By on January 25, 2017

2017 Toyota Corolla iM

2017 Toyota Corolla iM CVT

1.8-liter inline-four, DOHC (137 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm, 126 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm)

Continuously variable automatic, front-wheel drive

28 city / 36 highway / 31 combined (EPA rating, MPG)

8.3 city / 6.5 highway / 7.5 combined (NRCan rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $19,615 (U.S.) / $24,230 (Canada)

As Tested: $20,355 (U.S.) / $25,065 (Canada)

Prices include $865 destination charge in the United States and $1,690 in freight, PDI, A/C tax and fees in Canada.

Long, long ago (2003), in a land far, far away (Torrance, California), Toyota’s American division woke from a fever dream of beige sedans, took a long, hard look at its life, and promptly embarked on a midlife crisis.

While the flow of staid and sensible Corollas and Camrys never ebbed, a funky new alter ego with a polar opposite personality emerged on the automotive scene. Scion was the Mr. Hyde to Toyota’s Dr. Jekyll. Youthful, offbeat, unapologetically boxy — anything but beige.

Poochy Scion made a splash, but even crises have a shelf life. Eventually, the free-thinking, free-wheeling designs that temped college graduates a decade prior morphed into warmed-over second-generation models with watered-down attitudes. The brand’s original clientele, having abandoned their amateur photography websites and once-a-week DJ gigs for babies and 401(k)s, fell away.

After 13 years, it was time to ditch the gold medallions, torch the little black book, and go home to the wife. But Toyota didn’t pull up in the driveway empty-handed.

2017 Toyota Corolla iM rear quarter

Scion’s summertime death at the hands of its parent may have brought an end to the faded xB and tC, but the last progeny born of the fling — the Scion iM introduced for the 2016 model year — lives on, minus the defunct badging. The mildly edgy compact hatch now bears a decidedly unfunky Toyota Corolla prefix. Its mission, however, is unchanged: dazzle young buyers with sporty looks, a low starting price and decent amounts of cargo space, then have them fall into Toyota’s arms — ideally for years, if not decades.

If those three criteria are your only concerns, then the Corolla iM stacks up well. The low nose, sharply raked windshield and look over here body kit sets it apart, for better or worse, from its five-door rivals, and its interior avoids the button-heavy clutter or acres of gray plastic born of automakers trying too hard or too little to impress. “Nice, an actual flat-topped dash,” one friend (admittedly, a Scion xB owner) remarked.

He’d obviously never been in a Corolla before, as the iM copies its interior layout down to the letter. Some Scion, huh?

As I like to pretend I’m a scientist, the climate control system’s toggle switches stirred inner fantasies of owning a World War 2 laboratory. It’s the little things that always delight. Still, while taking in the whole package — clean profile, dignified yet somewhat spartan interior, attractive 17-inch wheels and incandescent Electric Storm Blue paint — I found myself immediately wanting to like the iM.

2017 Toyota Corolla iM side

The More We Get Together

You know the friend’s friend or coworker you admired from afar? The one who seemed like a compatible partner at first, before accumulated knowledge and experience shattered the illusion? Sadly, that’s what I experienced in the iM.

The fabric driver’s seat proved much too soft for my liking. Perhaps a lighter person wouldn’t sink so far, but I felt like I’d never hit bottom. The biggest complaint from this 6’4″ driver, however, was that a comfortable seating position proved impossible to find. While the steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, its reach falls far short. As such, every attempt to get “in the zone” proved maddening — the wheel remained too far forward, while the door-mounted armrest sat too low to allow a comfortable grip on the wheel with my left hand. Adjusting the seat position to bridge the gap, ahem, came up short.

It’s too bad, as legroom proved perfectly acceptable. I’ve yet to talk to an average-sized iM driver, so I’m not sure if the seating issue is just my cross to bear.

In the backseat, a place I normally avoid going, my scalp came close to grazing the headliner, but I was born a stringbean, remember. Legroom isn’t any different from what you’d expect in a compact car.

2017 Toyota Corolla iM interior

Legs in Search of Muscle

Toyota didn’t throw out Scion’s one-size-almost-fits-all strategy when it comes to the orphaned iM’s drivetrain, so if it’s not offered on a Corolla, this thing won’t have it. The sole powerplant is Toyota’s venerable 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which, at 137 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque, isn’t exactly a caged tiger. Stoplight launches — best described as “drama-free” — were accompanied by some buzziness from the continuously variable transmission. If owning a sensible screamer is your goal, you’d best look elsewhere.

If given a choice, I’d have enthusiastically opted for the available six-speed manual in the hopes of stirring up some entry-level fun, instead of keeping the CVT perpetually locked in Sport mode. (The tranny’s seven manual mode shift points were called on to keep the iM out of the rhubarb on freshly icy hills.)

A big letdown was steering feedback that fell on the numb side of the fence, but at least the iM’s legs proved up to the task. Unlike the Corolla, the iM drops its cousin’s torsion-beam rear suspension in favor of an independent setup, leading to competent and composed road manners, especially in corners. Road imperfections could stand a little more ironing.

If Toyota saw fit to endow the iM with extra power, heavier steering and less wheel play, the model could shine as a hotter hatch. Unfortunately, the automaker doesn’t seem to want to join the ranks of the Mazda 3 GT, Honda Civic hatch, and uplevel Volkswagen Golfs in that small but energized segment. Then again, I could be making the mistake of looking at the iM as a wholly new model, and not as a replacement for the long-gone Toyota Matrix — a niche-filling model available for most of its run with a solitary, entry-level powerplant. (All-wheel-drive and a hotter engine option bowed out after 2006.)

Let’s face it. Neither the Matrix nor the iM slinked off the drawing board as an enthusiast’s car. Want to have more fun without leaving the camp? Toyota will gladly sell you a 86, now with an extra 5 hp. Try not to use the backseat. Twenty-somethings with a dog, a paycheck and a shelf from IKEA, on the other hand, might find their easily attainable prayers answered, especially with prices starting below $20,000. Your girlfriend’s stern dad would have a hard time withholding his approval.

2017 Toyota Corolla iM front

The Art of Just Enough

On the tech front, those car-hungry Millennials will need to make do without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Toyota likes its in-house connectivity, so deal with it, youngsters. Infotainment and Bluetooth functions are accessed through a seven-inch touchscreen, with voice commands and hands-free calling accomplished through steering wheel controls. Navigation is notably absent, though Toyota makes it available through an optional tech package.

To keep the iM’s free-spirited yet sensible occupants safe, a grainy backup camera joins a lane-departure warning and pre-collision warning as standard equipment. Just remember neither system will physically rein in the vehicle if things get out of hand, so abandon any autonomous dreams before walking through those showroom doors.

Minus the nagging seating issue and less-than-thrilling performance, the iM bore all the hallmarks of a vehicle willing to soak up your lifestyle — and general neglect — for years without complaint. With so much borrowed from the sedate and reliable Corolla, it’s hard to conclude otherwise. It’s also easy on the eyes.

In mixed driving, this tester averaged 29 miles per gallon, less than the EPA combined rating of 31 mpg (which is 2 mpg less than the combined efficiency of a base, automatic Mazda 3 five-door). Keep in mind, however, my near-constant use of the CVT’s higher-revving Sport mode, not to mention the winter rubber.

Toyota’s well-adjusted stepchild is anything but red-headed, but its pleasant looks, mild-mannered disposition and competitive price masks a lack of brawn. With the automaker seemingly eager to throw off the shackles of sensibility — something it telegraphed at the Detroit auto show — it should consider taking the iM to the gym. Respectability is great, but it rarely breeds enthusiasm. Have the Corolla sedan tag along, too.

2017 Toyota Corolla iM

[Images: © 2017 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

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78 Comments on “2017 Toyota Corolla iM Review – Know Your Place...”


  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “The biggest complaint from this 6’4″ driver, however, was that a comfortable seating position proved impossible to find.”

    I other words, it’s a Toyota. No need to read any further, I decided long ago that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my posture at the altar of higher CR scores and better residuals.

    • 0 avatar
      B_C_R

      You’d probably fit perfect in a first generation Scion xB!

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        At 6’6″, the xB1 was perfect for me over 7 years of ownership. The seats were firm, but terrible for more than 2 hours, not to mention the high-revving drone from the engine (5-speed stick, which was geared lower).

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’d say that this is constrained to their smaller cars and Rav4s, I personally find Camries and their trucks to have adequate space/seating accomodations, but certainly still falling short of most Europeans.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’m looking at US Census data and see that 6’4″ is 98th percentile for height for males in their 30s. I’m six feet tall and didn’t find any difficulty getting the driving position correct for me in the current Corolla. Toyota used to be horrible in producing useful driving positions for people above about 5’6″ in their compact cars but they’ve improved notably.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The problem isn’t head clearance, it’s short seat bottoms that provide no support, and flat seat backs. I end-up with my knees in the air, supporting the bottom half of my body using the muscles in my lower back. The flat seat back forces me to hang-on too tightly to the steering wheel to brace myself.

        This is a problem that European brands solved 40+ years ago, just like they solved automatic headlights 20+ years ago. Toyota still can’t get it right.

        I’ve done 16 hour days in a Saab that were less exhausting than a half hour driving a Corolla.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I’m not arguing that Toyota has gotten it right for 6’4″ individuals who are 2% of the male population, I’m arguing they have improved for Americans of a more typical height. I owned a Jetta Sportwagen and am well aware of the ergonomic differences. And I agree with your statement about head clearance not being the only issue for tall folks and didn’t argue otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            I’m not 6’4″, Steph (the author) is. I’m 6’2″, which I guess is close enough…

            The thing is, shorter people don’t complain about Swedish car seats (for instance). There is a way for Toyota to design seats that fit a broader range of customers. The reason why they don’t is beyond me. Maybe there’s a senior Toyoda family member who vetoes any seat and headlight redesign.

        • 0 avatar
          Varezhka

          At 5’5″, I have an impossible time getting into a comfortable seating position while driving most German or American makes (Ford and VAG especially), so I think it’s just an issue of car designer choosing where the “average” is.

          I was a lot more comfortable in the seat of first generation Fit than the second generation where they fitted a larger set of seat for Americans. With many German/American cars, the seat bottom is too long that my lower back won’t touch the seat back, too wide that I’m sliding around, and shift lever too far behind me if I want to step on the clutch pedal.

          No, Europeans never solved this issue. They just optimized the layout for larger drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      CaptainObvious

      Yep! This 100%. Toyota cannot design a seat with enough thigh support and range of adjustments for tall people. I’m 6’3″ and have owned a couple of Toyotas – a Camry and a Celica – and will never buy another for myself – their seats are horrible.
      If my wife, son or daughter want one – fine – just don’t ask me to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I’m 6′ even and had a rental Camry I drove from Sacramento to LA and back. One of my biggest complaints was the seat. I couldn’t get comfortable no matter what I did and felt I needed a chiropractor and masseuse at the end of the trip.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      CR frequently complains about driving position in Toyotas, by the way. My dad has a 2015 Camry and I’m 5’10” and I can never get comfortable in the dang thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      This was a problem on older Corollas, Matrixes and Pontiac Vibes. It was one of the main reasons I went for the Civic instead.

      I thought they had fixed it by now.

      I’ve heard that American Honda makes a point of having tall Americans (men who are 6′ 6,” women who are 5′ 12″ meet Honda’s Japanese executives and designers so that they will be aware of how big Americans have become.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      I’m 6’4″ and had no problem with the seats in my years of Yaris and xD ownership. There was adequate room and I never had any particular discomfort on long trips (other than the general discomfort of being in a car for hours). Of course whenever I sat in any non-toyotas at the Auto Show I noticed them having acres more legroom (but usually less headroom). My Mazda3 feels cavernous by comparison (plus it’s my first car with a height adjustable seat or telescoping wheel) but the seats in general are no more or less comfortable than the xD or Yaris seats.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “As such, every attempt to get “in the zone” proved maddening”

    I think this has been the case with every corolla since the ’03 MY, and I’m a shorter 5’11.”

  • avatar

    I test drove this when I was looking to replace my 9 year old xB. I honestly thought the drivetrain was defective. I had never driven a CVT before, and the manual was no better. Hideous little car to drive, no guts, no uniqueness at all. If this was the best Scion could come up with, it deserved to die.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      I also had a similar impression when driving a rental Corolla CVT. I was using cruise control on a highway with big rolling hills.

      In an effort to control speed on the downhills, the CVT would slowly decrease (or increase?) the gear ratio to get more engine braking. Several times it brought the engine up to 4,000rpm! It would be screaming all the way down the hill. It wasn’t refined or pleasant.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m no fan of CVTs but the one in the Corolla actually works fairly well. The problem, I’d say, is the Corolla’s lack of horsepower and torque. The transmission is always “hunting”. Same problem the last-gen Civic had.

        The new Civic CVT is far better behaved…because it has about +/- 160 horsepower.

        • 0 avatar
          LeMansteve

          That, and full torque is available at 1,700rpm.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I guess you’re talking about the 1.5 turbo, which I didn’t drive (more than I wanted to spend). My Jetta 1.4 T has tons of torque too.

            The Civic I was shopping had the basic 2.0 and a CVT, and it was a pretty decent setup – a huge improvement over the last-gen Civic. The new one has decent horsepower, which makes a huge difference.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Tangential point here, but when borrowing relativess’ NX 200t last summer, I was surprised to find that the cruise control and 6-speed auto behave differently than they did in their third-gen RX 350. In that RX (and in virtually all other auto/cruise vehicles I’ve driven), gravity could pull you up beyond the set speed. The NX 200t, OTOH, will automatically downshift and engine brake so as not to exceed the set speed. The former is helpful if you know the downslope in question and want to utilize the kinetic energy for economy’s sake; the latter is helpful if the road is more treacherous or if you’re rolling toward potential speed traps.

        I’ve driven rental Sentras a couple of times, but the terrain wasn’t hilly enough to demonstrate what downhill behavior was like.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Definitely needs more power. The 2.5 from the Camry could work.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      They put it in the TC, they should have put it in this. The engine is the #1 reason I wouldn’t get this car. It checked off all my other boxes but I couldn’t live with that lack of power.

      Considering the 2014/2015 Elantra GT if I go the hatchback route. I could get the 6MT with the 2.0 liter GDI engine. Once I can find one close enough to test drive, I can compare it to my daughter’s 2012 Soul and see which makes me smile more.

    • 0 avatar
      TTACFanatic

      Even a half-step for it and the regular Corolla would be welcome and make it competitive.

      Mazda 3 2.0: 155hp
      Honda Civic 2.0: 158hp
      Chevy Cruze 1.4T: 153hp
      Ford Focus 2.0: 160hp
      Hyundai Elantra 2.0: 147hp

  • avatar

    After reading this review, there’s no compelling reason to buy this car new. I think that I would be better off with anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I can’t even find a reason to buy it used with that pathetic engine. I hope the Civic can make Japanese hatchbacks desirable again. I won’t ever touch another Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        Brett Woods

        What happened with your Mazda?

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          Bean-counted to death. The interiors were horribly cheap and had more rattles brand new than my current Altima at 10 years and 152,000 miles. Then there were little things, some were Ford’s fault for using the cheapest possible parts since Mazda was their Japanese bastard stepchild. But Mazda’s inability to make a reliable engine were huge turnoffs as well.

          2006 6
          2007 RX8
          2009 MS3

          I should have stopped after the first one. But I was in my mid 30’s and the cars were fun to drive. Just not fun to own.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            To be fair, you drove the rogue’s gallery of Mazdas from the past 10 years (assuming that 6 was the V6 model). NA 4-cylinder Mazdas are usually fine.

          • 0 avatar
            DearS

            I hope my 2004 Mazda3 doesn’t bankrupt me. I spend $1700 getting new tires, rim and a new suspension.

            I set aside about $1000 a year for repairs, $1200 for depreciation and have had it for 12 months. Hope the next 6 months are problem free to balance my car budget.

            Paid $3300 for it. $1700 for repairs = $4900 invested.
            $4900 – $1000 (repair expense) – $1200 = $2700 value in the car. If it goes troubles free for 15 months I’ll call it a great deal. I can sell it or junk at that point.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            It was the 4 cylinder, which was Ford’s engine. The problem with the 6 was just the horrible cheapness of the car.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            The 4-cylinder Mazda6 (2012) was considered in our Great Cheap Used Midsize Sedan Hunt a few years ago. Drove well, but the road noise killed it right off. Tested it back to back with the same year Fusion and Altima and the difference in tire roar was huge even at 30mph.

            And you’re right, the interior felt far cheaper than I expected given the reviews and press photos.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      There IS a reason to buy it new, cowboy…comically cheap leases.

      • 0 avatar
        badhobz

        nail on the head!

        they are reliable enough to own after the lease but to be honest, why bother.

        Toyota canada is doing 0% leases again for their 2017 already (its only jan!)

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Price, I think. The other compact hatches are very bare-bones at $20k and cost a couple thousand more for equivalent features. Besides, a lot of buyers assume that more power would mean lower mileage.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I want to like this car, but man, it needs more power. Doesn’t even need GTI or ST power, but it needs something.

    That new 2.5L that’s going in the Camry would be nice.

    And to think, in Japan, at one time they put the 3.5L 2GR in something similar (Blade), but they only give us this little 1.8L turd here in the US.

    I thought Akio liked cars?

  • avatar
    deanst

    I thought Toyota was only rebadging the mazda2 – didn’t know they had a similar deal for the previous generation mazda3.

  • avatar
    madman2k

    Might as well get a new-old-stock Gen 3 Prius if there are any around, for probably the same price or less.

    Similar horsepower, almost double the city MPG, but the electric motor helps with the torque and it’s packaged pretty well, I am 5’11 and I had plenty of room even in the back seat.

    The Gen 4 is probably better, but who could stand to look at the thing while they walked toward it in a parking lot?

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Adding awd and or updated version with 4in lift kit could make this a great selling vehicle. Possibly putting a dent in Subaru sales. Yes, Toyota has the RAV4. This could be another awd option.

    • 0 avatar
      mshenzi

      Maybe, but if it’s still basically built with a Corolla mindset I have my doubts. I test-drove every version of the Matrix years ago (regular, AWD, higher HP) and was really surprised at how bad they were: rode and drove terribly, uncompetitive with everything else I was considering.

  • avatar
    ajla

    To join the chorus here, I think offering the 2.5L would be worthwhile on the iM and Corolla XSE. I also expect a 2.5L Corolla sedan/hatch would easily outsell the planned Gazoo Yaris.

    I guess it’s possible the Gazoo’s turbo could find its way into the iM and XSE but I don’t know how that pin-pulled grenade will work with an auto trans.

    In not saying to Hellcat the thing but some more power for people that often carry passengers or live at elevation would be welcome. Heck, my mother opted for the 2.4L over the 1.8L in her Matrix and she is hardly the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’d likely go for a Mazda3 hatch or Golf instead, but it frankly sounds like a very decent car in dire need of an updated powertrain. As long as you’re not a 6’4″ beanpole circus freak, that is.

    Nimble handling and a capable chassis combined with circa-1998 130hp + CVT is not a good dichotomy.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    “Lets just call the new Matrix a Corolla” Like the Matrix it has no soul. Owned an ’04 Matrix, it was the car Toyota forgot about. Also the manual transmission self destructed as they all did.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      3 gear synchros blew up?

      Happened on my wife’s VIbe at 40,000 miles. GM replaced it out of warranty. The next 100,000 miles were trouble free.

      • 0 avatar
        mik101

        Are you sure it just wasn’t covered under powertrain warranty? Who the hell would have bought a car that didn’t have a longer powertrain warranty than 36,000mi? Even Chrysler was doing something like 115,000km powertrain warranties in Canada back then…

        I suspect the GM had a 60k mile powertrain warranty and you’re just mistaken about it being out of warranty. Unless of course you meant to say they replaced it under warranty.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Eventually, the free-thinking, free-wheeling designs that temped college graduates a decade prior morphed into warmed-over second-generation models with watered-down attitudes. The brand’s original clientele, having abandoned their amateur photography websites and once-a-week DJ gigs for babies and 401(k)s, fell away.”

    Steph – you’re parroting Scion’s early marketing material. Scion never tempted “college graduates with amateur photography websites”.

    To Toyota’s surprise and dismay, Scion’s customers averaged 40 years old in the early days. I was 41 when I got my 05 xB1. At that time, the no-frills, low price approach was very appealing. Scion’s fortunes plummeted when they ‘listened to their customers’ and came out with the xB2 in 2008.

    http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/scion-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Ive been chastised here for saying I like the first xB, but hated the 2nd gen.

      “The first one was like a Tercel, the new one is like a Corolla.”
      Okay, makes sense. I prefer most Tercels to their Corolla equivalents. The Tercel and the first gen xB represents the best of Toyota IMO: cheap, no frills, reliable, sensibly styled. The Corolla, especially the latest one, is just cheap feeling, not actually cheap (unless of course you’re leasing your 4th one since Obamas first term). And, its trying-to-be-hip styling is ugly and comes off as trying too hard.

      The first gen xB and the first gen and last gen Tercel are my favorite Toyotas.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I also wanted to like the car and sat in one last year at the Scion dealer, but I loathed the driving position. I’m 6’1″ with long arms.

  • avatar
    mcs

    “Want to have more fun without leaving the camp? ”

    The 86 isn’t the only choice. The iA, especially with the 6-speed manual, isn’t a bad option if you want something sportier.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Yup, although it’s just as bad a choice for the big engine crowd. Still, the iA feels fizzier, more alive (that might just be the extra road noise and firmer ride though).

      Mind you, given how many people loyally buy Corollas, there’s nothing wrong with giving them a 5-door option. It won’t be thrilling, but it’ll be cheap and economical until the sun burns out.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The iA is a damn fine little car – good enough that it made the final cut of cars I was shopping last fall. The other finalists were the VW Golf and Honda Civic. Not bad company. In the end, I wanted something bigger. But if you’re in the market for a small car, definitely do yourself a favor and try out an iA.

      (And I do wish Toyota would import the five-door hatch version of the Mazda2 the iA’s based on, but I see why they don’t – it’d embarrass the living hell out of the Yaris.)

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I’m not surprised it’s mediocre in most ways and bland. But at least it has a fun body on top of it. Some people will buy them in a very non-exciting way, and that will be enough.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    There is no way Toyota is ever going to put a 2.5L engine in this car, or any Corolla. It doesn’t need a 2.5…it just needs a better, more up-to-date 1.8 or 2.0.

    There is no reason a modern 1.8L inline four should have only 132 hp, and no reason a modern 1.5L as in the Yaris should have only 106 hp.

  • avatar

    My younger brother just replaced a 2005 Scion xA with a red version of this car last Saturday. He has a 90 mile round-trip commute and racked up almost 250K miles on the xA. Out the door he paid a little less than $18,000.

    I suggested the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic, but he’s not a driving enthusiast and the Corolla iM is a good bet to last as long as the Scion did.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I tried a manual-equipped iM out last November, right after I drove a Corolla. In essence, this is the car the Corolla wants to be when it grows up. It feels far more solid than the Corolla (which suffers from a very unfortunate junky feel), and the interior looks and feels far better finished. And Toyota’s dealing on these.

    The driving dynamics are surprisingly good, but as Steph says, it’s all done in by the punk motor. It’s low on peak horsepower and even lower on torque. You have to rev it to death to get what little power it has. The manual is the better way to go, but either way, this car is underpowered.

    But Toyota might be onto something here…if they gave this another 30-40 horsepower, and sold it for, say, $22,000, they’d have a pretty legit cut-rate GTI.

  • avatar
    carguy

    A Toyota product that is dull but reliable?

    I bet no one saw that coming.

  • avatar
    MisterNoisy

    This thing needs the 2.0t from the Lexus NX paired to a decent six speed stick. It’s already got the looks of a hot hatch – just needs more oomph.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’d consider one of these if it had power comparable to a base Golf. But it does not so I shan’t.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    The arm rest on the door of my ’15 Civic is about 3″ too low, but the center arm rest is still a bit high. Silly!

  • avatar
    tmport

    I think this review is overly negative. I’m much more favorable to the opinion of subaruwrxfan, who has a great video review (available on YouTube) of his experience driving the car for a week. Granted, he had the 6MT, which could explain part of the difference. I myself test-drove the iM (when it was a Scion) with a CVT and liked it. The only thing I didn’t like was the sluggish throttle response, and that did help push me toward a different car. Otherwise it’s a pretty fantastic little hatchback for under $20,000.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      So the review is overly negative, but you passed over buying this car for the same reason as the reviewer’s main gripe. Gotcha.

      • 0 avatar
        tmport

        Sorry, but you’re mistaken. The main gripe in this review is the lack of power. My main gripe was the throttle response. Those are two very different things–you can have plenty of power but a sluggish throttle response, or you can have the reverse. One does not imply the other. I thought the power was more than sufficient for my mostly city driving. Have you watched subaruwrxfan’s review? It gives a much more balanced view of this car.

        Also, if you read what I wrote again, you’ll understand that the sluggish throttle response only “helped” push me toward a different car. The main factor was that the iM was still selling for about $20,000 back when I bought my current car (in late 2015). Now they are about $17,500. If I were to make the decision now, the iM would almost certainly win.

  • avatar
    Raevox

    Just chiming in with the same echo-chamber style response. I am in the market for a new car, and love the looks, but can’t get over the lacking drivetrain. And the infotainment system gives me pause, too. I want Android Auto.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Needs a power seat (like any/every Toyota) and a sunroof. Now we’re talking…

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    The Auris (iM) is an afterthought for North America and it shows. While I haven’t driven this or the current-generation Corolla yet (but I could write a term paper on the previous Corolla and Matrix), it looks like Toyota basically went back to the “little Asian guy” ergonomics that American-sized people had to contend with if they wanted a reliable and affordable car. While the mainstream cars like Accord and Camry have finally grown to suit the average American body type, you won’t usually find this kind of comfort in the assorted JDM-focused stuff that comes through once in a while. Ironic, since the Matrix, which to be fair, was designed in North America with GM “assistance” was pretty good in that respect.

    Before the SJWs come out, my dad (yes, biological) was a little Asian guy (5’4″) and he told me how perfect he found the ergonomics of our 1993 Camry but thought the Sequoia that he replaced it with was much too large. I’m 6’0″ and I still remember how I couldn’t get comfortable in the Camry I learned to drive in. I had vivid flashbacks with the 2001 Galant beater I bought that I sold to my uncle, it had a seat smaller than the Camry and short cushions meaning none of the designers were over 5’8.”

    This was actually the car I wanted in 2014 and I was willing to delay my purchase for one year when I was shopping for a hatchback since I was one of the few weirdos who liked the Matrix and found it sufficiently peppy and practical for my liking, but doing a bit of internet detective work on what it would cost, $19k was too much to ask for with an overtaxed 1.8 married to Toyota-priced financing. While I’m not asking them to go Focus/Sonic/Elantra GT where each of those cars were heavily discounted at one point to ridiculous prices, the iM was not $3,500 better than any of those. Now, assuming I’m going to pay sticker since there are miniscule margins on compact hatchbacks and the previous three were incentivized to stop them from collecting dust, why am I going to buy this for ~$19k MSRP with miniscule wiggle room when I can get a Civic turbo hatchback which beats it in every way except for looks for the same price? And Toyota hasn’t learned their lesson, the CH-R is going to also have a lame-o powertrain with no performance variant and no manual.

  • avatar
    mark p

    Anyone with experience with a CVT Toyota and the maintenance schedule along with how it operates along with any warranty repairs? I’ve never driven a CVT. I’ve heard that the Fiat/Chrysler, Nissan, and Honda CVT’s are junk. I know the Honda FIT had a problem with the output shaft breaking on the CVT but I think they solved that problem with reprogramming the computer to make the pressure less inside the transmission.


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