By on January 23, 2015

2014 Scion iQReports last week that the Scion iQ is not long for this world came just weeks after Toyota USA issued a sales release showing that iQ volume was chopped in half in 2014.

One year earlier, Toyota’s sales report showed iQ sales falling 54% from 2012 levels.


• iQ sales decline every month

• Scion sales down 66% from 2006 high


More specifically, U.S. sales of the iQ tumbled in each of the last 24 months. Only once, in December 2012, the iQ’s first opportunity at posting a year-over-year improvement, did it do so, surging 32% compared with its first month on the market.

But the iQ was slow from the start and didn’t possess the kind of initial appeal we often see even from cars which eventually become wildly unpopular. For example, Mercedes-Benz’s Smart Fortwo generated 24,622 in its first year on the market before posting three rapid sales declines, but the iQ’s first full year in America resulted in only 8879 sales.

After the iQ’s best month – March 2012, when 1285 were sold – sales progressively decreased in each of the five following months. As the theory goes, those who really wanted one already had one. And rather unfortunately, there weren’t many who wanted one.

By the fourth-quarter of 2014, the worst ever quarter for the iQ, only 288 copies left Scion showrooms, a 58% year-over-year decline and an 86% drop compared with the fourth-quarter of 2012. In mid-January, Cars.com’s inventory listings show only 186 iQs available.

TTAC Toyota Lexus Scion sales chart 2014The main issues which had a negative impact on the iQ included its size, its more spacious competition, its more spacious and more affordable competition, and perhaps even the logo above its front grille. “Physics are physics,” Scion’s Doug Murtha said, “and they’re nervous about driving a vehicle that size.”

Undoubtedly, yet other tiny cars prove capable of finding greater success. The Fiat 500 was on sale nine months before the iQ, for instance, and generated more sales activity in its first ten months than the iQ has done all-time.

The Chevrolet Spark arrived eight months after the iQ. GM sold 85,674 Sparks in the nameplate’s first 30 months, nearly nine times more than the number of iQs sold in the same period.

Toyota’s own Yaris steadily became more unpopular over the last six years, but it sold nearly six times more often than the iQ over the last two years.

Yes, those cars are larger, but this isn’t Europe. The fact that the iQ is small was not to its credit in the United States. Brilliant packaging doesn’t invariably equate with sufficient space, after all.

All four of the potentially competitive cars mentioned so far are either equally affordable or distinctly less expensive. There were other knocks against the iQ. Its continuously variable transmission is poorly calibrated, rear drum brakes seem particularly antiquated when a car is charging a dimensional deficiency premium, the rear seats exist but aren’t genuinely usable, there’s very little interior storage, and fuel economy simply isn’t that impressive. At an EPA highway-rated 37 mpg, the iQ trails many compact cars.

Worst of all, the iQ was brought to America as a Scion, a brand that’s suffering as interest in their all of their products is drying up rapidly. That’s an odd trait in the current American automotive scene. U.S. consumers registered more new vehicles in 2014 than at any time since 2006. Scion sales in 2014 fell to the third-lowest full-year total in the brand’s history, down 15% year-over-year; down 66% compared with 2006.

Would the iQ have been a hit if it was a Toyota? No. But would it have flopped this hard if they’d made it a Toyota instead? No.

The iQ was an experiment, but it certainly wasn’t a brand-saving day in the laboratory.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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56 Comments on “The Scion iQ Is Dead: Here’s Why...”


  • avatar
    crtfour

    When I see one of these, I can’t believe that someone would actually buy it. Do they realize that even if hit by, say, a Honda CRV, they probably not fare very well? The ability to survive a crash plays a pretty big role in my car-buying decision.

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      Did you see that photo making its rounds of the guy crushed between two semis? That’s what this thing looks like.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s a city car. Crash safety isn’t really the priority when you’re primarily looking at 35mph or lower. Given it’s size, it’s actually pretty safe.

      The problem for the iQ (and the smart) is price. At CA$8-10K you could make a compelling case for it, but anything higher and it’s quite literally punching above it’s weight. The problem for Toyota is that there’s a high cost “floor” on modern cars which dictates the minimum price you can charge if you want to make any money. In Japan, the tax advantages for Kei cars bend the market somewhat by raising prices, whereas in India and such, safety regulations allow what are almost four-wheeled scooters with a roof, which are much cheaper.

      I really like the iQ, but it’s a hard sell against the Mirage, Spark and Micra.

      • 0 avatar
        crtfour

        Yeah but even in the city, people in full size SUV’s speed and weave in and out of traffic like crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        People don’t generally care all that much about crash safety, city car or no.

        I live in the downtown area, in a high rise, where street parking is scarce, etc. City cars are practical, for sure, but not all that common. Why? Because for most of us, a car is not an absolute necessity. We don’t depend on them to get us to and from work or to and from the grocery store or the doctor’s office or anywhere else we need to go. We own cars because we want to, and that gives us a lot of freedom when it’s time to choose.

        My primary means of commuting are bicycle, bus and Uber, in that order. I put around 9,000 miles a year on my car, and it’s all unessential travel, which means I probably drive FOR FUN more than 90% of Americans. In that context, why would I buy a city car, or any practical car, unless it also has an element of desire for me? There are people out there that WANT to drive Smarts, Fiat 500s and Fits. So you see them. How many people really WANT to drive an iQ?

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        The concept of ‘city car’ makes no sense to me, at least in the US. While the small footprint theoretically makes a city car more practical in tight urban spaces, urban locations are precisely where people have the most alternative transit options to using your own car. This greatly reduces the extra utility of a tiny footprint, and the small size is a distinct disadvantage outside of the city proper. While the retro feel of a 500 or Mini carries some added cool, the iQ, Smart, etc. just make too many compromises over the next size up.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          You’re right the correct audience for these is pretty small in the US, but it does exist. It’s people who need a car because transit doesn’t work for them but live in neighborhoods with no off-street parking so they are reliant on parallel parking. Being able to fit into half spaces is a huge boon every single day if you’re in that situation. Think inner-ring (but not downtown) neighborhoods of cities like DC, Philadelphia, and SF.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            The issue is that it exists, but the smart and iQ are too expensive to really be viable.

            Cars are a discretionary purchase in many cities, and something that has the compromises these cars have really needs to cost less.

            At least the iQ has a second row of seats, which pushes it out the “boutique” category and into “marginally useful”.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I think it’s unfortunate that these opinions on crash results are still around. Mass equals safety is a misnomer and there are unsafe big cars. The iQ is generally classified as good by the IIHS. As mentioned, it’s a city car. I personally have zero interest in a city car, but I think they serve a purpose. Same conversation occured on the smart car and despite the prevailing American attitude that the car was unsafe, crash tests show otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        No, mass does matter, but it’s more an issue in higher-speed, head-on collisions between vehicles of very unequal mass. Those kinds of collisions are pretty rare in highly urban settings; you’re more likely to get rear-ended or sideswiped. The really nasty crashes are at open-road or highway speeds

        I used to bicycle a lot. I’ve been hit in the city a couple of times and it hurts right then and there, but it didn’t leave lasting damage and I could continue on my way. The one hit I took on a rural road laid me up for days and quite easily could have killed me if I’d fallen differently.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          “City Car” is a terrible value proposition. They’re terrible on the highways, so one pays 80% the price of something like a Mazda 3, Jetta, Civic, Corolla, etc and gets 50% of the capability. It’s not like a compact is that much bigger and harder to park.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            You ever tried it? The smart drives just fine at highway speeds, and I doubt the iQ is noticeably worse. The segment is also the last bastion of vehicles that aren’t bloated, overweight sensory deprivation chambers. Light weight is a virtue.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “The smart drives just fine at highway speeds, and I doubt the iQ is noticeably worse”

            It’s a little worse; the Smart has staggered tire sizes and rear drive where the iQ is front-drive. I’ve found the Smart a little more composed, but both are weird over large bumps.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “It’s not like a compact is that much bigger and harder to park.”

            Depends where you’re parking.

            If you have off-street parking, that’s almost always right.

            If you’re relying on parallel parking in a dense neighborhood, every foot of length closes off potential spots — and the shortest “spots” are the most likely to be there because no one else can use them.

            These cars are made for people who parallel park in dense neighborhoods every day. Small audience relative to the size of the US, but for that audience they can’t be beat.

    • 0 avatar
      iq2

      Yes, the iQ has a limited audience. I have one and live in San Francisco. The number one reason I bought it was for parking. It has been 100% effective in that. At 10 feet it is larger than the Smart but smaller than the Fiat 500 which is smaller than the Mini or the Spark. I have used the back seat more times than I ever thought I would. It’s not a great ride in the back but 99% of my driving is within city limits so rides are generally short. Gas mileage isn’t great but any car in constant stop and go city driving isn’t either. I feel safer in it as it definitely feels more solid than the Smart. It also has more pep than the Smart. Great stereo too. On highways, once adjusted to it, I can punch threw traffic easily and meet and exceed traffic around me. Sure, lack of storage space was initially worrisome but never leaving anything in it is another way not to get broken in as happens in cities. I have carried three men with all their sports gear without a problem. It fits all of my needs. That said, I don’t know why anyone outside a densely populated area would buy one. I never saw it advertised while the Fiat 500 had extensive campaigns. Even the Smart had more ads than the iQ. Still, every time I park between two driveways where no one else can, I’m satisfied. When I spend 5 minutes looking for a parking spot instead of 30, I’m satisfied. It will be interesting what Toyota has learned and if there will be a follower.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The iQ, specifically, and the whole Scion brand in general, is the answer to a question no one is apparently asking.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    I really wanted to like this car, as I have a soft spot for cars in this class. But that CVT is just awful, and no manual transmission option is a killer. The Spark does everything better than this car, and build quality is higher. Hell, the 500 feels better made.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I wonder, if you polled USAmericans, if most non-enthusiasts are even aware that Scion exists? Honestly, I am an auto enthusiast and I forget they’re still around. I see the first 1st gen Xb fairly often, and that’s it. The one iQ I’d see around town seems to have disappeared.

    And none of the few around are driven by their “target demographic”.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    First, there is no manual transmission option. Second, the IQ’s price is too high. Third, many Americans (me not included) are scared of such small cars. Fourth is the styling – too goofy looking. Fifth is the seating arrangement. Enough said.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The problem with the iQ, both here and in Europe, is the Smart. The iQ is the Smart’s charmless, underachieving cousin.

    Let’s face it, you’ve got to have a certain level of self-confidence to buy a tiny city car in the US. People who have that level of confidence don’t want to drive the (awkward) copy when the original is readily available.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Yep, nobody wants to be seen driving a copy-cat. However in this case I don’t think anyone even knows this “washing machine” (per Top Gear) is even on sale.

      The whole idea of a “city car” doesn’t work in the US, because anyone who can afford to live in a city wouldn’t dare own such a cheap, joke of a car. If you can afford to park in the city, you already got a Range Rover.

      • 0 avatar
        Gregg

        Sorry. Don’t agree. In my congested urban neighborhood we have medium and high end condos, older apartment buildings that cater to 20 somethings that can barely afford a car, rent-controlled low income housing, older mansions, and elderly housing. It is busy, multi-ethnic and multi-generational. Street parking is very cheap if you get a permit, but space is tight, so larger vehicles are a pain. I see a few iQs here, as well as every range of auto. The Range Rovers tend to be north of here in the driveways of million dollar plus homes or in underground parking garages.

    • 0 avatar
      missmySE-R

      I think you’re on the right track here heavy handle pointing the finger at smart, though I see it through a slightly different lens.

      I’d consider smart the Kleenex of city cars – the average Joe doesn’t see a difference between the smart brand and the category of city cars. As smart hasn’t been generating any news in the segment in recent years (aside from the unfortunately named ED model) it’s taken down the entire city car market along with it. I’d argue that had smart released a gen 2 model in the US, supported it with a significant advertising campaign, etc, iQ sales would have been appreciably better.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Even in Ontario where I can’t go more than 10 feet without seeing a Smart on the road, I’ve only seen 3 or 4 IQs since they’ve been on sale. Coming from someone who drives a Scion xD and is actually in their target demographic (24).

    If Scion sold the second generation JDM Toyota bB as the second gen xB instead of the monstrosity that came here instead, and offered AWD on the xD like they do in Europe, alongside the current tC and FR-S, they might at least be in a SLIGHTLY better predicament than they are now.

  • avatar
    John R

    Damn. Just wrap it up and sell the FR-S as a Celica and the Tc as a coupe version of the Corolla.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    The author of this article failed to mentioned that the iQ scored an average of “Good” on both IIHS tests for offset frontal and side impact. which is remarkable considering its diminutive size. The results can be seen on Youtube.

    Also, fuel economy was never intended to be this vehicles strong point, as this was designed to be primarily a city car where parking is at a premium and ingress and egress out of parking garages and crowded city streets is favored by its potential drivers — even if there were few of them.

    Also, I don’t think the exclusion of a manual transmission had anything to do with the lack of uptake on these as most city dwellers who are in constant stop and go traffic would rather have a rubber bandomatic pulley system decide what “gear” the car should be in. Shifting all day long in cities this car was designed for would be rather laborious.

    Lastly, and I don’t have any real way of showing any kind of data to reflect my stance on this, but Uber and Lyft were just coming onto the scene as this car was entering the market. Why buy a city runabout like this iQ when you can make a few taps on your smartphone and be whisked off to your destination without having to fret about parking once you’ve arrived?

    Smartphones killed the city car.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I don’t think it was a bad vehicle, but not really one for the type of man or woman who reads this site. But city cars don’t really make a lot of sense in North America for the majority of people. My ex was interested in one because it was cheap, small, and came in purple.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I think if they would have offered this with a standard 5 speed only, and sported it up a bit, they could have aped some of that Mini Cooper panache. It still would have sold below expectations though. Too bad, because I think it looks cool.

    24 Hours Of Lemons 2030 season, I will be looking for one of these.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I don’t get the American obsession with crashing. And airbags. And size/weight/bulk. Have we really become such a nation of terrified wimps that we won’t set foot outside our homes unless we’re absolutely guaranteed no chance of injury, risk or accident?

    Yeah, I’m living in the past. A 64 year old past where accidents occasionally happen, are shrugged off, healed over, and back to life as you were living it. Last November, I totaled my Triumph hitting a deer at 60mph on my way home from work. Three days later (once my back pain went down to a dull throb) I was back on my Harley. That’s the third time I’ve gone down seriously in 39 years of motorcycle riding. And no, the thought of hanging it up and selling off the last bike never popped into my mind. Just like the last two times (which, crazily enough, happened within six weeks of each other back in 1998). I picked myself up, got patched up, patched up the bike, and kept riding.

    Which I will continue to do until I’m physically incapable of holding a motorcycle up anymore. I’ve got my late father-in-law for inspiration. In 2003, my late wife and I went to Bangor, ME to take his 1930 Indian away from him at his wife’s request. He was 86 years old, and he cried as we trailered the bike out of his life. And the only reason I was willing to go along with that request is that he didn’t have the strength to kick it over anymore. He could still ride it, but I had to get it started. And it wasn’t being run often enough to prevent deterioration.

    Obviously, a lot of our society isn’t capable of doing that anymore. They want guarantees, they want absolutely no risk. They also get absolutely no adventure, tucked up in their padded little cocoons. Sorry, I can’t live that way. Life is for living, and if I die in the middle of enjoying life, so what? I’d rather die while enjoying life than die while cringing from potential injury.

    Last year, I seriously looked at an iQ as a commuter car. Lack of a manual and price killed that thought for me. Which was a pity, as I rather like the car, and I love small cars. I couldn’t see any improvement (other than a theoretical 5mpg) over my current first generation xB. The one with only two airbags – something that I don’t consider a necessity.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Have we really become such a nation of terrified wimps that we won’t set foot outside our homes unless we’re absolutely guaranteed no chance of injury, risk or accident?”

      Apparently so, since an unsupervised walk home from the park is now child abuse, according to the authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland (wealthy suburbs of DC).

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Death is a real turnoff. Improved vehicle design makes meaningful reductions to the number of deaths.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Risk vs. reward, my friend. I will risk death to drive a sport bike, Miata, Bugeye sprite, Ariel Atom, Lotus, my S2000, etc. I will not risk death to pilot a tinny clowncar iQ.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      “accidents occasionally happen, are shrugged off, healed over, and back to life as you were living it”

      …unless you were dead. Dead people don’t complain much though. A vehicle accident is the most likely thing to kill you if you’re under 40, and that’s AFTER becoming vastly safer. I’m all for it. You still have plenty of options on motorcycles, although they have about 30x the fatalities per mile as cars. Motorcycles with ABS have about 1/3 better fatality rate, so I’d be reluctant to get one without ABS for street use.

    • 0 avatar

      Much of it probably has to do with people with kids, and other loved ones. When people find they are responsible for another living, breathing creature, they often feel more concerned about it’s well-being than they do about their own. Witness that Subaru “they lived” ad – complete with family and wagon.

      I’ve got an old LaForza I bought off of eBay as a second car. I’m fine driving it, but if I ever had kids, I don’t think I’d want to risk being in an accident with them in a car with no real safety features and crappy handling and braking.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Death can’t be that bad. How many dead people do you hear complaining about it?

      I’ll bet that there isn’t even a single dead guy who posts on this forum. They obviously have better things to do than to whine about it.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      While I hardly consider myself some kind of incredibly brave individual (for example, I don’t swim and am terrified of the water to the point that I don’t go out on boats, and I’m also rather scared of heights), I don’t live my life to avoid death. I live my life to enjoy it, and if that means taking a few well thought out risks here and there, so be it. I certainly didn’t let the almost complete lack of government mandated safety equipment stop me from enjoying a Porsche 924S as a daily driver. Which is probably the best car I’ve ever owned. And I’m looking for another one, or preferably a 928.

      I know death. I spent four years feeding a terminally ill wife thru a tube until she died two years ago. Death doesn’t scare me (too much), as its inevitable. Hopefully, not sooner than twenty years, and I really hope I go a lot quicker than Patti did. What she went thru is not the way I’d want anyone to die.

      However, I’m not going to turn down a car that I’d really like to own because it doesn’t have enough air bags, enough length, enough weight, enough whatever to convince me that I’m driving something that resembles a tank and gives me the feeling of being invulnerable. I’m going to put performance, handling, braking, etc. at the top of my list of considerations. Safety equipment? I don’t bother asking.

      I’m here to live, and to enjoy life. Worry about dying (other than using general common sense on a day to day basis as a preventative) is inimical to that thought.

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        When will the Contradictory Car Guy memes appear?

        “I don’t want to get in that little thing. I’ll die in wreck.”
        GETS IN 700HP HELLCAT

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Right. Who could possibly enjoy life in a modern car with a few hundred horsepower, comfortable seats, reasonable reliability and good air conditioning?

      • 0 avatar
        mindthreat

        That’s just it! Scion/Toyota went out of their way to make sure this car was safe. 11 air bags safe! Yet, it still wasn’t enough. Clearly if safety was the reason, people wouldn’t be gobbling up the Fiat of Minis. This was really just a matter being overpriced.

  • avatar
    Gregg

    This car is always compared with cars that are not in its class. In the US, its class consists of the iQ and the smart. Everything else mentioned is much bigger. The market for city cars here is small, but Scion has done almost nothing to really reach its niche market.

    Safety is another ubiquitous criticism of the iQ. All I can say is that I’d rather be in an iQ in a crash than a bicycle, a scooter, a motorcycle, a Harley even (all pretty commonly used conveyances), or even a pre-1990s small or medium sized car or truck.

    The packaging is phenomenal for the footprint. Yes, the mileage should be better and the handling improved. But most Americans don’t understand city cars and many of us who live in very congested urban neighborhoods don’t understand city cars either. This one will and should die, conceding this currently tiny market to the 2016 smart car.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure that the branding makes much difference. After all, aren’t all Scion dealers co-located with Toyota dealers? If someone is looking at a Toyota but for some reason wants something smaller, they can direct them to the iq. I would bet the opposite is more likely – that a few people came to look at an iQ and left with an xd, yaris, or corolla.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I have a simple solution to raise the sales of the IQ: Retro.

    Look at the Fiat 500. I wouldn’t be caught dead in one – it looks a cheap tin-plate friction-powered toy car from the 40s & 50s. It sells because it’s styled after the original, just like the Mini and Beetle, not to mention Mustangs, Camaros & Challengers.

    Make the IQ look like an old Isetta and you’ll see sales go through the roof – sans front door opening, of course!

  • avatar
    AnotherMillenial

    Hopefully Toyota brings back the iQ. I would like the city car segment to grow beyond one car from one brand (Smart ForTwo).

    I think the extremely small market, plus lack of a four door option, price and it’s lame styling killed the car.

    Having lived in DC and NYC I don’t understand the purpose of city cars. Most people in the city can easily get around, regardless of the time or the weather walking, biking, subways, commuter trains & buses, ZipCar/Car2Go, Uber, etc without the expense of car payments, taxes, insurance, gas, maintenance, etc. So the only reason one would want a car is if they wanted to leave the city or they just want their own space/need to transport people/bigger items on the regular.

    Yeah sure, an iQ could be decent on the highway but WHY buy one over a safer, better styled, better driving, more spacious but equally easy to park and fuel efficient used Fit/Focus/Soul/etc?

    So you want a NEW city car. The Spark and Mirage are decently equipped for less than the bare bones $16K iQ. All that leaves is Toyota reliability, but a Yaris starts at $15K and Corolla at $17k. Buying an iQ just doesn’t make sense.

    The final argument for city cars is style and/or character which the Smart and (not as small) 500 offer in spades. The iQ is styled like the compromise it is. No thanks.

    I suggest Toyota presses the reset button by producing the The 2013 Me.We concept. It just needs a two door option: http://www.netcarshow.com/toyota/2013-me.we_concept/

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “rear drum brakes seem particularly antiquated when a car is charging a dimensional deficiency premium”

    Am I missing something here?

    What do drum brakes on the rear have to do with the fact that it’s small?

    They don’t take up any more packaging room, do they? (Hell, they take up less, since you can use them doubled as the parking brake, right?)

    Drums in the rear is standard in the non-luxury Compact space, guys.

    Rear drums are perfectly fine in normal-duty lightweight cars, guys. That’s why all the normal compacts *still have them*.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Am I missing something here?”

      Brake porn.

      Otherwise, yes, you’re right. Rear drums are totally fine on light and/or non-performance vehicles. They’re better than fine, actually: they last longer, don’t warp, pit or stick as badly.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The point is the car is priced in a premium fashion: less space, but more money. And even though it’s a premium priced car, there are elements we typically associate with moving upmarket that are missing. One such element? Rear discs.

  • avatar
    mindthreat

    I’m baffled by all the negatives this car still receives. I just recently purchased my iQ and couldn’t be happier with it. I’m 33, 5’10 and around 180lbs – I guess if you’re pushing 300lbs and over 6ft, it would be unpleasant to drive. While it’s obvious it makes for a great city car, this thing takes the highway like a boss at 80mph (I speak from experience of doing just that for 70 miles for a little over an hour drive and it far exceeded my expectations) so don’t let any review or personal (most likely prejudice) opinion sway you away otherwise in seriously considering one of these cars, especially since the prices on an extremely nice used one can be had for as little as $8-$9k.

    I’ve read countless reviews stating that the CVT is terrible and the engine is underpowered but this is far from the truth. It’s not a Ferrari, obviously -and while some can complain about the lack of a manual, you’ll find yourself shifting from Econo mode to Sport mode occasionally depending on where you’re at and when you need the higher RPM for a quicker get up and go. As far as the CVT being awful, I have no idea what people are expecting or referring to but once you get up to speed, 40-50ish, it levels out just fine like any other transmission. Cruising at 80mph just under 3k rpm seemed quite impressive to me considering the engine and transmission mentioned so don’t knock it until you actually try it yourself.

    Interior-space wise, you’ll feel like you’re in any normal car with the exception of the back and since it’s only me 90% of the time, I’m perfectly fine with it. I have a girlfriend and 11-year old daughter so it fares quite well as the perfect 3-seater. No dog so the other spot usually goes un-utilized anyway.

    The real reason(s) this car died is: 1. People read reviews like this and it quickly persuaded them to look the other way, not even giving the iQ a chance or proper test drive which would have very well made all the difference. 2. People that have zero experience and trash talk it from the onset tend to also easily persuade others from not seeking interest in purchasing it in fear of being not only judged and made fun of for owning/driving such a car, but they too instill fear of safety despite this cars quite admirable crash ratings and 11-airbags… and most importantly #3. The price. There’s no denying that paying $16k+ for a car of this nature had the most overall impact on the lack of car sales.

    It does a ton of things right but ultimately falls short in the pricing. Scion was supposed to be all about extensive options but even there it fell short – no leather seats like the Aston Martin Cygnet variant, no manual gearbox for all the ones clearly complaining for one and quite a few other much minor issues like the lack of cruise control but it really did get just about everything else right – yet people are blindsided by the endless amount of negative reviews and trash talk. Now that gas prices are slashed by almost 50%, people want to get bigger vehicles? Thanks but no thanks, I’ll happily be filling up my iQ for $11 a week and getting outstanding gas mileage in the process, city AND highway.

  • avatar

    I gave iQ a quick look, but the headroom was impossibly small, so it was a no go. Otherwise, it looked like a nice small car.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Sure, the iQ only got 37mpg highway, but that overlooks that it got 36mpg city. Cause, you know, city car. Nothing conventional comes close until the Mitsubishi Mirage came out (and that still gets tarred with the “you should buy something bigger and pre-owned!” brush).

    That said, I agree with the others who suggested it just didn’t feel special enough. In theory, it was superior to the smart, but the smart at least feels different, polarizing, unique, while the iQ was just another Toyota.

  • avatar
    Yak

    We needed a small car as a company runabout for our courier business. We just cart around a briefcase and a bit of mail, so we don’t need a ton of room. Fuel economy, ease of parking, turning radius (we do a lot of U-turns), and price were the considering factors. We would have bought an iQ if it was a few thousand $ less, but we ended up with a used Mazda 2 for half the price, which we love.

    It’s 2′ longer but it’s still pretty easy to park and the fuel economy is fine. I doesn’t have as good a turning radius as the iQ, but for most situations it does the job. And it’s nice to have back doors and a functional back seat if we ever need to haul a few people.

    For some reason the Mazda 2 is overlooked in this segment, and it’s a great city car, plus it feels a lot like my old Miata. I think it’s one of the lightest subcompacts out there at 2359 lbs. (automatic), and the handling shines because of it. The fit, finish and quality of our M2 is much better than our ’07 Honda Fit too (but the Fit obviously trumps it in passenger & cargo space).

    So if anyone’s thinking of buying a city car, check out the Mazda2, it’s a lot of fun to drive, so far very reliable, and they’re good values if you don’t need a ton of cargo space. It can still haul stuff with the rear seats up or down, but again, it’s no Honda Fit. The next gen is coming out in a few months too so there should be some improvements. Having said that, if we found a used, inexpensive, low mileage iQ, we’d consider snapping it up. For our specific purposes, it would probably be better.

    • 0 avatar

      Fiesta is killing the 2, unfortunately. Ford was able to improve the Fiesta continuously, even within the same platform as the 2, while Mazda let it wither, in favour of the upcoming that 2 that is shared with Toyota.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The Scion iQ is dead: Here’s why

    Nobody anywhere bought them as Scions or Toyotas because it answered a question nobody asked and looked awkward doing it, had weird seating and a very high price, with a none too deluxe interior, despite Toyota calling it a premium vehicle. A sales dud.

    Aston Martin, who made the Cygnet based on it dropped it in 2013, saying Toyota was dropping the iQ at the end of 2014. Toyota swore up and down that Aston had it wrong, but, they lied.

    And here’s the proof.

  • avatar
    CaliCarGuy

    Embarrassingly enough, I had looked at an iQ a few days ago as a sort of commuter car (since I only commute about 5 and a half miles to work). Toyota dealer is asking 12 for it. Its passive interest. The sales person has literally been on me every single day calling trying to get me to buy it. I guess they are even trying to get rid of the used ones fast.

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