Toyota's diminutive iQ compact (pictured left) has been rebadged under the Scion nameplate and will carry hybrid technology, according to recent reports. The switch from the Toyota parent brand to Scion has been known for a while, but new inside sources now claim that the surname of the vehicle may also be set for a change.
It's no secret that more than a few people dislike the cutesy iQ moniker of the latest Scion set for stateside sale. If a name change is imminent, then it's possible that Toyota will divulge the new moniker at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show, where the American version of the iQ is set to debut.
Regardless of name announcements, America will get its first look at two different Scion iQ body styles - a 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan. In-the-know worldly individuals will note that this differs from the current 3-door hatchback design presently available in Japan and Europe. Apparently, Toyota chose to listen to the research that indicates Americans prefer cars with four doors, and thus opted to incorporate extra entry points.
However, if you would prefer a 3-door hatchback, fear not. Such a model will eventually be made available, albeit after the introduction of the other two models. Presently, the 5-door hatchback is slated to enter the market first, with an inaugural sale date near the end of 2011 (as a 2012 model). A convertible model is also intended for production.
The base engine is expected to be a 1.3-liter four-cylinder that maxes out at 93 horsepower. However, the big news is the confirmation of a hybrid engine, which incorporates a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor. Early estimates suggest the hybrid Scion iQ will muster between 100 and 120 horsepower. Fuel consumption is estimated at 60 miles per gallon.
Given the impressive fuel efficiency and a base price around $15,000, it's quite probable that the hybrid model will outsell the thirstier traditional gas model. Whatever the ultimate sales figures, Toyota is putting a lot of eggs into one basket with the iQ. Scion sales have dipped considerably, and the iQ (or whatever it will be named) is expected to be the new model that turns sales around. If such a series of events does not unfold, then it's possible that Toyota could can the Scion brand altogether.