Scion unveils new-ish C-HR Concept, inspired by chopsticks and cutting boards
Introduced by Scion's new boss, Andrew Gilleland – who keeps an autographed photo of wrestling legend Ric Flair on his desk and wears a motorcycle helmet featuring Albert Einstein with his tongue sticking out – the new production-ready Scion C-HR Concept has just been unveiled at the LA Auto Show. In keeping with the "Weird, Right?" marketing campaign the company has launched, the C-HR doesn't fit comfortably in any specific category and has odd inspirational themes to go with its new (but not new) introduction.
The C-HR was first introduced under the Toyota brand about a year ago in October of 2014. Shown at the Paris Motor Show, the concept was a hybrid crossover that was a sort of mashup between the RAV4 crossover, the Prius hybrid, and the GT86 sports car. The Scion version shown in LA is more production-ready, though, and is planned for introduction in the Scion model lineup in 2016.
The C-HR gets its name from the general themes of Compact size and High Ride height. It's a four-door hatchback crossover-style vehicle that seats five and is aimed for "yuccies." These are "young, urban creatives" which emphasize design and distinction as their wants in a car. Scion says that surveys of these yuccies found that they identified images from "sleek chopsticks made from recycled materials" and "a cutting board with grid lines." As opposed, we'd guess, to old typewriters and flood pants for hipsters.
From those esoteric choices came the look of the C-HR. As the quirky Scion boss put it, "It's got 4 doors and a hatch ... but it's not a hatchback. It's large ... with room for 5 ... but it's not an SUV. And it's got a fast-sloping roofline ... but it's not a sports car."
The Scion C-HR has a very low roofline, a lot of ground clearance, and a straight-line body that emphasizes the big wheel wells and heavy curves around its rear quarter. It appears both powerful and agile, and will be polarizing to anyone who sees it. Many will not like the look of the C-HR, but Scion is betting that its target market of 20-somethings will.
The underpinnings of the C-HR is a new global platform from Toyota's NGA (New Global Architecture). This is based on a unified platform and powertrain lineup that allows engineers to quickly and more easily develop architecture for a vehicle. The platform design's goal is for a low center of gravity and increased body rigidity, which improves handling characteristics. The C-HR will need that, given that inside those fat wells are 21-inch wheels clad in low-profile tires.
Scion dropped the Toyota talk about hybrid drivetrains for the C-HR, so we can assume that those plans were put aside for the car. Instead, emphasis at the LA show debut was all about design and urban appeal. The company promises more details on the vehicle leading into its 2016 production debut.