By Steve & Tamami Laser
With scores of new vehicle debuts (and few opportunities to rest), we trekked from dawn until dusk through the halls of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show to cover as many press conferences and vehicle debuts as possible. In our fourth and final part of this series, we highlight the Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo and Volkswagen displays.
Scion’s C-HR concept that made its world debut in L.A. previews an upcoming production model slated to launch sometime in 2016. While we don’t know if it will actually look like this, we do know that we’ve seen a similar concept before wearing Toyota badges.
Toyota’s C-HR concept made its first appearance at the 2014 Paris Motor Show as a design study. Then an updated five-door model was displayed at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show – we saw this version last month at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Taking inspiration from a diamond with sheered sides, Scion says the C-HR’s cabin is like a precision-cut gemstone. From the overhead view, the diamond points have been sharply cut in the front, rear and sides, giving view to the round fender flares visible from every angle. Graphite black accents on the grille, rear bumper, fender flares and lower side panels reflect the strength and stance of the vehicle.
We had a great view of the Scion press conference to record this video. Pardon our occasionally shaky camera caused by music playing on nearby speakers (which sounded fantastic).
“Scion is known for doing things differently, and maybe even being a little weird,” said Scion Vice President Andrew Gilleland. “This C-HR Concept embraces that idea and wears it like a badge of honor. We couldn’t be more excited to add the production version to our line-up.”
“The C-HR will be a stand-out vehicle for us,” he said. “Its styling will lead the way, but its substance will seal the deal. It’s got amazing driving dynamics, superb functionality, and, like all Scions, premium features at an accommodating price. There’s no doubt this will be the next iconic vehicle for Scion.”
Underneath the captivating design of the C-HR is a platform featuring Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) that’s also used for the new Prius. TNGA is an innovative and integrated approach to developing new platforms and powertrains says Toyota. It creates a lower center of gravity, increased body rigidity, more responsive handling and improved ride comfort.
“Even though the C-HR has a high ride height, our focus was on creating a fantastic urban driving car,” said C-HR Chief Engineer Hiro Koba. “My favorite place to be on a weekend is at a race track and I wanted to build a car that I would have just as much fun driving in the city during the week with refined driving comfort and responsive, precise steering.”
Subaru has transformed from a niche player in the U.S. market to racking up more than half a million sales this year. While its biggest sellers remain the Outback, Forester and Crosstrek, Subaru would like to remind us that it also builds the Impreza, sporty WRX and STI, and Legacy sedans.
The new Impreza Sedan Concept made its world debut at L.A. This follows the equally “Imprezzive” 5-Door Impreza Concept that we saw revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show last month.
Subaru says Impreza will become the first of its next-generation vehicles to use a new modular platform. The design is sportier and less angular than the previous generation, but with a powerful stance expressing Subaru’s new “Dynamic x Solid” design language that will also be applied to other new models.
“We choose L.A. to show off the Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept because this car is way cool, and is a precursor for what you can expect for the next generation Subaru Impreza Sedan,” said Tom Doll, president and COO, Subaru of America. “It’s stylish, strong, dynamic, taking all the strengths of the Subaru brand, safety and reliability, all-wheel drive, and our legendary Boxer engine and mixing in a healthy dose of design.”
We made this video of the new Impreza Sedan Concept at the show when we had the chance to see it up close.
Subaru says the front, sides, and rear of the car are seamlessly joined to create a “solid and muscular body” that is inherent of Subaru design. Aerodynamic performance is achieved by blending functionality and styling, incorporating a integrated rear spoiler and functional front valance.
The Subaru family resemblance is recognizable up front with the hexagonal grille, menacing hawk-eye headlights, and aircraft inspired wing.
The flared fenders launch a sharp character line that run the length of the car. A second, upswept character line along the lower door panels adds energy to the overall design theme. The 19” wheels are flush with the wheel arches, further establishing the car’s wide stance and the fender flares express the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.
We got our first look at the new 2016 RAV4 Hybrid at the Toyota display. Toyota says this will become the eighth hybrid in its lineup (plus six more in the Lexus division), joining the recently refreshed gasoline-powered RAV4 models.
The RAV4 Hybrid combines output from a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine and a small high-torque electric motor for a combined 194 horsepower. As a parallel hybrid, the system varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both as needed.
Toyota says the RAV4 Hybrid can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds (nearly one second quicker than its gas counterparts). Regenerative braking changes the electric motor to a generator that captures the kinetic energy of the wheels, storing it in the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack.
The driver can select ECO mode (on both Hybrid and Gas models) to optimize throttle response and air conditioning output to help conserve fuel. In the EV mode, Toyota says the RAV4 Hybrid, under certain conditions, will run solely on the electric motor for up to 0.6 miles at low speeds (below approximately 25 mph). A Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator, located in a 4.2-inch TFT screen, helps coach the driver to operate the vehicle as economically as possible.
Toyota also brought two crowd-pleasers to L.A. from the SEMA show held earlier in the month in Las Vegas. Fresh from its “Back to the Future Day” debut, MV Designz helped Toyota re-imagine Doc Brown’s time machine for today’s adventurers by modifying Toyota’s new Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, complete with gullwing doors and a heads-up display of the time-traveling destination.
Drawing on Back to the Future movie magic and modern-day specialty design, the Mirai “time machine” features conversion from four-door to coupe body style, custom 19-inch “Infinity” LED wheels and tires, custom air-ride suspension, blue LED lighting, custom brushed-aluminum paint, an integrated tablet replacing original equipment head unit, and a Flux capacitor housed in a custom center console. “Mr Fusion” (below) rides in a special housing in the trunk.
Then, using the all-new 2016 Tacoma that went on sale in September, Toyota re-imagined Marty McFly’s 4×4 dream truck from Back to the Future. To make the Tacoma look like a modern-day version of the classic from the movie, a number of modifications were made.
These include custom 1985 Toyota Truck Exterior Paint, off-road suspension, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) wheels, BFGoodrich Tires, front and rear tubular bumpers and light bar. The mods continued with KC HiLites Gravity LED G46, KC HiLites Daylighter Gravity LED, “D-4S” Fuel Injection badging, tailgate with “TOYOTA” logo, vintage headlight and taillight design, and mud flaps adapted from the 1985 Toyota Truck.
Volkswagen introduced the production version of its 2016 Beetle Dune. Inspired by vintage Baja Bugs, the Dune wears new front and rear fascias plus black fender extensions that flow into the bumpers. The ride height is raised by 0.4 inches and track is 0.6 inches wider to help give it a more rugged look.
The side gains polished aluminum sills and black trim strips that are reminiscent of the original Beetle’s running boards. Distinctive 18-inch Canyon alloy wheels are fitted with 235/45 all-season tires while “Dune” graphics are applied to the doors.
Volkswagen says the Beetle Dune will be equipped with a 1.8-liter direct-injection and turbocharged TSI® 4-cylinder engine, offering 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Golf GTE Sport concept made its North American debut. VW says the concept blurs the lines between road and motorsport vehicles, featuring the drivetrain, suspension, body and interior of a sports car combined with an advanced plug-in hybrid system that’s capable of zero-emission driving.
The body is largely made of lightweight carbon fiber, following the example set by other Volkswagen vehicles like the XL1. The concept is painted in pearlescent “White Club” and has doors that swing forward. The upper part of each door extends into the roof and is entirely made of exposed carbon fiber.
The interior, clad in carbon fiber and microfiber, consists of separate areas for the driver and passenger. Racing bucket seats with five-point belts are positioned to the rear, and the steering column projects further into the interior, like a race car. The motorsport-style steering wheel includes paddle shifters.
The concept’s 1.6-liter TSI 4-cylinder engine is assisted by two electric motors with total system torque quoted at a stout 494 lb-ft. Volkswagen says in sporty “GTE mode” all three motors work together, giving the all-wheel-drive concept a zero to 62 mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph.
Volvo unveiled Concept 26, an interior design and innovation platform for autonomous driving vehicles. Volvo says this represents a new way of thinking about how luxury autonomous cars will integrate into daily life. It’s based on extensive research by the automaker on how people want to use autonomous driving and spend their time behind the wheel.
Concept 26 provides various interior configurations that “combine today’s needs with emerging trends and technologies to create a new experience when drivers no longer need to focus on the driving task.” Volvo says it’s the first autonomous drive interior that’s designed for a vehicle platform available on the market today.
We scouted our own great seating position (in a regular chair) in advance of Volvo’s press conference to make this video of the presentation.
“Volvo Concept 26 addresses the notion that driving can still be fun and liberating on the right day and on the right road but that some parts of driving, notably the daily commute in many metro areas, is stressful, frustrating and even broken,” said Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, General Manager of the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center. “Concept 26 allows drivers to use their time in ways never before possible in a car.”
Research conducted by Volvo shows that drivers could reclaim a significant amount of time from their daily commute, and make that time more meaningful, when given an environment to do what they wish. Volvo says in the U.S. many drivers could regain an average of 26 additional minutes for each commute and several hundred hours per year.
The concept is built around a new seat design that cradles the driver at all times and through the transformation between different modes. Together with a tablet interface in the center console, a foldable tray table and a 25-inch flat-screen monitor that flips up from the passenger side dashboard, Concept 26 provides three interior modes: Drive, Create, and Relax. Each mode offers a unique arrangement for drivers to maximize what they can do with their time while the car is in autonomous mode.
Click on the links below for our additional 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show stories:
Features, specifications and prices for U.S. models in this story are subject to change without notice by the automakers.
Story, photos and videos (as noted) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com