Diamond in the Rough

Scion's C-HR concept is a study in contrasts: chiseled yet sleek, unconventional but functional.
by Dan Miller
Nov/Dec 2015
Diamond in the Rough
Since it broke on the scene in 2003, Scion has been known for vehicle designs that generate a wide range of responses. In some cases, it’s love at first sight. For others, the break from the norm induces head-scratching. But, ideally, each new Scion makes a statement. After all, that’s the intent of Toyota’s trend-setting brand.
The Scion C-HR, which made its global debut as a concept car at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November, would seem to build on that legacy. Andrew Gilleland, Scion’s new vice president, certainly thinks so.
“Scion is known for doing things differently, and maybe even being a little weird,” he says. “This C-HR concept embraces that idea and wears it like a badge of honor. We couldn’t be more excited to add this vehicle to our lineup.”
The C-HR concept is named for its compact size and high ride height. With five doors and a hatch for supreme functionality, it’s the perfect vehicle for “yuccies,” or young urban creatives. It was this demographic’s aesthetic—and its belief that “polarizing is OK, boring is not”—that set the tone for the designers who developed this striking new urban lifestyle vehicle. Their answer: a refreshing break from conventional SUVs that is distinctive, sophisticated, passionate and clean.

A Diamond in the Rough
C-HR design was inspired by the sheer sides of a high-priced diamond. As such, the concept’s cabin is like a precision-cut gemstone. Its body incorporates sharp cuts in the front, rear and sides.

The design is also a study in contrasts. For example, the lower body’s flowing lines are sensual and are meant to engender strong emotions. But the chiseled, multi-faceted cabin suggests protection. Similarly, graphite black accents on the grille, rear bumper, fender flares and lower side panels reflect strength and an athletic stance. But the all-piano black floating roof treatment makes for a sleek and stylish profile.

This complex exterior rides on an all-new platform derived from Toyota’s New Global Architecture. It offers a lower center of gravity, increased body rigidity, more responsive handling and improved ride comfort. These attributes help offset the C-HR’s high profile, promoted in part by 21-inch wheels that flash chiseled spokes, continuing the diamond theme.
“Even though the C-HR has a high ride height, our focus was on creating a fantastic urban driving car,” says 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.”
Next Iteration: Production Vehicle
Look for full engineering details on the C-HR in production form to be divulged in 2016.
“The Scion C-HR will be a standout vehicle for us,” says Gilleland. “Its styling will lead the way, but its substance will seal the deal. It will deliver 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.”
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