From the ashes of Scion

Back in August, Toyota made it official, Scion and it’s associated vehicles would be dissolved.

Scion xB

March of 2002, Scion as a company was introduced at the NY Auto Show. Their concept vehicles, the bbX (eventually called the xB by Scion) and the ccX (eventually becoming the tC) were aimed at the Gen Y market, relying on the then new concept of viral marketing and an unconventional slogan of “Weird, right?” to market to the young potential buyers.

Scion tC

For the most part, this strategy worked and the brand was deemed a success with the

youth at the time. Scion brought with it some unique ideas in automotive sales, with it’s “Pure Price” policy (no haggle pricing) and customization cars that allowed everything from shift knobs and interior neon lighting, to factory backed superchargers.

Sadly by 2010, sales had begun to slump. Scion took one last stab at the market in 2012, partnering with Subaru for the excellent FRS and BRZ, a rear wheel drive sports car meant to directly compete with the Mazda Miata.

But it wasn’t enough to turn things around, and 2016 will be the last model year for the brand. That one vehicle made it out alive and will be re-badged as a Toyota and renamed, coming full circle with the car that inspired it.

1986 Corolla

In 1986, Toyota released a Corolla hatch back variant, with a rear wheel drive and a well balanced chassis that the tuner market took and ran with.

The 2017 Toyota 86 is an almost perfectly balanced four seater and will be the first rear wheel drive, Toyota badged car sold in the USA since the Supra went out of production in 2002. As a complete package that only brings the absolute minimum needed to enjoy your drive, the 86 shines. It’s a reasonable car at a reasonable price with acceptable performance in it’s class. It just feels like Toyota missed the chance to move away from the criticisms Scion had gotten for the FRS since it was released.

2017 Toyota 86The FRS, throughout it’s four year run was almost universally considered under powered by reviewers. The 2017 will be given (brace yourself) 5 more horse power than the previous model. The headlights were slightly upgraded, the engine bay looks a little different, with a red intake this year to show off the power gains. Minor suspension tweaking was done. It doesn’t seem like it will be enough.

Toyota has a problem with the 86, and it’s the same problem Scion had with it. The car is so close to being the perfect example of a budget sports car that it’s frustrating how little they’ve done to bring it up to par with other cars at this price point (starting at $27,120).

Hopefully when the model is refreshed next year (we hope) Toyota will give it the attention that enthusiasts have been clamoring for ever since it’s power numbers were announced in 2012.

Until then, we get the same FRS as last year, but with a name it doesn’t quite yet deserve.

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