Tag: Scion

By on September 14, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang, Image: Ford

Everybody knows motorcycles are faster than cars, right? Except, of course, when they aren’t. On a dragstrip, under perfect conditions, with an immensely skilled rider and all the planets aligned, most of the modern literbikes can easily dispatch a Dodge Demon, McLaren P1, or Tesla P-whatever-Ludicrous-mode. If you can raise seven or eight thousand dollars in ready cash, you can walk into a motorcycle dealership and walk out with a new bike easily capable of breaking into the tens. On the roll, something like my Kawasaki ZX-14R can accelerate to a degree impossible with something like a LaFerrari — I know, because I’ve driven a LaFerrari and ridden my ZX-14R on the same roads.

So why isn’t the whole world, or at least the male half of it, on a sportbike every morning? You know why. They’re dangerous, even if you take pains to ride safely and sanely. They are sensitive to weather, road condition, and high winds. They are remarkably maintenance-intensive. They get stolen. You can’t carry much on them and you can’t travel spontaneously on one. Comfort is an issue. If you’re a track rat, then you know that mistakes on two wheels are far more likely to put you on the LifeFlight than their four-wheeled equivalents.

TANSTAAFL — There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, particularly when it comes to using a motorcycle to do a car’s job. Yet the rush of riding a truly fast bike with all cares thrown to the wind can be a needle to the main vein for adrenaline junkies. Which brings us to this week’s question, in which a complimentary pairing of the Most Sensible Vehicle On Earth with something considerably crazier is considered.

(Read More…)

By on July 21, 2017

Scion xB, Image: Toyota

If you’ve read enough of my writing, then you know that I am a fervent believer in what I call the power of the story. Human beings rarely interact directly with reality; instead, we use stories to interpret what we are seeing in a way that makes sense. It’s why we no longer fear thunder and why people will cheerfully take food prepared for them by strangers.

Few aspects of our existence are as relentlessly story-driven as our interactions with the automobile. Without the power of story, we would see automobiles as nothing but machines for accomplishing a particular task, be it a commute, a vacation, or an SCCA race — and we would judge them solely on their ability to accomplish that task. Trust me, if we all did that it would be absolutely ruinous for the automaker profit margins out there. Imagine picking a car the way you’d pick a dishwasher or, um, a power supply. You would quickly forget about intangibles and focus on fitness for purpose.

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve tried to shed my personal addiction to the automotive narrative and learn how to “understand the thing for itself,” as Marcus Aurelius wrote. This can lead to some surprising conclusions… and it looks like I’m not the only one who has acquired at least a little bit of this skill. Normally we wouldn’t do two Ask Jack columns in one week, but the fellow in this case says he’s going to make a choice this weekend, so let’s pull the trigger pronto and get right to the question.

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By on November 25, 2016

2017 Subaru BRZ Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Jeff WIlson

Back in May of this year, TTAC reported the list of changes coming for the 2017 Subaru BRZ and asked if what amounted to a rather modest workover would get consumers excited enough to reverse the sports coupe’s declining sales trend.

Having spent a week acting barely responsible in Subaru’s only two-wheel-drive offering, my belief is no, the BRZ will not buck the trend. After commuting in it, doing school pick up duty and grocery runs — all in a most irresponsible way, revving the little four-cylinder boxer engine to redline again and again — I expect there will be a blip on the sales radar this year. Sadly, I also expect the BRZ (and its Toyota 86 twin) to slowly slip into automotive obscurity.

This terribly depressing thought has mostly to do with declining overall consumer interest in fun, driver-oriented cars, and it does nothing to celebrate what a wildly fun machine this is.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2016

2017 Toyota 86

Toyota has long been accused of being a purveyor of somnambulant transportation, but amid rumors of a renewed Supra and Lexus finding its Nipponese NASCAR in the RC F GT concept, it appears Japan’s biggest automaker has finally input directions to the racetrack into its corporate navigation system.

Which, of course, neatly brings us to the Scion FR-S Toyota 86. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2016

2017 Toyota 86 Front 3/4, Image: Toyota

Toyota has released 2017 prices for some of its small cars, and it looks like a name change (and modest power increase) tacked a slight premium onto the Toyota 86, formerly the Scion FR-S.

A sign of our automated times, it looks like the manual transmission’s days could be numbered in the Corolla lineup. (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2016

2016 Scion iM

Quick trivia: what’s the fastest-growing auto brand in America?

Jeep? Land Rover? GMC? Ram? Volvo?

Year-over-year, through the first four months of 2016, sales at Scion — Toyota’s 13-year-old youth-directed brand — are up 53 percent. It’s not just recovery after a poor start to 2015. Scion is on track for its best year since 2008.

Well, Scion would be on track for U.S. sales to rise to an eight-year high if, by the end of this year, Scion still existed. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2016

Scion Booth Sign at 2016 New York International Auto Show, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Prior to the New York International Auto Show, Toyota distributed an upbeat press release. Come party with us, it said. “Scion is not going away quietly.”

Yet, as I walk toward Scion’s booth, a quiet unease fills a void once occupied by a loud, confident generational pulse. The typical eye-catching signs with heavily embossed, trendy hashtags are all but entirely absent upon my arrival. Massive subwoofers sit dormant inside 13 years’ worth of one-off tuner concepts. Engineered studio lighting softly highlights the vehicles on display, while simultaneously attempting to hide the vast, empty spaces between them.

Scion’s show booths are normally chock-full of tchotchkes and the beautiful people handing them out — but not today.

(Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

2017 Toyota 86, Image: Toyota

Scion’s slow-selling FR-S rear-wheel-drive coupe is about to become Toyota’s slow-selling rear-wheel-drive coupe, and it will be branded with the same moniker as in many other parts of the world.

That’s right: this is the Toyota 86, also known as what it should have been named here in the first place.

(Read More…)

By on March 16, 2016

Scion tC Release Series 10.0

If you’ve been holding out on buying a Scion tC until the right special edition came along, this is your last opportunity.

Scion’s parent, Toyota, took the youth-oriented brand behind the woodshed last month, making the upcoming Release Series 10.0 version of the tC coupe an aerodynamic swan song. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2016

sciontitle

Being a car flipper, tuner and technician that falls within the millennial age group should make me an ideal candidate for various Scions. Yet, when I attempted to jog my memory yesterday, I could think of only a a few I’ve touched with my own two hands.

In fact, I’ve only flipped a single vehicle from Toyota’s youth brand: a repossessed xB festooned with the standard roll call of aftermarket vendor decals. It would be my only foray into a tuner culture the brand attempted to make accessible to millennials straight from the dealer. It also represented the misfortune of many young owners who lose their vehicles to the bank.

(Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

Scion-tC

Sir, I don’t think you understand how our pricing model works.”

It was the winter of 2004, and a sad-sack of a salesman sat at the desk across from Mrs. Bark and me at a morbidly depressing Toyota-Scion dealership near Dayton, Ohio. My dear wife was the less-than-proud owner of a 2001 Hyundai Elantra that had been the very first car she’d ever purchased new. That Elantra came with war wounds; it had been hit in the rear door a week after she bought it, and the car was so cheap that the small dent it caused wasn’t worth fixing.

We had recently become upwardly mobile, thanks to a promotion I got at work, so I wanted to buy her something nicer; something sporty, but not actually sporty. She was a graduate music student, and all of her friends drove shitboxes from the ’90s. I wanted them to know that her husband was somebody, not just another poor grad student. Alas, youthful pride.

(Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

Keep both hands inside the car at all times.

One coupe flies, two coupes die.

By the time that Akio Toyoda was standing on that Detroit stage crowing about the triumph of the LC500, the nails were already being hammered into Scion’s coffin. The Scion tC, perhaps the best combination of practicality, style, and durability available for under twenty-five grand in the United States, will be taken out back and unceremoniously shot. The FR-S … your guess is as good as mine, but I’d be surprised if Toyota brought it over as the Celica, no matter how personally gratified I would be by such a move.

The story of Toyota’s American sub-marques could not be more different. Lexus has gone from strength to strength, effortlessly assuming a position as the thinking man’s luxury car with the LS460 while also flooding the market with Camry-platform high-profit product. Scion, on the other hand, has struggled from its first day with customer perception, dealer-satisfaction issues, and schizophrenic product planning.

Yet it’s easy to show that Lexus has been just as poorly managed as Scion; take a look at the Lexus lineup over the past 27 years and tell me that you can’t spot quite a few duffers and misfires. So why is the Official Toyota Brand of McMansion Owners soaring while the Official Toyota Brand of Dubstep Aficionados crashes? The answer, naturally, is: Barack Obama.

(Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

2016 Scion iM

Beyond the funky metal, there’s one element that set Scion apart from its Toyota mothership: monospec pricing.

By offering up only a single trim for each models and reducing options to paint colors, transmissions and accessories, Scion was able to market its vehicles to a different audience and offer a no-haggle sales approach.

For the 2017 model year, that monospec approach will continue, but Toyota is evaluating its future. Also, Scion’s no-haggle pricing model won’t be surviving the transition to Toyota.

(Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

scion_gravestone

Toyota officially announced Wednesday morning that Scion will “transition to Toyota,” effectively killing off the youth brand started in 2002. Its first vehicles went on sale in California in 2003, and included the xA hatchback and xB wagon.

According to a release from Toyota, Scion “is now transitioning back to the Toyota brand” and most Scion models well be rebranded as Toyotas starting August 2016 for the 2017 model year, including the forthcoming C-HR. The Scion tC will be discontinued as of August 2016.

(Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

2005 Scion xB

Is Toyota about to officially murder the company’s fledgling Scion marque? If so, it will be both the exact outcome analysts and observers and fans predicted for years and a surprising turn of events.

After thriving for half a decade prior to the economic collapse, Scion’s poor performance in recent years led us to assume that Toyota would tire of the brand’s inability to turn a corner. But then Toyota finally reinvested in the brand, launching a sports car, a conventional hatchback with the iM, and a new Mazda2-based best seller, the iA.

Only months into the tenure of the two newest Scions, the cars which accounted for six in ten Scion sales in January, Toyota apparently realizes that the potential of the iA, iM, and even a C-HR crossover is insufficient. Joining Geo, Eagle, and Merkur on the scrap heap of failed auto brands launched by large automakers, Scion is killed off just when we thought Toyota had decided not to kill off Scion.

(Read More…)

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