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Random Act of Kindness Ends with Nursing Student Getting a Free Car

Random Act of Kindness Ends with Nursing Student Getting a Free Car

This is what it’s all about, folks!

Let’s start your Mondays off on a good note with a story about a young nurse from California and the generosity of a Scion xB owner. Kayla Cooper walked into an Auto City dealership with the intent of purchasing a vehicle. What she got instead was a free car from Dan Laguardia, who handed her the keys to his Scion xB after learning that Cooper couldn’t close a deal on her car purchase. There’s obviously more to this story — we’ll get to that — but, in a nutshell, it shows the power of kindness and generosity in a world that probably needs more doses of both.

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2016 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition

2016 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition

It’s been a really long time since the Scion xB made any headlines. Last time it happened it was when the company showcased the Riley Hawk Skate Tour, an xB that pays homage to America’s 1970s van culture, at the 2014 SEMA Show. Before that, Scion launched a rather dull xB Release Series 10.0 at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Come 2015 and the boxy compact gained nothing new except for a standard backup camera.

But arguably the biggest news about the xB is that Toyota decided to pull the plug on the 12-year-old wagon at the end of 2015. Not exactly surprising given xB sales fell for the third consecutive year in 2014, hitting an all-time low since its launch in 2003. Once Scion’s most popular model in the U.S., the xB sold roughly 16,600 units last year (down from more than 60,000 examples in 2006).

I can definitely see why Scion wants to axe the wagon, but it turns out the xB will get a nice send-off with yet another special-edition model. Dubbed 686 Parklan Edition, the limited-edition compact is the result of Scion’s cooperation with 686, a snowboarding and technical winter apparel company, and aimed at buyers seeking "a unique combination of fashion and function." Keep reading to find out what that means.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition.

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2016 Scion iM

2016 Scion iM

The Scion brand was created to appeal to the younger population. Instead of spending money on R&D, however, Scion had a bad habit of bringing about badge-engineered to Scion dealerships. For 2016, the brand was hoping to create more interest in the brand by debuting two new models – the Scion iA and the Scion iM. The Scion iM was a compact hatchback that was derived from the Toyota Corolla Wagon, or Auris, as the rest of the world knows it. Targeted at youth throughout North America, the iM was available with the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder from the Toyota Corolla Eco. It put out 137 horsepower and was able to attain 37 mpg on the highway. Outside it had fairly stylish looks and a pretty sporty front fascia. Mild body lines gave the car a sleek appearance. Inside the car had a pretty upscale cabin for a car that commanded less than $20,000, featuring dual zone climate control, a seven-inch infotainment system and other little technological and safety goodies.

Just like the iA, Scion was hoping the iM would generate some more cash flow and breathe new life into a company that was quite literally on its last leg. As you probably already know at this point, however, these new models didn’t come soon enough to save the company and the Scion brand has now been discontinued. So, for the 2017 model year, you’ll find the iM marketed under the Toyota brand as the Corolla iM. With that said, it’s time to take a look at our full review of the iM before we start seeing it with a Toyota badge plastered to the back of it. The iM is currently going for just more than $18,000 but expect that pricing to increase a little bit under the Toyota name.

Updated 06/29/2015: The new Scion iM will arrive at U.S. dealers on September 1st, 2015. Prices will start from $18,460 for the manual transmission and $19,200 for the CVTi-S model. Prices do not include $795 delivery, processing and handling fee. Also, check our first drive review here.

Continue reading to learn more about the iM.

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2016 Scion iM: First Drive

2016 Scion iM: First Drive

Scion has made a name for itself by making funky, youth-oriented cars and hatchbacks sold at reasonable prices. That recipe hasn’t changed with the new 2016 Scion iM, but the ingredients have most definitely gone premium. I recently found myself at the national press launch of both the iM and its brother, the iA sedan, where I got to spend plenty of time tossing each car through the Malibu canyons along the California coast. One thing became glaringly apparent: it’s all about the content.

Sure, Scion has always sold its vehicles in “mono-spec” trims, with each model offering the same content besides color and transmission choices, but the new iM ups the ante with features and equipment coming standard that are normally optional extras – even on some entry-level luxury nameplates.

The iM boasts an impressive number of airbags and other safety features, Bluetooth within is standard 7-inch infotainment display, an engine that gets 37 mpg on the highway, and 17-inch wheels that look like they belong on a Lexus. And that’s just the surface.

Beyond content, the iM rides on some impressive underpinnings that make it as fun to drive as it is practical. Independent suspension at all four corners with stiff sway bars keeps things level and tight without killing the ride, and relatively wide 225-series tires hold the road with surprising tenacity. And don’t forget, the iM comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission.

Of course price is a huge factor for Scion and its customer base. Well for $18,460, the iM’s base price backs up the inexpensive Scion promise. For those who don’t want to row their own, a CVT is optional, with its base price starting at $19,200. Not bad for a hatchback than can haul five people or the entire contents of a college dorm room while not getting less than 30 mpg.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2016 Scion iM & iA First Drive: What Do You Want To Know?

2016 Scion iM & iA First Drive: What Do You Want To Know?

Scion has invited me to be one of the first journalists to drive its newest models in the sunny state of California. Both the 2016 Scion iA and 2016 Scion iM are new to the brand in the U.S. for 2016, though both the iA sedan and iM hatchback are rebadged versions of other cars sold around the world. Regardless, the two new models add some much-needed life to Toyota’s youth-oriented brand.

So now is your chance to ask questions about both cars in the comment section down below. You ask, I respond: it’s that simple. I’ll have the questions ready to ask Toyota engineers and designers at next week’s launch.

Though some info will be embargoed until Monday, June 29, I can give answers to technical questions before then. Those will largely be answered in the comment section. After the Embargo is lifted, you’ll have the chance to read my full review on both cars with all your questions answered, including driving impressions.

Remember, both the iA and iM are new to Scion, but have been in production as other cars. The iA sedan is a reworked 2015 Mazda2 Sedan – meaning it has some big shoes to fill with regards to driving dynamics. The iM, on the other hand, is known as the 2015 Toyota Auris in many parts of the world, and is basically a hatchback version of the 2014 Toyota Corolla. The iM’s platform also underpins the 2015 Lexus CT200h.

These new vehicles are expected to revitalize the Scion brand, so there’s a lot riding on them. Don’t hesitate to ask hard questions!

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2014 Scion iM Concept

2014 Scion iM Concept

The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show is just around the corner, and although Toyota isn’t planning on revealing any new production vehicles like it did last year, it’s bringing a couple of intriguing concept cars to display, one of which is the Scion iM. Scion isn’t doing too well these days; most of its offerings are dated and the brand’s future is rather uncertain. However, it seems Scion is thinking outside the box in Los Angeles with a concept car that transforms an otherwise plebeian Toyota into a track-ready hot hatch.

The vehicle in question is the Auris compact, which has yet to reach U.S. shores since its introduction in 2006. It’s indeed awkward for Scion to meddle with a vehicle that’s not available on these shores, but I’m glad it did, as the iM Concept is an aggressively styled hatch with plenty of performance upgrades. Granted, the Auris isn’t a particularly exciting car, but the iM Concept looks like it has a decidedly sporty bend to it. Read on to find out what makes this concept a vehicle Scion needs to approve for mass production.

Updated 11/20/2014: The new Scion iM concept made its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. According to the company the iM is a preview version of a versatile five-door compact hatchback that will arrive in dealerships in 2015 at a price starting under $20k.

Updated 01/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new images from the car’s official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

Click past the jump to read more about Scion iM Concept.

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2014 Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB

2014 Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB

Things don’t get much groovier than this; Riley Hawk’s Skate Tour xB outfitted with all the proper accessories for America’s 1970s van culture. The Scion is destined for the SEMA show happening November 4th through 7th in Las Vegas where the unsuspecting crowd will surely be transfixed by this car-turned-van.

The man responsible for this cultured creation is Scott Kanemura of KMA Productions. He helped Hawk turn childhood memories into reality by bringing back all the classic parts that make ‘70s conversion vans special. “Every element of this Scion xB represents some part of my life,” Hawk says. “I’m looking forward to showing it at SEMA and having people check it out!”

And check it out they will. This “van” has it all. The exterior is compete with hoop-style manual chrome mirrors, chrome grille inserts, Cragar S/S wheels wrapped in fat rubber with raised white letters, a high-roof kit, fish bowl rear windows, and (non-functional) side pipes. The most obvious change is the orange, yellow, and brown stripe job covering the entire vehicle. Mr. B.A. Baracus would be jealous.

Of course, Kanemura had to tie in Hawks love of skateboarding. The back hatch opens up to reveal a mini workshop for tinkering on boards. Even smaller is the pint-sized halfpipe for Tech Decks. The high roof kit opens up to reveal more storage for full-size boards while a rack on the xB’s tailgate holds two additional boards.

Updated 10/30/2014: Scion unveiled the official details on the x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB with just a few days before its official debut at SEMA. Details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB.

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2014 Scion xB Release Series 10

2014 Scion xB Release Series 10

The Scion xB still looks like a shoebox, but give credit to Scion for not giving up on this model when so many others would have. On the contrary, Scion’s actually continuing to build up the xB with debut of the Release Series 10.0, a specially designed xB that comes with a whole new list of modern technologies.

Limited to just 1,500 units — like the FR-S Release Series 1.0 — the xB Release Series 10.0 doesn’t completely change the vehicle’s outward appearance, but it does have a host of modifications that at least makes it look a little more presentable. That’s probably the only recourse Scion has in differentiating the xB Release Series 10.0 from the standard version, so it set out to do just that, dressing up the model with am Electric Quartz paint that it describes as a mixture of pearl white with subtle green highlights.

That’s just the beginning of a range of new bits for the xB Release Series 10.0. But the best part is that the model is expected to hit dealerships this summer at a price of $20,420, excluding the $755 in delivery, processing and handling fees. Not too bad for a relatively exclusive xB.

Before that, though, the Scion xB Release Series 10.0 made a quick stop at the 2014 New York Auto Show for its official debut.

Click past the jump to read more about the Scion xB Release Series 10.0.

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2014 Scion iQ

2014 Scion iQ

The Scion iQ continues to be a part of our lives, even if it still hasn’t changed much since we first saw it.

But give the microcar some credit; it knows its identity and doesn’t shy away from it. It doesn’t promote itself as a road-wrecking beast nor has it ever puffed its chest and proclaimed itself to be a pocket rocket.

The Scion iQ is a microcar that’s ideally used as a fuel efficient ride in the city. Sometimes, you can even take it out on highways if you’re driving by yourself. But anything more strenuous than that and you’re already stretching the iQ’s capabilities.

All that being said and you can’t deny that there’s still that underlying appeal about this compact microcar, something that could be partly attributed to its looks (even if its overdue for a nip and tuck), and its unabashed identity because in the end, what you see is what you get with the iQ.

Click past the jump to know more about 2014 Scion iQ

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Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are already on the Recall List

Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are already on the Recall List

Oh boy… It seems like the FR-S and BRZ just hit dealerships – oh wait they did – and already they are showing up on the recall list. So, does this spell disaster for the Sciobaru twins, or is this just a rocky start to something special, a la the Ford Escort? Well, actually the recall has absolutely nothing to deal with the overall build of the vehicle, but rather a strange safety requirement by the NHTSA.

This recall is still hot off of the press, as it just hit the NHTSA’s site on June 8 at 2:49 a.m. – ah, someone couldn’t sleep – but there is still enough info to pass along. It looks like there was just a small bit of information left out of the owner’s manual regarding how the airbag system works. You know, one of the many sections of the owner’s manual that the average owner just bypasses.

From the reports we are reading, the missing information is almost unnoticeable. As described by Subaru officials, the missing information in question is that the manual not making a distinguished difference between a child and a small female when it is describing the way the BRZ and FR-S weigh its passengers for airbag deployment.

Per the NHTSA, this recall only affects a small number of the first FR-S and BRZ models to leave the production line. It is estimated that roughly 1,156 Scion FR-S models are in need of replacement owner’s manuals, but the number of BRZs needing replacement manuals is undisclosed yet, though some outlets are reporting 1,600 BRZs.

Fortunately, this recall is just something small and not a safety issue, which could be catastrophic for a new car in the market.

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Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

A few weeks ago, we let you in on the conversation that Car and Driver had with executives from Subaru and Toyota about the possibility of a turbocharger on the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S. It was a flat out “No” on the FR-S and an “Eh, maybe, but not now” on the BRZ and GT 86. Well, first off we think that’s a load of corporate horse manure, as Subaru and Toyota would be out of their engine control modules not to force at least 8 psi into that new jointly built 2.0-liter engine.

Apparently, Subaru is taking a nibble of the bait that us turbo junkies are tossing in the water, as it has just completed development on a turbocharged version of the FA20 engine used in the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S family. This engine is not an identical twin to the FA20, so don’t go getting your hopes up yet, but it is its fraternal twin at least. The only real difference is that Subaru scrapped the Toyota fuel injection system in favor of its own direct-injection system.

So what kind of power are we talking about? We are hearing that it cranks out a whopping 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque! Now for the bad news… As of now, this engine is only slated to be dropped into the JDM-spec Legacy. To make things worse, Subaru is linking this awesome engine to a CVT. What a gigantic waste.

Don’t go getting all sad on us now, this is a good start that Subaru is willing to slap some boost on this puppy and get nearly 300 ponies and 300 twisting power. Now just imagine that in a BRZ…

So we will reiterate what we said before. Regardless of what smoke and mirrors Subaru and Toyota throw up there, we will see boost in at least the BRZ and GT 86, and we would be willing to bet a penny that we see the FR-S whistling down the road one day too.

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2012 Scion iQ "Project Pryzm" by SR Auto Group

2012 Scion iQ "Project Pryzm" by SR Auto Group

We know this much about SR Auto Group: they don’t discriminate with the kind of cars they work on. Whether it’s a bastion of supercar awesomeness like the Ferrari 458 Italia or something a little more down-to-earth like a BMW Z4, the US-based tuning firm has made a reputation as one of the best tuners in the business no matter the kind of car they use.

Their latest project is nowhere near was powerful as the 458 Italia. Heck, it’s not even in the same ball park as the Z4. But for SR Auto Group, the Scion iQ is every bit as interesting as any other car they have worked on.

Called the Project Pryzm in reference to the car’s sharp and boxy interior, the iQ was fitted with a comprehensive aerodynamic package that drastically changed the way we look at the little, compact hatchback.

The first order of business was a subtle height adjustment and the addition of a new set of 17" Sparco wheels. After that, the business was turned to modifying the exterior with SR Auto Group using a body kit from Premier 4509 to fit into the iQ. The kit includes a new front bumper, a rear bumper, side skirts, front fenders, a new hood, and a roof spoiler. All told, it was pretty spectacular how SR Auto Group managed to change the iQ’s look, particularly the front, which you could actually pass of as a Dodge Charger.

From there, SR Auto Group went to work on the car’s interior, completely overhauling the cabin to make it sportier and far more aggressive looking than the standard model. The factory seats, for one, were modified to create an elevated side bolster for a sportier look. In addition, SR also added a red diamond stitched pattern over black suede on the center seats while the outer portions were wrapped with black leather and finished with red stitching on the seams. Rounding out the interior changes are newly dressed door panels, which also features the same black suede inserts with matching red stitching design on the seats.

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2011 Scion iQ-RX by Jon Sibal

2011 Scion iQ-RX by Jon Sibal

Scion’s fleet of SEMA-bound iQ’s has taken in another world-famous designer in the name of one Jon Sibal. Just like Michael Chang and Tatsu, Scion gave the keys to Sibal to personally design his own iQ to be displayed at SEMA.

With this program, Sibal sought out the help of a number of partners to design his iQ, including MVDesignz, Veilside Premier, Nitrous Express, HRE Wheels, and Air Runner System, to name a few.

The first two were given the task of dressing up the iQ’s exterior and they most certainly went to work on it. MVDesignz put in the iQ’s Matte Metallic Grey paint finish with Bronze Pearl accents. Meanwhile, Veilside Premier put in a number of modified parts including a front bumper, front fenders, a vented hood, side skirts, and a rear bumper. Other exterior enhancements include a Roadwire custom sunroof, smoked frosted lights, LED daytime running lights, an Air Runner System suspension set-up, and a set of 18" HRE 567C Forged wheels wrapped on Toyo Proxes 4 tires with a Stop Tech braking system.

Under its hood, the iQ-RX was also given an array of upgrades in the form of some nitrous additions, including a Nitrous Express universal fly-by-wire single nozzle system, a purge system with a D-4 manifold, and a dual vent purge line kit. The mere addition of nitrous to the iQ makes this one a certified bottle rocket on wheels.

The interior of the iQ-RX is a virtual techie’s playground, thanks to the car being set-up with a motorized 32" Samsung LED TV on the rear that goes well with the XBox 360 right next to it. And oh, there’s also an iPad 2 and an elaborate audio set-up courtesy of Orion Car Audio.

Updated 11/09/2011: Check the picture gallery to see new images of the Scion iQ-RX by Jon Sibal from the SEMA Show.

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2011 Scion iQ MR by Tatsu

2011 Scion iQ MR by Tatsu

Steely, cold, and downright awesome. That’s what the Scion iQ-MR by Tatsu represents. The car is headed to the 2011 SEMA Auto Show as part of the Scion contingent and the industrial-looking exterior makes us pine for the days when less was definitely more.

To add some spunk to the iQ-MR, Tatsu added some graphics from G1 Design while the exterior panels come from Specialty Cars. Other notable parts of the iQ-MR’s exterior include a KW Variant 3 Suspension system and a new set of 15" Axis Wheels from Sakura that have been wrapped around RT615 Falken Tires with 4-pot piston Fastbrakes. Meanwhile, the interior of the iQ MR is pretty much bare and bones with little sticks and stones. The cagework and the interior paneling come courtesy of Specialty Cars while the seats, steering wheel, window net, and belts all come from Sparco.

As for performance, Tatsu gave the Scion iQ a new Mavrik Motorsports engine with 292 duration, stock-lift webcamshafts and a Micro Image clutch kit, a lightened flywheel, and an AEM engine management system.

Updated 11/09/2011: Check the picture gallery to see new images of the Scion iQ MR by Tatsu from the SEMA Show.

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2011 Scion iQ-RS by Michael Chang

2011 Scion iQ-RS by Michael Chang

It takes a special kind of tuning talent to turn a rather mundane Scion iQ into a piece of racing art for the 2011 SEMA Auto Show. Fortunately, Scion found the right person in Michael Chang.

In turning the iQ into a wicked little racer, Chang enlisted the help of Evasive Motorsports in breaking some attitude to the iQ. A plethora of EM custom materials were used on the exterior, including fender flares, a vented, a Voltex GT wing and trunk mount, a carbon front lip, front splitter, side splitter, and rear diffuser. On top of that, the car was also fitted with Voltex carbon canards, a Wraptivo Matte White vehicle wrap with custom Red Pin striping, and a set of 17" Advan Racing RT wheels wrapped on Toyo R888 Racing R-Compound tires with a Wilwood 6-piston front and rear brake kit. Inside, the iQ-RS was dressed up EVO seats with 6-point, 3" racing harness, racing side mounts, a steering wheel, pedals, and a Weld-On quick release, all of which were sourced from Sparco. Then there are the custom parts, which Chang himself put into the car. There’s a carbon fiber door panel, a rear trunk panel, a 6-point roll cage, a carbon dash trim, a rally-style shifter, a carbon fiber center console, a warning indicator and toggle switch, and an 11" touch-screen display.

With all these modifications in tow, Chang and EM also modified the engine by putting an a carbon air induction box, a heat-shield with a gold thermal reflector, a custom transmission cooler with a carbon cover, and custom Koyo full-size radiator, among other things.

Updated 11/09/2011: Check the picture gallery to see new images of the Scion iQ-RS by Michael Chang from the SEMA Show.

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