New Car Review

2016 Scion iM: First Drive Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iM
Used 2016 Scion iM
$13,183
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iM
Used 2016 Scion iM
$13,998
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iM
Used 2016 Scion iM
$13,700
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion FR-S
Used 2016 Scion FR-S
$19,603
RELATED READING
See all Scion any articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Colin Ryan July 2015

The 2016 Scion iM is an all-new hatchback from Toyota's "youth-oriented" brand. However, it is one of the most mature cars to ever wear the Scion badge, and it has a skill set that should appeal to buyers of many ages.

Confusingly, Scion calls the iM a subcompact car, but then says it's a competitor to the Ford Focus, which is well-known as a compact car. It's based on a Toyota sold in other parts of the world as the Auris (not the Yaris) and it shares a platform with the tC coupe. Perhaps the strange size claim is so the company can then say something along the lines of "best interior space for a subcompact."

Space Exploration

The iM does have a nice amount of interior space, even for a compact. In terms of leg, head and shoulder room, there's certainly enough for an adult of average size. With the rear seats up, the 20.8 cu ft. in the trunk area could accommodate one of those extra large suitcases placed on its side. The rear seats do the usual 60/40 split, and they fold down to create more cargo volume.

Design Study

Style-wise, the iM has an "angry and angular" look that's similar to many modern cars. The nose seems related to the Toyota Corolla, but its tail end appears a little more distinct. The company definitely isn't afraid to assert some character.

As a slight contrast, the interior is a welcoming place with pleasant shapes, decent materials such as piano black and satin chrome trim accents, and a 7-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. The instrument cluster houses a full-color 4.2-in thin-film-transistor display, which is a first for a Scion. The seats are comfortable, visibility is good, and there are eight cup holders.

Safe Haven

The iM has not yet endured the crash-testing programs of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), but the Auris has performed well in European crash tests. A complement of eight airbags includes one for the driver's knees. Disc brakes are deployed at both ends and the iM also has hill-start assist. Toyota's Smart Stop Technology ensures that the brakes override the throttle if both pedals are pressed inadvertently.

Search Engine

A 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers a modest 137 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. For comparison, the Focus starts out with 160 hp. This is the same engine found in the big-selling Toyota Corolla, so calling it tried, tested and trusted is an understatement. It hums away with a quiet efficiency, achieving 28 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg combined when it has an automatic transmission, or 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy/31 mpg combined when it has a manual transmission, according to the EPA.

The iM's standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, which works fine. The automatic option is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven preprogrammed steps to simulate conventional gears. It has a sport mode that stays in each step for longer and lets the engine rev higher, but sometimes that gets a bit buzzy. Putting the shift lever into manual mode allows the driver to change up or down at his or her discretion. The shifting action at least has the virtue of being fast and smooth.

Handle with Care

Sadly, mentioning the Ford Focus is possibly not the smartest move, considering how that car's brilliant chassis combines ride quality with dynamic talents. It's hard to beat, and the iM doesn't come particularly close to even matching it in terms of driving characteristics or ride comfort. Going over rough surfaces makes the cabin somewhat loud, and bumps aren't absorbed to the same degree as some of the higher-quality compact hatches, such as the Focus and the Volkswagen Golf.

Despite comparatively wide tires, the steering is too light and doesn't have the same feel as the Focus. So it's unlikely that the iM will find many fans among those who like to squeeze some joy out of their daily drives.

Cash In

On the plus side, the 2016 Scion iM starts at $19,255 (including $795 destination) when it goes on sale this September, and it has an impressive list of standard equipment, including a Pioneer infotainment system with good-looking graphics and voice recognition, LED daytime running lights, a backup camera, Bluetooth, power-folding heated mirrors and dual-zone climate control. Those handsome 17-in alloy wheels are also part of the deal. The CVT version starts at $19,995 (including destination), and navigation is one of the few options. Since Scion usually likes to promote customization, it also offers a few TRD (Toyota Racing Development) parts: air filter, oil cap, lowering springs and anti-roll bars.

So the iM earns high marks when it comes to Scion hallmark style, value, fuel economy, customization and a hard-to-quantify cool factor. However, this isn't a performance car and doesn't offer the same kind of entertaining drive as cars like the Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta or VW Golf.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iM
Used 2016 Scion iM
$13,183
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iM
Used 2016 Scion iM
$13,998
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion iM
Used 2016 Scion iM
$13,700
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Scion FR-S
Used 2016 Scion FR-S
$19,603
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 iM: First Drive Review - Autotrader