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Auto Corner Review: 2016 Scion iA

30 January 2016   Lynne LaMaster
2016 Scion iA, a great car for practical millenials.

2016 Scion iA

Personality: A compact car gets bumped up to the varsity squad

Best Gizmo: Easy… the cost

Most Annoying Feature: The underpowered engine

MPG (as tested):  33 city, 42 highway for a combined 

Performance: Golf Cart style at best

Cars we smoked at stoplights: None

0-60: 9.3 seconds as tested

How Fast Is That? I think we have made it clear, not that fast

How Much? Base price is $15,700 plus destination charges

What option should I splurge on? The automatic transmission if you deal with any sort of traffic on a daily basis

Serious Contenders? Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, and Nissan Versa

© 2016 John Kehlenbeck, Horsepower Auto Reviews

Life is expensive. There is no way around it, as time goes on, costs increase and purchasing power often disappoints. Sticker shock abounds walking through a new car lot. However, a breath of fresh air arrives from over the Pacific with the Scion iA. 

From the outside, the Scion iA is a four door sedan with compact dimensions, a rounded nose and a curved structure all the way through the tail. Most of the components are shared with the Mazda2 and the exterior resemblance is striking. The large grill and distinct tail light configuration make this first ever four door Scion easily identifiable.

With a price point south of $16k, expectation is limited as you climb into the drivers seat. You will be pleased, at least I was. It is clean, crisp, and simple with chrome accents and well placed controls. Basically, it looks like it probably costs 20% more than it actually does. How many cars can you say that about these days? The three-spoke steering wheel offers easy controls and the multi function screen on the instrument cluster keeps the driver informed. On the center stack a 7 inch screen offers entertainment and connectivity as well as a standard back up camera. 

Now, here it is… under the hood lies a four cylinder engine capable of… wait for it… 106 horsepower. Not a typo. This is where the price tag comes into play. It is underpowered by a long shot. Before you turn your back and start shopping for European or American compact counterparts, give the iA a second look. It may sound bad, the numbers may be low, but for a light car the acceleration is adequate in most circumstances. I was never nervous getting on the highway or merging into rapid traffic. Seriously. And thing of this… the iA posts 33mpg in the city and a whopping 42 mpg on the highway, those are almost hybrid numbers on a gas only engine. A six speed manual transmission is standard and introduces a little sport feel into an otherwise unemotional driving experience.

There is only one trim level but standard equipment includes power locks and windows, bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, back-up camera and more.

Not boring, not expensive, and not a lemon. Three features practical millennial are looking for in a new car purchase. The Scion iA fits the bill and more for a daily commuter with personality utility.