During the same time that I had the opportunity to drive the pretty awesome 2016 Scion iA, I was also allowed to get behind the wheel of the larger iM. Based on a Corolla, but with some different tweaks and tuning, the iM promised to be the more exciting drive, while offering hatchback functionality. Did they succeed? Read on and find out.
(Full Disclosure: Scion put me up in a nice hotel and let me talk to executives while eating steak to get me to drive the new iM in Grand Rapids. The construction in Grand Rapids sucks.)
As I previously mentioned, the Scion iM is a Toyota Corolla with a different body. That isn’t a bad thing, but isn’t necessarily a recipe for driving enjoyment. But there is a difference in the suspension tuning. The iM has a double wishbone rear suspension.
The iM is also still available with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. There’s a CVT automatic as an upgrade, and I didn’t get a chance to sample it. Of course, the iM is front-wheel drive.
Powering the iM is a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 137 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque. Weighing in at 2,943 pounds with the manual transmission, 137 horsepower doesn’t feel like a lot.
Compared to the iA, which only makes 106 horsepower, the iM felt a bit slower. It didn’t feel as sporty behind the wheel. The transmission wasn’t as snickity-snick as the iA. Of course, the transmission in the iA is straight from Mazda, and they tend to make the best in the business these days.
If there is one disappointment about driving the iM, the sporty exterior doesn’t equate to the sportiest of drives. Sure, it drives better than the Corolla it’s based on, but I don’t believe the iM is the sportiest in the segment.
However, when it comes to versatility, the iM is great. The hatchback means there’s a lot of space to store your stuff, and I felt comfortable behind the wheel with plenty of room. Driver and front passenger would be fine on long trips, but as with all cars in this segment, rear seat passengers (adults) would only be good for short-ish stints.
The iM also excels at standard equipment. Automatic dual-zone climate control is standard. LED taillights and daytime running lights are standard. The stereo with Bluetooth and Aha support is standard. The only thing that’s missing is satellite radio. Scion doesn’t believe it’s a deal breaker in this segment, and I tend to agree with them.
Scions these days have a no-haggle price set by the dealership, and they all include 2 years of scheduled maintenance. The scheduled maintenance is an especially good deal for people buying cars in this segment, because it’s a cost they don’t have to worry about.
The manual transmission gets 36 miles to the gallon on the highway, and the CVT gets 37. Those might not be class-leading, but they are respectable numbers. Toyota has a tendency to have accurate EPA numbers, so we expect to see that in real life. However, media launches aren’t conducive to getting accurate fuel economy numbers. We’ll have to test it when we get one in for review.
For $18,460, the Scion iM is a good value for what you get. If you’re in the market for a small family car with a bit of style, the Scion iM would be a hard car to pass up. Give it a drive when it goes on sale September 1st and see what you think!