Scion iM

The Scion iM is first and foremost a practical car, but it was also designed to be fun with a responsive engine and great handling. The suspension design is based on the TC, meaning it's a double wishbone independent setup in the back, aiding handling without impinging on interior space. However, the iM is only available in one body style, as a 5-door hatchback, meaning that it has the TC beat as far as interior room is concerned.

The engine itself displaces 1.8 liters and makes 137 horsepower. That power is sent to the front wheels via either a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that functions like an automatic. The 6-speed is more fun, but the CVT is the mpg champion, boasting a rating of 32 mpg in combined city and highway driving (the 6-speed is still rated at 31 mpg in combined driving.)

The only options on the Scion iM are a navigation system a range of customization accessories, such as a performance air intake system, sway bars, lowering springs, enhanced interior lighting and body graphics.

The list of standard features on the iM is long, but highlights include a 6-speaker Pioneer sound system with iPod integration, a 7-inch display unit in the dashboard, a rear backup camera, a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster, dual-zone air conditioning, power windows, heated folding exterior mirrors, 60/40 folding rear seats, automatic headlights, an acoustic layer windshield, a Hill Start Assist system and 17-inch wheels.

Safety features on the Scion iM include traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes, along with a hill start feature and a rear backup camera. Eight airbags come standard, including one for the driver's knees as well as one nestled away in the front passenger seat cushion.

Editors' Review

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Scion isn't even old enough to qualify as a teenager yet, but like any good adolescent, it's already gotten itself into quite a lot of trouble over its brief life.

Launched in 2003 to much fanfare, Toyota's youngest marque reached its sales zenith in 2006, and today, demand for its models is less than half of what it was at its peak. Once hailed as an incubator for risky designs and as a model for attracting younger, hipper customers, Scion has languished in recent years, in part due to a dearth of new products.

That changes starting right now, with the Scion iM hatchback shown here, along with an even less expensive new sedan sourced from Mazda dubbed iA. Both models hit showrooms this month, and they're the first tangible sign in years that Toyota hasn't given up on its experimental small-car brand. These cars are worth paying attention to, because they're well constructed and offer good value.

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The Good With its racy yet utility-rich hatchback shape and a well-crafted, equipment-rich interior, the 2016 Scion iM should appeal to first-time buyers.

The Bad The iM's sporty bodywork promises a significantly more engaging drive than the humble 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission can deliver. Scion's mono-spec strategy means that you have no option choices beyond transmission, so if you want items like a sunroof or HID headlamps, you're out of luck.

The Bottom Line The 2016 Scion iM is an attractive, value-priced compact car with good space, but ultimately middling efficiency and underwhelming driving dynamics.

Editors' Rating

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