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2016 Scion iA and iM All-new For Back-to-school by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

CHICAGO - August 18, 2015; Scion, the young-driver oriented brand of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc, is bringing two new car models to market this September. The all-new 2016 Scion iA subcompact four-door sedan and the all-new 2016 Scion iM 4-door hatchback offer versatility and styling in distinctive products at a great price.

All too often, the new, young driver in the household gets the hand-me-down oldest car. These high-risk drivers, if only due to lack of experience, should be given the best technology and highest level of new-car safety to help them survive unscathed their risky driving learning curve.

As the Scion name suggests these descendants of the family should be cared for. recently named the 10 Best Back-To-School Cars and the 2016 Scion iM is one of them.

With that in mind both of these new entries from Scion provide lots of safety features along with their value price. Both the iA and iM feature high-strength body structures that use high-tensile steel that form the basis for a high level of safety and good dynamic driving behavior.

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The Scion iA features front side airbags and curtain airbags that help protect front and rear seat occupants. The biggest safety news on the iA is a standard Low-speed Pre-collision system that uses a laser sensor to help the driver avoid collisions and to help minimize damage in the event of an accident. The iA also features a brake override system and a rear view back-up camera comes standard.

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The Scion iM is loaded with safety features that includes eight airbags, driver and front passenger active head rests, ELR/ALR 3-point seat belts, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, Child-protector rear door locks, Hill-start Assist Control, Engine immobilizer, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Additionally, the iM is equipped with the Toyota-family Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology.

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You get my point. These two new cars are chock-full of safety equipment and features that we should give our young drivers and their passengers to provide the maximum active and passive protection while they are driving on the road.

All Scions have only one standard trim level (mono spec) and are designed to be uniquely customized by the owner. On the new iA and iM the only choices to make are transmission type and exterior color. And, Scion’s Pure Price philosophy means the dealer’s advertised price is the price a consumer pays. No haggle. No hassle.

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The all-new Scion iA 5-passenger sports sedan is Scion’s first-ever sedan and has an MSRP of $15,700 for the 6-speed manual transmission and $16,800 for the 6-speed automatic.

The iA is powered by a high-compression 1.5-liter engine with 106 horsepower. Its fuel economy test ratings by the EPA are 37 mpg combined, with an estimated 33 city mpg and 42 highway mpg for the automatic. The manual transmission version is EPA test rated at 35 mpg combined, with 31 city mpg and 41 highway mpg.

Which transmission would I select? Well, the additional cost for the automatic is $1100. The EPA test ratings are fairly close. I might choose the manual to get a little more performance from the iA with its modest engine output plus its more fun to drive and engaging.

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On the inside the iA features a standard rear view backup camera, 7-in. touchscreen Display Audio System with Aha, Pandora and Stitcher apps, providing music streaming and access to thousands of radio broadcasts, Internet radio stations and podcasts. There’s also a long list of standard features including cruise control, keyless entry with push start, power windows and locks, chrome accents, soft-touch trim and surfaces and two-tone seats.

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The 4-door 5-passenger hatchback Scion iM has an MSRP of $18,460 for the 6-speed manual transmission and $19,200 for the CVTi-S model.

The iM is powered by a 137 horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. It’s rated in the EPA tests at 32 mpg combined, with an estimated 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the CVTi-S model. The manual transmission version is EPA test rated at 31 mpg combined with 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.

The price step from the manual to the CVT is $740. Much less than on the iA automatic. I would again choose the manual. However the 137HP of the iM’s engine did a good job from my test drive experience at the new-model intro program of moving the CVT equipped iM quite well.

The CVT might just be the right choice for you especially if you do a lot of stop and go city driving. Scion has sport-tuned the iM’s CVT. It’s quite responsive and has a sport mode as well as a manual shifting capability with seven stepped shift points.

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On the inside the iM features a leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel with switches for audio, Multi-Information Display and hands-free phone calls via Bluetooth, a sport gauge cluster, 4.2-in. color Multi-Information Display, layered dashboard design, 7-in. Pioneer Touchscreen Display Audio System with HD Radio Technology and the Aha app, providing Facebook and Twitter feeds, and access to over 100,000 Internet radio choices, a rear view backup camera, dual zone automatic climate control, and piano black and satin chrome trim.

The iM also has one of my favorite new-car features: power-fold outside mirrors. What a convenience they are in a crowded city. When parked, with a push of the button they get out of the way of passing large trucks.

All said, Scion has two all-new, very interesting, high-value cars coming to market. Both models have ride, handling and NVH characteristics that place them very well within their class. One of them could be just right for you or the new-driver in your family. My personal choice would be the iM with its hatchback design that I prefer for its versatility. Styling being subjective I’ll let you be the judge between the iA and the IM. I prefer the iM with its wide stance and lower roof height than the iA. Shod with 225/45R17 tires the iM has a more muscular appearance over the iA with its 185/60R16s.

More information and complete specifications on these new Scions can be found at If you want to compare these subcompacts to others you can do that right her at

The average Scion buyer is 36 years old and Scion has 1000 dealers to serve them. Every new Scion comes with a no-cost, 2-year/25,000-mile maintenance plan and 24–hour Roadside Assistance. That means no hit on your bank account to pay for the oil change and tire rotation.

2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy.

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