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Auto Corner: 2016 Scion iM

13 December 2015   John Kehlenbeck
Toyota still has what it takes to engineer reliable and entertaining car at a low cost.

2016 Scion iM

Personality: A compact European meets the American twenty-something

Best Gizmo: The price tag

Most Annoying Feature: The steering, a little weak and disconnected

MPG (as tested): 27

city

, 34 highway for a combined 31 (32 EPA estimated)

Performance: On par with expectations

Cars we smoked at stoplights: None. Seriously.

0-60: 9.4 seconds (as tested)

How Fast Is That? Not great

How Much? Base price is $19,200

What option should I splurge on? An upgrade on the speaker system

Serious Contenders? Ford Focus, Mazda 3 hatchback, VW Golf

 

Simplicity and reliability… two words used to describe the majority of appliances, gadgets, and toys we come into contact with every day. Day in and day out, you depend on modern engineering and manufacturing for convenience and ease. Cars are no different, and with a reputation for durability and economy, the new Scion iM comes to the USA. This compact is Toyota’s proof they still have what it takes to engineer a reliable and entertaining car at a low cost off the lot.

Europeans know the iM as the Toyota Auris and “in the know” American consumers see this as a replacement for the Toyota Matrix that was shelved. The iM is a combination of hatchback utility and compact economics. With a price tag hovering around $20,000 the iM is fun to drive and mild on the budget.

Lets start with the exterior… a fairly sporty front grill with a mesh design reminiscent of the Scion FR-S joins the headlamps with typical badging and style. Side skirts continue the modern style to the rear where LED lamps and roof-mounted spoiler make an obvious overture to the young target audience. 

Under the hood, the iM has one engine choice. The 1.8 liter, 4 cylinder engine produces 137 horsepower and 126lb-ft of torque. Not any excessive power by a long shot, however it provides adequate acceleration and the 32 miles per gallon is sure to please even as gas prices decrease. The six speed manual transmission is standard with a CVT offered for a higher price. 

From the front seat, the quality and feel appears to be inherited from a much pricier segment of the market. Sure, plastic buttons and vents abound, but contrast stitching, a 7 inch touchscreen, and a comfortable captains chair are welcome enhancements. The standard features list is quite impressive with 8 airbags. dual zone climate control, 6 speaker audio system, power folding side view mirrors, and a back upcamera to name a few.

In true hatchback form, the trunk space is nearly 21 cubic feet with the rear seats folded up. Not bad for a fairly compact car allowing plenty of space for a long trip or perhaps a small move. 

My only complaint appears to be the steering. If feels fairly loose and somewhat lifeless. Look to the Mazda 3 if you long for a more sporty experience.

All around, the Scion iM delivers on economy, comfort, and hatchback efficiency. Throw in a long standard features list and Toyota reliability, and I think we just might have a segment front runner for years to come. 

© 2015 John Kehlenbeck, Horsepower Auto Reviews