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For American buyers, the Toyota 86 coupe will be sold as a Scion which means that this rear wheel drive sports car will no longer be known as the “Toyobaru” due to it being co-developed with Subaru but rather it will be the “ToyoSciobaru.” Trying saying that fast five times with a mouth full of crackers.
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Now, with their boxier engines and rear drive layout, the Scion and Toyota coupes will no doubt be very fun to drive but given the fact that prices are rumored (yet not confirmed at the time of this writing) to start in the realm of $28,000 it would have been nice if their styling departments had made the two look even remotely different. You know, except for the unique Scion and Subaru logos. This is 1980’s GM-style badge engineering at its most crass and lazy.
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Make no mistake: the Subaru and Scion coupes are both fine looking vehicles that capably convey “sportiness” but there is really nothing sexy or emotionally intriguing about their appearance. And people buy sports cars because they are fun to drive and because they make them look cooler than they more than likely are in reality. Hey, try to drive an Audi TT and not feel a little bit sexy.
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Now, we aren’t alone in this assertion that Toyota/Scion and Subaru really missed a big opportunity on the styling front. During the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show unveiling of the Japanese market Toyota 86, Akio Toyoda asked the crowd of at least 1,000 sardine packed journalists, “Isn’t this a great looking car?” No one made a sound and you could hear crickets chirping. Let’s hope for Toyota’s sake that the lack of response was just due to the fact that no one in the audience could breathe.
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Honestly, a more interesting design study at the Toyota booth was of their new fuel cell concept sedan. It definitely rivals the Honda FCX Clarity for head turning style. At Subaru, they also unveiled a concept Cross Tourer with an interior made out of finely crafted wood pieces that was stylistically an interesting furthering of their station wagon and SUV mix that is so popular with the Outback. It looked to us like an excellent replacement for the disastrous Subaru Tribeca. Honestly, we would love to see both of these model make production. With their own unique styling left intact, of course.
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