By on November 20, 2014


If you needed another reason why Toyota decided to kill off the Matrix, here it is.

The Scion iM, based on the European Toyota Auris, is basically the same thing as the Matrix, but developed by Toyota’s European arm. Hatchback buyers now have yet another choice in the segment, and according to Ronnie Schreiber, we all stand to benefit.


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42 Comments on “Los Angeles 2014: Scion iMatrix...”

  • avatar


    I bought one of the first Matrix XRS’ made and beat the everloving shit out of it for a quarter million miles. For an early-2000s car, it was dynamically competent but incredibly useful (forward folding passenger seats, rails for tie-downs and actual rear legroom in a compact were still novelties then). Seeing the second generation gain so much weight and lose functionality (and that engine) caused us to defect to Subaru and Mazda.

    And now we have…this? At 20k (remember – no discounts at Scion!) and with the expected 1.8L mill from the Corolla, every single one of its ~20k hatch competitors will eat its lunch:

    * the Focus sells for far less and has more power
    * the Mazda has more power (with either engine) and will likely handle far better
    * the VW Golf has more power and a more useful hatch profile
    * the Impreza offers AWD standard
    * the Elantra GT and Forte 5 offer more features and a longer warranty

    People are going to buy this for Scion’s easy credit and expected reliability, but that’s about it.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m hoping against hope they can get the 2.5L under the hood.

      • 0 avatar

        For 20K, I would expect it. That would put it about the same price, size, weight as the tC.

        The Corolla actually moved up to the tC’s platform for its latest iteration (from the 102″ to 107″ wheelbase as well). I’m hoping they don’t cheap out and give it twist-beams.

        I’ve been very happy with that engine in my tC (w/ the 6spd manual). If I were in the market for a new car, I’d consider this, but my tC better last me another 7-8 years.

    • 0 avatar

      I feel that with the concept shown here (bodykit, ride height) would translate well into a hot-hatch version of the iM (much like the Matrix XRS).

      Scion being the more youthful, fun brand (maybe not the reality but that’s the mentality behind it) it makes sense to have an XRS-style version for this hatch. This way, you could have a somewhat practical, somewhat fun/fast car without having to resort to a TC/FR-S (not that I have anything against those cars).

      Not expecting Toyota to suddenly make a top-tier Focus ST competitor, but I think this would be a great place to start.

    • 0 avatar

      The same argument could be said for almost any Toyota product.

      Scion is debatable, but people go to Toyota for economical, hassle-free car ownership, not class-leading function or feature count.

    • 0 avatar

      At 20K, if it only has the 1.8L from the Corolla, it deserves to fail. That said, I’m betting on the 2.5L. I can’t see any reason NOT to sell it with it, if they’re pushing it as a sporty hatch, since it’s about the same size and weight as the tC.

      That said… “No Discounts at Scion”
      – They offer rebates from time to time to push metal.

      “The Focus sells for far less and has more power.”

      The Focus also sells for far more, depending on trim level.
      The question would be what level of Focus this most closely matches. If they use the 2.5L, it would probably be a difference of fuel economy for extra power (the Focus is still 160, right?).

      “The Mazda has more power (with either engine) and will likely handle far better.” The Mazda 2.5 starts WAY above 20K… the cheapest 2.5L 5-door has a $27,665 MSRP (I’m gonna stop and star at the screen for a few more seconds). Even the cheapest 2.0L MT hatch starts at 20,615 (Invoice 19,631).

      – The VW Golf has more power and a more useful hatch profile
      170hp from the base (<$20,000) Golf. 170hp. The Golf has a ton of cargo space… I haven't seen cargo figures listed yet, though I imagine that it'll be modest if they keep the multilink rear suspension. If they pull a Corolla and put a twist-beam on there, who knows (Hope not!). That said, I'm really surprised at the Golf's cargo space with actual independent rear suspension!

      – The Impreza offers AWD standard
      Assuming the buyer wants AWD.

      – The Elantra GT and Forte 5 offer more features and a longer warranty
      To sell someone a Kia over a Toyota, you HAVE to have a good warranty. They aren't doing it for the good karma.

      If they do the 1.8L, I think you're solidly on point. For the 2.5L, it looks pretty competitive. We'll see if it comes with a solid level of features (moonroof, etc).

      Lastly… what do you mean by "easy credit?" Is Toyota credit more forgiving of risky buyers than Kia, Ford, and Mazda?

      • 0 avatar

        On Scion’s own site ( you can select your credit level, which includes an “extremely poor” option. Toyota Financial is large enough to where they can court these kinds of buyers and is prepared to extend them a 17 percent interest rate (then again, so are GM Financial and most of the other majors).

        As far as discounts go, yes, occasionally Scion dealers offer a few hundred bucks off. My Mazda dealer is offering $1500 off of certain 3 models, with extra incentives on top of that. My point was these kinds of deals are not common at Scion.

        The Auris doesn’t carry anything larger than a 1.8 anywhere in the world. I would be surprised if it carried anything larger here. Another hint: the 2.5 in the tC redlines at ~6250 rpm; the redline here looks much closer to 7k

      • 0 avatar

        Are you looking at Canadian car prices or something? MazdaUSA lists the 3 2.5 hatch with a starting MSRP of $24,345; $18,945 for the 2.0 hatch.

        • 0 avatar

          I pulled those from Edmunds. I was hoping that price was an error! Good lookin’ out. I don’t see 24,345 though…


          “2015 MAZDA3 5-Door

          MSRP starting at
          i Sport

          i Touring

          i Grand Touring

          s Touring

          s Grand Touring

  • avatar

    That thing will drag its snout on every urban driveway in the older part of my city.

    Then in winter, it looks perfectly designed to pack the same snout full of snow, blocking the radiator.

    What is happening at Toyota? Practicality ditched for no reason in the name of bad style?

  • avatar

    Nothing like a big black seam at bumper level, to make it look like a poorly fitted aftermarket add-on. It’s terrible, and those triangle stacked fog lamps are terrible as well.

    Look at the emblem placement on the front. Looks like they pushed it in some squishy soft clay, then went back a couple hours later and pushed it in some more.

  • avatar

    I’m sure the horrendous cladding will either be an optional body kit or not even present on the retail car. Beyond that, so long as it packs the same engine as the tC (or better), it’s a win in my book!

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      I’d prefer it not have the tC’s “disassemble with your bare hands” interior, or the “rattle your hood like a tambourine while idling” feature.

      My tC has been a dependable, cheap to own car, but good gravy have materials quality and fit standards ever left this brand behind.

      • 0 avatar

        The tC’s interior seems about the same as the Mazda3 I drove for a month, or the Honda Fit I borrow when I fly out to visit my parents. Decent for a sub-20K car. The Ford Focus has really upped the game.

        I hope the new Mazda3 is nicer – for all the Mazda3 worship I see on forums and blogs, it was a cheap car that had very nice feeling steering. Everything else about it was forgetable. I turned in the Mazda3 after a month and said, “Meh.” The Focus is the car I try to score when I have get a compact rental.

  • avatar

    A Matrix with new bodywork.This car already exists ,its called the Elentra GT,without all that plastic attached to it.

  • avatar

    Seriously, iM? Putting a lowercase i in front of your products name has to be the laziest branding strategy of the last 10 years. Yes, Scion has a history of lowercase/uppercase models (even with an “i”), but come on.

  • avatar

    This is the car for those who dream of Curtiss P-40 Warhawks in Flying Tiger trim.

  • avatar

    Oh good, the car that Toyota forgot about is going to be sold by a division that Toyota forgot about. I had an ’04, what a disappointment. The worst was the self destructing manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar

      The Auris was remodeled for 2012, so it wasn’t forgotten about. The Scion division has received 3 new models (iQ, FR-S, and now iM) since 2011, so it doesn’t seem forgotten about. What do you mean, exactly?

  • avatar

    The dashboard looks like it was made by Coleman.

    Exterior is handsome, definitely boy racer looking. The front chin spoilers on these will be destroyed by parking bollards and curbs after 18 months of ownership.

    • 0 avatar

      Have you ever seen a concept car before? No way the chin spoiler makes it to production, just like it hasn’t on the millions of concept cars before this.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, I’ve seen concept cars before, and I’ve seen concept cars go to market in darn close to the form of the concept.

        With that said, the front chin spoiler on this is — extreme.

        • 0 avatar

          This is not one of those cases. Name a concept with this amount of lowering, blistering and chin spoilering that came out as extreme?

          The FRS concepts were pretty insane as well… production model snapped things back to reality. Just off the fact that this thing has a strut suspension in which the springs will be sitting above the tires (and thus this amount of lowering without expensive, production-unlikely coilovers will be impossible) says the ride height alone is no dice. That bumper would spike insurance premiums. Those brakes, wheels and tires are seriously probably worth $5-7K alone. No, we will get a warmed over Auris. If we are lucky we will get the 2.0T as an option.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This has to be one of the last gasps of this division – yuck.

  • avatar

    I am always glad to see more C class hatchbacks.

  • avatar

    That’s just incredible.

    “Oh, that’s just a CONCEPT car…”

    No, that’s the new LINGENFELTER TWIN TURBO Scion iMatrix.

  • avatar

    I’m guessing that in a desperate attempt to save the division Toyota is taking a cue from Lamborghini and moving Scion into first domestic and then, with any initial success, industrial tillage applications.

    ‘Cause if there isn’t an assortment of interchangeable plows, aerators, dethatchers etc. for that front end then I’m a boy racer.

  • avatar

    Looks like some Asian dude took a stanard car and “improved” with some cladding.

    As a conservative I would buy a Corolla hatchback. But this Scion version will have much higjer depreciation once Scion gets shot in the head.

    If they made it look less “Revenge of the Nerds” like and called it Toyote they would sell millions. So they will sell a thousand.

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