By on July 2, 2015

2016 Scion iM (9 of 21)

To wonder aloud: How long can cool be, you know, cool?

For Scion, “cool” has a half-life of around 12 years and the youth-oriented brand from Toyota has a significant turn to right the ship back toward sales from the its first year in America. Last month, Scion posted a 20-percent dip in sales, discontinued two models — iQ and xD — and spelled out an end for its xB — the only Scion to post anything resembling sales growth.

Is it better to be dead or cool? Didn’t Kurt Cobain write a song about this?

The Scion iM is 50 percent of the answer for what’s next from Scion. The new hatchback based on the overseas Toyota Auris/Corolla will hit dealers alongside the iA on September 1. The five-door hatch goes head-to-head with competitors like the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf in a segment that analysts predict will sell more than 500,000 cars this year.

Built in Japan, the iM is a distant cousin to the U.S. market Toyota Corolla in all its splendor, and the iA will be part of Scion’s likely “pragmatic, not necessarily hip” offensive in the coming months.

I can’t wait.


The Tester

2016 Scion iM

Engine: 1.8-liter, direct injection I-4 (137 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm; 126 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm)
Transmission: 6-speed manual (as tested); CVT automatic

EPA Rating: 27 city mpg/36 highway mpg/31 combined mpg (Manual); 28/37/32 mpg (CVT).

Price: $18,460 + $795 destination (manual); $19,200 + $795 destination (CVT)


To be fair, I’ve never driven the Auris overseas, which is jam-packed with a variety of engines ranging from Scion’s preferred here 1.8-liter gasoline-powered mill to a 1.4-liter diesel — even a 1.8-liter turbo-hybrid combo for Japan. For the states we only get one pick, and that’s OK because I’m a bit slow.

2016 Scion iM (21 of 21)

So is the iM. While 0-60 mph happens in around 10 seconds in the iM (which, relatively speaking, is average for a hatchback) the engine never really felt rushed to go anywhere. There’s no huge pickup in power anywhere in its band — not at 4,000 rpm at full twist, not at the 6,100-rpm redline. Thus, it’s fair to say: Don’t worry about the manual; it doesn’t have guts over the CVT anyway.

That’s probably due to the iM’s considerable heft. The five-door hatchback weighs 2,943 pounds with a manual transmission, 3,031 pounds with an automatic, and that’s not including what I had for lunch. Downhill, you’re just fine on power. Uphill, you may want to reconsider that pass, young man.

2016 Scion iM (16 of 21)Instead, the iM’s sport feeling comes from two places: its chassis and brakes. MacPherson’s up front and double wishbones in the back keep the iM planted around corners and relatively flat. The iM’s body kit hides its height — it’s 55 inches tall with 5.5 inches of ground clearance — but the car maintains a relatively firm handle on the road. Multiple times through the twisty drive around San Mateo, the iM held its own and kept tidy around corners. The iM won’t be confused with a sports car, but it does eagerly jump into corners — even if it can’t dart.

The iM’s suspension is firmer than I expected, and way more so than I’d ever expect from a Toyota. It’s not too firm for every day driving, but it is dangerously close.

On the other side, the iM’s brakes are supremely confident and quick to arrest the heavy hatch’s momentum. Even through the car’s standard 17-inch wheels, you can see the big 11-inch rotors waiting and that feeling comes through the progressive, but not lazy, pedal. The brakes could stand another 50 to 500 more horsepower from the engine, I think.

2016 Scion iM (8 of 21)Inside, the iM is surprisingly well considered for a car that costs $19,000. The interior dash accent is well-placed and soft surface materials help keep attention away from the doors, which are powerfully dull. Same goes for the seats, which boast contrast stitching to help visually separate the black-on-black motif, but it does fall a little flat. The good news: You can fit five people in the hatch comfortably to cover up all the interior materials.

There’s plenty of room for gear with 60/40-split folding rear seats and 20.8 cubic feet of space in the cargo area with the seats up.

In keeping with Scion’s strategy of “mono spec” pricing, there’s really only two things to consider with the iM — color and transmission. The same Pioneer audio system comes in all models (with or without navigation as a dealer-installed option, for which there is no dedicated button and confused the hell out of a monkey like me), Bluetooth streaming and steering wheel-mounted controls. Can you hear the stereo? Because you should turn it up. Up a little more. The iM lets in a little more road noise than it should.

2016 Scion iM (17 of 21)

Other standard features include standard 17-inch wheels, backup camera and that body kit that definitely makes the Scion iM definitely not a Toyota Auris. Definitely not.

And the Scion iM’s biggest asset may be its biggest problem as well. It’s helpful for Scion to have a big parent company like Toyota to draw from its international fleet and help flagging sales in the states. But a big parent company like Toyota has all the markings of an automotive behemoth, specifically a massive dealer network that still runs things decidedly old school.

The iM is a decent hatch in itself, but it probably won’t save Scion. The exciting, cool new automaker doesn’t have a lot of cool ideas when it comes to streamlining the buying experience — which they say can be done in less than an hour, so long as you find a participating dealer with a participating price in a participating market.

Cool can’t last forever, even if Toyotas can.

Photography provided by Alex L. Dykes.

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100 Comments on “2016 Scion iM Review – Toyota’s Tweener Takes a Turn...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The headline is for the iA, the story is about the iM, and in the first paragraph there is a huge factual error about the Scion xB and sales growth.

    The only Scion keeping Scion afloat is the tC, the xB has been a zombie since the Soul reinvented the box on wheels concept.

    *sigh*

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for the catch!

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      Thanks for the headline boo boo. But yeah, the xB actually grew last month by 3 percent. As far as volume goes, it was on par with the tC last month and is only trailing the tC by a few percentage points for the entire year.

      http://corporatenews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/tms+june+2015+sales+chart.htm

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        June auto sales on a whole were up 3.9%

        Scion sales were down 16.8%

        Scion xB “growth” of 3% didn’t even keep up with the industry, which means a loss of share. Scion xB sales have declined every year since 2006, and are barely 25% of what the peak volume was. The Gen II xB was a sales flop.

        2003 6,936
        2004 47,013
        2005 54,037
        2006 61,306
        2007 45,834
        2008 45,220
        2009 25,461
        2010 20,364
        2011 17,017
        2012 19,787
        2013 17,849
        2014 16,583

        I stand corrected, your statement about “growth” is correct, but in context is over stated. Scion is a dead brand walking.

        Maybe the 3% bump came from Las Vegas livery services needing to update the taxi fleet (and the xB makes a shockingly nice taxi actually)

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I hate to say it, but this thing could probably use more horsepower. For a couple grand more, with the 2.0T, it could have been a legit alternative to something like the GTI or Mazda 3. As is it’s DOA

    • 0 avatar

      Woa woa woa, that whine is supposed to be applied to hachiroku and MX-5 only. The Internet Rule.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      This is a hot hatch minus the hotness. It’s cool alright… as in dead cold. Just looking at it I assumed it would have 160 HP. Also did someone just tack the badge on the grill with some super glue? It looks really out of place, since everything else is edgy and sharp (body kit, rims, etc) but the logo is like a cute button nose. And of course no 2 door version so an automatic down vote from me.

      • 0 avatar
        lzaffuto

        This car is dying for the 2.5 found in the TC (taken from the Camry). Some of these decisions are just bizarre.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          In today’s terms putting the 2.5 from the Camry in there would be like putting a 390V8 under the hood of a Falcon.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            No wai. TC is a smaller lighter car and has had the Camry lump for years. That motor is hardly a ground scorcher… but it would be well matched to this thing’s heft.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Neither was the 390 FE… lol

          • 0 avatar

            Now that’s funny! My first car was an 8 year old ’62 Falcon. Had the kind of power where you floored it and it felt like another person had started pushing. I drove that thing across the country when I was 17, and again when I was 18.

        • 0 avatar
          djsyndrome

          No, it’s dying for the 2.0t mill. Lexus is starting to spread it around, and this car (with a few tweaks) would be a hoot with it.

          • 0 avatar
            Banger

            “No, it’s dying for the 2.0t mill. Lexus is starting to spread it around, and this car (with a few tweaks) would be a hoot with it.”

            ^This.

            I’m led to believe this thing is a distant cousin (perhaps an uglier sister?) to the Lexus CT200h, which is the most fun-to-drive hybrid in Toyota’s universe right now, IMO. Either stick the 2.0T from the NX into the CT200, or throw it in this new Scion. Either way it would be a win.

  • avatar

    Scion had distinct styling. This looks like a Toyota to me. If this is Scion’s direction…just save the marketing money and call it a Toyota.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    10-sec 0-60 WAS average for a hatchback…in 1983.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      A 1983 GTI maybe. Try 13 seconds for the economy hatches like this.

      In fairness, the Civic, 1.8 Elantra, Sentra are in the same ~10 second ballpark as this iM.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Yeah, 10 second 0-60 was more average for a hatch in 1993 than 83.

    • 0 avatar
      boozysmurf

      Not even close to accurate.

      Hot hatches in the 80’s were in the 8-12 second mark for 0-62mph/0-100km/h. Regular ol’ commuter hatchback (and compacts in general) were in the 14-30 seconds range.

      The automatic Chevette was 30 seconds to sixty. I can verify that. Buddy in HS had one, and it was terrifying getting that thing onto the highway.

      Mazda 323 GTX would blaze 0-60mph in 8.5sec, but it was incredibly rare: the regular 323 hatch was an adequate 12.4sec. The majority of the competition was similar: they were light cars, but they came with 60-100hp. And in North American spec (ie. with an automatic) they were dog-slow.

      0-60secs.co.uk will make you laugh like a loon.

      10-sec 0-60mph was average for a hatchback as recently as yesterday. And 10 seconds isn’t slow, we’re just spoiled for enthusiast power these days.

  • avatar
    threeer

    So what we have is an slow, barely competitive hatchback (in a market that doesn’t exactly flock to hatchbacks to begin with). Sigh…the only way I think Toyota could sell any decent number of these things would be to slap a Corolla nameplate on it and call it done. As it is, neither the iM or iA will do much to resurrect Scion. There are just too many other (better) options out there than this.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      And the steeply discounted with cash on the hood Camry LE stripper sitting next to it can be bought for close to the same price compared to Scion’s true pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenn

        Yeah, sure, why not compare a big “stripper” sedan with an economy-sized, well-outfitted, 5-door hatch?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          The Camry LE is hardly “stripped”

          2.5L 4-cylinder 178 HP/170 torque
          6 speed automatic
          Seats 5 – and not 5 in a pinch either
          Power windows, power locks, power mirrors, bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, power driver seat 8-way, single zone climate control, CD, USB port, cruise control, heated exterior mirrors, keyless entry, backup camera, front reading/map lights, locking fuel filler door, tilt-telescope steering wheel, 6 speaker stereo with 6.1″ touch screen, tachometer, cabin air filter system, voice activated vehicle controls, front and rear disc brakes.

          Right now incentives are 24 month lease with $829 down and payments of $199 a month, or 0% for 60 months plus $750 cash back. That’s before the fat dealer discount.

          An iM on the same showroom floor with the CVT (instead of six real gears) tickles $20K.

          But fine, if you don’t appreciate pointing out that the D-segment car with a lot of incentives and low ATP can be had for the same money, lets talk about the other elephant in the room.

          A Corolla LE Plus with the CVT is $19,790. Sitting right next to the new iM.

          You can leave the showroom in one of those for $179 a month with $2,128 down for 24 months, o take 0% for 60 months plus $500 on the hood, before dealer discount.

          You’re going to have to seriously want an iM to buy an iM when there is brutal competition sitting on the same showroom floor. We also have to ignore the other 800 pound elephant in the room, if it has 5 doors American buyers want it to be lifted 2 more inches than the iM is and come with AWD – and it’s called a CUV.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    glad to see the Matrix come back, i wish the rear end had more utility versus style but still good news.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yup, the return of the Matrix/Vibe. Even with DI the 1.8 sounds like it is about as “powerful” as the 1.8 in my wife’s 2005 Vibe. God help you if you need to pass uphill on the interstate in the Mountain West.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      The only problem I see is there’s no AWD version, like the Matrix was. My personal opinion: get rid of the body kit, slap on AWD and sell a slow hatch like the Crosstrek. I don’t see why Toyota didn’t go down that road again. Seems like they could have.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Agree, there are still a lot of Matrix/Vibe on the road. If I was looking for an economy car that could haul some stuff, why not shop this Scion?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    5 sec recap: Small, hard, plasticky, cheap.

    I don’t see this doing very well against Focuses and Golfs, but perhaps it will be seen as a nicer alternative to the Mirage.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’ll do reasonably well for the same reason the Corolla does: it will be sufficiently frugal and fairly reliable. The Focus and Golf, well, they’re about to nail the fuel costs that help with the former, but the latter hasn’t been either car’s strong point.

      The challenger for the iM is the Fit, which, despite being a class below, is better-packaged, holding more people and stuff. I know that’s the reason why I walked past the Matrix the first time.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Nicer alternative to the Mirage? Unless I missed the /sarc tag somewhere, I don’t think the two are even in the same bracket.

      Not that the iM is some supremo-whizbang super car, but it’s not aimed at the same market as the Mirage. FWIW, at least you get a functional hatchback/wagon with the iM.

      I think another competitor for this car would be the Mazda 3, but the entry level version, not the 2.5L or Mazdaspeed ones…

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Exactly. Mirage is a poor alternative to Fiesta, Fit, Sonic and (gulp) Yaris.

        This car is a poor alternative to the Focus, Golf, Civic (especially when the 5 door gets here, or has it?), and (gulp) Elantra.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      Nobody knocks the driving experience of the Golf or Focus. The ownership experience can often be quite different…

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Inexpensive, reliable, stylish, competent suspension and just begging for power? Didn’t that used to be Hondas trick? TMC has added decent brakes to the mix. This could be the next tunable 20 something hatch of choice.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    Get rid of the tacky, tacked-on looking lower body trim pieces and you’d have a decent looking car.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Well, if/when Toyota finally pulls the plug on Scion, this’ll make for a really great deal on the used car market! (Similar to how a Vibe was always cheaper than a Matrix, despite being the same thing…)

    If I was in the market for a Corolla, I’d totally consider this as an alternative. And if I wanted a hatch and wasn’t picky about driving dynamics, it’s also be on my list. For the vast majority of consumers, this is an ideal commuter car; it’s pretty much guaranteed to start every morning for the next couple of decades, is a comfortable-enough place in which to spend time, has decent gas mileage, and reasonable utility.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      For that sort of buyer the Prius is a better deal unless very few miles are being driven.

      • 0 avatar
        Jacob

        For what soft of buyer, the kind who won’t bother to do any research or do any back of napkin calculation about the cost of ownership of a Prius? The base Prius has MSRP 24K, rides and rattles about the same as a Toyota Corolla, has a manually adjusted driver seat, steel wheels, rear drum brakes, horrible “fly by wire” brake pedal feel, and costs about 2 grand more than a Honda Accord LX, which is a lot more comfortable car, much classier, faster, and still fairly frugal (4-cylinder accord owners report just over 30-mpg average fuel economy). Even if you compare the Prius to a vastly better Accord LX, you still are about two thousand dollars in red when you leave the dealership with the Prius. And with the current gas prices, it will take you like 80,000 miles of driving to get those $2,000 dollars back.

        So to recap, my honest view, Prius is a glorified Corolla that’s sold at a horrendous price premium. Some Prius fans said, “but Prius is nicer”, “five doors”, etc. But now with a well equipped five door Corolla derivative on the market for under 20K, the last logical reason to buy a Prius is gone. The only interesting thing about Prius is a nice zippy throttle response anywhere under 50mph, which indeed makes it a nice car for commuting, but I would rather ride in vastly better equipped, vastly better car that is the Accord Sport or Accord EX for the same money, and not worry about the minuscule fuel saving that will take many many years to materialize.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    So close yet so far. Asian automakers can be so maddening. Just drop the engine from the tC (aka Camry coupe) into this and you’re done.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      And then everyone would be bitching about fuel economy “only” in the mid-20s, as they did regarding the tC (when people were talking about the tC).

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Toyota stop chasing youth market. Youth market, it dead.
    __________________________

    “the doors, which are powerfully dull”
    :-D

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Just kill off Scion, sell this as a Corolla hot hatch with the Camry engine in there, the 1A as the new Yaris and the FR-S gets the Celica name and problem solved.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I thought they had already killed it off, since the “youth” brand had mostly older people driving them. Apparently the old folks moved on to the Kia toaster, and the new models appear to be warmed-over Toyotas with egg beater engines so parents don’t take a big insurance hit for their first time drivers. I’ve got to get out more.

  • avatar

    So basically, the manual lives on in dirt-cheap, soul-less econoboxes?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      “So basically, the manual lives on in dirt-cheap, soul-less econoboxes?”

      That’s right – but only for a while. The automakers can’t wrap their collective mind around the fact that some people LIKE to row their own. So we only see manuals in base-trim strippers most of the time. Soon, we won’t even have them there.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        Eventually manuals will be solely found in cars that are designed around driver engagement (think M3, VW Golf GTI, Focus/Fiesta ST, etc.). And honestly that’s how it should be. They don’t really make sense in economy cars as the standard option at this point since automatics or CVTs are almost always higher MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Not all compacts are soulless…not by any means. There are several that are a lot of fun to drive (I’m looking at you, Mazda 3).

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Scion baffles me. The FR-S showed promise, but was niche. The iQ showed no promise and was also niche. The xB is a great concept, but they flubbed the second gen and then just sit on their hands for SEVEN years. Doing nothing. Insipidly watching it rot and wither year after year until it finally falls off the vine.

    Since Toyota couldn’t be bothered to make the Yaris competitive they’ve rebadged a Mazda. We’ll see how that goes, B-segment sedans aren’t all that hot in the marketplace.

    Now we have this iM, with an aggressive style and apparently capable suspension backed up by 128 horsepower and CV-freaking-T to move 3000 pounds. That just seems incongruous to me. The Camry gets 25/35/28 mpg with its 2.5 liter despite being heavier than this iM, so why can’t this powertrain be offered here as an optional upgrade like the Matrix used to have?

    I like Toyota, but mere seconds behind the wheel of a Mazda3 or 1.8T Golf will ruin your expectations for what a base C-segment powertrain should feel like. I’m curious to see how well a slow, reliable, brittle-riding and loud Corolla hatchback with a big backseat “youthful” branding goes over. To me it looks like just another economy hatchback entrant, not the unique propositions of the original xA and xB that launched the brand.

    BTW, those interior door panels look just fine. If you want to see “powerfully dull” door panels, hop into a $32K Accord EX-L V6 and take a gander. Then poke it with your finger and watch it flex alarmingly.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      “I like Toyota, but mere seconds behind the wheel of a Mazda3 or 1.8T Golf will ruin your expectations for what a base C-segment powertrain should feel like.”

      ^^This

      The iM is “good enough” product but the competition in segment simply better. Who at Toyota thought that a firm ride and glacial acceleration were a great combination?

      • 0 avatar
        Kenn

        I, too, like Toyota, and see this iM not as an alternative to a Mazda 3 or Golf 1.8 (regardless of what Toyota says); I see this as an alternative to a Hyundai Elantra or sedan-only Civic. Re: the “quite firm ride” — I’ve read other reviews evidently from the same event, and it has been acknowledged that half the cars had TRD lowering springs.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        “Good enough” product basically defines most of Toyota’s 2010s lineup. When was the last time a Camry or Corolla won a comparison test (other than maybe with Consumer Reports who weight record of reliability and cost of ownership over the actual qualities of the current vehicle)? At this point the products are mostly segment average and sell on reputation.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “At this point the products are mostly segment average and sell on reputation”

          Two days ago I test drove $32K Camry XSE V6 back to back with a $32K Accord EX-L V6 and came away shaking my head at the glossy mag comparison tests. I’d take the Camry even if I had to pay more for it, it was a better drive and a (marginally) nicer interior with better onboard technology. It’s one Toyota product that can sell on actual merits.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Marketing game is over.Just eliminate Scion and give us cars with real throttle response.Cars today really suck,especially Toyota, with that delay which can easily be removed by reprogramming the ecu.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The original xB was quirky and fun. This is neither. This brand is in the weeds and needs to be dropped. These could easily and much more successfully be marketed as Toyotas.

  • avatar
    madman2k

    “The brakes could stand another 50 to 500 more horsepower from the engine, I think.”

    Roger that! So where can I order the 637 horsepower model?

    lol

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    This is the only newer Scion I’d consider, even then I cant stand driving Toyotas. I can deal with slow cars, never dull cars.

    Fyi for the speed freaks, 0-60 in 10 secs is fine. I run a slow old Volvo and frequently get held up by quicker cars. Driver means more than stats.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Power certainly comes into play when an oncoming car appears out of nowhere as youre 3/4 of the way through passing a semi on a narrow two lane. At least with some decent power, you can complete the pass safely. Just because someone doesnt race up to 70 in their V-6 Accord as quick as you do in an old Volvo doesnt mean having sufficiant power is underrated.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        If a car is coming “out of nowhere” on a narrow 2-lane, your brain did a bad job judging whether it was safe to pass in the first place. They don’t come out of nowhere, they are simply driving in the lane to which they had right of way. More power doesn’t fix that, it just makes you gutsier.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        In that situation more power would just mean a quicker head-on collision.

        And fyi I do the speed limit, I just get there quicker than the average Joe.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      I drive a Focus that weighs the same as the iM and I have to shift and step thoughtfully to get the thing moving with any authority even though it’s the fastest car in its segment. Most of us Focus owners want the 1.5/1.6 EcoBoost from the Fusion as the base engine for the next Focus.

      Trust me, you want as much power as you can get. I don’t see how this even more torqueless 1.8 at the same weight will be rewarding to drive. And I’m a Toyota guy who would have shopped this first.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    /snark on

    With a 0 to 60 time of just 10 seconds, this car is a slug in its class and clearly a death trap because there is no way you can merge onto a highway safely with that slow of a 0 to 60 time.

    /snark off

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Hey! Just yesterday I was following a new 240hp 328i up an onramp and it couldn’t manage to hit 50 before merging into the travel lanes. Just imaging how slow this 138hp iM be going then :)

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Where I live its Bimmers, Buicks, and anything with a bodykit that seem to attract slow pokey drivers.

        A few days ago my Dads first-gen XB was being held up by a 5-series. Heck, another time it was an ALPINE Bimmer sedan thing!

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Here is why I’ll probably buy the iM to replace my 1st-gen xB:

    “Built in Japan, the iM is a distant cousin…”

    All of the cars that compete with the iM (except Chevrolet Sonic and Hyundai Elantra GT) are made in Mexico. I’m not to the point where I feel comfortable with Mexican build quality.

    Right now, it’s a draw for me between the iM and the Elantra GT. They MSRP about the same, but Hyundai always has cash on the hood. The Hyundai has a little more power and a little less MPG.

    I call it a toss-up.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Chevy Sonic is a b-segment car and does not “compete” with the iM.

      B-Segment hatches

      Fiesta, Fit, Sonic, Mini, Versa, Yaris… (I’m sure there is more)

      C-Segment hatches

      Focus, iM, Mazda3, Forte-5, Elantra GT, Impreza… (I’m sure there is more)

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Hm. The Focus isn’t made in Mexico, either. Good call.

        The Mazda3 is.

        The Forte5 and Elantra GT are pretty similar.

        The Impreza is off my list because I don’t want/need AWD, and because I prefer a six-speed over a 5-speed.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          The Forte-5 is built on a “newer” platform, the Elantra GT is on the older platform.

          TTAC did a review – the Forte-5 is possibly the best darn overall bang for the buck in the under $25K price range in a car of any ilk.

          And you can get it with a manual all the way up to the top trim.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            No you can’t.

            There’s 2 trims on the Forte 5:

            EX and SX

            SX you can get an automatic or 6 speed manual with the 1.6T engine. EX you have the 2.0 Nu GDI and you can only get the 6 speed auto with it.

            I had a previous generation Forte 5 SX, other than the rock hard suspension and crappy tires that KIA put on from the factory it was a great car. The SX’s are so hard to find now, that when another that is equipped how I want it comes along at the local dealer I may pick it up.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            @sc5door

            Kia Forte5 SXE, AT 6-speed is a $1000 option, says so on Kia’s website and in an earlier TTAC review

            You can absolutely get top trim with a row your own option.

            http://www.kia.com/us/en/build?series=forte5&year=2015&trim=8&model=413

          • 0 avatar
            tmport

            APaGttH, SC5door is correct. You can’t get the Forte5 “with a manual all the way up to the top trim”–you can ONLY get the manual in the top trim, the SX. The EX doesn’t offer the manual transmission, only the automatic. That’s a shame because, for me, 173 horsepower is sufficient, and I don’t want the poor fuel economy and low-profile 18-inch wheels that come with the SX.

            At any rate, I’m with eggsalad that the iM and the Elantra GT are two of the top choices in the “mild hatch” category. Similarly equipped (i.e Elantra GT with the Style package and the mono-spec iM), they should be around the same real-world price, c. $19,000. That’s very good value in my book.

            If I were a betting man, I’d say I’m going to end up getting the iM because it offers every feature I want (and then some) and will probably be slightly better quality/reliability overall than the Elantra GT.

  • avatar
    pbr

    So is this what NASCAR were using as a pace car last weekend at Sears Point / Infineon? I thought it was some sort of Prius derivative. Followed by wondering if they had an extension cord to top it off between cautions. A pace-car driver with range anxiety …

  • avatar
    Russycle

    The xB weighs a mere 100 pounds more and comes with the 2.4 liter mill, which is a little beast of an engine, and a ridiculously spacious interior. If Scion can’t sell those, I don’t see them moving a lot of decent-handling-but-slow wagons.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Back in 2002, I was looking for an economical wagon-type vehicle to replace my high-mileage ’96 Chevy Camaro–already running over 140,000 miles. I scouted around and gave many different vehicles consideration, from the Dodge Durango, the Jeep Liberty to other vehicles gradually coming down in size–including the then-first-year Saturn Vue. I even went to my local Pontiac dealer where I looked and and sat in a (shudder) Aztec. The interesting thing was that the Aztec had a number of things I wanted–all-wheel drive, decent economy and I enjoyed the concept of having a tent that could fasten directly to the back of the car with the hatch up, giving me sleeping space off the ground. What I didn’t like was the too-small tires, the weak V6 and no manual transmission.

    That said, I turned my attention to the Pontiac Vibe sitting nearby. Granted it was notably smaller than the Aztec but at the same time it had (or had available) a manual transmission option which was extremely appealing. Well, that is until they told me they didn’t have one available for a test drive. This wasn’t, yet, a deal breaker, so I took their automatic demonstrator for a drive instead–and I couldn’t believe how weak it was. Stepping on the gas at a traffic light was like trying to spin the back tire on an old single-speed, balloon-tyred bicycle. The gearing was so high that I hadn’t even reached the speed limit by the time I reached the next traffic light, just under a quarter mile away. I took it back and asked again if the manual transmission was any better and flat told them I wouldn’t buy unless I could test it for myself. It didn’t phase them as they again said they couldn’t let me test drive one of their stick-shift models. Ok, that’s fine. Toyota made the Matrix which was essentially the same car, so I’d try that, right? No go. They didn’t even have a stick on the lot!.

    Well, to make the rest of the story short, I test drove an automatic, 4-cylinder Saturn Vue and the performance was so much better than the Vibe’s that I ordered a brand-new, first-year model in orange and accepted the dealer suggestion for the Opel sport 5-speed transaxle. I couldn’t have been happier with that choice as 10 years later and 130,000 miles on the clock, the tranny was still on the original clutch plates when I sold it to the in-Laws.

    I wonder. If I went to the Toyota/Scion dealer local to me, do you think I could test drive a stick version NOW?

    • 0 avatar
      tmport

      They’re not available until September, so no, you couldn’t test-drive one now. :-) Judging by the number of tCs available with the 6MT, I suspect Scion will make the manual transmission widely available on the iM. But that’s just a guess–good luck finding an xB with a manual anywhere near the DC metro area.

  • avatar
    baconator

    So it’s the return of the Pontiac Vibe. Which means that it will sell just fine.

  • avatar
    Jezza819

    This is basically the Lexus CT200h just without the hybrid system right?

  • avatar
    spw

    whats 1.8l turbo-hybrid? That does not exist… it is same powertrain as in Prius… it is also available with 1.33, 1.6l, 1.6d and new 1.2 turbo.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    What’s wrong with naming this the Toyota Auris or Corolla II or just a Corolla hatchback??? Scion branding is hurting, not helping per the numbers. Still strange to me…

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    We’ve come a whopping 9 HP in 20 years. A 1995 Miata (1.8 L) made 128 HP (and only pushes ~2300 lbs). This is the best Toyota can do?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “This is the best Toyota can do?”

      No, this is the balance between reliability, cost, and consumer expectation that Toyota has decided upon. The sales success of other 10-second compacts like the Civic, Sentra, and Elantra suggest the buyer in this segment isn’t shopping horsepower.

  • avatar
    scott25

    The 1.8L is mostly adequate to move my xD, but I can only imagine how sluggish it would feel pulling a car 300-400 pounds heavier.

  • avatar

    Why is this not simply the Matrix?

  • avatar
    Jacob

    It’s bizarre that half of the posts are asking “why does Scion still exist?”

  • avatar

    As a long time scion owner, I find the new offerings just sad. I miss the quirky styling and “fun” they used to offer. I have given up on my secret hope to see a refresh on the xB and this won’t get me to buy a new Scion.

  • avatar
    gomez

    Scion’s original success was based on affordable, uniquely Japanese models that were different from anything else you could buy. They weren’t very powerful, but they were trendy. Then Scion started producing more mainstream cars that weren’t much different from the Toyotas they were based on and it all fell apart. If Scion wants to recapture the magic, they need to bring over Daihatsus instead of Toyotas.

  • avatar
    Wizegui

    The 1.8L engine in the iM may not be the quickest car on the block, but it’s more or less in line with the entry level engines from the equivalent Honda/Hyundai compacts. I’ve driven the regular Corolla LE Eco with the CVT and the performance was more than adequate for what buyers of this class would expect.

    I really wanted to like this car, but I did wish that it had a more powerful engine option and a body kit delete. Great to see that they’ve kept the Auris’ multilink IRS.

  • avatar
    banerjba

    I am a huge Toyota fan. But as a middle aged man, I will not be driving a “Scion”.

    This car is a Corolla. The interior is nearly identical. Change the brand and watch the sales double. It is a good looking conservative car with more than adequate performance if it is Corolla-like. Young people buy Mazda, Hyundai and Kia. Not oddly branded Toyotas. Canadians love Toyotas and we even bought a lot of those last gen homely Matrices. Imagine the easy sales now that you have a nice looking hatch again.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    God, even the key fob has fake stitching. And the interior has too many materials of varying texture and gloss. Adds to the cheapness.

    Scion, once again showing us how their customer obviously has no desire to go anywhere with dignity.

    I’ll have a Golf or the very pretty and sexy Mazda3 hatch.

  • avatar
    Illan

    Toyota is Pulling some old GM moves lately. hopefully their quality won take a hit.


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