A bit nuts and Jukey: What people are saying about the Scion C-HR

Photo credit: REUTERS

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With the new C-HR, Scion looks to get a piece of the nascent but burgeoning subcompact crossover market. The C-HR also comes at an interesting time for Scion as the brand drops some long-standing nameplates, adds new ones and enjoys a rebound in U.S. monthly sales. Here’s what some critics and journalists are saying about the C-HR, which debuted in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

“The C-HR is a highly styled five-door crossover that, if it hews close to the prototype, could put Toyota’s Scion subbrand back on the automotive map for young consumers. It had them for the first generation of the xB — dubbed a microwave oven on wheels because of its crazy look — a decade ago and lost them with the follow-on xB, which was just discontinued.”

— Chris Woodyard, USA Today

“The initials stand for ‘compact’ and ‘high ride.’ The design? Well, it’s still awfully Jukey. But the Nissan Juke is polarizing and some folks really dig it, right? The C-HR, however, might be a case of closing the design barn’s door after the Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Chevy HHR got out. But whatever, the production version will debut next year, and nothing we say is going to stop it. Underneath the showy floating taillights and too-expensive 21-inch wheels, the C-HR is built atop the Toyota New Global Architecture, which allegedly offers improved rigidity and a lower center of gravity (compared to which contemporary high-riding Scion, the FR-S?).”

— Davey G. Johnson, Car and Driver

Photo credit: REUTERS

“The car rides on the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) modular platform that’s also used for the 2016 Toyota Prius. It will compete with subcompact crossovers like the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3 and Chevrolet Trax. Outlining its market positioning, Scion says the car’s name is intended for ‘the young urban creatives who inspired the design.’ The company says that customers it surveyed find most modern crossovers ‘too boring’ and wanted a car ‘that sparked emotion.’ The C-HR will be Scion’s first-ever crossover and follows the launch of the new iA subcompact sedan and the iM compact hatchback. Scion says that other mechanical details and equipment information will be announced closer to the car’s on-sale date next year. A production version of the Scion C-HR is slated to be introduced early in 2016.”

— Jake Holmes, Automobile

“The Scion C-HR has four doors, though you might not be able to tell, considering the wildly exaggerated fenders and extremely low greenhouse. We were fans of the Toyota C-HR in Paris, so that’s pretty much the case with this Scion-badged version.”

— Nick Kurczewski, New York Daily News

“The car does look a bit nuts, and Toyota knows this, stating: ‘When the designers for the Scion C-HR Concept began their research, they were told by young urban creative customers, “Polarizing is ok. Boring is not.”’ Well, we’ll give you that. The C-HR is definitely not boring. And, polarizing it may be, I think it looks damn good in a I Really Want To Jump This Thing Off-Road kind of way. Scion says their concept is going after hipsters. Okay, technically they didn’t use the term ‘hipster,’ they used a much stranger term: ‘With four doors and a hatch for supreme functionality, it’s the perfect vehicle for “yuccies,” the young urban creatives who inspired the design.’ Yuccies? Really? Is that really a thing? Did they mean ‘yuckies?’”

— David Tracy, Jalopnik

“The diamond-cut styling applies to the front, sides and rear styling as well as the spokes on the 21-inch wheels. The grille, fender flares, lower side panels and rear bumper feature graphite black accents, while the roof features a piano black finish.”

— Jason Udy, Motor Trend

“Much of Scion’s identity has been lost over the past decade as its vehicles lost their formerly distinctive designs. The new C-HR’s styling goes back to Scion’s roots as an edgy brand for youths not interested in their parents’ Toyotas. If the production vehicle can maintain the concept’s character, while adding some real-world functionality, it could help revive Scion’s awareness with young car buyers.”

— Karl Brauer, senior analyst, Kelley Blue Book

“With Scion using contemporary celebrities like James Franco, Jaleel White and the wacky wild waving inflatable tube man from your local car dealership, we can see that Scion is clearly targeting the millennial buyer. With the addition of this rebranded Toyota concept car, will its push for the young urban professional resonate in sales? Only time will tell.”

— Wesley Wren, Autoweek

“Tiny CUVs are a hot segment right now. Almost every mainstream automaker has one. The Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and Nissan Juke might be some of the most popular, but even more niche carmakers like Fiat and Mini have their own offerings. One major automaker that’s been conspicuously absent from the segment has been Toyota, and that’s kind of surprising considering its Scion sub-brand is known for funky designs and a more youthful target demographic, or yuccies — young urban creatives — as they are unfortunately called. Enter the Scion C-HR.”

— Collin Woodard, Road and Track

“Scion is embracing its weirdness through its advertising campaign and now with the C-HR concept, a coupe crossover. What is not weird is that Scion recognizes it needs a crossover in its lineup, and it needs an iconic model, much as the original xB was in the brand’s early days. The C-HR concept may or may not be it — I imagine social, cargo-carrying millennials want more than two doors. Still, the concept shows Scion is exploring an answer to its needs.”

— Michelle Krebs, senior analyst, Autotrader

You can reach Jack Walsworth at jwalsworth@crain.com.


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