When we took delivery of the new 2016 Scion iM, our initial reaction was that Scion has pulled off a hatchback design that looks impressive, with a presence that shouts cool.
It’s designed for a younger generation of buyers who are looking for a city commuter with utility and style to match.
And the iM hits the mark.
The new Scion iM has some stiff competition with the Ford Focus, Mazda3, and Volkswagen Golf. Since all five-door hatchbacks are proven, can the new arrival from Scion stack up against its rivals?
The 2016 Scion iM 5-Door Hatchback is an all-new compact for Scion. If looks count, the iM wins with a raked front end, black grille, sloped rear hatch, and 17-inch wheels.
The 2016 Scion iM 5-Door hatchback ($18,460) comes in one trim level but with many standard features for the price. It features 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, automatic headlights, power-folding heated mirrors, keyless ignition, and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping column with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 60/40-split folding rear seats, with a rearview camera.
Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker stereo with HD radio, Aha streaming Internet radio, and a USB interface complete the list of connectivity technology.
Our tester also came with floormats and a cargo mat ($185), wheel locks ($65), and rear bumper protector ($89).
Total MSRP including destination: $19,594.
The cabin of the iM matches the outside with a contemporary design. A dash covered in fashionable piano black features swooping lines and round vents. There’s a lot of upscale, soft-touch trim throughout. The height-adjustable front seats are supportive and the upholstery is average for an economy compact. We liked the simple instrument layout, dual-zone climate control, and the standard 7-inch touchscreen is easy to reach and reacts quickly.
The backseat is not as roomy as the front and there’s not a lot of cargo room in back (20.8 cubic feet) when the rear seatbacks are up, but they’re still 60/40 and fold flat for additional cargo carrying ability. The rearview camera is a welcome feature as the rear hatch window is small and visibility is limited when backing up.
Visibility out the front is good with the small pillars, raked hood, and big front windshield.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The Scion iM is powered by a high-revving, 1.8-liter four-cylinder that is shared with the Toyota Corolla. It produces 137 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. Our iM tester had the 6-speed manual gearbox that transfers power to the front wheels.
Fuel economy is an EPA estimated 27/36 city/highway mpg and 31 combined with the manual.
An optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available.
The hatch comes with Scion’s Service Boost, which features free maintenance for 2 years or 25,000 miles.
The handling in the Scion iM hatch is sporty and comes with a suspension that allowed us to have some fun in the mountain curves this week.
We pushed the hatchback hard in the corners and felt the new iM keeps the fun-to-drive meter pushed fairly high.
Where the new Scion iM lacks is in the power department. The high-revving, 1.8-liter engine could use a bit more power in the altitude of Colorado where we tested the hatch.
The throws in the six-speed manual gearbox are long and we had to keep the compact car revved high to keep our momentum up. We hardly ever got into 6th gear and had to keep the revs up over 4000 rpm to maintain our speed in the mountains. We had a driver pull out in front of us to get around a slow 18-wheeler as we were headed up I-70.
We lost all momentum.
It slowed us way down and it took awhile before we could get back up to highway speeds.
We were impressed with the iM’s ride quality, however, which soaked up the bumps on the dirt road leading to our house. Overall, the Scion iM offers up enough driver engagement to keep it fun and it handles the city streets with ease because of its size. As a city commuter, the iM hatch is well suited for urban dwellers who will use it for an occasional weekend trip.
The all-new 2016 Scion iM 5-Door Hatchback offers up cool, contemporary styling and a lot of function for the money. The power of the 1.8-liter four-cylinder will be adequate for urban dwellers and the 6-speed manual gearbox dials up driver engagement a bit more than the CVT automatic.
It comes with lots of standard features and the free scheduled maintenance is an added bonus for the price.
For more info on the Scion iM and another of a different style, click here.
*Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
*The rating scale of Automoblog is based 1-5 with 5 being the best.