2002 Toyota CCX conceptEnlarge Photo
2002 Scion bbX conceptEnlarge Photo
Honda isn’t the only one taking aim at Gen-Y. Admitting it has a lot to learn about this new group, Toyota finally and formally announced its new Scion “brand-within-a-brand” on Wednesday. The division is aimed at repeating the success Toyota had 30 years ago appealing to the then-youthful Baby Boomers. The first vehicles won’t hit showrooms for more than a year, but company officials offered a hint of what’s in the offing. They brought back the CCX concept, first seen in Detroit, as well as the boxy BBX which, perhaps not so coincidentally, bears a strong resemblance to Honda’s new Element. A production version of the BBX is likely to be among the first two vehicles to hit Scion showrooms, which will actually be carved out of existing Toyota dealerships. (At least half of the automaker’s current dealers are expected to participate.) Expect base prices to start at around $18,000, noted Scion’s new boss, Jim Lentz. The automaker said Scion products would be “mono-spec,” meaning they will be built in Japan with only minimal variations in color and transmissions. But that’s actually a bit misleading. Scion customers will actually be able to order a wide range of accessories, which will be retrofitted once vehicles are shipped to the U.S. Expect Scion to debut in California, then spread to the rest of the country within a year, adding a third model along the way. Toyota hopes the division will reach 100,000 sales annually by 2005.
2004 Chrysler PacificaEnlarge Photo
PACIFICA READY FOR PRODUCTION
Looking very close to the prototype that debuted in Detroit last January, Chrysler took the wraps off the production version of its upcoming Pacifica model. Though most observers have taken to calling the tall and roomy vehicle a station wagon, Chrysler continues to opt for the more innovative designation of “segment-buster.” Whatever it’s called, the vehicle will be built at Chrysler’s Windsor facility and sport a five-speed automatic transmission and V-6 engine as well as seating for six.
2003 Lincoln McLaren LSEnlarge Photo
MCLAREN REVIVES HOT ROD LINCOLN
The Lincoln LS is getting a high-performance tune-up thanks to McLaren Performance Technologies, the Detroit-based engineering operations that has created a variety of niche muscle cars over the years. Niche products like this are “where the market is heading,” declared McLaren president Steve Rossi. And his firm hopes to hitch its fate to Lincoln’s, a match that may serve both well since the Ford luxury division is desperately seeking to upgrade its image. “We’re trying to take the Lincoln brand and move it a bit more into the left lane,” said Rossi, adding that other performance packages are in development for such Lincoln models as the new Aviator sport-ute. The McLaren LS will be offered in three versions. A base appearance package, priced at approximately $43,000, will come in roughly $6000 over a comparable factory LS. Level two will performance-tune the suspension and bolt a twin-intercooled supercharger onto the basic Lincoln 3.9-liter V-8. Pumping 350 hp through its automatic transmission – 100 more than stock – it will go for $49,750. The top-level model will add a high-torque six-speed manual transmission and add another $6000 to the price tag. Look for the McLaren LS to appear at roughly 100 Lincoln dealerships later this year. Sales are forecast at 500 units annually.
2003 Nissan MuranoEnlarge Photo
NISSAN TACKLES URBAN SUV WITH MURANO
Without a crossover in its lineup, Nissan says it will fill the void in the ’03 model year with the Murano, an “urban SUV” that blends a tall package, a V-6 engine and passenger-car ride comfort. The ever-present 3.5-liter V-6 will produce more than 240 hp in this application. Base Muranos will be front-drive; an electromagnetic all-wheel-drive system is the choice for all-weather models. The standard transmission for all Muranos will be a continuously variable transmission; upmarket versions will offer a seven-speed stepped-gear mode. Stability control, adjustable pedals, active head restraints and 18-inch wheels will also be available when the Murano goes on sale toward the end of the year.
2002 Volkswagen GTI 337Enlarge Photo
337: GTI’S LUCKY NUMBER
The latest GTI, the limited-edition 337, will be duplicated only 1500 times, Volkswagen told the New York show press on Wednesday. Based on a European anniversary edition of the hallowed GTI model, the U.S. version sports a 180-hp version of VW’s 1.8-liter turbo four and a six-speed manual gearbox. Also on the long list of mods: 18-inch wheels with Z-rated tires, a deeper chin spoilers, red brake calipers, and a polished exhaust cap, red-accented leather trim inside, and a Monsoon audio system. The silver-only GTI 337 stickers at $22,225.