Generation Why: Invasion Of The Bodystyle Snatches

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
generation why invasion of the bodystyle snatches

We don’t have the rights to run the spy photos of the Scion iA concept, but you can check them out here. The above rendering, from TopSpeed, is 99.9% accurate, for better or for worse. On the surface, it looks like an uglier version of the Mazda2 sedan, with the unfortunate catfish maw grafted on in place of the rather handsome Mazda front end treatment. The on paper sepcs aren’t exactly thrilling either.

We at TTAC estimate a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder making 106 horsepower, with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox. From what we’ve seen, the tablet-style screen present on all Mazdas will make its way over, and it’s possible that even the excellent HMI Commander knob will too.

On the surface, it seems like a cynical attempt by Scion to cash in on the low end of the market without building a car of their own. But this kind of thing has been happening for years and years in the Japanese Domestic Market. The Civic (well, really the Domani, aka the Acura EL) itself was lent out to Isuzu and sold as a Gemini, with literally no modifications beyond a couple of “Isuzu” emblems slapped on in strategic locations.

The iA will at least have a different front end (ugly as it may be), and the dealer network for Scion is a lot more extensive than Mazda. 106 horsepower seems a bit lackluster, but keep in mind that in hatch form, the car weighs 2270 lbs. The Skyactiv unit will almost certainly return outstanding fuel economy, and both gearboxes are among the best in the industry. It’s basically the Isuzu Gemini we never got – and it won’t amputate your legs in an accident.

And let’s not forget this either: Mazda can use ever dollar that comes its way. The deal with Toyota is probably a nice cash infusion for the company, and helps use some capacity at its new Mexican plant.

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3 of 36 comments
  • Otaku Otaku on Mar 29, 2015

    So Mazda's ultra modern, direct injection Skyactiv 1.5L is rated at just 106hp? Doesn't Toyota's relatively ancient 1.5L engine from the Yaris already generate about the same figure?

  • Shaker Shaker on Mar 30, 2015

    I would think that this move is all about crashworthiness - Toyota doesn't want to spend a fortune on a "clean-sheet" Scion that will see limited sales. Which is why you'll never see the original xB again - wouldn't get through the IIHS without a "poor" in the ratings somewhere. Seems like the Mitsu grille will "direct" hapless pedestrians quite nicely to the soft hood.

  • FreedMike I don't know why this dash shocks anyone - the whole "touchscreen uber alles" thing is pure Tesla.
  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.