Saturday Road Test – Scion iM


Scion iM

Bang for the Buck

First Drive

By Ron Amadon

BOYDS, MD. – For many first time buyers the bottom line moves up to the top line because tight budgets matter.

So let’s go right to the bottom line MSRP for this 2016 offering from Scion: $19,594 with transportation. These days anytime you can get decent looking wheels for under $20K, well that’s news.

And there is a nice list of standard equipment:

Power folding heated mirrors, dual zone climate control, LED running lights, rear view camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 7 inch touchscreen. There is a six speaker audio system with HD radio and Aha streaming. Navi is optional. Options on the first drive test car included $185 floor mats, $65 wheel locks, and an $89 Rear Bumper Protector.

A nice interior touch is a cushioned pad along the center console for the driver’s leg. I can’t understand why that small feature is not included in more cars. And Scion is the only maker in this market range to offer two years of free scheduled maintenance.


Power, such as it is, comes from a 1.8-liter four with 137 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm and 126 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm. Consumers can choose either a slick six speed manual or a CVT. I would recommend the stick to add a sporty touch to an economy runabout and to extract maximum performance out of the iM.

There really is the need for another 10 to 20 horsepower here even at the risk of losing an MPG or three. But one can manage with what’s on hand considering this is designed to be a suburban errand running, commuter car.

Take it out on the interstate and the MPG hits 36 according to the EPA compared to 27 around town for a combined 31 mpg. That is something to be considered if the price of petrol takes another giant leap upward one day.


The iM interior is nicely trimmed with supportive and comfortable buckets, and 60/40 folding rear seats for additional cargo space. Two urbanites seeking a weekend in the country should find ample storage to the rear.

They would discover a ride that is neither sporty side stiff, or on the wallow side soft. Interior noise levels were on the quiet side for this price range and there is excellent small item storage up front.

Scion provides seating for five, while four might be more comfortable, but no one should ever go thirsty with eight cup holders spread around the interior. There is about 21 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, a bit on the small side.

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Based on the Toyota Auris that is sold in Europe and Japan, the iM rides on a 102.4 inch wheelbase and is 170.5 inches long, or about the size of a Hyundai Accent. A bit of a surprise, since, to my eyes, it appears to be a larger car.

The bottom line is a slick looking commuter vehicle squarely aimed at a younger demographic on a budget. A set of wheels that also promises a long and trouble free driving experience.

It is a Toyota after all.








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