At this year’s New York International Auto Show, everyone was expecting to see Toyota’s new rear-wheel-drive sport compact FT-86. Instead, Toyota rebranded it as a Scion and updated the body to what is now called the FR-S—a great move on Toyota’s part. Scion is a big part of the modified world but hasn’t ever had a rear-wheel-drive car. Having this as the brand’s halo car will help give Scion a new image in the performance world, much like how the LF-A serves as a halo car for Lexus.
The FR-S (front-engine, rear-wheel drive, sport) is based mainly on the FT-86 with a mix of styling from the Lexus LF-A and Toyota 2000GT. Its streamline body with sharp lines and accentuated panels illustrates how a true sports car should look. If you didn’t notice the LED Scion logo on the rear, the aerodynamic roof and distinct rear glass will remind you what car it is when it’s pulling away from you. Headlights and taillights both boast LED illumination. True to the AE86 heritage, the FR-S will stay a naturally aspirated, lightweight, four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive coupe. With the 20-inch staggered Five Axis wheels, the car screams rear-wheel drive. And just behind those center-locking monoblock wheels are 18-inch carbon brake rotors attached to wheels like on various motorcycles.
Like any concept car, we can’t tell just yet what the production model will look like or even be called—but it will definitely be a Scion.
2012 Honda Civic
New for this year is the ninth-generation Civic. Man, it’s been a long time since we’ve owned our fourth-gen Civics. The new car will be offered as an Si, HF, and hybrid. This new Si is still getting the ever-so-popular K-series engine, but in a buff form; it’s now getting a K24 engine. Yes, 2.4 liters of iVTEC fun—no need to look for a CR-V or TSX donor block anymore.
The new hybrid concept from the big Toyota family is the Lexus LF-Gh. This car was the designers’ way of going wild on a blank canvas. These ideas and styles will eventually filter down to different Lexus cars in the family.
Nissan Leaf RC
Just when we got tired of seeing raced-out hybrids, Nissan enters the circle with its hybrid Nismo RC–edition Leaf. We’re sure almost no one in the world will transform their Nissan Leaf hybrid into this rear-wheel-drive, two-door, carbon-fiber widebody track car, but it’s cool as hell to see a hybrid do all this. Definitely one of the coolest cars at the show.
2012 Subaru Impreza
Here’s a glimpse at everyone’s favorite all-wheel-drive hatchback/sedan—2012 means a new generation of the cult classic Impreza. We can’t wait to see what the turbo WRX and STI versions will look like later.