Lifestyle

Scion’s New FUSE Concept


2006 New York Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team

MORE PHOTOS: 2006 Scion FUSE concept

It's been three years since Scion, Toyota 's youth division was launched. Since then the brand has introduced a two-door tC, a sporty and affordable coupe that's slightly upmarket of the more basic xB and xA compacts. Now Scion seems to be contemplating another coupe for its future as it debuts the FUSE Sports Coupe Concept at the New York auto show.

The idea behind the development of the FUSE is to show what would be possible with the personalization bent of Scion. According to Mark Templin, Scion vice president, designers have learned a lot about what motivates and inspires Scion buyers and they incorporated the ideas into the FUSE.

Scion says the designers' goal for the FUSE was to mix digital technology, entertainment, and

versatility. In the process, they came up with a model with somewhat sinister looks, achieved mainly by the wrap-around windshield that looks like a visor of a helmet. The FUSE looks like something mysterious lives inside.

The FUSE's designers, from Toyota's Calty design studio in California, were inspired by the Super GT racing cars from Japan. The aggressive front of the car has deep-set headlamps and a huge rectangular air intake, suggesting a powerful engine under the hood. In the rear the wide body wears deep-set vertical tail lamps. The dual exhaust tips are a handsome touch, encircled by rings and serving as fog and reverse lamps. LEDs on the end of each spoke of the 20-inch wheels illuminate as turn indicators.

The Fuse is equipped with two horizontal glass panels that run the length of the roof and slide open in both directions. The rear window tapers down to a speed-activated spoiler.

Personalization is taken to a higher level with headlights and fog lamps that can be programmed to illuminate in various colors. Videos and images can be downloaded and viewed on a concealed LCD screen behind the front badge.

The long wheelbase and high beltline of the Fuse create a snug interior that combines technology and racing-inspired elements in an asymmetrical pentagon. The butterfly doors are activated by a small sensor; there are other features influenced by race cars and video games, like the drive-by-wire steering interface. A media station runs the length of the dashboard and passengers can watch movies or play video games with the dual-display 10.5-inch screens.

There are three interior arrangements: driving, video, and cargo. In video mode the front passenger seat folds flat and serves as a table or footrest. Passengers can also use a Wi-Fi connection for sending instant messages. In driving mode the video screens turn off and a multi-informational display is used for driver information. In cargo mode, the front passenger seat and rear seats fold down into a flat surface.

When the FUSE is parked it can seat more than the four it normally does, by converting the tailgate into an outdoor seating bench, easily accomplished by the sweep of the foot over an infrared sensor located on the lip of the rear bumper. That opens a sliding hatch, allowing the tailgate to drop down into a curb-high bench. The rear speakers fold out as well. And for picnics and raves, the FUSE features a detachable drink cooler with a retractable handle, integrated into the rear center console.


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