Review: 2012 Scion iQ Take Two

Posted on 27. Oct, 2011 by in Auto News

Scion is quite sure of one thing: the new iQ is a much better car than the smart fortwo. What they are much less sure: How many of its fine young North American urbanites buys, rather than at regular intervals with Zipcar. I am neither young nor urban, but I will do my best to pretend. Why am I this car or could not?

Exterior design – not

Toyota iQ fitted with 16-inch wheels, the multi-spoke alloys can be upgraded in a tender for the intended buyer. But the appearance is not nearly as stylish as the smart nose with a frumpy, awkward B-pillar and a single, rectangular door panel almost all the space between the wheel arches. Add the relatively large wheels, and the whole it looks like a Photoshop chop-out is real, with a 79-inch wheelbase (vs. 74 for the smart) and 120-inch length (vs. 106). Scion has struggled to back their mojo, xB since the launch of the second generation inflated. With the iQ the struggle continues.

Interior Design – maybe

The interior is stylish successful than the exterior, but has none of the whimsical characters that you find in a 500 or a MINI. All surfaces are-surprise-hard plastic, but they usually look and feel solid. The red-stitched leather-covered steering wheel and the glossy black trim on the doors and center console are the highlights. The controls are easy to use and lightweight, with three large vertically oriented knobs for the climate control. Less functional: the driving position is also behind the windshield, so lights are not visible when you stop at the white line. The button temporarily deactivate traction control (but not the stability control) is mounted low on the other side of the slide. A power lock button sits beside it, but there is still more convenient to the driver's door. My suspicion: The design included only the first button on the console, in line with European practice, but the Scion marketing people insisted, with buttons on the doors, where the Americans expect them. You have half of their request.

Interior packaging – where the car earned its nameplate

I'm a space geek efficiency. Intelligent packaging and seat of the Ford Freestyle and Taurus X is perhaps the main reason (on the need for seven seats) that I bought one of the latter.

Toyota is especially proud of its packaging innovations for the iQ, and this part of their pitch for the car is not hype. Although only a foot longer than a Smart, the iQ has a rear seat that fits an adult without resorting to cruel and unusual punishment, and two with him. They were able to pull this through:

  1. Place the motor in the nose of the vehicle (it is on the back with the Smart) and locating the front of the differential transmission, which sits alongside the engine. This allows for an unusually short front overhang, and would also improve the appearance of large front-wheel drive cars. (Back in the 1990s, GM designers wanted to cross powertrains reflect about exactly why, but the engineers refused to activate such a stupid thing.) A special high-mounted steering rack also plays a role.
  2. Compressing the A / C and detection of the evaporator assemblies behind the center console, instead of before the passenger, so that the right front seat must be moved forward a few inches. Which is why the right rear passengers enjoy more legroom than the left rear passenger. Space between the front seats for the left rear passenger's legs provided, how can the driver's seat slide all the way to the rear seat cushion. This space exists because a relative of 66 inches, the iQ is about half a meter beamier than smart. A by-product: the in the passenger seat about as far apart as they would in a C-segment car like the Corolla, not shoulder to shoulder as they sit to do in the smart.
  3. The development of ultra-thin backrest. You do not feel much, but not uncomfortable.
  4. The development of an ultra-thin tank-it's only 4.5 inches in size and positioning it under the driver seat.
  5. Adding an eleventh airbag unfolds over the rear window, a rear substantially curtain airbags. There are only a few inches between the rear seatback and the rear hatch, so otherwise the back seat would be terribly unsafe place …

Of course, no magic Toyota engineers. So without wrinkles at least half of the back seat, there is absolutely no cargo space.

Electronics – good, but better games on the way

Bluetooth (hands-free and audio streaming), USB and HD radio are standard, while nav is a dealer-installed accessory. But something like new Toyota Entune system with Internet-based applications, a year or two away.

Performance – faster than a smart!

The iQ weighs only 2,127 pounds, but that's still a bit much for the 94-hp 1.3-liter four-cylinder of a mandatory CVT tense. (The Smart weighs 300 pounds less, but has only 70 hp.) In normal mode, the CVT produces the rubber band effect typical CVT coupled with small engines. Turn south at the same time largely eliminates these speeds come up big or two (so it's not a full-time solution for anyone interested in fuel economy). And if you want to keep the little four at high cooking there are B (intended for engine braking on downhill) that further surveys engine speed. Not the ideal transmission, especially not for driving enthusiasts, but far better than the clunky single-clutch automated manual in the smart. The engine sounds better than the Nissan Versa, which employs similar CVT, but remains far behind the spine-tingling. There is no joy out of this winding. Sixty comes in an acceptable ten fifty seconds, but the acceleration stops considerably past that mark.

Fuel consumption – very well in the city, meh on the highway

Scion iQ fuel advertises as the best of all non-hybrid. But the EPA rating of 36 city is much more impressive than the 37 freeway. Then again, the iQ is a "city car" not sold "highway car."

Handling – not remotely a new CRX

The best thing to use the iQ can be said is that its ultra-tight 12-foot turning radius, around two-thirds that of the average car is truly a joy to experience. The next best thing: Unlike the smart, drives the tiny Scion much like a normal car. Perhaps too much like a normal car, if they of "normal car" we mean a Camry. Benefiting from the car unusually high rel-to-wheelbase ratio are rolling and understeer in hard turns both moderate. But the steering is neither quick nor communicative, the handling is not particularly agile, and. Switchable stability control cuts are not far behind in the car's limits The legendary Honda CRX was a thrill to drive sideways. That will not happen here. The iQ drives like a machine.

Ride – survivable

Given the iQ ultra-short wheelbase, a choppy ride is a given. Drive over 60 a concrete highway (again, not the car's primary mission), and expansion joints induce a rhythmic bounce. But otherwise, ride quality is not bad, and not feel like a very small, very light car. Although larger and heavier, worse a FIAT trips 500th

Pricing – bespoke bits are not cheap

The iQ will list for $ 15,995. Scion continues to practice "Pure Pricing." This does not mean that the dealer discount, only that they will offer the same price. A similarly equipped smart fortwo lists for $ 16,850. Ask widened for the iQ additional functions with True Delta car price comparison tool and its benefits to a substantial $ 2,300.

But Scion law is not serious about the smart than competitors, at least not in North America. This increased competition will come from the Fiat 500 and B-segment cars. The more entertaining a large Mazda2 costs less, if a $ 1,600-setting function gives the iQ a $ 600 benefit. Compared to a FIAT 500 Pop, the iQ is $ 1,000 less before the function setting $ 400 less for it. So are the prices for these three are very close before discounts and incentives, which tend to the Mazda and (as the cars stacked on dealer lots) favor the FIAT.

Bottom line: the iQ will cost about as much as B-segment vehicles, despite much smaller and less fun to drive.

Sales forecast – not promising

Thus, the Scion iQ is not based on the sale price or driving pleasure. Its packaging innovations are impressive, but you do not have to own the car to admire it. Although the iQ is a much better car than the smart fortwo, the latest B-segment vehicles are better in almost every way. In terms of fuel economy, the iQ is very good in city traffic, but the larger cars better at higher speeds (where the scion of his element). At the end of the iQ's key strengths of its short length and ultra-tight turning radius, both of which make it easy to park in the city. But how many people have probably the urban parking as their top priority and will purchase a car, rather than an occasional hire?

Scion provided the vehicle, insurance and fuel for this review to be a media event.

Michael Karesh operates True Delta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.