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Toyota Lets You Try Before You Buy With its Rental Program

Toyota Lets You Try Before You Buy With its Rental Program

We have seen nearly every gimmick under the sun with various automakers, from Saturn and its "No Haggle" pricing — see where that got it — to Volkswagen with its "Sign Then Drive Event." One gimmick that we’ve been waiting for is for when dealerships start renting out their cars for extended test drives or just a weekend trip.

Well, the wait is now over, as Toyota has done just that. From the looks of things, about 85 percent of Toyota and Scion dealers across the U.S. participate in this program and Toyota claims that its rental rates are competitive with local car-rental companies. According to the Toyota Rent a Car website, you can rent cars, trucks, SUVs, Hybrids and even the 2013 RAV4 EV for a day, week or even months. Unfortunately, the 2013 Scion FR-S isn’t on the list of available models, but the almost-as-cool Scion tC is on the list.

So, we can now check brand-new rent-a-buckets off of our wish list, now we are just waiting for all of the dealers to morph into rental showrooms and Internet-based car buying — now that is "no haggle pricing!" Those two will likely never happen, but at the rate that Tesla is changing the car-buying experience, you just never know what will happen.

Your move, Elon Musk...

Click past the jump to read about some of the coolest models that Toyota is renting out under this program

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2013 Scion FR-S Coupe by TF-Works

2013 Scion FR-S Coupe by TF-Works

The Toyota GT86 and the Subaru BRZ are getting quite the love from aftermarket companies. Maybe it’s time we show the same for the Scion FR-S.

Illinois-based tuning firm, TF-Works, is preparing a special program for the FR-S, one that gives it the kind of aftermarket punch that the GT 86 and the BRZ are normally accustomed to.

The program comes with a bevy of new features, not the least of which includes a "Version Select" carbon-fiber body kit with new components added on like an extended front apron, a new trunk spoiler, and a hot set of 19-inch matte-silver, concave Vossen wheels. The program is still in the middle of being worked on so we expect more goodies to be added on to the mix.

For now, TF-Works has released the price for the known components included in the "Version Select" kit. So if you’re ready to splurge on your FR-S, be sure you have at least $2,500 at your disposal. We’ll bring you more, as it rolls out.

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2013 Scion xD Rally Car

2013 Scion xD Rally Car

Unlike Subaru, Scion is still a relative newbie to the Rally America scene, having only raced in the series for one year before this season. But now that it’s got its maiden experience out of the way, Scion is preparing to be more of a factor in the series’ two-wheel-drive class.

Championing their cause is the new 2013 Scion xD Rally Car, an innocuous model that has been turned into a full-fledged rally car with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that has likewise been force-fed with a GReddy turbocharger. Add some rally-spec components, redesign the interior for rally purposes, slap on the obligatory sponsor logos, and you have a race car that’s primed and ready to get down and dirty.

The make the xD Rally Car more competitive this year, scion bumped up its horsepower – the amount remains undisclosed, of course – added in an all-new suspension system and better balanced the awkward-looking xD’s weight distribution.

Of course, Scion has no illusions of being a straight-up contender to the mighty Subaru team. But considering that they’re just entering their second year of competition, we’d be very disappointed if Scion doesn’t build on the foundation they set last year and get some winning results in the two-wheel-drive class.

Click past the jump to read Scion’s full press release

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Stillen presents finalists for Scion FR-S design contest

Stillen presents finalists for Scion FR-S design contest

Last month, US tuner Stillen launched a contest that let fans be in charge of designing a Scion FR-S coupe. The winner would have his design built by Stillen in addition to winning a two-night stay in Las Vegas for this year’s SEMA Show. His very own design would also be exhibited at the SEMA floor. So with a month to prepare and design their own versions of the FR-S, over 100 designers took up Stillen’s offer and put their designing hats to good use, all while using only a number of Stillen’s templates.

In the end, the US tuner picked five of its favorite designs, including two from Greg Thompson and one each from Paul Kim, Mohamad Irfendy, and Michael Caneda. From here, the power turns to the public where they get the chance to pick their favorite designs.

Voting is already underway so if you like one of these designs more than the others, let your clicks matter.

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Toyota says no to bringing the Scion FR-S Convertible to the US market

Toyota says no to bringing the Scion FR-S Convertible to the US market

One would think that living in America would have its advantages. Don’t get us wrong; we love the merits of the good ’ol U-S-of-A, but sometimes, this country doesn’t always get what it wants.

Take the recent news about the Scion FR-S Convertible as an example. The new Japanese sports coupe is available in the US as a coupe model, but according to AutoNews, that’s as far as it gets.

Due to "pricing issues," Toyota has announced that the convertible model of the FR-S will not be made available in the US. You read that right: not available in the US.

We don’t know about you, but this news is pretty devastating, especially for those who have been waiting for a topless version of the FR-S. As if to rub salt on our wounds, Toyota has given the green light to bring a convertible model of the Toyota GT86 in a number of other markets all over the world.

As for the third sister in this trifecta, the Subaru BRZ Convertible, there’s been no confirmation on whether one will come in the future.

But no Scion FR-S Convertible in the US? Bummer. Bummer, indeed.

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Stillen wants you to design their new Scion FR-S program

Stillen wants you to design their new Scion FR-S program

US tuner Stillen has come up with a new way to produce aftermarket programs; they want you to actually design the programs for them.

The idea isn’t entirely new because we’ve seen other tuners go down this road before, but Stillen is upping the ante by letting its readers design aerodynamic kits for the Scion FR-S. Design submissions will be accepted through August 14, 2012 and can be sent to frscontest@stillen.com. All you have to do is download Stillen’s templates, design the front lip, side skirts, and rear valance (no full bumpers allowed). The design material is limited to only urethane; no carbon fiber, folks. Likewise, submissions must either be hand-drawn or digital.

The tuning company will then select the top five designs and post them on their Facebook page where fans will get a chance to vote through a poll. The winning submission, which will be announced on August 20th, will have their design built by Stillen and will also receive a two-night stay in Las Vegas and be part of SEMA 2012 where their design will be revealed for the first time.

So if you’re a young and ambitious designer, here’s your chance to make a name for yourself in the industry.

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Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are the Fastest Selling Cars in the U.S.

Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are the Fastest Selling Cars in the U.S.

Inventory turns are the bane of a car dealership sales manager’s existence, as the general manager will ride the sales manager like a rented mule if a unit stays on the lot past 30 days. In reality, the average car sits on a dealership’s lot for a little over 50 days – that’s a lot of gripe sessions from the GM. According to a report from Edmunds, via our pals at Auto Blog, the sales managers at Subaru and Scion dealerships can breathe easy every time a shipment of new BRZ or FR-S models comes rolling in on the back of a transporter.

Why would these managers be so happy to see a truckload full of these new sports cars? Well, because the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are No. 1 and 2 on the fastest selling vehicle list, respectively. There is barely enough time for the driver to unload the cars and for the service team to perform a safety check and get it detailed before a deal is being worked and the car is being driven off of the lot. Yup, the BRZ lasts a whopping four days in the dealership before turning into a sale and the FR-S lasts only five days.

This is all well and good, but another issue is starting to rear its head, and that is the fact that there just are not enough BRZ and FR-S models to go around. Toyota will only make about 10,000 FR-S models and Subaru is planning only 6,000 units, which at the current pace will be completely sold out well before the end of the model year.

We are willing to bet that neither Subaru nor Toyota will leave any money on the table, so we anticipate seeing production numbers ramped up in the coming months, if sales keep going the way they are. If Mazda is willing to increase the number of special edition RX-8s it is producing to keep up with demand, Subaru and Toyota likely will too.

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2012 Scion FR-S Speedster by Cartel Customs

2012 Scion FR-S Speedster by Cartel Customs

Technically speaking, this car can be called the Scion FR-S Speedster with the only caveat being that this hot convertible wasn’t made by Scion.

The brains behind this vehicle are the folks from Cartel Customs, which took a standard FR-S sports coupe and took off the roof, as well as made a host of other aerodynamic modifications. In order to fully commit to the roadster look, Cartel Customs added a number of new components, including a custom hood, custom fenders, a 61" carbon fiber wing, a sporty rear deck lid, tinted headlights, a custom paint finish, a custom bespoke interior, and a new set of 18" wheels. Other enhancements done on the overall set-up of the FR-S include an upgraded clutch, a new exhaust system, Wilwood brakes, and an improved suspension set-up.

No word yet on what kind of performance enhancements the FR-S Speedster has under its hood, but we do expect it to retain its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Whether it has its standard 200-horsepower and 151 lb/ft of torque figures still remains to be seen.

The Scion FR-S Speedster will be making its public debut at the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 13, 2012 where it will drive parade laps leading up to the event’s opening ceremonies.

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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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Video: Episode 1 of Scion's new reality show, "Reinvent the Wheels"

Video: Episode 1 of Scion’s new reality show, "Reinvent the Wheels"

Here’s a nice new concept for a reality show that every car-loving man – and woman - on the face of this world would love to be a part of: have six people duke it out for the enviable opportunity to modify a Scion xB.

Oh wait, Scion’s already doing that.

In a new Web series that’s sure to be must-watch entertainment for a lot of us, “Reinventing the Wheels” features two film makers, two DJs, a special-effects make-up artist and a pastry chef – yes, a pastry chef – are putting their car design talents to good use by having their own individual preliminary designs on a Scion xB. And that’s just episode 1.

We’re pretty sure that as the show progresses, things are going to get a little more interesting. In the meantime, check out episode 1 to see how the six contestants all stack up against each other.

Part 2 of Episode 1 after the jump

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Scion iQ will make it to USA by 2011

Scion iQ will make it to USA by 2011

As you know Toyota will bring to the US market a small iQ 3+1 city car badged as a Scion. Sales will begin in 2011. The Scion iQ will be 118 inches in length.

Sold as a Toyota iQ in Europe, the car needs minimal modifications, mostly to the bumpers, to meet U.S. standards. Under the hood the company will place a 1.0-liter I-3, a 99-hp 1.3-liter I-4 and a 1.4-liter diesel, but a 1.6-liters is also a possibility.

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2009 Scion TC Release Series 5.0

2009 Scion TC Release Series 5.0

Scion is a blank slate. Toyota’s youth oriented brand sells cars with the idea that many of its owners will buy parts to customize their cars. Occasionally Scion gives its fans a hand by showing them what is possible by modifying the cars at the factory. The Chicago Auto Show is the place Scion is using to showcase its latest special edition with the tC Release Series 5.0. This tC is upgraded with parts directly from parent company Toyota’s TRD (Toyota Racing Development) catalog.

The upgrades include a TRD stainless-steel muffler to add performance and improve the exhaust note, a thicker rear TRD anti roll bar to improve handling and TRD split nine-spoke rims finished in matte black with a red lip measuring in at 18 inches. The limited production run will consist of 2000 examples all painted in gloss black and have special TRD badging. Although there is no official word about performance, the Scion tC Release Series 5.0 should be quicker in a straight line as well as in the twisties.

In the interior you will find a black leather steering wheel with unique red stitching, black seats also with red highlights and TRD floor mats. Each Release Series 5.0 will be identifiable by a numbered plaque that certifies the tC’s authenticity.

The limited edition tC should arrive in dealerships in March and be priced around $19,970 for the manual and $20,770 for the automatic. Scion representatives have said that this will be the only limited edition tC for 2009.

Press release after the jump

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