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2012 Scion iQ first drive (photos)

After a couple of years' availability in other markets, Toyota finally brings its tiny iQ car to the U.S., branded as a Scion. Designed well for the city, the iQ is only 10 feet long, so is easy to park.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Toyota started selling its microsubcompact iQ around the world three years ago, during which time it won multiple awards for its creative packaging. Now Toyota deems the time is ripe to sell the car in the U.S., but is using its youthful Scion brand to market the car.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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Although the iQ is only 10 feet long, it boasts a back seat. Toyota carved out space in front of the front passenger seat, allowing that seat to move forward farther than the driver seat. As such, there is (technically) room for a passenger behind the front passenger seat. However, it is impossible to get into the back seat from the driver's side.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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Toyota keeps the iQ's construction costs low by using a torsion-bar rear suspension and drum brakes on the rear wheels. The front wheels get disc brakes. But the ride quality is surprisingly good, and the car comes standard with traction and stability control.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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At its launch, Scion will make this Five Axis body kit available for the iQ. Also available will be 25 accessories, such as TRD lowering springs and a sway bar.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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At 10 feet in length, the iQ is exceptionally easy to park, fitting in many spots unusable by larger cars. Here, Scion fits two iQs into a single metered space.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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At only 1.3 liters, the iQ's engine is also tiny. But it still has four cylinders, and uses variable valve timing to improve efficiency. Its EPA rating is 36 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, while its combined EPA fuel economy of 37 mpg is the highest of any non-hybrid car.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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A grey, black, and beige interior will be the only option for the iQ, as will be the continuously variable transmission. With a car this funky, Scion should offer an ambient lighting package.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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With the rear seats up, there is no cargo space. But these seats fold down in a 50/50 split, and the left rear seat is basically useless for passengers, so it should always be down.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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The iQ's cabin controls are very simple, with heating and air set up as three knobs running up the center dash, topped by one of three available head units. The instrument cluster combines speedometer and tach in a single pod.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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Scion's premium-level head unit sits between the base and navigation head units, and is the only one to offer Pandora integration. To use Pandora, you must have an iPhone running the app plugged into the car's USB port.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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With Pandora running, it is easy to choose different stations from your personalized list. This premium head unit and the base unit both also feature iPod integration and Bluetooth audio streaming.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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Scion also offers a full navigation head unit.

Back to Scion iQ first drive.

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