The Scion brand is back – moving forward with the addition of two new value priced and well equipped models for 2016 – the Scion iM hatchback and Scion iA sedan. For 2016, Scion with the new iM and iA, now have a two very competitive vehicles their respective segments that offer Scion styling, performance, premium value and features not found in competitors, all for under $20,000.
The new 2016 Scion iM looks to be a bold challenger in the very competitive compact segment. Needing to quickly stand out, we find the iM very likely to be a strong competitor in the very crowded compact segment. In the face of stiff competition from the extensive field of other offerings, the iM offers more standard features for the money, a well-appointed, roomy and comfortable cabin plus a solid performing powertrain to more than meet that competition. All for a single price – right at $20,000.
iM Sport Hatch
We recently spent a week driving a new Scion iM covered in a brash, bright and bold Spring Green Metallic color with Black interior all around Central Texas. The iM is a four door plus hatchback compact that seats five. It is powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine delivering 137 horsepower with 126 lb.-ft. of torque mated a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVTi-S) with Intelligence Shifting plus 7-step manual shifting (M) and a Sport Mode selector.
The iM responds nicely in regular mode with its performance tuned CVTi-S matched nicely to the power plant. Putting it into Sport mode, the CVTi-S adjusts the simulated shift points, electric power steering and throttle for a sportier feel. When braking into a corner, it downshifts and holds the gear for quicker full power acceleration out of the corner. If the driver selects the M position on the console shifter, they gain manual control over the 7 shift points in the transmission with the gear selected displayed on the 4.2-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster.
The iM is fuel economy rated, with the CVTi-S 7-speed automatic on our test vehicle, at 28/37 mpg city/highway with 32 mpg combined. Our actual experience was very close to the rated numbers.
Hill Start Assist and 17-inch Alloy wheels mounted with 225/45R17 All Season low profile tires are included on the iM. Suspension is MacPherson strut with stabilizer up front and double wishbone with stabilizer rear. Steering is power-assisted rack and pinion EPS. It is equipped with the Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control and Smart Stop Technology.
Inside, the iM offers a generous cabin with premium high quality materials throughout including bolstered front bucket seats, the sport designed instrument panel with 4.2-inch driver information display, a leather wrapped steering wheel and plenty of cup holders and storage throughout.
The iM includes a long list of standard features not found on/or at extra cost on the competition. They include LED Daytime Running Lamps and Taillights, the 17-inch alloy wheels, sport body kit cladding, dual zone auto A/C, 7-inch Pioneer touchscreen display and audio system, six Pioneer ‘branded’ speakers, eight airbags and a backup camera.
Our Spring Green Metallic 2016 Scion iM compact hatchback came fully featured, including delivery, for $20,334.
Options and Extras
The iM comes ‘mono-spec’ or single trim level only as does its new sub-compact sibling, the 2016 Scion iA. There are only two options for the iM besides a range of assorted dealer or port installed accessory items including some TRD performance accessories.
Our test iM came with the optional the 7-speed CVT Automatic Transmission which most buyers are likely to choose. However, if you select the 6-speed manual transmission the MSRP is reduced by $740.
Also available is the upgraded BeSpoke Audio with Navigation for $900. This upgraded system includes full navigation, as well as the ability to connect compatible smart phones through Aha to access more than 100,000 internet radio choices. In addition to music stations, sports, news and entertainment, drivers can access location–based services like Yelp and TripAdvisor, and popular social media applications like Facebook and Twitter using the 7-inch Color Touchscreen Display.
Warranty and Service
Scion service and warranty programs apply fully to the iM and include the three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The iM also comes with Scion Service Boost, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and two years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
The addition of the new iM to the Scion lineup gives them a credible and competitive sporty five-door compact hatchback offering in a fast growing segment that includes the likes of the Mazda3, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and VW Golf S.
The iM, for our money, is a darn good drive, with a capable and responsive powertrain and nice handling characteristics. It is very comfortable and quiet inside with plenty of room in the front seat and more than reasonable space in the back seat. The 20.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats is very accessible and will hold a full week of grocery shopping, a trip to the golf course or a long weekend very nicely. The 60/40 fold-flat rear seat all but doubles that space if needed.
The exterior styling is crisp and fresh with plenty of distinctive character from front to rear. With its low wide stance, availability in six colors and fitted with the sharply styled alloy wheels, the iM looks like it is in motion even while standing still.
Lastly, we did have a minor criticism of the iM interior. We are not a fan of Piano Black on the interior surfaces. As a non-touch accent, it is ok. But when used for touch surfaces its appearance degrades quickly. In the iM, we found its use on the side door closer handle surfaces and on the audio display screen-surround a bit annoying as it reflected our touches very quickly.
Setting that aside, if you are in the compact hatch market, the new Scion iM needs to be on your list.
Looking for a great sedan for well under $20,000? Read our take on the new 2016 Scion iA by clicking on the ‘Suggested Link” below.