Recently Scion launched the new iM and iA vehicles in Santa Monica, California. Even though both were a joy to drive, only the iM will be evaluated at this time.
The Scion iM has a sporty and versatile 5-door design. The cabin is roomy with premium high-tech features.
The sport seating is standard and fitting, but just a little too fitted for me. There is an integrated whiplash injury lessening structure for occupant protection. More about safety later.
There are quality materials throughout the cabin. The layered dashboard combines a sport car aroma with an inspiring instrument panel with easy to reach controls.
The Scion iM has an acoustic layer windshield, foam-type insulation and floor silencer sheets to keep noise outside.
The 60/40 split fold-down rear seats and standard cargo cover add versatility. A roomy glove box and console box are supported by numerous front door pocket bins throughout. No trash without a place in this vehicle.
You have a choice of a 6-speed stick shift or advanced CVTi-S with 7-step shifting. The 137 hp 1.8 L 4-cylinder engine features Valvematic continuously variable valve lift mechanism, and is rated at 28/37/31 city/highway/combined mpg by EPA with the CVT, and 27/36/31 with the 6-speed manual.
The MSRP is $18,460 for manual transmission and $19,200 for the CVTi-S model. The iM comes in a mono-spec form with premium feature, making it a very competitive option in the compact segment.
Outside, Scion has a hexagon grille, sharp-eyed headlights, and side bezels with a honeycomb mesh pattern. There is an aerodynamics kind of expression that seems to profile dynamic movement from the lower front to rear.
The piano black grille, LED daytime running lights and taillights establish a distinct signature. The iM comes with a high-grade multimedia system. The 6-speaker Pioneer sound system will play from a variety of sources, including iPhone/iPod of course.
It is controlled through an easy to use 7-inch Display Audio unit that also includes standard HD-Radio and Aha internet radio. The screen also provides the view for the standard backup camera.
Additional features include air conditioning with dual-zone control, leather wrapped steering wheel, multi-info display, and hands-free calls via Bluetooth. Controls are easy to find on the steering wheel. The 4.2-inch color TFT multi-info display is located between the main instrument gauges for easy access to the various information readout.
The color selection gives a visual “pop” to the viewer’s eye. My favorite color was Barcelona Red Metallic. Scion also comes in Black Sand Pearl, Spring Green Metallic, Electric Storm Blue, Classic Silver and Blizzard Pearl.
For safety, the 2016 Scion iM comes with eight standard airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag and front passenger’s seat cushion airbag.
Hill Start Assist prevents roll back when pulling away from a stop sign or traffic light on an incline. High strength steel and special reinforcements in the structure add to the safety factor.
The chassis has a sophisticated double-wishbone rear suspension and standard 17-inch alloy wheels that combine to help control the car in a curve or to help avoid debris in the roadway.
The electric power steering programming and accelerator responsiveness helps low-speed maneuvering and the G AI-Shift logic detects lateral G-force during cornering while managing engine speed by restricting unnecessary shift changes.
I really liked the 6-speed stick shift because it rendered such a pleasant driving experience. You move easily through the gears. Whether driving the Pacific Coast highway, high mountain passes, small town streets or urban freeways, Scion smoothed out city bumps while helping to alleviate danger on sharp curved dirt roads.
Should you be interested in reserving a car (arriving this fall), I recommend you use Scion Pure Process Plus. This online tool simplifies the car buying process through scion.com by providing help along the way of customizing a vehicle, securing a price, applying for credit, and rating a dealership.
All this from the comfort of your home or office. Toyota Financial Services is working closely with Pure Process Plus and dealerships to expand this process.
3-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
2-year/25,000-mile Service Boost complimentary maintenance coverage
2-year 24-hour Roadside Assistance
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or firstname.lastname@example.org