Scion was a sub-brand of Toyota and a niche trade name aimed at young buyers. Founded in 2002 and discontinued following the 2016 model year, the Scion line was composed entirely of small vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines. Most models were priced below $20,000 when they were new.
Toyota developed Scion in an effort to attract new and younger buyers to Toyota showrooms. Scion vehicles were sold alongside Toyota models and are found in most Toyota retail outlets.
Launched in 2002, Scion introduced two models: the Scion xA, a five-door subcompact hatchback based on the Toyota Echo and the Scion xB, a box-shaped five-door compact hatchback.
In its second model year, Scion introduced its third model, the tC, which is a sport compact coupe that some consider the successor to the retired Toyota Celica. Like the previous two models, the Scion tC is powered by a four-cylinder engine paired with manual or automatic transmissions.
Initially, Scion was well received, with sales peaking in 2006. Within five years, sales fell to one-fourth of peak levels, but Toyota remained committed to the nameplate by offering special release series for each model and by updating the product line.
In 2007, the Scion xD was introduced, replacing the xA. The new model offered a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine — same as the Toyota Corolla — and yielded four release series dressed in Hot Lava Orange, Electric Wasabi, xPRESSO Brown and Blizzard Pearl colors. The xD remained in production until 2015 before it was canceled.
Toyota breathed new life into Scion in 2012 by introducing two new models. The Scion iQ is a four-passenger mini or city car, and a direct competitor to the Smart ForTwo as well as to the Chevrolet Spark and Fiat 500. It is powered by a small four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Never a strong seller, Scion canceled this model in 2015.
Teaming with Subaru, Toyota released the Scion FR-S for 2013. This rear-wheel drive sports car shares its platform with the Subaru BRZ. The FR-S is powered by Subaru’s 2.0-liter Boxer (horizontally opposed) four-cylinder engine making 200 horsepower. It comes paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
In 2015, Toyota reiterated its commitment to Scion by releasing two new models: the subcompact iA and compact iM. The Scion iA was based on the Mazda2 and was Scion’s first four-door sedan. It is powered by a 1.5-ilter four-cylinder engine and is paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Scion iM was based on the Toyota Corolla platform and is a four-door hatchback powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission and a CVT are available.
The Scion brand was discontinued following the 2016 model year, though three of its models were integrated into the Toyota lineup. The FR-S became the Toyota 86, while the Scion iM and iA joined the lineup as the Toyota Corolla iM and Toyota Yaris iA, respectively.
Besides reviewing Toyota products, Scion can be cross-shopped with any brand offering budget-priced models. Competing brands include: Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Kia, Volkswagen, Mazda, Ford, Hyundai, Subaru, Honda, Dodge and Nissan.