation.

          Finally, why the hell wouldn’t Ford Europe go with Ka???? Pla do explain.The Ka name is a very good one the word over, except the US of course….

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It is expected that the Ka nameplate will be discontinued in Europe, possibly to be replaced by some sort of global model.

            http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/ford-ka-unlikely-be-replaced

            I’ve never seen spy photos of this car with a trunk. Whether it’s the Ka replacement, I can’t be sure, and neither can you. We’re all guessing here.

          • 0 avatar

            Sure we’re all guessing but it’s part of the fun. I did write a piece on the ka like a while ago so you’ll see I’ve been followong this story closely…

            It will have a sedan and guess what? it makes it to me, the Ka’s primary customer ofen español, em português concern that much worthwhile.

            As to Ka replacement, I guess you don’t read other languages, but if you you do there’s a plethora of articles online. go google it. Em français, in italianiano, en español, em português……………………………………………………………….

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Sure we’re all guessing”

            So I guess that my factually accurate comment was correct, while you were wrong when you asserted that the Ka would continue to be offered in Europe.

            “Em français”

            That would be “en français.” D’accord?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @ Pch101 You’re right, no other spy shots show a trunk

          • 0 avatar

            D’ accord mon ami, mais Google c’est ne pas bom en autre langue…mais ausii, it will correct you anyways! My knock on the European languages was not on the languages per se, bu it was a knowck on that if you read outside of Anglais journals you’d see the Ka name is well regarded and that there’d be no need for a change,

            By the way, the previous was not written in French, Italian, Portuguese, English because I’m way too lazy to figure out this Google WTF as regards languandes, mon amil tc etc etc

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Ford pourrait pousser la Ka vers la sortie. L’avenir de la petite citadine est compromis, elle ne ferait plus partie des plans du constructeur américain.
            La Ka n’entrerait plus dans les plans de Ford, sa fin de carrière a été évoquée par un responsable. La petite citadine n’aurait droit qu’à un restylage en lieu et place d’une troisième génération, pour un retrait sur la pointe des routes.

            http://www.turbo.fr/actualite-automobile/532550-ford-ka-fin-carriere
            ______

            Abbreviated translation: The Ka is being cancelled.

          • 0 avatar

            Très bon Pch! Mon petit ami, je ne suis pas un Ford specialiast , mais le Ka c’est bon pour tour le monde. And maybe, maybe not the name will survive, no matter. C’est l’esprit. I guess you can uncestand that. On’y’va”

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If I was your “petit ami,” then we would be dating. Désolé, mais je préfère les filles.

          • 0 avatar

            Sorry Pch or Pardon, seems like I missed an e there. Not in your wildest dreams PCh, les femes, toujours, bien sure!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Petit ami = boyfriend
            Petite amie = girlfriend

            The “e” doesn’t help.

          • 0 avatar

            well Pch, if you must know, I speak it and understand it much better than I write it. e non withstanding. I was aiming at aomething more gender neutral as my little friend in a blank translation or my dear friend in a more knowledgeable one. Allez le bleu!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    (scratches head)… Now I’m not sure what it is, but then again it’s not the kind of car I’d be interested in anyway

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    The yellow windshield labeling indicate it’s a PD fleet car via Ford. The upper left or right labeling gives it away as Ford is the only OEM dumb enough to label a preproduction build to make their future product stand out further. In this case, it looks to be a TT build of some sort.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      So you’re certain its a Ford?

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        It looks like some sort of test mule. If it was a sensitive prototype, you would see canvas / 3D camo on it. Probably a regional A car with extreme carelessness was just partially unveiled (unlikely, but you never know).

        If I were a betting man, it has the snout of the global Fiesta / new Fusion, just blocked off to hide the aston grin and allow proper air flow. It’s the new Ka. So it is probably someone at PDC crapping the bed and driving this around without full camouflage. Those damned FCG’s and suppliers.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        If Ronnie has a up close photo of the Tag # (The yellow label), he could really get the dude in trouble. If it’s a Tag # with a W, it’s a non saleable vehicle. If it has a T, it can be retrofitted with job 1 intent parts and made saleable. If it’s a Y, it’s saleable. I think thats the way it went… it’s been a few months.

        I’m positive it’s a Ford. Those yellow tag labels give it away. PDC fleet.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        This could be a Figo or the fact that it doesn’t have canvas camo leads us to believe it’s significance has been reduced due to a cancellation or reveal event. I think this may be a Figo, based upon the door handles and mirrors.


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