Car News

Name Game: Scion's FR-S sports car and C-HR concept arrive in New York as Toyotas

Toyota has chosen the New York Auto Show to provide a first glimpse at how Scion's halo FR-S sports car will look when it's reborn as a Toyota for 2017.

In addition to the expected exterior changes designed to give it a fresh identity – including new front and rear bumpers, new LED headlamps, taillights and turn signals, new fender garnish design and new alloys – the rebranded coupe will see increased power (up five horsepower), revised suspension tuning, and revised manual transmission ratios for improved acceleration. Inside, it will get new upholstery and different trim around the instrument panel.

The Scion FR-S will return as the Toyota 86, in keeping with its home market where the car has always been sold under that name. The name calls back to the Corolla AE86 of the mid-1980s, which is much loved by drift racers around the world; but the classic moniker perhaps lacks the punch of the European market designation: GT86.

Another renamed Scion appearing at the New York Auto Show will be the CH-R Concept crossover, which was shown at the LA Auto Show in November 2015 and will be re-introduced as a Toyota in NY, ahead of the U.S. production version that's expected to debut later this year.

Toyota has also confirmed that the Scion iQ, xB and tC will all be discontinued after 2016. As part of the transition, a final tC Release Series 10.0 will be revealed at New York. The car features an exterior designed in partnership with Kei Miura, famed for his JDM aerodynamic designs. In addition to a new front lip spoiler, rocker panels, rear lower spoiler, deck spoiler and gloss black alloys, the tC Release Series 10.0 will get an exclusive red-and-black themed interior.

As for the other remaining Scion models – the iM and, in the US, the iA – some sources have quoted a Scion spokesperson as saying they'll be renamed the Toyota Corolla iM and the Toyota Yaris iA, but officials at Toyota refused to confirm this information, saying they have "nothing to announce."

The iA is already marketed in Canada as the Yaris, so it would make sense for it to get this name in the US as well. The iM is essentially a Toyota Auris – a compact hatchback derived from the Corolla – so calling it a Corolla of some sort would also make sense. But whether it makes sense to saddle them with the alphanumeric monikers they wore at Scion is another question: The smart money might suggest they'll come back as simply the Toyota Yaris and the Toyota Matrix, which was always officially the Toyota Corolla Matrix anyway.