Goodbye to the Wedge: Will Toyota Grace Us With a Next-generation IM?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The strange saga of the Scion brand ended in 2016, but there’s still two holdouts from Toyota’s foray into the funky youth market: the Corolla iM and the Mazda 2-based iA sedan.

Across the Atlantic, the iM carries the Auris name, and there’s a next-generation model scheduled for a public unveiling at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. If Toyota deems the current iM’s sales sufficient, this third-generation Auris will become your second-generation iM.

Judging by this teaser photo released by the automaker, the new Auris ditches the doorstop shape in favor of a flowing five-door design that immediately calls to mind the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Nissan Leaf. There’s only so many ways to package a hatch.

Debuting in the new Auris is a new hybrid drivetrain, this one featuring a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as its dance partner. There’ll be more details available at Geneva. Right now, the iM is only available with a Corolla-spec 1.8-liter four-banger, mated to a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic. Neither the engine nor the CVT impressed in our most recent review, despite the attractive five-door’s obvious virtues.

A hybrid system would change things up (while boosting the model’s price). Still, we don’t even know for sure whether iM will even return in a new form. Corolla buyers overwhelmingly choose the sedan over the hatch. In 2017, iM sales in the U.S. amounted to 20,501 units. Subtracting this number from the Corolla family’s overall U.S. sales leads us to a figure of 308,695 — obviously, the sedan reigns supreme in buyers’ minds.

Is a second-gen iM worth it? That’s for Toyota to decide. Spy photos of a camouflaged iM tooling around southern California that cropped up late last year should give iM fans a decent amount of hope.

[Image: Toyota]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • Duke Woolworth Weight 4800# as I recall.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X '19 Nissan Frontier @78000 miles has been oil changes ( eng/ diffs/ tranny/ transfer). Still on original brakes and second set of tires.
  • ChristianWimmer I have a 2018 Mercedes A250 with almost 80,000 km on the clock and a vintage ‘89 Mercedes 500SL R129 with almost 300,000 km.The A250 has had zero issues but the yearly servicing costs are typically expensive from this brand - as expected. Basic yearly service costs around 400 Euros whereas a more comprehensive servicing with new brake pads, spark plugs plus TÜV etc. is in the 1000+ Euro region.The 500SL servicing costs were expensive when it was serviced at a Benz dealer, but they won’t touch this classic anymore. I have it serviced by a mechanic from another Benz dealership who also owns an R129 300SL-24 and he’ll do basic maintenance on it for a mere 150 Euros. I only drive the 500SL about 2000 km a year so running costs are low although the fuel costs are insane here. The 500SL has had two previous owners with full service history. It’s been a reliable car according to the records. The roof folding mechanism needs so adjusting and oiling from time to time but that’s normal.
  • Theflyersfan I wonder how many people recalled these after watching EuroCrash. There's someone one street over that has a similar yellow one of these, and you can tell he loves that car. It was just a tough sell - too expensive, way too heavy, zero passenger space, limited cargo bed, but for a chunk of the population, looked awesome. This was always meant to be a one and done car. Hopefully some are still running 20 years from now so we have a "remember when?" moment with them.
  • Lorenzo A friend bought one of these new. Six months later he traded it in for a Chrysler PT Cruiser. He already had a 1998 Corvette, so I thought he just wanted more passenger space. It turned out someone broke into the SSR and stole $1500 of tools, without even breaking the lock. He figured nobody breaks into a PT Cruiser, but he had a custom trunk lock installed.
Next