By Nick Aziz
Wednesday, Apr 12th, 2006 @ 9:36 am
 
Totyota today unveiled the Scion Fuse sports coupe concept at the New York Auto Show. "The idea of the all-new Fuse Sports Coupe is a reflection of the boundless limits and creative envelope that embodies all the vital personalization components of a Scion product," said Mark Templin, Scion vice president. "Since the launch of Scion three years ago, designers have learned a great deal about what inspires and motivates Scion buyers through its unique vehicle lineup and instilled them into the Fuse."



The exterior of the Fuse was the conception of Calty designers Alex
Shen and Bob Mochizuki, who were determined to create a strong performance
statement. Inspiration came from the "HAKO" super GT racing cars of Japan,
commonly known as the JGTC series. From the side, the Fuse has a low,
aggressive stance with a race helmet-inspired wraparound window that
provides a panoramic view. The visor-like wraparound windshield is balanced
by a strong C-pillar, adding a sense of security and protection.


Calty interior designers Alan Schneider and Ichirou Mukai used the long
wheelbase and high beltline of the Fuse to help create the interior theme,
which revolves around providing the driver with an intense driving
environment and occupants an intimate atmosphere. The activation of a small
key-shaped sensor unhinges butterfly doors that open to reveal an interior
that merges technology, function and racing inspired elements in an
asymmetrical pentagon where the driver is positioned at the apex of the
surround.

The influence of the "racing tub" in the overall design is obvious. It
provides a unique contrast that highlights the floating technical elements
of the interior. A drive-by-wire steering interface combines influences
from race cars and video game controllers in one innovative driver module.
A media station that runs the length of the dash is the focal point of the
cabin. Passengers can watch movies, play video games, or do both, with dual
display 10.5-inch monitors.

The Fuse interior concept is referred to as "one plus stuff." The
design focuses on the driver by offering surprising versatility in the form
of three interior arrangements: video, driving and cargo configurations. In
its video mode, the front passenger seat folds flat and serves as a table,
or footrest. Occupants can utilize video screens or take advantage of
wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) connectivity and instant message their friends.
In driving mode, the video screens turn off and a multi-informational
display is used for driver information.

Utility is maximized in a cargo mode where the front passenger seat and
rear seats fold down to form a flat surface. And, multi-functioning rear
cargo access allows stowage of larger items. The Fuse cabin seats four
comfortably, however when the car is parked, additional room is available
with a tailgate that converts to provide outdoor seating. A sweep of the
foot over an infrared sensor located on the lip of the rear bumper opens
the rear tailgate and sliding hatch, allowing the tailgate to drop down
into a curb-high bench. This surprising seating arrangement is paired with
rear foldout speakers for an unexpected social environment. Enhancing the
social scene is a detachable drink cooler with a retractable handle, which
is integrated into the rear center console.

Additional features include subtle accent lighting on the seats, doors
and overhead lining. Deeply contoured seats are upholstered with
soft-to-the-touch "Mythos" fabric that wraps around passengers for maximum
comfort. Finally, audio, video and HVAC systems are easily controlled by a
"vehicle system/communication interface" touch control board that is
similar in appearance to a telephone keypad.

"The Fuse is a styling exercise that presents a discussion starting
point for Scion owners and other Gen Y consumers with an eye towards a
versatile sports coupe," said Templin. "Like previous Scion concepts, the
Fuse delivers a unique statement about what the Scion brand is all about
and where it is headed."

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