Editor’s note: 2016 was the last production year of the Scion iM for the U.S.
What Is It?
The 2016 Scion iM is a 5-door hatchback that joins the brand’s newly announced iA sedan on the Scion stage at this year’s New York Auto Show. First revealed in concept form earlier this year, the iM shown in New York is very much a production car; it’ll reach dealers this fall.
On the outside, the iM stays relatively true to the concept car’s shape, though the bodywork has been whittled down to offer more of a traditional compact car look. Still, we like the eye-catching bodykit, the big alloy wheels, the aggressive front bumper and the look-at-me bright blue paint scheme.
Under the hood, the iM concedes a bit of its sporty demeanor with a fairly modest 137-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. Available transmissions include a 6-speed manual or a fuel-saving continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and Scion says that the iM’s gas mileage numbers will shoot as high as 37 miles per gallon on the highway in its most efficient form. But don’t be fooled by all the efficiency: Scion also notes that the iM offers sporty suspension and that the CVT has been "sport-tuned for driving pleasure."
As for equipment, the iM offers just about everything you might expect from a car in its price range, including a standard backup camera, an available 7-inch touchscreen, a 4.2-in TFT display in the gauge cluster and available dual-zone automatic climate control.
Although Scion hasn’t announced exact pricing, the automaker says that the iM will start under $20,000.
When Can You Get It?
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The world is running out of hatchbacks, and Scion’s parent company, Toyota, is partially to blame, having cancelled its iM-sized Matrix two years ago. But for the hatchback loyalist, the 2016 Scion iM offers a positive glimpse into the future: It touts reasonable pricing, a practical interior, a fuel-efficient powertrain and surprisingly sporty styling. If you’re struggling to find a hatchback that’s right for you, the iM is definitely worthy of a spot on your shopping list.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Subaru Impreza — The Subaru Impreza hatchback is a little more expensive than the iM, but it also offers standard all-wheel drive, whereas the iM comes with front-wheel drive. As reliable, practical hatchbacks go, both models are worthy of a spot on your shopping list.
2015 Volkswagen Golf — Although we suspect that the Golf is a little smaller than the iM, it offers many of the same elements, including fuel-efficient engines, a practical interior and reasonable pricing. It’s worth considering if you’re looking for a hatchback.
Used Lexus CT 200h — The Lexus CT 200h combines many of the iM’s benefits, such as Toyota reliability and excellent practicality, with a fuel-saving hybrid drivetrain and luxury appointments. New models are pricey, though, so you’ll probably want to consider a used or certified pre-owned CT.
Used Subaru Outback — If you’re looking for a hatchback with a little more room than the iM has to offer, consider a Subaru Outback. Technically a wagon, the Outback offers a larger cargo area, larger interior and excellent gas mileage. The only drawback is higher prices, which means you may need to consider a used model.