Scion Teases Los Angeles Auto Show Concept

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It's a Scion. It's sporty. And it's coming to the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

At the moment that's all we can tell you for sure about the latest concept car from Toyota's youth-market division. Scion this morning released two remarkably unrevealing teaser photos of the iM concept's front end, opening the floor for conjecture, speculation and presumption in the weeks leading to its Nov. 19 unveiling during the auto show’s press-only days.

Related: More Concept Cars

The L.A. Auto Show is open to the public Nov. 21-30, preceded by media and industry events Nov. 18-20. Cars.com will provide full coverage leading up to the show and from the floor. Click here for more 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show coverage.

By Matt Schmitz | October 22, 2014 | Comments (2)

Hey Metal Heads: Slayer-Inspired Scion to Stalk SEMA

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As long as there has been heavy metal, teenagers have sought out bands with which to frighten their parents. Now there's a car to really drive 'em nuts. In November, Toyota-owned Scion will unleash a special-edition car perfectly suited for that purpose, the Scion x Slayer Mobile Amp tC, inspired by the irreverently iconic headbangers, Slayer. On second thought, given the band's influential career spanning more than three decades, the youngsters' enthusiasm may actually take a backseat to that of Mom and Dad for a road trip "South of Heaven" to spend some "Seasons in the Abyss."

Related: Black Widow Corvette Stingray Is Auto Show Avenger

You can't make out a whole h-e-double-hockey-sticks of a lot from the rudimentary pencil-sketch-style image Toyota released this week of the modified version of Scion's sporty coupe — beyond it being obligatorily black in color with a large, red circle adorning the hood (the band's inverted-pentagram logo, perhaps?). No doubt something very similar has been sketched on more than a couple fifth-period Life Sciences textbooks by daydreaming junior-high misfits (we don't mean us). In any case, the automaker promises an exterior style commensurately aggressive to its subject with band-inspired details. And perhaps of equal importance, that influence carries over into the interior as the "multimedia machine" boasts amps, towers of speakers, a custom mixer and a 32-inch monitor for media playback, Toyota said.

By Matt Schmitz | September 19, 2014 | Comments (1)

Top 10 Urban Cars

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From squeezing between a Dumpster and a wall to holding your breath as a bus hard aports past your bumper, cities can be an automotive minefield. And cars are often the casualties. Need proof? Look no further than auto insurance rates. A 40-year-old male with a 2012 Honda Accord in Manhattan's West Village would pay 27 percent more for the exact same coverage than if he lived across the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., according to CarInsurance.com's analysis of six leading carriers.

Related: Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

Yet scores of Americans still prefer to live in the city. From New York to San Antonio, the country's 25 largest urban centers are home to 31.9 million people within city limits, according to the 2010 Census. That's 10.3 percent of the entire U.S. population in 2010, and given the trend of increasing urbanization, it doesn't look like it will recede anytime soon.

Most city-zens still have to drive. Not to worry: Our latest Top 10 nominates cars best suited for urban driving. Editors considered our candidates' overall size relative to their competitors, as well as visibility, city gas mileage, turning radius, city drivability, utility and more.

Here are our picks, in order of which cars received the most votes. In cases of a tie, we ranked by turning circle and other dimensions.

By Kelsey Mays | August 11, 2014 | Comments (10)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

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Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: What the Judges Said

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To test our sub-$30,000 speedsters, we put them through an even more rigorous set of tests than we usually use in our Challenges:

  • We spent one day at the Byron, Ill., Dragway to get zero-to-60-mph times and quarter-mile times and speeds; we also captured 60-mph-to-zero braking distances there.
  • We spent one day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., where the experts put the cars through a long day on the road course there.
  • We took all eight on a mileage drive of more than 200 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all eight over the same course, back-to-back, to judge real-world ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • And then we brought in a real-life car shopper, Joe Weiss, a 38-year-old quality assurance manager from Chicago who's in the market for just such a car for himself and his fiancee.

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Weiss joined our cast of judges (left to right):

  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • David Thomas, Cars.com managing editor
  • Joe Bruzek, Cars.com road test editor
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today

We set a maximum price of $30,000, including a destination charge. We had 10 cars on our list when we started, but we ended with eight (more on that in a bit):

  • 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2014 Honda Civic Si
  • 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
  • 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2015 Subaru WRX
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini said it did not have a Cooper in its press fleets that could meet our price cap; the Civic lost a tire after hitting a Chicago pothole, and repairs could not be made in time for track days. The judges did drive it in our round-robin day, and a report on those tests can be found here.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 50 percent of the total score; 10 percent came from the shopper's scores; 30 percent was based on track performance; and the remaining 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

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Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (21)

2014 Scion FR-S Photo Gallery

Cheap Speed Challenge: 2014 Scion FR-S

The 2014 Scion FR-S finished fifth in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "The FR-S has responsive handling that most in this group can only dream about," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the FR-S up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | July 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

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Shoppers may face legitimate sticker shock when they're shopping for a new car. TV and radio advertisements may lead them to believe that new cars all get at least 35 mpg for less than $15,000, but the price of entry for even a modestly equipped new car is well above that.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

That's why we've taken the cars with the lowest sticker prices and added a dose of reality. A vast majority of buyers never consider buying a car with a manual transmission (often the standard equipment on inexpensive new cars), so right out of the gate the car they're shopping for costs significantly more than they thought it would. Opting for an automatic transmission can cost $1,000 or more.

By David Thomas | July 21, 2014 | Comments (8)

Scion FR-S TRD Exhaust Makes All The Right Notes

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Scion's lightweight, rear-wheel-drive FR-S only left us with a small list of wants after we gave it and the nearly identical Subaru BRZ our most prestigious Best of 2013 Award. At the top of the list is more power, but that of course hasn't happened yet. The twins' weak aural experience from under the hood and the exhaust is thankfully a much easier and less-expensive issue to address than squeezing another 40-50 horsepower from under the hood.

Cars.com Names Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ Best of 2013

A 2014 Scion FR-S we recently tested equipped with Toyota Racing Development's performance exhaust system hit a home run in the area of the ear-pleasing notes. That's important because we always thought there was something lacking from the FR-S' factory equipment.

A sound tube designed to make the engine more audible inside the cabin was not the robust sound I wanted to hear more of; the noises out back were more pleasant and less audible. TRD's exhaust adds a whole new layer of fun to the already entertaining FR-S.

By Joe Bruzek | June 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

Why I Can't Buy a Scion FR-S (Even Though I Want To)

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Cars.com named the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S our Best Cars of 2013, and we ended up buying a BRZ for our long-term test fleet. During the following 12 months I discovered it was a practical daily driver on top of being fun to drive.

Follow Our Long-Term Test Fleet

I loved the BRZ. Then I spent a few days with a Hot Lava 2014 Scion FR-S. It fixed the one complaint I had with the BRZ, offering a better entertainment system, plus it came with an ear-pleasing racing exhaust (courtesy of Toyota Racing Development) that doesn't sound anything like a coffee-can-equipped Honda Civic racing down Main Street on a Friday night.

Granted, if I truly owned the BRZ I would've been at Best Buy getting the stereo swapped out. But even though I liked the Scion's color and exhaust better — plus it had the preferred off-the-lot entertainment system — I still wouldn't buy it because of the name.

By David Thomas | May 27, 2014 | Comments (19)

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