Roseville, Calif. – In some respect, this seemed an odd termination, considering that Scion rolled out a couple of compact vehicles for 2016 that may gain mass appeal.
Toyota announced in early February that it would be discontinuing the Scion brand, which debuted in 2003. At its inception, Scions were characterized by their edgy exterior and were targeted for young car buyers who were looking for an affordable vehicle with a “different” look.
Unfortunately for Scion, after a promising start, sales plummeted when the 2008 recession arrived and never rebounded. Toyota says it sold 56,000 Scions in 2015, which was about one-third of its 2006 sales.
One of the new models is the 2016 Scion iM, a compact hatchback with some good qualities. Toyota says the iM, iA sedan and the C-HR will become part of the standard Toyota line-up, beginning in August. Scion owners can still visit a Toyota service department for maintenance and repairs.
2016 Scion iM
* Performance: 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, 138 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 27-38 mpg
* Price estimate: $19,255
* Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/unlimited; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
What should interest car shoppers regarding the Scion iM is its gas mileage, five-door versatility, an abundance of standard features, comfortable ride, and appealing price (just over $19,000). Many of its competitors -Ford Focus, Kia Forte5 and Mazda3 – start at around the $23,000 mark.
The five-passenger Scion iM is an appealing vehicle for any commuter, a young person on a budget, or a senior citizen who is looking for a compact car that is easy to maneuver and gets good mileage (estimated at 27-38 mpg).
Scion has veered away from the edgy design that typified many of its earlier models. The iM has a nice look with its sweeping roofline, LED running lights and taillights, and overall has a somewhat sporty style.
The iM shares the same underpinnings as the compact Toyota Corolla. Some critics say the steering lacks a true “feel,” but the opinion here is the iM provides solid ride quality and gives the driver a feeling of control in most driving situations.
Another area of criticism is performance. The iM’s lone engine is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder that produces 137 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. It comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Going 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, the iM is rated one of the slowest in the compact hatchback class. However, this driver found the performance to be adequate in around town driving, freeway passing, and it even climbed sizable hills without too much extra exertion.
Scion did a nice job of providing an appealing interior. The iM is devoid of many hard surfaces that are typically used in economy cars and prevalent in previous Scion models. It features a standard 7-inch touchscreen that’s intuitive in its menu selections.
Even taller drivers will find good head and legroom in the iM. Like most compacts, the backseat is not all that accommodate a golf bag.
The Scion iM offers a pretty nice bang for the buck. It has a smart interior makeup, provides adequate performance and solid gas mileage. It’s worth a look and so is the Scion iA sedan.