Scion adds a new model to the lineup this year, in the form of the subcompact iA sedan. Based on the stellar Mazda2 underpinnings, the front-wheel-drive iA rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and includes front struts and a stabilizer bar and a rear torsion beam suspension. Power comes from a 16-valve, 106-horsepower 1.5L 4-cylinder engine, which can be paired with either a standard 6-speed manual or optional automatic transmission. In the automatic, fuel economy is rated at 33 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway, while the manual-equipped iA returns slightly less, at 31 and 41, respectively.
The iA is available in one trim level. Standard features include power mirrors with integrated turn signals, a chrome-tipped exhaust, and halogen headlights. Inside you'll find push-button start, a backup camera, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, and a 60/40 split-fold rear seat. A seven-inch touchscreen display controls the Scion Access Connect multi-media system (though a large central knob does the job, too), while USB ports, Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming, along with voice recognition and SMS text functionality, provide cutting-edge connectivity.
Other than the $1,100 automatic transmission, the only other option in the iA is an $419 SD card pre-loaded with navigation software, to be installed at a dealer.
The iA is also loaded with safety features like dynamic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes, plus a low-speed collision system, brake override and a host of front, rear and side airbags.
The 2016 Scion iA represents many things for the brand. It's the first sedan to bear the Scion name. Starting at $15,700, it's the least expensive model in the current lineup. It is also one of the best () cars to ever wear the Scion badge, which is interesting because it's actually a Mazda in disguise.
By now, it's no secret that the iA is actually a badge-engineered 2016 Mazda2 sedan, built by Mazda in its Salamanca, Mexico assembly plant before basically receiving a "Face/Off"-style fascia swap with a Prius C. But because Mazda has announced that it won't be selling a Mazda-badged Mazda2 in the US market anytime soon -- and, as I recently learned, the iA is such a fantastic little car -- I'll welcome it wearing any badge it can.
Beneath its Toyota engine cover breathes a 1.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine. Output is stated at a modest 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. Mating the engine to the front wheels is either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with a flexible locking torque converter. Scion tells us that the automatic can lock its torque converter in any gear to give the powertrain a more direct and responsive feel. My Sapphire blue example featured the manual gearbox.
The Good Forward automatic emergency braking and a rear camera are standard features on the 2016 Scion iA. A lively 1.5-liter engine and some of the best handling in class reward the driver with performance far beyond what the on-paper specs imply.
The Bad The standard 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system lacks Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility and doesn't look as easy to upgrade as other models in Scion's lineup.
The Bottom Line With spec-defying performance and surprisingly sophisticated driver-aid tech, the 2016 iA is both one of the best cars to wear the Scion badge and one of the best in its class.
A new platform and powertrains should make the hatchback a much more entertaining and refined car than the sedan... but will people buy it?
For those wanting a special trim and other additions over the standard 86, Toyota plans to produce fewer than 2,000 of these special models.
It's going to be a long time before this problem goes away.
Frankly, I'm surprised this manga-infused mashup didn't happen sooner.
All in, Toyota's three brands have recalled nearly 5 million vehicles for this reason.
The two newest Scions will continue to prosper after the brand is consigned to history, albeit with Yaris and Corolla badges.
The brand will have its last hurrah at the New York Auto Show, complete with old concepts, projects and -- of course -- free swag.
The 2016 iA sedan is one of the best cars to ever wear the Scion badge, which is interesting because it's actually a Mazda.