2016 SCION iM Review By Steve Purdy +VIDEO
2016 SCION iM
By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Toyota’s youth division sells fewer cars than you might expect in a variety of compact car segments but volume sales are only part of the goal. These inexpensive, relatively high-content cars are meant to lure young, first time buyers into the Toyota fold so that as they get older and more affluent, and as their transportation needs change, they may stick to the Toyota brands.
That might be a formula for a bargain. Let’s take a look.
The iM comes in only one well-equipped trim level. Neither navigation or CD drive are offered, but it gets standard low-speed pre-collision safety system, tire pressure monitors, back-up camera, USB ports and AUX audio jack, apps capability, heated folding outside mirrors, Bluetooth, 7-inch display, dual-zone HVAC, automatic headlights, LED DRLs, leather-wrapped steering wheel and all the other stuff we expect plus two years free scheduled maintenance.
The Scion iM has a less aggressive front fascia than its sibling iA, but its wedge-like profile is striking. A narrow v-line across the hood shows the round Scion badge in the center. Sharp-edged jowl openings and deep, black lower air dam make for a modern and attractive front view. Side and rear views get lots of well-placed character lines to make it look bigger than it really is. The standard 17-inch alloy wheels add both heft and style. We’ll see no tacky plastic wheel covers with these new cars.
The iM comes with a 1.8-liter engine making an adequate 137 horsepower. You can have either the standard 6-speed manual transmission or an all-new CVTi-S. The latter is a continuously variable transmission with 7 shift points programed into its range and a ‘sport’ mode that allows more aggressive faux shifts. The EPA rates the CVT at 27 mpg in the city, 37 on the highway and 32 mpg combined for this barely 3,000-pound car. With the manual transmission just subtract one click from the highway and combined numbers. A 14-gallon fuel tank makes for a good cruising range. The powertrain gets us down the road fine but it is among the most tepid performers in its segment. In fact, with the CVT you can expect a 0-to-60 time of a leisurely 10 seconds.
We give good marks for overall handling and road feel. Particularly with the manual transmission the iM rewards spirited diving considering the modest amount of power at our disposal. Suspension tuning was well balanced between comfort and firmness.
As we mentioned earlier options are few but the iM will offer a few dealer accessories and a line of TRD (Toyota Racing Development) accessories. No turbo kit though.
The iM hatchback starts at $18,460 with manual and $19,200 for the automatic. Scion firmly believes in a “no haggle, no hassle” pricing strategy so don’t expect to dicker and deal much with these prices. You can even make a purchase entirely on-line if you like. (These prices do not include the $750 destination charge.)
So, if you are in the demographic range Scion is targeting you might be enamored with the iM because of its styling, efficiency and price. But there are so many other great choices in that category of cars you’ll be hard pressed to sort them all out. Just don’t leave this one off your shopping list.
©Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved
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