Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Scion iQThe Scion iQ is the real smart car in this class.
-The newest Scion is small, would almost fit in the same box your Smart car came in. They call cars this size city cars. You know when a lot of folks see what they called city cars, they scuff and say, "I couldn't get anything in there. How would I get my groceries?" I don't know. We did okay filling this one and there are 3 more guys in there still. Let's go for a ride in the 2012 Scion iQ and check the tech. First off, let's understand the iQ. It's not small to be commensurately cheap. You can get a much bigger Corolla for about the same price. You can also get a bigger MP3 player than a nano for about the same price. The idea is miniaturization done well is worth something. And in certain cities where a parking space may only occur when 2 other cars park sloppily, this little guy can be a rolling mental health clinic. And the first thing people have to be convinced of about little tiny cars like this, I do this all the time, is that they tend to be spacious inside. I don't get it. You can get into an Audi A6 like I was 10 minutes ago and feel more cramped than you are in this, Smart Fortwo or my '68 Fiat 850. That's just a weird thing about little cars. It's also not small in basic head unit technology. It's a pioneer unit but different than we've seen in Scions beforehand. You got a touchscreen panel right here for gain to your various options. Let's go around them one at a time. Here's my phone screen. I do have my phone paired. It's very clear, basic interface. Bluetooth streaming is also in here. Contacts are imported very nicely and I can scroll them very quickly. That's nice response. I like that. Okay, our sources are shown on this kind of needlessly tricky cover flow-looking thing. I prefer to say screw that. Let's go to the old button. AM/FM were also HD Radio-enabled on this guy. CD, single optical slot up here. No DVD playback. iPod lower left. It hooks up to this USB plus AUX jack down in the console. Check out Pandora. Again, I've got an iOS device paired, the Pandora apps installed. When I launch it, I get a Scion brand on it. The screen goes blank and control and logic are shifted to the vehicle. Notice Pandora carries overall the metadata as well as the thumbs-up/thumbs-down functionality. Everything you'd expect on the actual app. Now a lot of you are asking, how's the nav? Well, there's no nav on this head unit. Again, being a preproduction car, I don't know where this sits in the line. This could be the base head unit or one notch up. Have to wait 'til this is actually on showrooms and can be configured on their web buying guide, but so far, that's all I can tell you right now. You may wanna make plans to bring your own nav device based on past Scion factory nav rigs we've seen. Bottom right corner are my sound set and these are interesting here, Scion Sound Profile, natural hear and feel. They're just presets of EQ. If I go under Sound, I can roll my own EQ with travel base front/rear and left and right for the [unk] in the balance. DSP will give you the ability to turn on or off the automatic volume control. That's pretty common in most car. Oh, check this out, under DSP, I like this. I've got the advanced sound retriever. It's a pioneer technology that tries to retrieve some of that lost detail in compressed sources. I really like using this on Bluetooth streaming 'cause Bluetooth streaming sounds like hell. You can turn this on at 3 different levels either not at all, low rate or high rate. Oh, unlike some Scion products where they add this horrible Bluetooth system that has no interface. It's just a button over here, a black rocker switch and a microphone. This one has got the chippy microphone up here on the wheel, but now finally, I've got the ability to go do settings on the phone from the screen. Thank you. Yep. That's the engine. All this much of it, 1.2 liter in line 4, pressed up way by the nose here, side saddle front-wheel drive. Nothing about this spells performance. It spells efficiency. You've got 94 horsepower, 89 foot-pounds of torque [unk] little numbers. But so as the weight of this car, it's about 2000 pounds. When was the last time you had a car that only weighed a ton? 0 to 60, more than likely. And the MPG is 36/37 and all of that gets done through a one-choice only CDT, continuously variable transmission. And there's electric power steering on this guy which is part of how they bring up the MPG, so no hydraulic pump to run it. It's an electric motor that gives you that assist. The iQ has much the same high top sneaker look as a Smart Fortwo just kind of ballsier, and it's 14 critical inches longer making it just big enough to look weird on a shelf at Toys R Us. Oh, and when getting in or out of the back of one of these, do it on the passenger side. That seat slides farther forward so you're less likely to turn an iQ into an "iFall." Power delivery is a little perky. It's a little trick the manufacturers will do to have a car with a really small engine. They'll give it really vigorous initial tipping with the front load. A lot of the engine's response early in the accelerator pedal travel creates the appearance of power. But then it runs out of steam, runs out of breath higher up. This car is in that range but that makes it a good city driver. The engine is particularly, I don't know, intrusive. Unlike a Smart Fortwo, the engine of course is in the front. The Smart Fortwo would be in the back. But I'm hearing a lot of, you know, kind of unpleasant engine note. It's a 16,000 dollar car so I don't think it gets the demerits for that, but it doesn't sound as smooth as I'd like it to. The ride quality is quite good. It's a much more civilized car than a Smart Fortwo in everyday driving. Visibility is actually pretty good. It's funny you get a blind spot not in the rear corner but on the rear side because you got this huge panel over here between the porthole window and the backlight in the rear. And of course, our wheels on the rear are all the way pushed out to the end of the body. That will result in a lack of dampening weight overhang on the rear that tends to give some cars a little bit of dampening against road [unk]. In this car, if you're gonna hit something on the rear wheels, you're gonna feel all of it 'cause nothing counterbalances it hanging past the axel line. Okay. Let's price this little Scion iQ. It's a 2012. It's coming out in a rolling launch beginning in October 2011 for the west coast and not wrapping up until March 2012 availability around the middle of the country. About 16,000 dollars base, inexpensive little car of course. The options are still a little TBD in terms of teching it up from the factory but of course, that head unit is pretty hot. Mostly, this car is a blank canvas. The idea is to get a Scion and do a lot of your own thing aftermarket. But generally speaking, we're looking at a new 45 added to the album that is Scion.