Scion takes Toyota's new SUV concept to the US

Toyota showed a prototype of a new compact SUV, the C-HR, at the Frankfurt auto show in September, and now it comes to Los Angeles with a Scion badge.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Scion C-HR concept

Scion puts its own badge, and color, on the C-HR concept for its US debut at the Los Angeles auto show.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

LOS ANGELES -- When CNET editor Chris Paukert saw the Toyota C-HR concept at the Frankfurt auto show in September, he labeled it a Juke-fighter, portending a new model from Toyota competing with the Nissan Juke in the new compact SUV segment. That very same concept showed up at the Los Angeles auto show wearing the Scion badge, signifying a slightly different spin on this new car for the US when it hits production.

As Toyota's youth-oriented brand in the US, Scion markets cars such as the iA , FR-S and tC . The brand's buyers skew much younger than other automakers', and the C-HR looks like an entry-level model appropriate for first-time buyers.

The compact SUV segment includes cars such as the Juke, the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3 . These vehicles generally allow more cargo space through a hatchback design and have a higher riding position than equivalent-sized passenger cars. The basic format of the C-HR concept looks like it includes four doors and a hatchback. The athletic profile supports a higher riding position, although the concept sits particularly high on 21-inch wheels.

The C-HR makes use of Toyota's New Global Architecture, a completely new platform also used for the 2016 Prius. This new platform lets Toyota use common components across many of this vehicles, easing chassis tuning and increasing manufacturing efficiencies.

Scion's press release for the C-HR describes a diamond shape as the design inspiration, although the concept uses many rounded, bulbous panels. Large fenders highlight the wheels and blacked-out pillars and roof make the cabin structure stand apart from the body.

Scion C-HR concept previews an aggressive compact crossover (pictures)

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The taillight structures loop off of the body and the high back end as well as the raked rear would make for difficult hatchback access. These two attributes in particular don't seem likely to survive into a production vehicle.

But this concept definitely heralds a new model. Toyota has already said it would launch the new compact SUV model based on the C-HR at next year's Geneva auto show in March. And when it comes to US shores, Scion will take charge of sales.