2012 Scion iQ – Small and smart
Small, cute and unique in its accommodation, the new 2012 Scion iQ is small at a tiny 3,045 mm in length and tipping the scales at only 965 kg (about 2,123 lbs). However looking at it in the flesh, it is wide and tall, giving it an almost a cube-like shape. Its funky exterior styling and quirky looks enamor it with personality that also extends to the inside.
The iQ sports has an offset seating arrangement that allows the front passenger to sit about 12 inches ahead of the driver. Incredibly this allows room for a third adult passenger behind the front passenger. There is a small fourth seat behind the driver as well that is more kid-sized than anything. The look of amazement on people’s faces when three people exit this uber compact car is really something to behold. Scion officially lists the seating in the iQ as three adults and one child and that is about right. Note the rear seats do fold down for extra cargo space.
The Scion has only one engine choice, namely a small 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine that generates 93 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a continuously variable transmission that sends power to the front wheels. Like all Scion niche vehicles, the iQ arrives as a one model version, but your local Scion dealer will provide an array of optional cosmetic and performance parts and accessories allowing you to customize your iQ. For such a small car, the safety features are outstanding and the Scion iQ has 11 standard airbags. The iQ arrives with a decent level of equipment including full power accessories, projector beam headlights and Bluetooth connectivity.
Inside, the iQ is very spacious up front and offers excellent head room for taller drivers. The rear is more cramped although tolerable on the passenger side. The interior design is modern and funky with some nice touches such as the cool retro-looking radio. However there is no glove box or driver side center armrest. Cargo space comprises 99 litres of space available behind the rear seats. Fold the rear seats down and space increases to an impressive 473 litres.
On the road, like most small cars the iQ is fun to drive and feels sprightly and fast around the city. The CVT is ideal in such a light car. Use the iQ transmission in ‘Sport’ mode and the CVT evens out its shift points for smoother transitions. Handling in such a short car allows for an amazingly tight turning circle, so handy in urban areas. The 175/60R16 all-season tires and firm suspension also add to the sporty ride.
Carry three people and there is only a slight decrease in acceleration and the CVT is smooth and seamless when it find its optimum rpm level. Downsides are few; the short wheelbase means more wheel hop and a degree of harshness on rough roads. The short, tall profile means some minor buffeting on windy highways and when passed by fast moving big rigs. Also no center armrest for the driver means no place to put your arm during long drives.
The stand out point is obviously the iQ’s amazing fuel economy. Officially rated a 5.5 L/100 km city, 4.6 L/100 km highway and 5.1 L/100 km combined, this city car makes a lot of sense. Another highpoint is the 32-litre gas tank that allows the iQ to travel over 400 km before requiring a fuel refuel so making it practical for long journeys.
Priced at a competitive $16,760, the Scion is a temptingly unique proposition for those who want a fuel-efficient small car and don’t want to buy a traditional looking sedan or hatchback. Another attraction is the ultra compact dimensions that make it an ideal car for city center and urban dwellers. It is certainly different and is also great if you are a one-child couple who only need three seats in a car!
A unique and sensible alternative in the ultra efficient small car segment makes for some serious consideration. The Toyota brand name and high resale value wont hurt it either. Very well executed for a new model.
2012 Scion iQ – base priced from $16,760