2016 Scion iM review with video
Base price: $21,165 + taxes
As tested: $21,990 + taxes
Highway fuel economy: 6.3-6.6 (depending on transmission)
City fuel economy: 8.3-8.6 (depending on transmission)
Competition: Ford Focus, Honda Fit, Hyundai Elentra, VW Golf
Since its inception, Scion has been targeting the younger demographic. The look, features and even the way you buy the car have all been tooled toward getting young people on board. Its parent company, Toyota, uses many of the same components in the Scion line but options are minimal and you can make the purchase almost entirely from the comfort of your iPad. However, let’s be honest, you don’t see that many of them around, do you? And for 2016, Scion is going a little more mainstream with its iM. This is a pretty traditional hatchback that shares the same driveline as the Toyota Corolla and because of that, it may appeal to a bit of a broader audience than its radical, less conventional Scion siblings.
As soon as you pull away from the curb, one of the big boxes for a hatchback is immediately checked-off. It’s fun to drive. The iM is zippy and whips around winding urban back alleys like a go-cart. This is particularly true when sport mode is activated and the car becomes even more eager. But look down at the fuel economy display on the dash, and you’ll be in for a surprise. This little hatch has a 1.8-litre four cylinder coupled with either a 6 speed manual transmission or continually variable transmission. That sounds as though it should be a very fuel efficient combo but I averaged around 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres over a week of driving. The rival Honda Fit that we tested a couple of months back saw an average of 5.8.
Other shortcomings include a noisy ride at highway speeds, limited rear leg room and very unsupportive seats that are only available in cloth, have no lumbar adjustment and don’t include heated seats… even as an option. But there are a lot of features that do come standard including low-profile tires, LED running lights, a back-up camera, Pioneer sound system, automatic dual zone climate control, cruise and air conditioning. So while this car’s base price of over $21,000 is steep, you get a fair bit for it. However, the top of the line Honda Fit, which includes leather, heated seats, navigation and a sun roof is just a titch more expensive at $22,500 and gives you a fair bit more kit.
I’d say, if you’re in the market for a sharp-looking, zippy hatchback, you should put the iM on your test drive list. But there are also a lot of others in this segment that deserve an equally close look. But the iM may well expand the reach for this company that up until now has been squarely focussed on the youthful urbanite. For a complete run down of this car, make sure to watch our video review at the top of the page.
Family Wheels pros: sporty exterior design, fun to drive (particularly in sport mode), excellent raft of standard equipment
Family Wheels cons: seats aren’t supportive, fuel economy not great for a small car, noisy cabin at speed, tight back seat, rear facing child seats render front passenger seat too tight, despite standard equipment still an expensive car compared to competition
Family Wheels target: second car for one or two child families out of rear facing car seats
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 2.5/5
Family Wheels trunk test score: 3/5
Family Wheels driveability score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 2/5
Family Wheels value score: 3/5
Family Wheels overall score: 17/30