2016 Scion iM: Say hello, bye to worthy budget hatchback

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The Scion iA and its sibling, the Scion iM, are new vehicles for 2016 and soon they’ll be gone. The Scion iA is a sporty entry level sedan; the Scion iM is a five-door hatchback. The duo was manufactured, like all Scions since the brand debuted 13 years ago, to appeal to millennials.

But it didn’t work to the company’s expectations. And now some of the brand’s offerings will be discontinued, while others will be absorbed and continued in the Toyota lineup. The Scion iA and iM are among models that will be transferred to Toyota.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The Scion iM is a four-cylinder, 16-valve, 1.8-liter, 137 horsepower, five-door hatchback with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. My weekly driver featured the manual transmission

Like the iA, the iM has a substantial standard features list: 16-inch alloy wheels, turn-signal repeaters in the side mirrors, a low-speed forward-collision warning system, cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry, push-button ignition, a backup camera, and Mazda’s 7-inch infotainment system screen.

The iM has substantial interior space for a sub-compact hatchback. I’m 6-feet tall and weigh 200 pounds. As a front seat passenger, I was comfortable and had plenty of headroom and legroom. As the driver, I had no blind-spot issues and the seat was easily adjustable and comfortable.

The 2016 Scion iM. It’s a new worthy underdog hatchback and it will be absorbed into the Toyota lineup in 2017. Images © James Raia/2016

The ride quality of the iM was surprising. There was a hint of sportiness, but it also periodically felt  underpowered on steep grades. The exterior was edgy with sharp angles and there’s an array of standard and bright exterior color options like spring green metallic and electric storm blue. There’s also Barcelona red metallic, the color of my test vehicle. It had a tone that only gave more reason to wonder why people buy red cars. There was nothing handsome about the color; It was  just an attention-getter, particularly with its black and silver-colored rims.

Perhaps the biggest surprise about the new iM is that it’s so quiet. It’s superior to many vehicles more than the twice its cost and boasting of quiet rides. The Scion iM top competitors include the Honda Fit (far more cargo area), Ford Fiesta (more performance) and the Nissan Versa (far less expensive). But the Scion iM was the most quiet sub-compact I’ve driven.

My only concern about the new Scions are the oddly shaped front grille on both models. They look like pouting fish. Here’s hoping Toyota will change that.


Strong value.
Engaging handling.
Refined interior for the class.
Superior fuel economy.


The names iA and iM. No one seems to know what they mean. No worries, they’re gone now.
Front grille.
The exterior color is Barcelona red metallic. It’s annoyingly bright.

Facts & Figures: 2016 Scion iM

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 9.8 seconds.
Airbags: 8
Fuel economy: 27 mpg (city), 36 mpg (highway), 31 mpg (combined).
Horsepower: 137.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $18,460.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.scion.com.
Price As Tested: $19,594.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The 2016 Scion iA and iM may not find a niche in a marketplace stuffed with respectable and mass-selling choices from most manufacturers. But if value, a substantial list of standard features and superior gas mileage is important, the twin sub-compact are worthy choices.”

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