Car Comparison

2016 Scion iA vs. 2016 Scion iM: What's the Difference?

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Used 2016 Scion iA
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See all Scion iA articles
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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro November 2015

The 2016 model year sees the addition of two new Scion models, the iA sedan and the iM hatchback. Although the major difference between these two cars is obvious, we think a lot of shoppers will consider both the iA and iM, and if so, they'll probably want to know whether there are any differences beyond their body styles. As a result, we've created a close comparison between the 2016 Scion iA and the 2016 Scion iM to show you the key differences and similarities between these two models before making your final decision.

Exterior

The major exterior difference between the iA and the iM is obvious from the first glance. The iA is a 4-door sedan, and the iM is a 5-door hatchback. It's important to understand the iM is not merely a hatchback version of the iA. Instead, these two cars offer distinctive looks: The iM hatchback touts a more aggressive front end and sportier styling, while the iA sedan offers a conventional look with restrained styling. Otherwise, these two cars are roughly the same size. The iM is 170.5 inches long, while the iA is 171.7 inches.

Interior

Despite close sizing and other similarities, the iA and iM couldn't be more different on the inside. The iA borrows its interior from Mazda (who builds the iA for Toyota's Scion brand), which means it looks more Mazda than Toyota. There's a Mazda steering wheel, Mazda switchgear, Mazda climate control vents and more.

Meanwhile, the iM is all Toyota, offering a smaller cabin similar to the Corolla version. There's a more upright dashboard, traditional Toyota controls and an integrated center screen instead of one that looks tacked onto the top of the dashboard. Despite these differences, passenger space is about the same in both cars, with the iM offering an advantage only in terms of cargo volume.

Mechanicals

Despite their similar sizing, the iA and iM use completely different engines, a function of the iA's Mazda-based underpinnings.

The iA is powered by a 106-horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, which boasts a standard 6-speed manual transmission, an available 6-speed automatic and fuel economy ratings of up to 33 miles per gallon in the city and 42 mpg on the highway with the automatic or 31 mpg city/41 mpg hwy with the manual.

The iM uses a muscular 137-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, which is borrowed from the Corolla. It, too, touts a standard 6-speed manual transmission, though its available automatic is a fuel-saving continuously variable transmission. Fuel economy is noticeably lower than the iA's figures at 28 mpg city/37 mpg hwy with the automatic or 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with the manual.

Features & Technology

Although the iA and iM are fairly typical small cars when it comes to features and technology, there are a few differences between the two models. For instance, the iM uses a center touchscreen that's integrated into the control stack, while the iA's screen sticks out on the top of the dashboard. The iA's screen is also controllable with a knob in the center console (or as a touchscreen), while the iM's touchscreen-only system doesn't have the feature.

Other major differences include a forward-collision braking system (standard on the iA and unavailable on the iM), automatic headlights (standard on the iM and not the iA) and optional performance modifications, like stiffer sway bars and lowering springs, which are only available for the iM.

Driving Experience

Unfortunately, neither the Scion iA nor the iM offer the sporty performance we expect from the Scion brand following the success of the tC coupe and the FR-S sports car. That's even in spite of the iM's sporty styling and available performance upgrades, both of which are a rarity on a car in this class.

Both the iA and the iM offer tepid acceleration, with the more powerful iM topping its underpowered iA stablemate. Neither car handles especially well either, though the iA offers slightly sharper cornering capabilities than the iM, likely due to its Mazda chassis. As for road comfort and wind noise, we'd say both of these models are average for their class. In other words, don't expect a vastly different driving experience between these two cars, and don't expect to be blown away by either of them.

Safety

Neither the iM nor the iA has been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The iM has also not been tested by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), though the iA has been tested by the IIHS, who awarded it a coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation.

As for safety features, these cars roughly offer the same level of standard equipment, including traction control, side-curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes. The iA stands out for its low-speed forward-collision warning system with automatic braking, which is standard. Such a system is usually optional in this segment, if it's available at all.

Conclusions

There are several major differences between the 2016 Scion iA and the 2016 Scion iM beyond the obvious fact that one's a sedan and one's a hatchback. Specifically, the iA offers better gas mileage and an impressive forward-collision mitigation system, while the iM boasts more cargo room and power. Unfortunately, neither of these models really excites us, but if we were choosing between the two, we'd probably go with the iA. It offers a substantially lower base price (by $2,400), sharper handling, better gas mileage and the automatic braking feature. Compared to the iM, its only real demerit is some extra cargo room.

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RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Scion iA
Used 2016 Scion iA
$11,803
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iA
Used 2016 Scion iA
$11,901
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Scion iA
Used 2016 Scion iA
$12,890
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iA
Used 2016 Scion iA
$12,890
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Scion iA vs. 2016 Scion iM: What's the Difference? - Autotrader