IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
With its commendable fuel-economy figures, generous level of standard equipment, affordable pricing, and fun-to-drive character, the Scion iA is a subcompact-class standout.
Rear-seat space is tight, the sedan body isn’t quite as cargo-versatile as a 4-door hatchback configuration, and the hyper-assertive grille design is a love-it-or-hate-it styling quirk.
The Scion iA is the product of a partnership between Toyota (Scion’s corporate parent) and Mazda; it’s essentially a re-trimmed version of the 2016 Mazda 2 sedan, which isn’t being sold in the U.S.
WHAT IS IT?
The iA is a subcompact 4-door sedan that is one half of a significant new-product launch for Toyota’s youth-market division (the other half is the Scion iM, a compact four-door hatchback that is based on a European-market Toyota called Auris). The iA gives Scion its first conventional four-door-sedan body style, but the swoopy body shapes and gaping-maw grille are anything but conventional.
Also unconventional is the generous list of standard equipment. As a Scion, the iA hews to brand’s “Pure Price” no-haggle purchase process and simplified model lineup, with no trim levels or factory options other than transmission choice and dealer-installed accessories. Among the iA’s unexpected standard features are a rearview camera, automatic climate control, cruise control, keyless entry with push-button start, 7-inch multimedia touchscreen, voice recognition, connected services (including Aha, Pandora, and Stitcher), and a low-speed pre-collision system. That last item is a forward-collision warning and mitigation feature that works at speeds below 18 mph; it can apply the brakes automatically to avoid or mitigate a front-end impact.
The iA’s lone engine is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 106 horsepower. It’s no ball of fire, but it’s on par with most subcompact contenders. Plus, its Mazda-sourced architecture and tidy dimensions mean that the iA is quite nimble and entertaining on twisty roads.
The Scion iA is an all-new model for 2016.
The Scion iA’s EPA fuel-economy estimates are impressive. It’s rated at 31 mpg city/41 highway with the 6-speed manual transmission, and 33 city/42 highway with the 6-speed automatic.
VALUE IN CLASS
The Scion iA enters the subcompact category as a formidable contender. Chief among its strengths are excellent projected fuel economy numbers, rare-for-the-segment standard equipment, pleasant interior, lively on-road demeanor, and very competitive pricing. In this class and price strata, the simple, no-hassle Scion purchase process holds a lot of appeal as well. If you’re cool with its in-your-face face, the Scion iA is a clear-cut subcompact winner.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$15,700 – $16,800|
|BODY STYLES||4-DOOR SEDAN|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||106-HP, 1.5-LITER 4-CYL.|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||31-42 MPG|
Other Best Buys in this Class