Monday, March 21, 2016

Quick Drive: A week with the 2016 Scion iM

Scion iM in Spring Green

By D.J. Hall

Hauling a big boxLast week I brought my daily driver, a 2013 Scion iQ (more on this at a later date) to my local Toyota/Scion dealer. As the dealer was going to have it a few days for a service, I requested a loaner car, and wanted something specific: a 2016 Scion iM in the Spring Green finish, and that's exactly what I got. It was equipped with the optional CVT automatic and the carpeted floor / cargo mat set.

My first thoughts on my way home was that the car is equipped with a fair bit of technology and convenience features, especially for the money involved. In fact, the window sticker was still in the glove box I discovered later, and as optioned, it was $20,180.

I spent nearly a week driving it around, including a longish freeway journey, some inner city and shopping center navigating (including plenty of parking maneuvers), hauling a rather large box to be shipped, as you can see in the picture, along with daily to-and-from-work duties. Speaking of cargo, as you can see, the rear seats can be folded flat for maximum cargo carrying ability.

The iM is quite well refined. The chassis and suspension tuning feel very capable, comfortable, smooth and well balanced. The independent rear suspension and big anti-roll bars undoubtedly have some influence here. The brakes are miles ahead of any Scion I’ve driven to date, and if I’m honest, better than a lot of other cars in this range. The cabin road noise is excellent; hardly noticeable in fact.

The iM is powered by Toyota's 1.8-liter DOHC four-cylinder; the same one found in the Corolla LE. The engine makes 137 hp and 126 ft/lbs of torque. I am still not entirely sold on the optional CVT; I still prefer a manual transmission. However, that said, the auto is very smooth, accelerates well enough for any road conditions and the throttle is easy to modulate for cornering. Even in sport with the traction and stability control turned off, and using the "tiptronic"-style manual control, it just isn't as fun as a proper manual gearbox though. Thankfully, a six-speed manual is available.

Scion iM in a tight spot
I found all the tech and controls to be exceptionally easy to use and navigate, without referring once to the owner's manual. I do wish the iM was available with front seat heaters, however. The interior is a great place to be for any length of time though. Even the rear seats are quite comfortable. Also, this car is fantastically simple to park, and the standard power-folding outside mirrors help considerably. I was able to squeeze in to a small spot without worrying about smacking the mirror on the wall, as evidenced in the photo.

On my way back to the dealer, I returned the fuel level to where it had been upon receipt, and having driven nearly 180 miles, and only putting in roughly six gallons of petrol, the iM returned just about 30 mpg average. All around, a pretty decent wagon, like a modernized version of the first-gen Matrix actually.

Truly, I would consider buying one if I were in the market for a new daily driver.

2016 Scion iM rear


nlpnt said...

I'm hoping the rebrand will bring more options for 2017. A sunroof, a "delete body kit" option and some of the interior colors offered on the Corolla S would be nice.

Barry Traylor said...

Very attractive. Not sure if I'd care for the CVT though as I drove a Nissan with that last year and was not impressed.