Toyota shifts C-HR to Scion

Edgy crossover shown in Frankfurt last fall rebadged for North America

Published: January 7, 2016, 9:25 PM
Updated: January 11, 2016, 12:48 PM

Scion C-HR concept

Back in the fall of 2015, Toyota showed off a near production crossover called the C-HR, which has been slated for production as a competitor for the funky and fun Nissan Juke.

As it makes its North American debut, the Toyota badges have been replaced by Scion badges, which is interesting in that it means one of two things (and probably both of two things) — (1) Scion is going to get its first crossover; and/or (2) Scion is going to get its first hybrid.

To refresh your memory, the C-HR is now in its third generation, having been introduced as a 2-door prototype at the 2014 Paris show, then as a 4-door Toyota Concept in Frankfurt last fall (reportedly practically ready for production), and now as a Scion.

It actually makes sense as a Scion, with its edgy presentation nicely fitting into the Scion look, even though the brand doesn’t really have a design strategy (picking up various Toyota cars from elsewhere in the world and rebadging them). Plus, it will be a worthy replacement, size-wise if not segment-wise, for the departed xB.

In fact, it probably fits in perfectly with Scion’s customer base, which the brand calls young urban creatives, or “yuccies.” Kind of ironic that it’s pronounced “yuckies,” isn’t it? Toyota says these buyers are looking for vehicles that are distinctive, sophisticated, passionate and clean.

The vehicle is based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, which is used by the new Prius and will spread throughout the Toyota lineup and features the fabled Toyota Hybrid system (motor and battery) that has been downsized for packaging but holds the line on power.

Toyota has promised a production version shown later in the year, and since Scion is a North American brand, we’re going to suggest that means New York in the spring, after the Toyota model is shown in Geneva.