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New York show: Toyota unveils all-new Scion tC and iQ

Safety conscious: Scion vice-president Jack Hollis presents the American iQ (left), with no fewer than 10 airbags, and the all-new tC which comes standard with eight airbags.

Toyota packs style, power and safety into redesigned tC and Scion-badged iQ

1 Apr 2010

A DAY after announcing that a newly-formed global quality committee will investigate safety problems and re-examine its operations in all facets and all markets throughout the world, Toyota Motor Corporation has thrown its weight behind its Scion brand with two world debuts at the New York motor show.

The emergence of a redesigned tC sport coupe and a Scion-badged iQ sub-compact hatch reaffirmed Toyota’s commitment to its offbeat youth-oriented brand, with the second-generation tC scheduled to arrive in North American showrooms in the third quarter and the iQ due early in 2011.

Said to be riding on a new platform, the five-seater tC enters a new generation after six years in production – most of them as Scion’s top-selling vehicle – and comes with an aggressive new exterior design, improved performance and a more upmarket feel inside.

The exterior highlight is the helmet-inspired cabin shape – derived from the Californian-designed 2006 Scion Fuse concept – while flared wheel-arches offset by a sleek front grille and projector headlights aim to amplify the car’s wider and lower stance.

Power comes from a 134kW 2.5-litre dual-VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine, with drive sent to the front wheels via an improved six-speed manual gearbox or optional six-speed automatic (up from a four-speed self-shifter) with sequential-manual shift mode.

Performance is said to be further improved – and heard – through a new intake manifold design and a sports-tuned exhaust that delivers a “bold and aggressive sound”.

82 center imageLeft: Scion iQ. Below: Scion tC.

The tC sits lower than the current model, with a revised front strut/rear double-wishbone suspension and larger 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber. A “performance-tuned” electric power steering system is also used.

Cabin details include a three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel, heavily bolstered front seats and driver-oriented dash design. Interior space has also improved, while the rear seats now have a 60/40 split-fold for more storage capacity.

A panoramic moonroof is also now standard, along with an eight-speaker stereo, eight airbags (including dual front knee airbags), anti-whiplash front head restraints, electronic stability and traction control and ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist.

While this level of safety equipment reinforces Toyota’s commitment to safety, consider that the four-seater (3+1) three-door iQ will come equipped with no fewer than 10 airbags – including what it claims is the world’s first rear-window curtain airbag – and the same suite of active safety features: ESC, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist.

Power will come from a 1.3-litre VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine that drives the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

Full specifications are still to be divulged, but Toyota says the Scion iQ will be rated as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II) and will achieve high-30s (mpg) mileage, or about 6L/100km.

The production version of the Scion iQ emerges 12 months after Toyota displayed it as a concept at the 2009 New York show.

Customised Five Axis editions of both the tC and iQ were also unveiled in the big Apple, with the tC version attracting most attention with its Bloodshot paintwork, wider bodywork, Tein adjustable coil-over suspension, TRD custom Big Brake kit and 20-inch AD R5:F wheels shod with Yokohama Advan Sport tyres.

The big-ticket item on the customised iQ was its unique Titanium exterior paint, consisting of pearl bismuth silver accented with black chrome.

“Scion prides itself on being an innovative brand with a line-up of iconic vehicles that set automotive trends,” said Scion vice-president Jack Hollis.

“The iQ will define the premium micro-subcompact segment as the choice for new urbanites who want clever transportation without a sacrifice in style or new features.

“The all-new tC features styling that is both refined and aggressive, appealing to a sports coupe owner who wants to make a bold statement. The tC has had the youngest median age buyer in the industry, and with more power, superior driving dynamics, and increased fuel efficiency, that should remain the case with the new tC as well.”

Australia will soon get its first taste of the Scion brand when the Toyota Rukus, which is based on the 2011 Scion xB ‘urban utility vehicle’ - which in turn is closely related to Toyota's own Japan-market Rumion – reaches local showrooms in June.

The 3.0-metre-long iQ was once also on Toyota Australia's agenda but, as we've reported, the next generation of Europe's 3.4-metre longer Aygo is now more likely to eventually become the Japanese giant's smallest model Down Under - positioned beneath the Yaris, which starts at 3.7 metres and $15,240.

Meanwhile, TMC president Akio Toyoda said this week that the Japanese auto giant was committed to regaining consumer confidence in the wake of its global recall crisis, with the newly formed global quality committee – which held its first meeting on March 30 – playing a key role.

“Let me emphasise my overriding focus in launching the Special Committee for Global Quality,” he said.

“That focus is on listening carefully to the voice of the customer as the crucial key to regaining consumer confidence. In that spirit, we will be working closely with our dealers and with our suppliers to implement the measures adopted by the committee.

“We will be doing everything possible to regain consumer confidence. And I invite you to monitor our progress carefully.”

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