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Concept-Scion Hako Coupe Preview

Concept-Scion Hako Coupe Preview

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012
Critical Knowledge:
  • "Hako" is Japanese for "box"

  • Buyers may be able to customize roof displays

  • Dashboard display reflects iPod, video-game lifestyle

  • Exterior cameras allow travel to be shared via Internet

  • Car could accept standard or hybrid powertrains
Introduction
The Scion Hako coup_ is only a concept for now, but appears imminently produceable and would give the brand a model to compete with the forthcoming Nissan Cube. It is no coincidence that Scion calls this coup_ the Hako, which is Japanese for "box."

Model Lineup
Like other Scions, the Hako, or whatever it might be called in production (Scions so far have been called the xA, xB, tC or xD), likely would be produced in a single version, but with a long list of optional equipment. The concept features a panoramic roof that allows light into the passenger compartment through a series of seemingly random barcode-style openings. Scion would consider allowing buyers to select from a variety of customized patterns to personalize their vehicles' roofs, both from the outside and inside.

The car's design features a dramatically blacked-out windshield header, which makes it look like the very upright windshield flows right into the roof. Similar styling makes the side and rear windows look like a single unit that wraps around the car's greenhouse with the roof seemingly cantilevered over the passenger compartment with support only from the A pillars. Eighteen-inch wheels are pushed to the very corners of the vehicle and are covered by bulging fenders.

Toyota says the design reflects the fascination of Japan's young trendsetters with American vintage design, and thus the car has a squared-off but hot-rod shape.

Hardware
Scions are about style and functionality, not power. They use 1.8- or 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engines. While Scion has offered no information about the powertrain in the Hako, its size would indicate a 4-cylinder engine is most likely, and Scion's presentation at the car's unveiling at the 2008 New York Auto Show hinted that a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain would be under consideration.

The car is 145.7 inches long, 68.1 inches wide, and 57.5 inches tall. Compared to the popular and also boxy xB, the Hako is more than 20 inches shorter but only an inch narrower. It also is some 7 inches shorter, giving it a "slammed" appearance like that of a classic American hot rod. The car seats four, with the driver's seat differentiated by a separate color. In the concept car, the driver's seat is orange while others are covered in black urethane material designed to be easily cleaned.

Technology
The technological innovations in the Scion Hako Coupe concept are not in the powertrain or other mechanical components but in the electronics, especially the audio and video equipment, which have a look inspired by video games. The steering wheel features a track ball so the driver can control his or her iPod or portable music player or hands-free telephone equipment. A separate control on the center console allows the front-seat passenger to control a separate portable audio device, with two video monitors built into the passenger-side dashboard, one of them for the passenger's personal entertainment system.

Small cameras are built into the car near the base of each windshield support. They capture digital images of the scenery around the car as its travels. When parked, the occupants can edit this video and share it within the car, on the monitors mounted on the dash and built into the car next to each rear seat. This video also can be sent via wireless telephone to share with others through the Internet.
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